Lady Indian Holiday Classic
ron gower/times news Jim Thorpe's Celeste Robinson drives to the basket against Northern Lehigh.
There were no championship game nerves for Jim Thorpe.
The Olympians exploded out of the gates and then showed their poise every time Northern Lehigh tried to make a run.
It's what talented, veteran teams do in big games - and the Olympians have proved time and time again this season that that's exactly what they are.
Tuesday night, the Olympians rolled to a 52-37 victory over Northern Lehigh to capture the Lady Indian Holiday Classic and remain unbeaten on the season.
"It's nice to be 7-0," said Jim Thorpe coach Rob Kovac. "We probably played our best 10-minute stretch of basketball the entire season to start tonight's game.
"We looked really sharp. We got things started with our defense and then knocked down some shots. That's as good as we've played."
Tournament MVP Celeste Robinson got the Olympians started with some quick transition points and Jeanna McElmoyle drilled a three-pointer as they jumped out to an 11-2 lead.
Jim Thorpe's next big run came to start the second quarter as it reeled off nine straight points to extend its advantage to 25-10.
"We are a team that plays in spurts," said Kovac. "When we get in a rhythm and create some turnovers with our defense we can rip off 8 or 10 points in a minute."
The Bulldogs had one more run left in them as they trimmed the 15-point lead to 33-25 late in the third quarter. But once again Jim Thorpe answered as Kristin Lawrence buried a three and Robinson reeled off 12 of her team's final 16 points to put the game out of reach.
"It was important that we took charge at that point," said Robinson about the Olympians' strong finish. "Aimee Oertner and Tina Bastardi are such great players that an eight-point lead can turnaround very quickly.
"We needed to step it up and take control and that's what we did."
Robinson finished 25 points, 11 rebounds and four steals to lead Jim Thorpe. That came on the heels of a 29-point performance in her team's semifinal win over Palmerton on Monday.
"Robinson is a great player," said Northern Lehigh coach Dave Oertner. "You aren't going to stop her. She is going to get her points. Our goal was to try and contain her, but we obviously didn't do that.
"We didn't play very smart, especially in the second half. We made a little run to get back in the game, but then we just let Robinson kill us on the boards and by driving to her left. We stressed that they were two ways we didn't want her to score, but we let her score that way time and time again."
Also contributing for Jim Thorpe were Chelsea Smelas (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Lawrence (eight points).
For Northern Lehigh, Oertner had 18 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. Bastardi chipped in 10 points.
"We have a veteran team and we played like it tonight," said Kovac. "Our seniors know this is their last dance. This is the year they have to make it happen.
"Northern Lehigh is a good team. We knew they were going to make some runs. But our maturity prevented them from getting too close. When things started to get tight, we took the bull by the horns, regrouped, and pulled away."
Follweiler 1-0-0-2, Hams 1-0-0-2, Bastardi 4-2-2-10, Weil 1-0-0-2, Olewine 1-1-2-3, Tarafas 0-0-0-0, Oertner 7-4-4-18. TOTALS: 15-7-8-37.
McElmoyle 1-0-0-3, Batts 1-0-0-2, Lawrence 3-1-1-8, Condly 0-0-0-0, Rusbarsky 0-0-0-0, Robinson 9-7-8-25, Mosteller 1-1-2-4, Smelas 5-0-0-10. TOTALS: 20-9-11-52.
No. Lehigh 10 6 9 12 - 37
Jim Thorpe 16 9 17 10 - 52
Three-pointers: JT - McElmoyle 1, Lawrence 1, Mosteller 1.