Bombers pull away in second half
Palmerton’s Kody Kratzer flies in for a layup as Lehighton’s Stephen Heery (left) and Devon Haydt defend. RICH GEORGE/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Lehighton’s scouting report on Palmerton was clear: their guards are quick and can create matchup problems.
Despite awareness and preparation, Lehighton was unable to find an answer for the talented back court of the Bombers as Palmerton upended the Tribe, 61-45, Friday night.
Senior Nate Dougherty, junior Justin Hosier and sophomore Kody Kratzer are all talented play makers for coach Ken Termini’s crew and proved to be just that as the four frames panned out.
Lehighton held an early lead, but the hosts mounted a comeback, took a two-point lead into intermission, and then pulled away in the second half.
“We knew Palmerton’s guards were aggressive with Dougherty, Kratzer, and Hosier gives them a bigger type of guard, so they make for tough matchups,” Lehighton head coach Trevor Miller said. “I didn’t think we played terribly. But we had almost 40 team fouls. We put them in the bonus early in the second quarter and put ourselves behind the eight ball.”
An 11-7 first frame edge for the Tribe turned to a 21-12 lead after back-to-back threes by Zach Crum with just under four minutes to go before half.
But Dougherty drilled a trey and took a full-court drive for an old-fashioned three-point play, cutting it to 21-18 a minute later.
After Alex Potts hit two free throws, Dougherty found Hosier for a three and Zach Silfies added two buckets before the break for the 25-23 Palmerton lead.
“I think the guys came into the game a little too hyped and maybe forced some stuff early on, and credit to Lehighton,” Palmerton’s Termini said. “But in the second half, I think our defense picked it up a little more and we were able to stretch it out.”
Midway through the third, Lehighton battled back and tied it at 31-31 as Ben Schatz hit two free throws. But the Bombers went on an 11-3 run to finish the frame and led 42-34 with eight minutes to go.
Another Hosier triple, an Owen Buck layup, a deep three from Kratzer and a Dougherty three accounted for the run.
Dougherty, who has been the Bombers’ leading scorer for the past three seasons, seems to have matured in the guard role, finding the open players when defenses collapse to help against his penetration. He finished with a game-high 20 points and eight assists.
In the final frame, the winners eventually led by 18, and cruised the rest of the way.
“We always stress to the guys about ripping through and attacking the rim and I think our guards tonight were able to take advantage,” Termini said.
SENIOR MOMENTS ... In addition to Dougherty’s big game, Silfies added a career-high 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.
FOUL BALL ... The officials earned their paychecks on the evening, as the Tribe was whistled for 28 total fouls, and had three players foul out (Crum, Stephen Heery, and Schatz). Meanwhile, the Bombers committed 13 for the game.
FULL HOUSE ... The Palmerton gymnasium was near capacity for the season-opening doubleheader, with a Hall of Fame induction taking place in between the girls and boys varsity matchups.
Strauss 1-0-0-2, Heery 1-0-1-2, Acosta 0-0-0-0, Crum 5-1-2-14, Beers 0-0-0-0, Smith 1-0-0-3, Beatty 0-0-0-0, Haydt 0-1-2-1, Schwab 1-0-2-3, Howland 5-0-0-10, Yturrino 0-0-0-0, Potts 0-2-2-2, Schatz 3-2-2-8. TOTALS: 17-6-11-45.
Christman 0-0-1-0, Kratzer 3-3-5-10, Young 0-0-0-0, King 0-0-0-0, Dougherty 6-6-8-20, Delgado 0-0-0-0, Mooney 0-0-0-0, Kresge 0-0-0-0, Stuck 0-0-0-0, Hosier 4-5-8-15, Buck 1-0-0-2, Silfies 6-2-6-14, Nothstein 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-16-28-61.
Lehighton 11 12 11 11 - 45
Palmerton 7 18 17 19 - 61
Three pointers: Lehighton - Crum 3, Schwab 1, Smith 1; Palmerton - Hosier 2, Dougherty 2, Kratzer 1.