Marian found itself in yet another early season battle last night, but for the third consecutive game surged in the fourth quarter to come away with a non-league victory over Lehighton.
The Colts backcourt duo of Anthony Agosti and Ryan Karnish spurred Marian's run with the two combining for 25 points in the second half, helping to down the Indians 57-48.
It took a little while for the Colts to warm their engines once again, not shooting it well in the first quarter. Lehighton took advantage of some Marian miscues as well, holding a one-point lead at the end of the first.
The two would continue to battle through the second with neither team showing the ability to pull away. However, that's when the Colts established the fact that they were going to try and beat the Lehighton defense by taking the ball to the basket. Marian attempted 12 fouls shots in the second and 35 when it was all said and done. Still, the Colts were clinging to just an 18-17 lead at the half.
The Marian offense got rolling in the beginning of the third quarter, going on an 11-4 run to extend their lead to 10. This has been the tale-of-the-tape for the blue and gold so far this season. The Colts have started slow in all three of their contests, but when push comes to shove they've made the type of plays down the stretch that a team needs to make to win ball games.
"This was just another tough physical game and I told the kids our last non-rivalry game was in the summer," said Marian coach Jon Patton. "All of these teams we play anymore are almost all rivals and you have to play a tough brand of basketball to win. Our guys started a little sluggish again, but we had some guys make some big shots for us and we were able to pull out another victory."
Marian made a run at the start of third and the Indians made their push at the conclusion of the third quarter. Lehighton went on an 8-2 run to close the third frame, closing within four before the two clubs would enter the fourth quarter.
The Indians stayed close and got the Marian lead down to one with 4:10 remaining. A Eric Swankoski free throw got the Colts lead back to a deuce, which then led to the turning point of the ball game. On the Colts next possession Karnish was fouled in the process of shooting a three pointer and the senior went to the line knocking down all three attempts. The Indians would then never recover from that point on.
"We made a nice run and caught up to them at the end of third, but then we just lost our focus," said Lehighton coach Rich Oertner. "We lost their shooters and they made us pay. They made some big shots in the fourth and that was the game. It's just part of the game and we have some young guys so were going to have some growing pains, but we've got to stay focused in the fourth."
Karnish finished with 22, going 10 for 11 from the charity stripe, while Agosti chipped in with 15.
For Lehighton James Farano was the lone Indian in double figures with 10.
J. Knappenberger 4-1-2-11, Nalesnik 2-4-4-8, Thompson 4-0-0-8, Farano 4-1-2-10, Crum 3-1-2-7, McCandless 1-0-0-2, Mele 1-0-0-2, Williams 0-2-2-2, Rossino 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 18-9-12-48.
Karnish 5-10-11-22, Agosti 5-4-7-15, Kweder 1-3-6-6, Richards 1-3-7-5, Swankoski 2-1-2-5, Whah 2-0-2-4, Bilka 0-0-0-0, Talbott 0-0-0-0, Damian 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-21-35-57.
Lehighton 7 10 12 19 - 48
Marian 5 13 15 14 - 57
Three-pointers: L - J. Knappenberger 2, Farano 1, Karnish 1, Agosti 1, Kweder 1.