Marian boys, girls cruise past Indians
STEVE SHINKO/special to the times news Marian's Drew Sherkness (44) goes over Lehighton's JT Keer with a shot.
The Marian girls and boys both posted double figure victories over Lehighton in a non-league doubleheader on Saturday.
The key for the Fillies was a first half defensive display that showed no mercy.
Meanwhile, the Colts used an impressive first half offensive performance that led to a mercy rule win.
Sometimes a boxscore can be very misleading.
The Fillies' Angela Bellezza didn't score a point in her team's 51-36 victory over Lehighton.
But the contribution by the reserve guard definitely didn't go unnoticed.
Bellezza's performance against Lehighton high-scorer Jordyn Homyak highlighted a suffocating Marian defensive performance in the opening half.
"Angela did a fantastic job tonight," said Brutto. "I told her after the game that if she can play defense like that then she doesn't need to score any points.
"So much of Lehighton's offense goes through Jordyn that we knew we would have to contain her. Kaysi [McLaughlin] started the game on her and did a nice job but then she got in early foul trouble. Angela came in and really played great. Plus, our other girls did a nice job helping out."
Homyak, who entered the game averaging over 16 points, scored just two points in the opening half as the Fillies opened a commanding 27-11 lead. Marian limited Lehighton to 4-for-16 shooting (25 percent) in the half and forced 16 turnovers.
"Give Marian a lot of credit," said Lehighton coach Tony Thomas. "They did a fantastic job on Jordyn. They played super defense and made us really work for our shots.
"But as well as they played, I'm still disappointed in our effort. We came out flat. I thought we had a size advantage inside but we waited until the fourth quarter to finally start getting aggressive and physical and taking advantage of it."
The game was tied 5-5 late in the first quarter before the Fillies went on a 16-1 run to take control. Jen Linkhorst had six points and two assists during the spurt and Danielle Tristani added four points.
"Link did a nice job for us," said Brutto. "Point guard isn't her natural position, but we have been forced to use her there. Tonight her penetration and decision making was very good.
"She got to the basket and either scored herself or set up someone else."
Tristani finished with 19 points to lead Marian (10-5). Linkhorst added 14.
"I'm pleased with our performance," said Brutto. "We got hammered [by Lourdes] on Thursday so I was anxious to see how we would respond. We had a good practice Friday and came out and played well tonight."
Sheena White had 13 for the Indians (7-8).
Marian entered the contest averaging 50.2 points a game. It almost matched that in the first half against Lehighton.
The Colts jumped out to a huge halftime lead, kicked in the mercy rule early in the third quarter, and breezed to a 67-48 win.
"This was our best overall performance so far this season," said Marian coach Mick Stefanek. "I thought we played very well both offensively and defensively."
The Colts jumped out to a 12-2 lead as Chris Barletta, Matt Yaich and Tommy Gothstein all scored four points.
A couple of drives by the Indians' D.J. Rossino made it 12-6 with three minutes remaining in the first quarter. But the rest of the half belonged to Marian.
The Colts went on a 32-4 run that saw eight different players score points and ended the half with a 44-10 lead.
"I thought we played very unselfish at the offensive end," said Stefanek. "Chris [Barletta] did a great job of penetrating and dishing off and our interior passing was very good.
"We took advantage of that to get a lot of great looks around the basket."
While Marian was using the height advantage provided by 6-6 Drew Sherkness and the 6-4 Yaich to get plenty of layups, Lehighton was forced to settle for jump shots and struggled through a 4-for-27 first half shooting performance.
"Defensively, we did a nice job of forcing Lehighton to take perimeter shots," said Stefanek. "I was also thought when we went to our full court pressure it help get the game into the tempo we wanted and led to some easy transition baskets."
Holding the big halftime lead, it took Marian just over a minute to get the game into the mercy rule. Layups by Sherkness, Yaich and Gottstein made it 50-10 with 6:41 remaining in the third quarter and kicked in the running clock.
Lehighton managed to make the final score respectable by drilling six three-pointers in the game's final nine minutes, including two each by J.T. Keer and Heath Markley.
Yaich and Sherkness both had 12 points to lead Marian, which won its seventh straight game and improved to 12-3 on the season. Barletta added 11 and Ryan Gimbi scored 10 off the bench.
"I was extremely happy with the way we played for the first three quarters," said Stefanek. "We've been on a nice role the last couple of weeks so it was good to continue the momentum."
Markley had 16 points for Lehighton (0-14).
Bellezza 0-0-0-0, Ferrello 0-0-0-0, McLaughlin 2-0-0-5, Patten 1-1-2-3, Kennedy 0-0-0-0, Gutsie 2-0-0-4, Markiewicz 0-0-0-0, Linkhorst 5-4-4-14, Shober 3-0-2-6, Monaco 0-0-0-0, Tristani 7-5-8-19. TOTALS: 20-10-17-51
Homyak 3-2-2-8, Green 0-0-0-0, McCullion 2-0-2-4, Evans 0-0-0-0, Smith 0-0-0-0, Schweizer 2-2-2-6, Rimbey 1-3-6-5, Teno 0-0-3-0, White 4-5-7-13, Haldeman 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 12-12-22-36.
Marian 11 16 13 11 - 51
Lehighton 5 6 13 12 - 36
Three-pointers: M - McLaughlin 1.
Barletta 4-3-4-11, O'Donnell 1-0-0-2, Nesgoda 0-0-0-0, Decker 1-2-2-4, Gimbi 4-2-4-10, Gottstein 2-2-4-7, Lack 2-0-0-5, Yaich 5-2-2-12, Sherkness 6-0-0-12, Fital 2-0-0-4. TOTALS: 27-11-16-67.
Hill 3-2-2-8, Keer 3-0-1-8, Rossino 2-0-0-4, Kresge 2-0-0-5, Markley 6-2-2-16, Matika 0-2-2-2, Szacska 0-0-0-0, Evans 0-2-2-2, Gyun 0-0-0-0, Scott 1-0-0-3. TOTALS: 17-8-9-48.
Marian 20 24 13 10 - 67
Lehighton 6 4 12 26 - 48
Three-pointers: M - Gottstein 1, Lack 1. L- Keer 2, Markley 2, Scott 1, Kresge 1.