Jim Thorpe pulls away from Panthers
bob ford/times news Jim Thorpe's Celeste Robinson (left) tries to get around Panther Valley defender Abby Markovich.
The Jim Thorpe girls' basketball team had no trouble forcing Panther Valley turnovers.
Once the Olympians started cashing in on them, they pulled away for a 55-40 Schuylkill League victory.
"We talked at halftime about turnovers and points off turnovers," said Jim Thorpe coach Rob Kovac. "We were unhappy with the fact that we weren't scoring off of those turnovers. Finally, we got some buckets to drop in the second half."
The Olympians' full court press created havoc up-and-down the court, but the Panthers still managed to stay within reach in the first half.
Despite committing 18 turnovers in the half and 30 in the game, the Panthers found themselves only down by four (10-6) after one and then only down by three (18-15) entering halftime.
The Panthers were able to take a 21-20 lead early in the third quarter thanks to a quick six points from Abby Markovich.
After Brittany Holland gave the Olympians the lead back with a jumper, Dana McFadden, who finished with a game-high 19 points, drained the third of her five three-pointers on the night to give the Panthers their final lead (24-22).
That's when the Olympians started to heat up.
Hilary Reis started things out by hitting two free throws to knot the game for the sixth time.
The Olympians immediately followed that with 10 consecutive points to take control.
"We came out in the third quarter knowing that we had to put them away," Reis said. "We came out with intensity and knew we had to press. We needed to attack harder on our press to make it a successful game."
While Abby Markovich managed to score again for the Panthers to end the run, Celeste Robinson hit a jumper and Kristen Lawrence followed with a three-pointer to cap a 21-point performance for the Olympians in the third quarter.
In the fourth, Reis and Olympians teammate Chelsea Smelas put on the finishing touches. Reis netted eight of her 15 points in the final stanza, while Smelas chipped in with four of her Olympian-high 16 points. Robinson contributed one more deuce to reach double figures with 10.
"We go three quarters where we play horrible basketball and then for four minutes we might have had play some of the prettiest basketball you ever did see," Kovac said. "The game was essentially a pretty hard fought game for about 18 minutes and then boom we went on a run.
"It just seemed like there was a lid on the basket for the longest time and fortunately we started getting some shots to fall."
It didn't happen that way for Panther Valley though.
"Give credit to Jim Thorpe. I thought we really took them out of their game at first," Panther Valley coach Josh Wank said. "We did a great job of making them play more our style of basketball. But, defensively, I was disappointed with our effort in the second half. I thought we gave them too many easy looks, too much dribble and penetration.
"We came out in the third quarter and we took the lead by one. All of a sudden, we relaxed and then they made their run. Defensively, we weren't able to stop them afterwards."
McElmoyle 1-2-6-4, Batts 0-0-0-0, Lawrence 1-4-4-7, Bucci 0-0-0-0, Reis 6-3-4-15, Henninger 0-0-0-0, Holland 1-1-2-3, Robinson 4-2-3-10, Mosteller 0-0-0-0, Susko 0-0-0-0, Smelas 6-4-6-16. TOTALS: 19-16-25-55.
McFadden 7-0-0-19, A. Markovich 3-2-2-8, O. Markovich 1-0-0-2, Cullen 0-0-0-0, Ogozalek 2-0-0-4, Cunfer 3-0-4-6, Zlock 0-1-2-1. TOTALS: 16-3-8-40.
Jim Thorpe 10 8 21 16 - 55
Panther Vy. 6 9 11 14 - 40
Three-pointers: JT - Lawrence 1; PV - McFadden 5.