NORTHAMPTON David vs. Goliath is a well known biblical tale that sees a simple man defeating a giant by using a slingshot to strike down the almost unbeatable opponent.
Upsets in sports have often been coined as David beating Goliath, but in the case of Jim Thorpe vs. Allentown Central Catholic on Thursday night there wasn't a storybook ending.
The No. 1 seed Vikettes dominated play, jumping out to a 24-0 lead and breezing to a 45-28 victory in the semifinals of the District 11 Class AAA tournament at Catasauqua High School.
With size being largely in the favor of the Vikettes, the Lady Olympians came out in a 1-3-1 zone defense to try and make the ACC guards shoot from the outside. A plan that was devised after watching the Vikettes previous game with Palmerton where they struggled to make jump shots.
"Our defense was pretty efficient in the first quarter and defensively things were going our way," said Jim Thorpe head coach Rob Kovac. "We were letting them open and they didn't really hurt us from the outside in the first. We just couldn't score early on. They blocked a lot of our shots and we got some good looks but their length bothered us."
"The girls asked me at practice during the week, 'Coach what happens if they make there outside shots'? "I told them then we would be in trouble."
ACC's Casey Holowell was a big reason for Thorpe's trouble and the Vikettes' success shooting the basketball going 5 for 6 from the field in the first half. The Olympians kept giving Holowell open looks on the left baseline from about 12 feet out and she kept knocking them down.
"We got out to a great start tonight," said ACC head coach Mike Kopp. "We knew we had to stop Robinson and keep Smelas from going right and we did a pretty good job of that all night. It really helps when you make a couple of shots and then play like we did on the defensive end."
The story on the night wasn't the ACC offense although the Vikettes shot it much better against Thorpe than they did against the Bombers. The plot of this ball game was the defense and Jim Thorpe couldn't get anything going on the offensive end. Abbey Guman, Central Catholic's defensive standout, held Robinson in check and Lehigh Valley Conference MVP Kerry Kinek was a landlord in the paint all evening long for the Vikettes.
Jim Thorpe's offensive numbers were by far their worst of the season shooting 2 of 20 from the field in the first half and 9 for 46 overall.
"(Abbey) Guman did a nice job on Celeste," said Kovac. "They were helping off Jeanna (McEmoyle) and Nina (Batts) and throwing a lot of doubles at her. We just started to really press when we got down by 10 or 12 early on and being a senior laiden team I'm a little disappointed in that. We have to play better, and there's a lot of resolve in that locker room tonight."
Jim Thorpe's first points didn't come until 2:29 remaining in the second quarter on a Celeste Robinson bucket inside. Robinson scored a team-high, but season low 13 points. Her previous low had been 15 points.
The Lehigh University bound Kinek scored a game-high 17 points, including 15 in the first half.
Next up for the Olympians is the District 11 AAA consolation game against Southern Lehigh at Martz Hall in Pottsville at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. The winner will advance to the PIAA Class AAA State Tournament.
Robinson 5-2-2-13, Smelas 1-2-2-4, Lawrence 0-4-4-4, Batts 2-0-0-4, McEmoyle 1-0-0-3, Mosteller 0-0-0-0, Ennis 0-0-0-0, Condly 0-0-0-0, Binder 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 9-8-8-28
ALLENTOWN CENTRAL CATHOLIC
Kinek 7-3-3-17, Kocsis 1-0-0-3, Mack 1-0-0-3, Guman 3-0-0-8, Hollawell 5-0-0-10, Sandherr 1-02-2, Fronheiser 0-0-0-0, McCann 0-0-0-0, A. Bross 0-0-0-0, Sullivan 0-0-0-0, Middleton 0-0-0-0, Roseman 0-0-0-0, Redding 1-0-0-2, E. Bross 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-3-5-45.
Jim Thorpe 0 5 9 14 - 28
ACC 12 20 11 2 - 45
Three-pointers: JT - Robinson 1, McEmoyle 1; Guman 2, Kocsis 1, Mack 1.