Colts cap big week
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Marian's Tom Gottstein (right) tries to dribble around Tri-Valley's Evan Snyder.
Tri-Valley wasted no time burying Marian in a hole.
However, at the 3:33 mark of the first quarter, Colts head coach Mick Stefanek called a timeout to supply his team with the tools necessary to dig themselves out.
The Colts responded with an 18-2 run over the next ten minutes and shoveled their way to a 47-34 Schuylkill League victory over the Bulldogs.
The win improves Marian to 10-3 on the year (6-0 in the Schuylkill League) and sets up a battle of League heavyweights on Tuesday when the Colts travel to Division 2-leading Williams Valley.
"We came out completely flat to start the game," stated Stefanek. "We called the timeout to address some issues, which sparked us to go out and play the way we're capable of playing."
After missing their first seven shots of the game, the Colts found themselves trailing 11-1 with three minutes left in the opening quarter.
A Cody Decker three-pointer with 2:20 left gave Marian its first field goal of the game and cut the deficit to 11-5. The trey ignited the Colts on an 18-2 run.
"This is a good group of kids. They know how to recognize when they're playing poorly and they know how to correct their mistakes," added Stefanek. "The finish of the first quarter and the entire second quarter really swung the momentum in a big way for us."
Trailing 23-18 at halftime, the Bulldogs (6-4) closed the gap to three points twice in the third quarter. Both times, however, the Colts answered back on their next possession and finished the second half shooting eight-of-nine from the free throw line.
"This was a big win for us," said Stefanek. "We've established ourselves within the division, and as the players pointed out tonight in the Blue Room, we swept the week with wins over three quality opponents (Schuylkill Haven, Pius X and Tri-Valley), which is always a good thing."
Another good thing for Marian is the return of leading scorer Matt Yaich. After missing seven games with a knee injury, Yaich returned to the lineup earlier this week, and in his third game back, led the Colts with a game-high 17 points, including a 9-for-10 performance from the charity stripe.
"Matt's still getting back in the swing of things, but I'm very happy with where he is right now," added Stefanek. "He's playing as well as he can and when this team plays as hard as they can, they're a fun team to watch and coach."
Cody Decker added nine points for Marian, while Drew Sherkness chipped in with seven points and 10 rebounds.
"This week has really helped boost our confidence," noted point guard Chris Barletta. "Before Matt (Yaich) came back, we were kind of down on ourselves and not playing that well as a team."
"Now, I think we're playing better together, liking each other more and just going out and having fun. It was a big win tonight and a big week overall."
In the JV game, Marian coasted to a 58-23 win behind 16 points by Ryan Karnish.
Hinkel 0-2-2-2, Snyder 3-0-0-7, Wert 3-3-5-9, McGinley 4-1-2-9, Hepler 0-3-4-3, Strohecker 2-0-0-4. TOTALS: 12-9-13-34.
Barletta 3-1-4-7, Stawick 0-0-0-0, Decker 4-0-0-9, Gimbi 2-1-1-5, Gottstein 0-0-0-0, Lack 0-0-0-0, Yaich 4-9-10-17, Sherkness 3-1-2-7, Fital 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 17-12-17-47.
Tri-Valley 11 7 9 7 - 34
Marian 7 16 11 13 - 47
Three-Pointers: TV - Snyder 1; M - Decker 1.