Lehighton runs past Panthers
ron gower/times news Lehighton's Vince Mele (43) tries to dribble away from Panther Valley defenders Charles Nase and Chad Dubosky (2) as teammate Jordan Knappenberger moves in to help out.
Lehighton had its hands full last week, losing a heartbreaker at Pleasant Valley and then being blown out by a very talented Pocono Mountain West team Friday night.
Saturday night against Panther Valley, the Indians put the rough week behind them.
Lehighton bounced back and played efficient basketball in earning a 72-49 non-league victory over Panther Valley.
The Indians put together a 13-2 during a sequence within the first and second quarters, forcing Panther Valley to take jump shots for a majority of the first half. The Panthers were just 6-for-26 from the floor in the half.
"Panther Valley's Jake Szczecina is as good as a shooter as there is," Lehighton coach Rich Oertner said. "We tried to take him out of the game and make them go to their other shooters. "
Lehighton took a 41-17 lead into halftime, thanks in large part to the sharp shooting of Jordan Knappenberger.
Knappenberger had 12 of his game-high 20 points in the first half, all of them coming from beyond the arc.
The Indians were able to convert a lot of high percentage shots as well during the contest.
"We were able to use our speed to our advantage," Oertner said. "Every time they shot we were able to run our fast break offense effectively.
"In our halfcourt set, we ran an offense where we used our two big guys and they dominated in the paint tonight. We were able to get a ton of weak-side rebounds."
Vince Mele was a big presence inside for the Indians as he had 14 points in the game.
The Panthers tried to claw back in the second half, as they actually outscored the Indians 34-31, and shot just over 50 percent from the floor.
Szczecina and Luke Stano were Panther standouts as they combined for 25 of the 49 Panther Valley points in the contest.
Oertner seemed pleased with they way his squad responded after a tough week.
"I think we played pretty well tonight," he said. "I don't like to get out-hustled because I think that's just a mental state. I think everyone showed up to play and hustle tonight.
"Mentally we still try to do things that we can't do. We need to stick to our defensive assignments and be at the right place at the right time. If everyone is discipline on the defensive side of the ball, you can win a lot of games."
Rossino 5-0-2-11, Farano 4-1-1-9, Crum 7-0-1-15, Zwetolitz 0-0-0-0, Cordova 0-0-0-0, K. Knappenberger 0-0-0-0, Ruzika 1-0-0-3, J. Knappenberger 6-3-3-20, Mele 6-2-2-14, Green 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 29-6-9-72.
Dubosky 2-3-4-7, Szczecina 4-0-0-11, Keo 0-0-0-0, Kusko 2-2-2-8, Stano 5-0-0-11, Owens 0-0-0-0, Hudicka 1-0-0-2, Ferryman 3-0-3-7, Nase 0-0-0-0, Horan 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-5-9-49.
Lehighton 18 23 10 21 - 72
Panther Valley 8 9 15 17 - 49
Three-pointers: Lehighton - Knappenberger 5, Rossino 1, Crum 1, Ruzika 1; Panther Valley - Stano 4, Szczecina 3, Kusko 2, Ferryman 1.