Fast start propels Northern Lehigh
Northern Lehigh’s Preston Kemery dribbles past Palisades Liam Carey. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Good defense can create good offense.
On Wednesday night, Northern Lehigh used that exact recipe to start fast against Palisades, outscoring the Pirates by 21 in the first half en route to a 70-45 Colonial League victory.
With the win, the Bulldogs (10-6, 6-5) stay in the hunt for a Colonial League playoff berth and inched one win closer to qualifying for the District 11 Class 4A tournament.
Coming into this one, the goal for Northern Lehigh was to speed up the Palisades offense and force turnovers with three-quarter court pressure. The Bulldogs’ game plan worked to perfection, forcing 10 Pirates’ first half miscues, which led to consistent fast break opportunities and a 37-16 halftime advantage.
“We weren’t trying to come out and shock them with our pressure, but we thought if we were active in our pressure, we could turn them over a little bit, and we thought we could beat them down the floor,” said Bulldogs head coach Jeff Miller. “The focus was to try and jump on them, because they have played some really good teams tough this season.
“I told our kids, ‘throw out their record, these guys can play,’ and they did a good job of staying focused and not letting them back into the game.”
A big reason why Palisades (4-11) didn’t get back into the game was because of Northern Lehigh point guard Preston Kemery. Kemery attacked the basket aggressively, especially in the third quarter when he scored 10 of his game-high 20 points, helping the Bulldogs extend their lead to 24 after three.
“Preston has really been playing well over the past two weeks. I’ve kind of seen something different in his eyes over those two weeks; he’s a senior, he doesn’t want it to end,” added Miller. “We’ve all been there, and with that determination, he’s going to put us on his back every once in awhile. He was able to do that in both the first and third quarter, which helped us set the tone.”
In the fourth, Northern Lehigh never let Palisades get closer than 19, closing out the game on an 11-5 run to come away with the 25-point win.
LEADERS... Helping out Kemery was Nate Keller with 13 points and Brandon Hess with 12. For Palisades, Bobby Snyder scored a team-high 18 points.
HOT SHOOTING... Northern Lehigh shot over 50 percent in three of four quarters, going 28-for-44 (64 percent). The Bulldogs 3-2 zone defense forced Palisades to take a ton of outside shots, which the Pirates struggled to hit. Palisades went 15-for-46 (32 percent)
Dailey 2-1-2-6, Marshall 4-1-2-9, Duke 1-2-2-5, Bartol 0-2-2-2, Yarnott 1-0-0-3, Muth 0-0-4-0, Snyder 6-2-2-18, Akers 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 15-8-15-45.
Keller 3-4-4-13, Mujovic 2-0-0-4, Kemery 9-2-5-20, Moyer 1-1-2-3, Seier 4-0-0-8, Berger 2-0-0-5, Hess 5-0-2-12, Smith 1-0-0-2., Kroll 1-0-0-3.TOTALS: 28-7-13-70.
Palisades 9 7 15 14 - 45
No. Lehigh 18 19 18 15 - 70
Three-pointers: P - Snyder 4, Yarnott 1, Duke 1, Dailey 1: NL - Keller 3, Hess 2, Berger 1, Kroll 1.