Bombers cruise to title
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Palmerton's Abby Reimer dribbles past Lehighton defender Kasaundra Barclay.
Palmerton coach Don Delich stressed it. The Bomber players talked about it.
This time, there would be no slow start.
This time, Palmerton wouldn't need a wake-up call between quarters.
This time, the Bombers would dominate from the opening tap.
One night after sleepwalking through the opening quarter of a semifinal game with Jim Thorpe, Palmerton showed it was wide awake against Lehighton.
Palmerton scored the game's first 19 points and rolled to a 58-26 victory over the host team in the championship game of the Lady Indian Holiday Classic.
"We wanted to take charge from the opening toss," said Delich. "We didn't do the that [Thursday] night.
We stressed to the girls how important it was to come out and take control of the game early and I thought we did a nice job of doing that."
Palmerton's Emelie Meinhart, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, said Delich's message came through loud and clear.
"Oh yes, coach definitely talked about getting off to a better start tonight," laughed Meinhart. "I think he was even a little more intense than usual in that first quarter.
"He was off the bench encouraging us and making sure everyone was focused."
Palmerton definitely was focused.
All of the Bomber starters scored in the game's first three minutes as Palmerton forced six early turners and built a 13-0 lead. The lead grew to 19-0 when Jade Farquhar buried her second three-pointer of the night with 2:10 left in the opening period. By quarter's end, the lead was 23-6 and Lehighton had already committed nine miscues.
"We knew that it wasn't our best effort in the first quarter [Thursday] night," said Meinhart. "We talked before the game about how we really need to come out intense.
"Starting off in the press helped us to do that. It think it got eveyone energized and helped us get some easy baskets."
By halftime, the Palmerton lead had grown to 38-12 and the Indians' turnover count had increased to 19.
"I think we panicked against their press," said Lehighton coach Chris Kasian. "We were expecting early pressure from them but we didn't handle it very well.
"Having Taylor Yurasits, our best ballhandler, injured and out for the game, certainly didn't help. But you have to give all the credit to Palmerton. They were flying all over the place defensively and then converting our turnovers into points. They played very well."
No one played better than Meinhart. The Bomber senior had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, something that is becoming commonplace according to her coach.
"Emelie does the dirty work," said Delich. "She's a blue collar player ... the type of player all good teams need.
"She scores, she rebounds, she is our emotional leader, and she's also a steadying influence to all our younger players. She does everything you want from your senior captain."
Meinhart was one of three double digit scorers for the Bombers (6-3). Farquhar led the way with 16 points and Morgan Mummey added 10 points.
"This is the first time we have won this tournament since 2007," said Delich. "We set a number of goals before the season and this was the first one so it's nice to take care of it."
For Lehighton (2-7), Riley Durishin led the way with seven points.
Paulinho 1-0-0-2, Alban 0-0-0-0, Krupa 1-2-2-4, Ma. Mummey 2-0-0-4, Farquhar 6-0-0-16, Mo. Mummey 5-0-0-10, Tracy 1-1-2-3, Meinhart 3-5-6-11, Solt 2-0-0-4, Reimer 1-2-2-4, Nemeth 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-10-12-58.
Rossino 2-0-0-5, Shelly 2-0-0-4, Barclay 1-0-0-3, Fital 0-0-0-0, Blasiak 1-1-2-3, Durishin 3-1-2-7, Smith 1-0-2-2, Thompson 1-0-3-2, Rehrig 0-0-0-0, Cordova 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 11-2-9-26.
Palmerton 23 15 8 12 - 58
Lehighton 6 6 8 6 - 26
Three-pointers: P - Farquhar 4. L - Rossino 1, Barclay 1.