It's no secret that Celeste Robinson is the main force that drives the Lady Olympians this season. Robinson leads the TIMES NEWS area and Schuylkill League in scoring with 25 points per game. Jim Thorpe showed last evening however, that they are much more than just a one woman show, downing North Schuylkill 59-42 for the Schuylkill League Division I victory.
Robinson no doubt showed her scoring ability once again leading all scorers with 30 points, but it was a total team-effort that silenced the Lady Spartans on Tuesday night.
The Thorpe offense was clicking early on, moving the ball and getting high-quality shots on almost every possession. The tandem of Robinson and Chelsea Smelas (11.7 ppg) were too much for the Lady Spartans to handle. Smelas scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half and Robinson 17 of her game-high 30.
"For the first three quarters tonight this is probably the best we have played all year," said Jim Thorpe coach Rob Kovac. " Celeste (Robinson) and Chelsea (Smelas) were great in the first half and Chelsea especially made some great moves inside in the first quarter. It was a tremendous effort."
The reason coach Kovac mentioned the Lady Olympians played three great quarters instead of four is because they let North Schuylkill sneak back into the game in the final stanza. After Thorpe scored the first bucket of the the third quarter, the Lady Spartans hit back-to-back triples to close within 12. North Schuylkill actually closed within nine at one point in the fourth, but that's a close as they would get to the Lady Olympians.
"Closing out games has been our bug-a-boo all season long," said Kovac. "We missed some shots and some free throws and they hit some shots. You have to give credit to them though because when you're down 20 and continue to fight that shows a lot about their character."
North Schuylkill frustrated Robinson a bit in the third and fourth keying on her with Lady Spartan standout Cait Deeter (15.3 ppg). Robinson only had one field goal in the second half, but went to the charity stripe 14 times.
"We picked up our defensive effort in the second-half and tried to deny Robinson the ball as much as possible as impossible as that is," said North Schuylkill coach John Rizzo. "We just didn't shoot the ball well at all, and when you're playing a team as good as Jim Thorpe the last thing you want to do is play from behind."
Jim Thorpe point-guard Nina Batts perhaps turned in her best effort of the season scoring 10 points and made some great passes in transition for the Lady Olympians.
"We're much more than just Celeste, Chelsea, and Kristin (Larence)," said Kovac. "We have some kids that do some great things for us. Nina (Batts) is a great athlete and when she gives us offense we're gravy. Jeanna (McElmoyle) hit a big three to end their run tonight and Mosteller (Chasisty) is a good defender."
With the win the Lady Olympians improve to 15-1(7-1 SL) and are now set up for a big-time match-up on a Friday night for the Schuylkill League Division I lead with Blue Mountain (15-1, 8-0).
Marone 1-0-0-2, Detter 7-1-2-16, Grasso 0-1-4-1, Paul 1-0-0-2, Reinoehl 1-0-0-3, Bolinsky 3-0-0-6, Zimmerman 0-0-0-0, La. Damiter 2-2-2-8, Semanchick 0-0-0-0, Spotts 2-0-2-4. TOTALS: 17-4-10-42.
McElmoyle 1-2-2-5, Batts 4-2-3-10, Lawrence 0-0-0-0, Condly 0-0-0-0, Robinson 10-10-18-30, Mosteller 1-0-0-2, Smelas 6-0-0-12. TOTALS: 22-14-25-59.
No. Schuylkill 8 8 12 14 - 42
Jim Thorpe 17 16 13 13 - 59
Three-pointers: NS - La. Damiter 2, Deeter 1, Reinoehl 1. JT - McElmoyle 1.