Northern Lehigh controlled the tempo and dominated Jim Thorpe en route to a 56-20 victory in the Slatington Rotary Basketball Tournament title game. This is the seventh consecutive year the Bulldogs have won the tournament.
The Bulldogs' biggest contribution came from Josh Eden, who scored a game-high 16 points, with 14 coming in the first half. Lucas Pierce also chipped in 12 points for the Bulldogs.
The turning point of the game came when Northern Lehigh went on a 22-0 run late in the second quarter that stetched into the third quarter and put the game out of reach for Olympians.
Northern Lehigh (4-2) was able to stretch the lead from 23-11 to 45-11 during the run before the Olympians finally got another basket.
Northern Lehigh coach Jeff Miller was pleased that his team came out and executed the way he wanted them to.
"I thought that defensivley we came out and stymied them and that was the big thing," Miller said of his team's defensive performance.
Miller was also pleased that his team didn't play Jim Thorpe's style of basketball, which allowed the Bulldogs to settle into a rhythm early in the game.
"We didn't want to come out and get racehorse with them because they're a very athletic team," Miller said. "We felt that if we made some passes that we would be able to get shots that we wanted."
Miller also had praise for his guard, Matt Egan, who helped the Bulldogs control the tempo against Jim Thorpe (2-5) and against Lehighton.
"I thought Matt Egan was again solid. He's playing a little bit under the weather but he had a solid game last night and a solid game again tonight.
"He didn't turn the ball over once tonight. And for someone that we put a lot of pressure on him to handle the ball and for him to not have a turnover, that says a lot," Miller said.
Miller hopes that the two wins over Lehighton and Jim Thorpe will give the team momentum as they head into the Colonial League season.
"We have Palmerton next week, Palisades next week, both coming in here, and we just want to build on this and we have to get ourselves back into the Colonial League race.
"We dropped two (games) early and that hurt but hopefully we can build off of this and move forward from here," Miller said.
Miller is happy with the progress his team has made and believes it showed in this tournament.
"Everyday at practice we just want to get better and we've done that," Miller said. "With each practice we've gotten better and in the last two games we've gotten better."
Tournament MVP Tyler Dibilio echoed his coaches thoughts on what his team is capable of.
"We played well as a team, we can push the ball against slower teams and our big guys controlled the boards.
"These were two wins that we defintiely needed to get us going throughout the season and move on from here," Dibilio said.
Harleston 1-1-2-3, Lindsey 2-2-2-6, S. Principe 1-0-0-2, Micciche 0-0-2-0, Brown 1-0-0-2, Snisky 2-0-0-4, St, Hill 0-0-0-0, M. Principe 0-0-0-0, McElmoyle 1-0-0-3, Heydt 0-0-0-0, Carroll 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 8-3-6-20.
Egan 3-3-3-9, Dibilio 1-1-2-4, Eden 8-0-0-16, Johnson 1-0-0-2, Pierce 4-4-4-12, Landsberger 3-1-4-7, Scheetz 1-0-0-2, Hofmann 2-0-0-4, Hoffer 0-0-0-0, Taylor 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-9-13-56.
Jim Thorpe 4 7 2 7 - 20
No. Lehigh 14 17 14 11 - 56
Three-Pointers: JT - McElmoyle 1; Northern Lehigh - Dibilio 1.