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Local Sports

Friday, December 30, 2016
One of my favorite hunting and dog training buddies, Bill Weinhart, Minersville, with his shorthair Blaze. LISA PRICE/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

A phrase from a paragraph in an employee handbook — from a long-ago place of employment — has always stuck with me.

“After one year of employment, you’ll be eligible to take 11 vacation days. You may take five of those days after six months of employment; however, if you leave the company before your one-year employment anniversary, you must reimburse the company for the monetary value of those days.”

Friday, December 30, 2016

Later this evening the College Football Playoff Semifinals will take place. Obviously, a lot is on the line in those two match-ups with the winners punching their ticket to the National Championship game.

As you all know, Penn State just missed out on an opportunity to play for a national title coming in at fifth in the final College Football Playoff rankings. By now, hopefully the sting from the Nittany Lions getting within one spot of the CFP has worn off. If not, have your spouse or significant other go out and buy you some flowers to make you feel better, maybe some roses?

Friday, December 30, 2016
Pleasant Valley’s Isaiah Howard drives past Chris Micciche en route to the basket during Friday’s non-league contest. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS

Jim Thorpe experienced Pleasant Valley’s defensive pressure firsthand yesterday, and realized what most of the Bears’ opponents have ... it works.

That pressure not only limited Jim Thorpe to 14 first-half points, but eventually helped to pull out a 62-49 non-league win.

“It’s big to get the win and we knew we had an opportunity to come out with one here, but we would need to work hard together as a team,” Pleasant Valley head coach Matt Gould said. “In the first half, we held them and essentially it was enough to win the game.”

Friday, December 30, 2016
Lehighton's Jada Whiteman drives past Devon Lignore of Jim Thorpe on her way to the basket during Thursday's Lady Indian Holiday Classic championship game. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS

Often times, homecourt advantage and momentum go hand-in-hand in sports.

On Thursday night in the Lady Indian Holiday Classic championship, Lehighton was able to use those exact two aspects of the game to its advantage against rival Jim Thorpe.

Hot shooting by the Indians, and a bevy of costly turnovers by the Olympians, gave Lehighton all the momentum it needed on its home floor. The result was a 66-54 win and the Holiday Classic title.

Friday, December 30, 2016

BETHLEHEM — Pleasant Valley’s Trevor Dorn went 2-2 at the Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic a year ago and went home without a medal.

Fast forward to this holiday season, and Dorn earned himself a present just before the New Year following a runner-up finish in the 170-pound bracket Thursday evening.

Friday, December 30, 2016
Bears’ Mitchell ‘runs’ away with award

The buzz was prevalent well before the season started.

“We would do 7-on-7 drills in the summer and opposing coaches would come over and say, ‘Who is that?’” recalled Pleasant Valley mentor Mark Versuk.

Mike Mitchell’s ability was hard to ignore.

“We knew Mike was going to have an impact on the team,” said Versuk. “If he could stay healthy, we thought he was capable of doing great things.”

Friday, December 30, 2016
Northern Lehigh’s Jada Saeger drives to the basket between Palmerton defenders Kayla Cincilla and Linnaea Leister. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS

The Tamaqua boys and Northern Lehigh girls both gained wins in basketball action Thursday.

The Raiders rolled past Schuylkill Haven, while the Bulldogs rallied past Palmerton.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

No. Lehigh-Palmerton

Northern Lehigh used a big fourth quarter to gain a 39-31 victory over Palmerton in the consolation game of the Lady Indian Holiday Classic.

Jill Olewine went 7-of-8 at the foul line in the final frame as the Bulldogs outscored their opponent by a 19-9 margin.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Jim Thorpe Christmas Tournament has come a long way since its inception in 1971. An event that started with just a few teams enjoyed a record turnout Thursday.

“We had 19 teams in the wrestling tournament, making it the largest hosted tournament in the 45 years of Jim Thorpe having a Christmas Tournament,” Olympians’ head coach Shawn Albert said of the event, which started at 9 a.m. and continued throughout the day. “A lot of coaches and parents helped out to make the event run smoothly even with the unfortunate weather early on.”

Friday, December 30, 2016

December 30, 1992 — Mary Gillespie scores all six of her team’s points in overtime and Jim Thorpe defeats Pleasant Valley, 43-39, to capture the Interstate Holiday Classic championship. Gillespie hits three three-pointers in the fourth quarter to help the Olympians, coached by Bill Maehrer, rally to send the game to OT. Gillespie finishes with a game-high 21 points and is named the tournament’s MVP. Jen Karper collects 10 points and makes the all-tourney team, while Vicky Schafer chips in with eight. For PV, Sue Pio tallies a team-high 11 points.

Thursday, December 29, 2016
Northern Lehigh’s Jada Saeger (20) pulls up for a shot as Jim Thorpe’s Kayley Kovac moves in to defend. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

There was no mad celebration for the Jim Thorpe girls’ basketball team after Wednesday’s 56-35 win over Northern Lehigh.

Despite advancing to the championship game of the Lady Indian Classic, the team knows there is still much to improve on.

“It’s obviously a win and a chance to play in the finals, which is something we should be happy about,” said Lady Olympians’ head coach Rob Kovac, “but if anybody’s pleased with how we just played basketball, they weren’t paying attention.