The Jim Thorpe Olympians boys basketball squad took a different approach to the first quarter against Pottsville than they did in their last contest. The Olympians, who in the previous game against Northern Lehigh dug themselves a 17-point hole before coming back to challenge the Bulldogs at the end of the night.
Tuesday night, Jim Thorpe trailed undefeated Pottsville by just four points after one quarter.
Unfortunately for the Olympians, they only managed to score single digits in the remaining three frames as the Tide rolled to a 66-39 Schuylkill League Division I.
Thorpe battled the Tide (12-0) with their defensive pressure for all of the first quarter, forcing Pottsville to turn the ball over resulting in transition buckets for the Olympians. It was Pottsville's shooting however, that proved the be the difference as the game went on.
The problem for the Olympians started in the second quarter where they were outscored 21-8 in the quarter. Pottsville, who hit five treys in the first period, hit two more in the second and had six players score in the stanza. The disciplined Tide offense got open looks all evening long, shooting uncontested jumpers throughout the night.
Pottsville, although playing shaky basketball in the first on both offense and defense calmed down, made adjustments, and controlled Thorpe for the remainder of the ball game.
"We had a few goals coming into this game," said Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney. "We wanted to take care of the ball against their pressure and play fundamental man-to-man defense in order to limit their ability to penetrate to the basket. We didn't do a real good job of that in the first, but we did a real good job of working hard the rest of the way."
The Tide defense definitely tightened up, only allowing Thorpe to score 24 points after the first. The Thorpe offense struggled to score in the half-court and their inability to hit the outside shot is what has plagued the Olympians so far this season.
"We had them rattled early on, and I told the kids we had to match the intensity of the Northern Lehigh game when we made that second half run," said Jim Thorpe coach Brian Carroll. "We just couldn't get anything going offensively. The Pottsville defense is like a vice grip and they play discipline for 32 minutes. Their kids know how to make the extra pass and shoot the basketball and that's what hurt us in the second, third, and fourth quarters."
The Olympians started off the season 5-2, but have lost five straight games.
"I told the guys after the Northern Lehigh Tournament that this middle stretch was going to be our toughest part of the season," said Carroll. "I believe we can bounce back and that there are definitely six more winnable games for us left on our schedule."
For Pottsville, freshman standout Travis Blankenhorn scored 20 points, including four three-pointers. Ryan Coyle also hit four treys, scoring 14 for the Tide.
Darius Clark was the lone double-figure man for the Olympians, netting 11.
Adams 0-1-2-1, Blankenhorn 7-2-2-20, Heffner 0-0-0-0, Thomas 1-1-2-3, Nabholz 5-0-0-11, Schuster 0-0-0-0, Coyle 4-2-2-14, Wile 6-0-0-13. TOTALS: 25-6-8-66.
Harelston 0-0-0-0, Joyner 0-0-0-0, Moore 1-0-0-2, Gallagher 1-0-0-2, Lynch 0-0-0-0, Ciavarella 4-0-0-8, Freeman 1-0-0-3, Bambolia 0-0-0-0, Brown 1-0-0-2, Clark 5-0-0-11, Johnson 4-0-2-8, Ennis 1-0-0-3. TOTALS: 18-0-2-39.
Pottsville 19 21 11 15 - 66
Jim Thorpe 15 8 7 9 -39
Three-pointers: P - Coyle 4, Blankenhorn 4, Nabholz 1, Wile 1. JT - Freeman 1, Clark 1, Ennis 1.