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Colts break late tie to edge Indians

In its first time out of the gate, the Marian boys’ basketball team wasn’t perfect, but they were good enough.

Turning to a trio of stalwart veterans, the Colts found a way to pull out a 65-60 victory in a highly competitive nonleague game against Lehighton.

The opening night balance displayed by the Colts figures to reverberate throughout the Schuylkill League and Division III, as veterans Frankie Valente (18 points, including five triples), Brandon Lonergan (16 points) and Logan Fritz (11 points) looked sharp and sophomore Julius Currie (11 points) also flashed.

Meanwhile, Lehighton’s Jack Lorenz was clipping at midseason form. The talented senior nearly carried his team right to the finish line with a game-high 24 points that included five triples. Teammate Mason Costenbader also made an impact with 11 points.

However, the game wasn’t decided until the final minute.

After Lonergan hit the back-end of a two-shot foul for a 57-55 Marian lead with 1:17 to play, the Indians answered with a Brayden Lutz bucket to tie the score.

That’s when the Colts took charge as Jose Espaillat Turbi hit a put back, Lonergan sank four straight fouls, and Fritz knocked down a pair from the charity stripe as well. The lone answer by Lehighton came on a trey by Tyler Rehrig at the 17-second mark.

“I really like the way we dug in late in the game with our defense,” said Marian coach John “The General” Patton. “We have some new guys, and I thought the way we hung in there was the key.

“We got a little bit of a lead, then we gave it back. The young guys could have hung their heads at that point, but they stayed positive. Then Frankie (Valente) made some key shots, Logan (Fritz) made some to.”

Lorenz put Lehighton on top for the first time in the game with a nothing-but-net trey to open the third quarter. Valente was answering for the Colts, before a Lutz basket at the 5:11 mark of the third quarter gave the Indians their last lead of the night at 34-33.

Joey Walko tied it with a foul conversion for Marian, before Fritz sank five quick points enabling Marian to build just enough momentum to charge in front 45-42 after three quarters.

“We talked about coming out with intensity in the second half, and I thought we did that,” said Lehighton coach Trevor Miller. “But the little things hurt us ... boxing out in particular”

Marian turned to Valente with 5:56 to play in the contest as he twirled back-to-back triples.

Despite Valente’s best efforts - he drained all five of his triples in the second half - the Indians weren’t far off, trailing by only three (56-53) with 1:52 remaining. Although the Indians eventually pulled even, Marian dug deep and found a way to win.

“I thought Valente’s three-point shooting opened things up,” Patton said. “That was big. I also thought the way Currie played in his first varsity game was a key.”


… The Colts surged to a 21-14 lead to begin the game with Currie flipping in three treys and Espiallat Turbi adding five early points. But the Indians put the brakes on in the second quarter, outscoring Marian 15-9, headed by Lorenz’s six and Luke Blauch’s four points.


… Currie led Marian with eight rebounds, Lonergan added six, For Lehighton, Lorenz had five. Marian shot 21-of-55, while Lehighton went 22-of-48.


… Marian won the junior varsity fray, 48-35 coming back from a 13-point deficit. Mike Sillman and Jesse Rodino took scoring bows for Marian with 14 and 11 points, respectively. The Indians were led by Owen Serfass (11) and Adam Bostone (10).


Lorenz 8-3-3-24, Costenbader 4-2-2-11, Rehrig 3-0-0-8, Blauch 2-2-2-6, Johnson 2-0-0-5, Lutz 2-0-0-4, Roth 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 22-7-7-60.


Valente 6-1-1-18, Lonergan 5-6-9-16, Fritz 3-4-4-11, Currie 4-0-0-11, Espiallat Turbi 3-1-3-11, Walko 0-1-2-1, Bobish 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-13-19-65.

Lehighton 14 15 13 18 - 60

Marian 21 9 16 20 - 65

Three-pointers: Lehighton - Lorenz 5, Rehrig 2, Roth 1, Johnson 1. Marian - Valente 5, Currie 3, Fritz1, Espiallat Turbi 1.

Braden Johnson of Marian and Joseph Roth (23) of Lehighton battle for a rebound. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS