ND rolls over Indians
bob ford/times news Lehighton's JT Keer (right) pulls up with a jump shot as Nick Lewis of Notre Dame defends.
Lehighton did its best to force someone other than Stephen Lepre to carry the Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg offense.
Unfortunately for the Indians, the Spartans had plenty of players capable of doing that.
Tim Mullen dominated play inside and Notre Dame placed four players in double figures to defeat Lehighton, 59-44, in a non-league game on Tuesday.
Lepre's 27-point performance in a season-opening victory over Pen Argyl put him front and center on Lehighton's scouting report.
With the Indians paying special attention to him, Lepre was limited to just three points during the first three periods
Despite that defensive success against Lepre, Lehighton still found itself down 16 points heading into the final period.
"I liked the way we had other guys step up tonight," said Notre Dame coach Bob Mullen. "They tried to take Stephen out of the game, but we went with some other options.
"Tim [Mullen] did a good job and Mike [Albarron] and Nick [Lewis] hit double figures as well. It was a nice team effort."
Tim Mullen, a 6-7 senior and the coach's son, proved to be Lehighton's biggest problem. Mullen scored 19 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked five shots.
"We knew Lepre could really shoot the ball so we tried to be aware of where he was on the court at all times," said Lehighton coach Michael O'Brien. "We did a pretty good job of that, but unfortunately they took advantage of some of the openings that created.
"We also had a lot of trouble with their big man. Mullen is a very smooth player. He has a nice touch with his shot."
Lehighton (0-2) was down just five points after a JT Keer three-pointer late in the opening half. But Lewis and Mullen scored late and Notre Dame took a 24-15 lead into the lockers at half.
"We struggled offensively against their 1-3-1 trap in the first half," said O'Brien. "We had a lot of turnovers in the half (12) and weren't able to get anything inside.
"We made a couple of adjustments at halftime and played better offensively in the second half. I though JT [Keer], D.J. [Rossino] and Tyler [Hill] did some nice things for us."
Mullen's nine third quarter points helped the Spartans (2-0) stretch their lead to 46-30 entering the fourth and the Indians never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.
"We never gave up," said O'Brien. "The kids kept battling and we finally started to knock down some shots in the second half, but it's hard to live by the perimeter game.
"We need to develop some kind of inside game on offense. I think we only had four offensive rebounds and we had very few points in the paint. That's an area we need to improve."
Rossino led Lehighton with 14 points while Keer and Hill added 12 points apiece.
Lehighton won the JV game 52-37. Alex Guyn led the Indians with 13 points.
NOTRE DAME (ES)
Lepre 4-2-2-12, Albarron 4-0-0-10, Lewis 4-3-3-11, Mullen 8-3-4-19, Carney 0-0-0-0, Barron-Hippolite 0-0-0-0, Kiarolefski 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 21-13-15-59.
Edgar 0-0-0-0, Keer 4-2-4-12, Rossino 6-2-2-14, Kresge 0-0-0-0, Markley 0-0-2-0, Hill 3-4-6-12, Matika 0-0-0-0, Szacska 2-0-0-5, Getz 0-1-4-1, Evans 0-0-0-0, Scott 0-0-0-0, Guyn 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-9-18-44.
NDES 10 14 22 13 - 59
Lehighton 6 9 15 14 - 44
Three-pointers: Lepre 2, Albarron 2. L - Keer 2, Hill 2, Szacska 1.