Defensive switch is difference for Colts
bob ford/times news Weatherly's George Wallish drives hard to the basket as Marian's Chris Barletta defends.
A switch on defense turned the switch on for Marian.
It also meant lights out for host Weatherly.
After sputtering through a subpar first quarter in their Schuylkill League opener Friday night, the Colts' defensive change turned a close contest into a runaway as John Patton's club moved to 4-0 with an eventual 53-27 victory.
"We struggled a little bit early," said Patton, whose club took a narrow 10-7 advantage after the first eight minutes. "We were shooting the ball and couldn't get it to drop. We switched to a bigger lineup and went to a 1-3-1. It's something we've been working on. We got some turnovers and it really got us going.
"It's a defense that we're going to come out in and put a lot of pressure on the other team. We play a lot of kids so we have the luxury to work kids in and out of the lineup."
The change resulted in immediate dividends as the Wreckers (1-3; 0-1) had difficulties getting the ball past midcourt. Marian forced seven straight turnovers to start the second quarter and finished the frame with 13 takeaways.
The miscues not only frustrated the host team's efforts but it got the Colts' running game in gear.
Marian made seven baskets on drives or uncontested layups to jump out to a 24-9 margin. Chris Barletta and Ryan Gimbi each had two baskets during that span.
"They're a better team than we are," said Weatherly mentor Ron Cann. "I was very happy with our competitiveness in the first quarter. Then we had a four-minute stretch against their 1-3-1 where we did not execute at all. I don't know how many turnovers we had there, but the game was pretty much over after that.
"It was over because we just couldn't break their 1-3-1. We have seniors but they don't have experience against that type of pressure."
That pressure continued to get the job done for the Colts in the second half.
A stretch of nine consecutive turnovers in the third quarter resulted in a 10-0 Marian run that widened the gap to 43-13 and sealed the win the program's 300th in Schuylkill League play.
"This has been a great start for us," said Patton of the undefeated record. "When you know you're coming into the Schuylkill League the wins early on are things you can look back on and build on them."
Barletta led the way for the visitors with 16 points while Anthony Pilla and Dom Richards each tallied nine. Also of note was a dunk by Eric Baker late in the first quarter that seemed to fire up the Colts, who ended the game forcing 36 turnovers.
For the Wreckers, Kyle Harris finished with seven points and 11 rebounds.
In the JV game, Marian won a 44-30 decision. John Julian paced the Colts with 12 points while Weatherly received a team-high 10 from Brett Stallone.
Keer 0-0-0-0, Barletta 7-1-1-16, Karnish 1-0-0-3, Pilla 3-1-2-9, Ryba 0-0-0-0, Julian 1-0-0-3, Gimbi 3-0-0-6, Baker 3-0-0-6, Da. Richards 0-0-2-0, Do. Richards 3-3-5-9, Weber 0-1-2-1, Agosti 0-0-0-0, Grega 0-0-0-0, Motil 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 21-6-13-53.
Rowan 1-0-0-3, Weichman 0-0-0-0, Ormiston 0-0-0-0, Capone 0-0-0-0, Baade 0-0-1-0, Stallone 0-0-0-0, C. Wallish 1-3-4-5, Hollrigl 0-0-0-0, Reiner 2-0-0-5, Haganey 1-1-2-3, Walton 0-0-0-0, G. Wallish 2-0-0-4, Palermo 0-0-0-0, Harris 3-1-3-7. TOTALS: 10-5-10-27.
Marian 10 21 18 4 - 53
Weatherly 7 6 4 10 - 27
Three-pointers: Marian - Pilla 2, Barletta 1, Karnish 1, Julian 1; Weatherly - Rowan 1, Reiner 1.