Whether there was eight degrees on the thermometer outside or eight minutes on the scoreboard inside, it was a cold night in Hometown for the Marian boys basketball team.
With the temperatures plummeting into the single digits, it was the Colts' inability to maintain a double-digit lead after a scorching start that proved to be the difference, as Lourdes Regional rallied to a 49-43 Schuylkill League victory over Marian (13-4, 5-4).
After shooting 50-percent from the floor over the first three quarters, the Colts took a 38-33 lead into the final eight minutes. However, Marian was ice cold down the stretch. The Red Raiders took their first lead of the game with 2:39 remaining when Anthony Penny Packerpacker's driving basket (in which he was fouled) cut the deficit to 41-40. Pennypacker missed the ensuing free throw, but teammate Zack Oquendo's rebound and put back two seconds later put Lourdes ahead 42-41. The Red Raiders would end the game on a 13-2 run over the final 3:37.
In the fourth quarter alone, Marian shot just 2-for-11 from the floor and 1-for-5 from the foul line.
"We were a little methodical tonight because we were playing short-handed (starting center Alden Whah was out with the flu). We took our time, made some shots and got the lead," stated Marian head coach John Patton. "Toward the end of the game, they forced the action and made some good plays.
"We started out hot and finished cold. Late in the game when every possession became more meaningful, we had a breakaway that we didn't convert and then the missed fouls shots certainly didn't help any, but those things happen sometimes in the game of basketball."
The cold finish was a polar opposite of the Colts' hot start.
Marian raced out to a 9-0 lead and scored the first seven points of the second quarter to take a commanding 25-9 lead. In those first eleven minutes, the Colts drained five of their seven three-pointers and converted nine of their first 15 shots.
However, the Red Raiders (12-4, 6-3) closed out the half on a 12-0 run, which saw the Marian lead cut to four points (25-21) at the half.
"It's a disappointing loss, especially after the way we started," added Patton. "We knew we would have some problems without Whah and then we got into some foul trouble, which really put us behind the eight ball.
"Lourdes never gave up and kept coming at us. They made plays and we didn't. They made their foul shots and we didn't. The rest is history."
Oquendo led Lourdes with 19 points, while Pennypacker tacked on 10.
For Marian, Ryan Karnish and Anthony Agosti led the way with 11 and 10 points respectively.
Marian shot 15-for-37 from the floor, while the Red Raiders converted 17 of their 40 shots. The Colts also held a 26-24 rebounding advantage, while turning the ball over 11 times (Lourdes had eight turnovers).
In the JV game, Marian rolled to a 46-15 victory.
Menapace 2-0-0-4, T. Holleran 1-0-0-2, Gilger 2-3-3-8, Pennypacker 4-2-3-10, Savitski 2-0-0-6, Oquendo 6-7-9-19, Howal 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-12-15-49.
Kweder 3-1-2-9, R. Karnish 4-0-0-11, Paisley 0-0-0-0, Richards 2-1-5-5, Swankoski 2-1-4-5, Bilka 1-0-0-3, Postupack 0-0-0-0, Damian 0-0-0-0, A. Agosti 3-3-3-10. TOTALS: 15-6-14-43.
Lourdes 9 12 12 16 - 49
Marian 18 7 13 5 - 43
Three-Pointers: Lourdes Regional - Savitski 2, Gilger 1; Marian - R. Karnish 3, Kweder 2, Bilka 1, A. Agosti 1.