Bulldogs top Palmerton in OT
Palmerton’s Nate Dougherty gains possession between Northern Lehigh’s Nick Seier, left, and Alec Berger. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
There’s a phrase used to describe rivalry games that goes, “Throw out the records.”
Typically, the storied confrontations between two teams builds up so much that it doesn’t matter how good or how bad the two sides are.
However, Palmerton and Northern Lehigh had every reason to look at their records entering into this first meeting between the neighboring schools, as both teams possessed identical league records (4-4) and division marks (2-2).
The match-up delivered in terms of intensity, before the Bulldogs used some strong free throw shooting in the overtime session to prevail, 66-59.
With the victory, Jeff Miller’s Bulldog squad remains in the thick of things in the Colonial League West Division race, while Palmerton’s odds become a little more difficult.
“I’m sure it was a fun game to watch,” Miller said. “Two teams going at it hard, competing, guys making plays on both sides. Fortunately, we made enough plays and enough foul shots in overtime to win.”
The final 1:13 of overtime, the winners made eight-of-10 free throws to ice the victory. Senior Brandon Hess had six of his 18 in the extra session, while Bulldog teammate Preston Kemery had five.
“Their senior leadership is great. They have been playing together since they were freshmen and this is where it shows the most in games like this.”
Kemery, who was held scoreless in the first half, busted out in the second half. He scored his team’s first four of the second half and had nine points in the third frame.
“Down the stretch, Preston put us on his back,” Miller said. “He has done it the past two games and I could see it in his eyes that he was going to carry us.”
Northern Lehigh held a 23-16 lead at the break.
The third was a highlight reel for both sides, as the Bombers outscored their foes 23-19 in the stanza, behind nine points from Justin Hosier.
Palmerton’s pressure intensified in the fourth quarter, forcing seven Nolehi turnovers.
The Bombers’ Nate Dougherty, who led all scorers with 20 points, started the fourth with a steal and a lay-up, and Kody Kratzer’s put-back tied the game for the first time since the early going.
The game went back and forth from there until Owen Buck hit two free throws to tie it at 51-51.
Northern Lehigh had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but Tyler Christman drew a huge offensive foul to force an extra session.
Dougherty gave the Palmerton the lead twice in the overtime, only to see two straight empty possessions by the Bombers yield a parade of Bulldogs to the free throw line.
“It was such a fun game to play in, with two rival teams going at it,” Hess said.
“We knew we were neck and neck with Palmerton this season, so we knew how important it was to come in and play well,” Kemery said. “It’s a great place to play and the atmosphere was fantastic.”
ON AND OFF ... NL shot 23-for-51 (45 percent) from the floor, including a 14-for-25 (56 percent) from three-point range. Palmerton was 20-for-62 (32 percent) from the field, including a 3-for-23 (13 percent) performance from the three point line.
Keller 3-1-1-9, Kemery 6-5-9-17, Moyer 4-1-2-9, Seier 3-0-0-6, Berger 1-4-4-7, Hess 6-4-5-18. TOTALS: 23-15-21-66.
Christman 0-1-2-1, Kratzer 4-0-0-11, Young 0-0-0-0, King 0-0-0-0, Dougherty 7-6-7-20, Stuck 0-0-0-0, Hosier 5-5-5-15, Buck 4-4-4-12, Silfies 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-16-18-59.
No. Lehigh 9 14 19 9 15 - 66
Palmerton 6 10 22 13 8 - 59
Three pointers: NL - Keller 2, Hess 2, Berger 1; P - Kratzer 3.