Tigers top Palmerton
Northwestern Lehigh's Dan Eddinger and Palmerton's Mick Stefanek are two head coaches in the first year trying to find winning ways for both of their programs.
Both teams picked up wins in their first games this season. Since then, both hadn't tasted a "W".
Eddinger challenged his team after a crushing loss to North Schuylkill over the weekend for someone to step up.
It was the Tigers who picked it up a notch in the final minutes and pulled out a 53-48 victory over the Bombers, scoring the final five points in the last minute.
"We had a good practice last night and the kids got the point that we need leaders out there," Eddinger said. "I challenged them during the first time out of the third quarter and asked them if we were going to give up again or were we going to pull this one out.
"They showed a lot of leadership out there tonight and that's what we're looking for to build on."
The Bombers trailed by three (25-22) at halftime, but made a solid run in the third quarter to take a 37-32 lead entering the final eight minutes.
Palmerton (1-3, 0-3) widened it to seven, only to see Tyler Richardson hit three of his five treys on the night and with 3:44 remaining and Kavon Jenkins, who returned to action after an injury, give the Tigers a 44-43 lead.
Brett Snyder's final bucket with 2:22 remaining tied the score at 48-48 before the Tigers (2-4, 1-2) ended with their run.
"Jenkins has been hurt with a deep leg bruise and we weren't sure if he could go tonight," said Eddinger. "He gave us a gutty performance and changes the whole dynamic of everything because of the ball pressure he could put on and then at the same time he gives us some stability at the point guard position.
And Richardson is streaky from three-point range but tonight he was streaky good."
Jenkins, who didn't play at all in the first quarter, scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter before fouling out.
"This was a big win," Eddinger added. "One of things we're trying to do is rebuild the program at Northwestern and one of the things we have to get out of there heads is that they're not good enough to win basketball games. We're trying to change that. Hopefully this carries over and we'll have two good days of practice before we play again on Friday night."
Snyder, who finished the night with a game-high 20 points, had eight in the first quarter as the Bombers took a 12-8 lead.
Richardson hit a pair of three's and Payton Bachman added six to help the Tigers out to a 25-22 at intermission.
Stefanek was at a loss for words after watching this one slip away.
"Northwestern played a good third quarter and that was they key to them beating us tonight," said Stefanek. "We came out and played a very nice third quarter, got a lead and opened it up a bit. We just need to find the mentality to win games. We let this one get away.
"I feel for the kids. They're taking this one real hard and we have to regroup quickly and try to get this straightened out the best we can. I still have a lot of faith in the players, I still have a lot of faith in our system. It's a process here."
Richardson's 15 points led the Tigers on the night, while Bachman tied Jenkins' 10-point output. Backing up Snyder for the Bombers was Tyler Svetik with 14 points
Northwestern posted a 46-38 victory in the JV game as Cameron Richardson had a game-high 18 points.
Wagner 1-1-2-3, Hadian 0-0-0-0, Richardson 5-0-0-15, Jenkins 3-4-8-10, Bittenbender 0-0-0-0, Maher 3-1-2-7, Rivera 0-0-0-0, Perry 0-0-0-0, Binder 3-2-7-8, Bachman 4-2-2-10. TOTALS: 19-10-21-53.
Horvath 0-0-1-0, Svetik 4-6-8-14, Snyder 7-4-5-20, Ruch 2-0-0-4, Leaver 0-1-4-1, Leon 0-0-0-0, Geist 4-1-5-9. TOTALS: 17-12-23-48.
N'western 8 17 7 21 - 53
Palmerton 12 10 15 11 - 48
Three-pointers: NW - Richardson 5; Palmerton - Snyder 2.