For first-year Marian head coach John Patton, he couldn't have asked for a better start to the season.
For Lehighton head coach Michael O'Brien, he couldn't have asked for a worse start to last night's game.
The Colts scored the first 17 points of the contest and upped their record to 3-0 with a 76-49 victory over the Indians.
Lehighton (0-2) missed its first eight shots of the game and finally got on the scoreboard at the 3:50 mark of the first quarter on a Josiah Evans basket.
With the loss, the Indians extended their losing streak to 37 games (dating back to a win over Palmerton on December 30, 2008) and are 1-45 since the beginning of the 2008 season.
"The first quarter killed us tonight," stated O'Brien. "Marian's a good experienced ballclub and we're still in the process of piecing things together. We dug ourselves into a hole that was impossible to get out of, but the kids never quit and did a nice job of battling back in the second, third and fourth quarters."
After back-to-back three-pointers by Lehighton transfer JT Keer and a Chris Barletta layup midway through the second quarter, the Colts extended their lead to 35-13 and rolled into halftime up 46-23. Marian converted 8-of-11 shots in the second stanza and was 17-for-27 (63-percent) from the field in the first half.
"We wanted to come out tonight and play up-tempo basketball," said Patton. "We got out to a 17-0 lead and from there, we just wanted to keep up the pace."
"We weren't as sharp when Lehighton went into a zone defense, but overall I was really happy with the way the kids played. We got a lot of scoring from a lot of different people tonight and that's what we need."
Chris Barletta once again led Marian with a game-high 24 points on 11 made field goals. Through the first three games of the season, Barletta is averaging a TIMES NEWS best 27.0 points per game.
Ryan Gimbi added a double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds, while JT Keer and Dominick Richards added 11 and 10 points respectively.
"We need to have balance because we think we're going to see some defenses that aren't very favorable to Chris (Barletta) later on in the season," added Patton. "Tonight we had a bunch of guys step up. Ryan Gimbi was unbelievable with his floor game and rebounding. JT Keer shot the ball well and ran the floor, and Dominick (Richards) played tough in the paint."
Marian's hot shooting continued well into the third quarter, as the Colts converted on five of their first seven shots from the floor and extended the lead to 58-33. However, Lehighton's offense began to get in sync and they actually outscored Marian 17-14 in the third stanza.
The Indians were led by Cordell Wall, who in his first year of playing organized basketball scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
Marian shot 30-for-59 from the field, while Lehighton was 19-of-55. The Colts held a 41-27 advantage in rebounds and had four less turnovers (14) than the Indians (18).
In the JV game, Marian posted a 42-27 victory. Damian Richards and Eric Swankoski led the Colts with nine points apiece.
D. Rossino 2-1-2-7, Kresge 1-0-2-3, A. Rossino 1-0-0-2, Farano 0-0-0-0, Guyn 0-0-0-0, Edgar 0-0-0-0, Scott 0-2-2-2, Gallagher 1-1-1-3, Wall 8-1-2-17, Szacska 3-0-0-7, Evans 3-2-2-8. TOTALS: 19-7-11-49.
Keer 2-5-6-11, Barletta 11-2-5-24, Karnish 2-0-0-5, Pilla 1-0-0-2, Ryba 1-0-0-3, Julian 0-0-0-0, Gimbi 7-3-3-17, Baker 1-0-0-2, Dam. Richards 0-0-0-0, Dom. Richards 4-2-4-10, Weber 0-0-0-0, Agosti 0-0-0-0, Motil 1-0-2-2. TOTALS: 30-12-20-76.
Lehighton 6 17 17 9 - 49
Marian 23 23 14 16 - 76
Three-Pointers: Lehighton - D. Rossino 2, Kresge 1, Szacska 1; Marian - Keer 2, Karnish 1, Ryba 1.