SWIFTWATER - Saturday just wasn't a good day for the Weatherly boys' basketball team.
In its first playoff appearance since losing the District 11 A championship game in 2005-06, fifth-seeded Weatherly faced off with fourth-seeded Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg in this year's quarterfinals. And, just like four years ago, the Spartans got the best of the Wreckers.
Weatherly ran into a proverbial 'buzz saw,' as Notre Dame came out on fire and stayed hot for what seemed to be the entire game. The Spartans' two big scorers, Tim Mullen and Stephen Lepre, combined to score 50 points and led their team to a 67-53 victory.
"(Notre Dame) shot the ball extremely well," said Weatherly head coach Ron Cann. "You have to give credit where credit is due. They shot the ball well while we were 5-of-12 from the free throw line in the first half.
"When a team is shooting the ball well and you are under-sized, you have to be able to handle it. And we didn't handle it from the shooting aspect of it."
If it wasn't Mullen going for 13 points in the first quarter, it was Lepre scoring 23 of his game-high 29 points in the second half. The two combined to make eight of the team's ten three-pointers.
Mullen, who stands about 6-8, hit three three-pointers in the first quarter. He was 5-for-6 in the opening frame and ended the quarter with a buzzer-beating triple from just inside half court. The shot was one of five Spartan threes and made the score 21-9.
Meanwhile, the Wreckers were having major shooting woes. Keith Barna, Weatherly's leading scorer, didn't earn a point in the entire first half and ended the first 16 minutes 0-for-7. Teammate Brendan Rowan didn't fair much better, as he was 2-for-10 from behind the arc. He ended the game 3-of-15 from three.
The second half was all Lepre's. The senior guard connected on three triples in the second half (five total) and single-handedly carried his team down the stretch.
"We knew we had a problem with (Mullen's) size," said Cann. "We tried a forward on him, but then I put a guard on him so we could try and deny him the ball. Size matters. 6-8 compared to 5-11 does matter."
Barna scored his first bucket at the 7:20 mark of the second quarter and went on to finish with 20 points. He shot just 33 percent from the field (8-for-24).
Barna, along with Rowan and Nate Pfeiffer, all played their last game as a Wrecker. Cann praised them afterward.
"Our seniors have been unbelievable," Cann said. "To get to this point with nobody over six-foot is outstanding in my book. They did their job and worked hard. I think they put Weatherly back on the map".
Pfeiffer 1-4-6-6, G. Wallish 4-4-7-12, Harris 3-0-4-6, Barna 8-3-4-20, Rowan 4-0-1-11, Ormiston 0-0-0-0, Weichman 0-0-0-0, Valkos 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-11-22-55.
NOTRE DAME (ES)
Carney 2-2-2-8, Karolefski 0-3-4-3, Mullen 9-0-0-21, Lepre 10-4-6-29, Lewis 2-0-1-4, Long 1-0-0-2, Sibilia 0-0-0-0, O'Donnell 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 24-9-13-67.
Weatherly 9 10 10 24 - 53
Notre Dame ES 21 8 21 17 - 67
Three-Pointers: W - Rowan 3, Barna 1; ND - Lepre 5, Mullen 3, Carney 2.