Sports has a way of humbling any team at any time.
Recently, Lehighton has found that out the hard way.
After a dramatic win against Stroudsburg less than two weeks ago, the Indians were riding a four-game winning streak and racing toward a district playoff berth.
But after three consecutive losses, including Friday night's 53-23 drubbing at the hands of visiting East Stroudsburg South, Lehighton has been knocked off Cloud nine and has hit the ground with a mighty thud.
"You can be up on top of the world one day and struggling the next," said Lehighton head coach Rich Oertner, whose team dropped to 9-10. "After the Stroudsburg game there was a chance of us slipping into the league playoffs. But it comes back and gets you some times. That's the way the game is.
"The last three games we shot the ball horrible. We didn't get it done today shooting the ball and also on defense ... We had a lot of mental mistakes and we didn't pass the ball well. We also had a ton of turnovers."
The Indians played a tough opening quarter and trailed just 9-7 after Anthony Rossino's steal and layup late in the frame. Unfortunately for the home team, that would be the last basket they would score in nearly 11 minutes.
O'Neil Holder drained a three-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer and it started the Cavaliers (9-10; 5-4) on a 21-0 run that extended into the second half.
"We just try to make people play outside of their comfort zone," said Eastburg mentor Shawn Munford, whose fullcourt defense in the second period forced nine turnovers and allowed no points. "We weren't trying to do anything specific but speed them up a little bit and not let them get comfortable. Today it worked.
"Lehighton usually plays better. They were a little off tonight so I think we got a little lucky there. They're a very tough and well-coached ballclub. They often shoot the ball really well. Tonight they didn't which is why I think we got a little bit lucky. We'll take it though."
To say the Indians' shooting was off would be a huge understatement. Oertner's club also struggled against South's zone, going 2-for-19 from three-point range. They also finished with 22 turnovers.
"Last time they played us straight man-to-man and we were able to run our offense," said Oertner. "Against zone if you don't make shots you're in trouble. We shot too many three-pointers but it got to the point where we had to take them. That's the shot you're getting against a 2-3 (zone)."
Despite the poor showing of late, Lehighton can still reach the postseason with two wins in its final three games.
"We have winnable games left and we need to get two of them," said Oertner.
James Farano had seven points for the Tribe, while South's Holder and Khalil Wickham shared game-high honors with 17.
In the JV game, Lehighton dropped a 44-42 decision in overtime. The Indians' Tanner Zwetolitz scored a team-high 13 points.
Scott 1-0-0-2, Holder 7-0-4-17, Nieves 0-0-0-0, Amoakohene 1-1-2-3, Allah 0-0-0-0, Kelly 1-2-2-4, Wickham 6-5-9-17, Quick 2-0-0-5, Delesline 1-0-0-2, Roberson 0-1-2-1, Bird 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 20-9-19-53.
Rossino 1-0-0-2, Farano 3-1-3-7, Crum 3-0-0-6, Williams 1-0-0-3, Evans 0-0-0-0, J. Knappenberger 1-0-0-3, Mele 1-0-0-2, Nalesnik 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 10-1-3-23.
ES South 12 16 14 11 - 53
Lehighton 7 0 12 4 - 23
Three-pointers: ES South - Holder 3, Quick 1; Lehighton - J. Knappenberger 1, Williams 1.