Both Northern Lehigh and Bangor knew that the game would be close and that both programs should be contending for the top spot in the Colonial League North Division.
When the final horn sounded, the fans on hand weren't disappointed. They were treated to an impressive contest with the Slaters pulling out a 50-41 win.
At halftime, Northern Lehigh had the three-point lead, 18-15. However, in the second half, the Slaters utilized some strong baseline drives, interior passing and impeccable free throw shooting to pull out the huge win.
"I thought it was a shame that two of the top teams in the league have to meet this early in the season," Bangor head coach Bron Holland admitted afterwards. "But we'll see them again this season."
A 6-0 run in the third stanza turned a 22-17 Northern Lehigh lead into a 23-22 advantage, when Kerry Reider's baseline drive gave his squad an advantage. A Josh Eden jumper, though, gave the lead back to the locals, only to see Bangor develop a 26-24 lead after three on Justin Ringland's free throws.
Ringland then continued to impress, as he went baseline and connected on an off-balance shot. The two teams traded buckets, before consecutive threes by Northern Lehigh's Devin Glose and Josh Pristash gave the Bulldogs the lead back (32-20) with five minutes left.
With two and a half remaining and it tied at 36-36, Bangor reeled off a 10-2 run that proved to be decisive and the Slaters held a 46-38 lead with 43 ticks remaining. Ringland and Reider had four apiece in that crucial stretch.
"I think that the game came down to the fact that they were just more physical than we were," Northern Lehigh head coach Jeff Miller stated. "We were a little worried about our periods of not being able to score and tonight, that came to fruition. But their defense had something to do with that."
In the fourth frame, Bangor was perfect (10-10) from the charity stripe and finished the game making 15 of 18. Ringland ended the night with a game-high 22 points, while 13 from Reider and 10 from Alex Colton aided the effort.
Northern Lehigh was led by 14 from Josh Pristash and 12 from Lucas Pierce.
"We'll be alright, I think," Miller said. "We're going to take this loss and grow from it. We go back to work tomorrow."
In the JV contest, Northern Lehigh scored a 52-44 preliminary win, getting 20 points from Josh Eden.
S. Reider 0-0-0-0, Altemose 0-3-4-3, Je. Ringland 0-0-0-0, K. Reider 5-2-2-13, Pysher 1-0-2-2, Ju. Ringland 7-8-8-22, Colton 3-2-2-10. TOTALS: 16-15-18-50.
George 0-0-0-0, Dibilio 0-0-0-0, J. Pristash 6-0-0-14, Glose 2-1-1-6, D. Pristash 0-0-0-0, Eden 1-0-0-2, Middaugh 0-1-2-1, Landsberger 0-0-0-0, Johnson 2-0-0-4, Pierce 5-2-2-12. TOTALS: 16-4-5-41.
Bangor 4 11 11 24 - 50
No. Lehigh 6 12 6 17 - 41
Three-Pointers: B – Colton 2, Reider 1; NL – Jo. Pristash 2, Glose 1.