Whah helps Colts top Lehighton
bob ford/times news Marian's Damian Richards (23) stretches to keep control of the ball as Alex Guyn of Lehighton applies defensive pressure from behind.
Marian coach John Patton saw his young team pull together and earn its first win of the young season on Monday night.
After dropping their first two games, including one where they let a late lead slip away, the Colts posted a 38-33 victory over Lehighton.
"Unlike the other night [Saturday against Panther Valley] when we weren't able to hold the lead, tonight we found a way to finish the job," said Patton, whose team returns just one starter from a year ago.
The game started off with both offenses struggling. The Colts' Alden Whah and Eric Swankowski had the only points in an opening quarter that ended with Marian ahead 4-0.
After Nate Kresge recorded the Indians' points with a three-pointer with 5:23 left in the second quarter, Whah quickly turned out to be the spark the Colts needed for its offense.
After Anthony Agosti initiated things with a three-pointer, Whah, who led all scorers with a game-high 19 points, went on to score the next nine points in the midst of a 12-0 run, which put the Colts up 16-5 with a little over a minute to go before half.
The Colts continued to pad their lead in the third quarter. Whah scored four more points while Anthony Agosti and Eric Swankowski chipped in buckets to give the Marian a commanding 26-10 lead with 3:52 left in the third.
The Indians finally seemed to find life after a pair of timeouts as they switched from a 3-2 zone defense, to a man-to-man defense, and finally to what turned out to be a successful 1-3-1 defense.
"They kept us from running the ball down the court," Patton said. "When they went to the 1-3-1 we had trouble getting the ball cross court, and when we did, we had trouble finishing."
Led by Nate Kresge, Lehighton fed off its defense. The Indians went on a 12-1 run, which included eight of Kresge's team-high 16 points.
After pulling his team to within five (27-22) entering the final quarter, Kresge continued his barrage with a three-point play and a driving lay-up, which pulled the Indians within one (31-30) with 4:21 left in the game.
The Lehighton comeback would end there, however, as Agosti scored four points down the stretch to help the Colts pull away for the win.
"We don't have a lot of guys with varsity experience," Patton said. "That hurts you when you're in a close game, but I think we learned a lot from this win.
"I think we grew up tonight and I'm looking forward to us building on this."
Meanwhile, Lehighton first-year coach Rich Oertner is still looking for an answer for his team, which falls to 0-2 in the early going.
"It's another game we could have won," Oertner said. "We have got to get over the hump and get a "W." Once we do, things probably will go our way a little bit. But, right now, I just don't understand why they're so nervous to start the game off.
"We need to get over that and start playing better from the opening tap."
Whah 7-5-8-19, Pilla 0-0-2-0, Richards 0-1-2-1, Weber 0-1-2-1, Agosti 3-3-7-10, Karnish 0-1-2-1, Swankowski 3-0-0-6, Julian 0-0-0-0, Motil 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 13-11-23-38.
Rossino 2-0-0-4, Kresge 6-1-1-16, Guyn 2-1-3-5, Mele 0-2-2-2, Nalesnik 1-2-4-4, Jo. Knappenberger 0-0-0-0, Thompson 1-0-1-2, Crum 0-0-2-0. TOTALS: 12-6-13-33.
Marian 4 14 9 11 - 38
Lehighton 0 8 14 11 - 33
Three-pointers: Marian - Agosti 1; Lehighton - Kresge 3.