Nativity ousts Weatherly
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Weatherly's Joe Haganey (33) drives down the lane for a shot in Tuesday night's District 11 Class A playoff game.
Weatherly showed plenty of heart this season by qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
In last night's District 11 Class A first round contest against Nativity, the Wreckers controlled the pulse of the game for the first eight minutes.
However, their rate of play flat-lined in the second quarter, and by the time the second half rolled around, Weatherly was on life support, as ninth-seeded Nativity cruised to a 60-38 victory.
With the win, the Hilltoppers (12-11) advance to Friday night's District 11 quarterfinals against top-seeded Pius X (18-2) at Northern Lehigh (7:30 p.m.).
Weatherly (seeded eighth), who defeated Nativity in two of its three regular season meetings, used three three-pointers in the opening quarter (two by Brett Stallone) to take a 14-6 lead.
In that opening stanza, Nativity shot just 2-for-14 from the floor and leading scorer Jeff Yordy was held scoreless. Weatherly head coach Ron Cann couldn't have scripted a better start to the game. Then, just like that, the wheels began to come off the Wreckers.
Weatherly turned the ball over on its first three possessions of the second quarter, and in just over three minutes, the Hilltoppers went on a 13-0 run to take a 19-14 lead. Yordy, the Schuylkill League's leading scorer (17.5 points per game) began to heat up and the shots began falling for Nativity. In the second quarter alone, the Hilltoppers successfully shot 9-for-12 from the floor and scored five points with under two seconds left in the quarter, en route to a 31-20 halftime lead.
"I don't know if it was the bus ride up here or if the kids just didn't get loose enough during warmups, but we looked completely pathetic in the first quarter," said first-year Nativity head coach Kevin Kennedy. "At the end of the first quarter, we just preached patience and told the kids to hang in there. Weatherly had their run, now it was time to go out and have ours."
Nativity outscored Weatherly 25-6 in the second quarter and Yordy scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the frame. In his four games this season against the Wreckers, Yordy has averaged 20.0 points per game.
"In the first quarter, we played under control. From the second quarter on, we just lost our composure," stated Cann. "Turnovers, foul trouble and the inability to put the ball in the basket pretty much sums up tonight's game for us."
Brett Stallone (Weatherly's leading scorer at 12.2 point per game) picked up his third foul with 4:09 left in the second quarter and fouled out of the game with 49 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Charlie Wallish (9.5 ppg) also fouled out with 1:42 left in the third quarter, while two others starters (Luke Reiner and Josh Reiner) were saddled with four fouls apiece for the majority of the second half.
"When Brett picked up his third foul midway through the second quarter, it changed the whole rotation and we don't have depth to begin with," added Cann. "With all of the foul trouble from our starters, we were practically playing the second half with a JV team."
Nativity made its first three baskets of the third quarter to take a 37-25 lead. Weatherly would then miss its next 12 shots from the floor, as the Hilltoppers opened up a 51-31 lead with about four minutes remaining.
Yordy's 20 points paced Nativity, while Bryar White followed with 15 points and nine rebounds.
For Weatherly (12-11), Luke Reiner scored 11 points and Charlie Wallish pulled down ten rebounds.
Nativity shot 21-for-46 from the floor and turned the ball over 11 times. Weatherly converted just 12 of its 41 shot attempts and committed 21 turnovers. Nativity also outrebounded the Wreckers 33-25.
"People have to realize that none of these kids, even our three seniors, have ever played in a big game before. Tonight was unchartered waters and when they got down, they started to panic," concluded Cann. "Overall though, I am very satisfied with this season on a whole. The kids played their hearts out and that's all you can ask for."
White 7-1-4-15, Hunyara 2-1-5-5, Yordy 6-7-12-20, Kaledas 1-6-6-8, Palamar 4-0-0-9, Holohan 0-1-4-1, J. DiNicola 0-0-0-0, Hoppel 0-0-0-0, Greco 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 21-16-31-60.
Kelly 0-0-0-0, Bizarre 0-0-0-0, L. Reiner 4-3-3-11, Miller 1-4-4-6, Stallone 3-1-2-9, Wallish 0-0-0-0, Figas 2-2-2-7, J. Reiner 0-0-0-0, Baade 0-0-0-0, Haganey 2-0-0-5. TOTALS: 12-10-11-38.
Nativity 6 25 11 18 - 60
Weatherly 14 6 5 13 - 38
Three-Pointers: Nativity - Yordy 1, Palamar 1; Weatherly - Stallone 2, Figas 1, Haganey 1.