Palmerton girls pull away from Nolehi
Reagan Nemeth (21) of Palmerton dribbles down court as Northern Lehigh’s Morgan Hoffner chases from behind. For a video and photo gallery, go to www.tnonline.com. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Dan Beck clinched his towel and paced the sideline, watching as shots found everything but the bottom of the net.
Surely, Beck’s game plan didn’t include a first quarter without any made field goals for his Palmerton girls basketball team.
But Beck knew the Bombers were on the right track.
Palmerton shook off a sluggish start to post a 39-22 Colonial League win over Northern Lehigh on Wednesday, a triumph that snapped a two-game losing streak.
“Nothing was going in that first quarter, just in and out,” Beck said. “But I thought we had good shot selection for the most part. In the second quarter, I thought we were a little bit more patient and got some better shots and shot selection. And I think we did a good job defensively.
“And we started using out fastbreak, which we were successful with.”
The Bombers (8-4) erupted for 17 points in the second period and took an 18-9 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Palmerton used a balanced attack, with Bethie Morgan scoring seven points, and Kayla Cincilla and Brianna Moore five apiece in the frame.
“We got off to a slow start in this game, and they came out and played strong defense,” said Moore. “We started to pick it up and our shots started falling; we started to play more as a team and got some good looks to get the win.”
Moore finished with a game-high 11 points. Morgan added 10 points, and Cincilla nine.
“Getting the win is great, but I think we have some things to work on, though,” said Cincilla. “We had a lot of mistakes; we’re halfway through the season … so those mistakes can’t happen anymore. We just need to clean those up.
“But we did good things and bad things, I think every team does. So we just have to go from there.”
The Bulldogs (5-6) used a 9-5 run in the third to cut the deficit to 23-18 with under a minute to play in the quarter.
But the Bombers closed the frame with a 5-0 surge. They quickly made it 33-18 with another 5-0 run midway through the fourth period to put the game away.
“I always know it’s going to be a physical game,” said Northern Lehigh head coach Ken Shankweiler. “They’re a good basketball team. They’re quick, and we’re young, but we battled with them.”
While Palmerton struggled in the early going, the Bulldogs weren’t able to take advantage, holding just a 4-1 lead after the first quarter.
“In the beginning, we got good looks, and we didn’t knock them down,” said Shankweiler. “And that was a huge part of the game for us. If we get those shots early, it puts us up (by more), and we can play with them.
“But then we gave up turnovers right before the half that hurt us, and it turned into points for them; they doubled us up right at halftime. We were in it up until then. We came out after halftime and did OK, and then we struggled with turnovers again.”
Junior Madison Seier and sophomore Emma Niebell had eight points apiece for Northern Lehigh.
“We have to work on our man offense, and we have to work on our offense in general, that’s our biggest thing,” said Shankweiler. “We’re young, but we’re getting there.”
As the offense found its rhythm, the Bombers defense was key in putting the game away.
“I think we did a better job of anticipating some passes in the second quarter, and not letting them set their offense up real well,” said Beck. “He (Shankweiler) does a great job with his kids, and they’re patient with the ball. We just have to anticipate a little bit better, and I thought we did a little better job of doing that in the second quarter and in the third quarter, I thought we turned it on a little bit, too.”
CLAMP DOWN … Northern Lehigh’s 22 points matches a season-low. The Bulldogs also scored 22 in a loss to Bangor on Dec. 17.
SEE YOU AGAIN … Palmerton is set to host Northern Lehigh in the regular season finale on Feb. 4.
Guedes 2-0-0-4, Molchan 0-0-0-0, Papay 1-0-0-3, Cincilla 2-4-4-9, Recker 0-0-0-0, Nemeth 1-0-0-2, Morgan 4-1-2-10, Moore 4-2-6-11, Nothstein 0-0-0-0, Smith 0-0-0-0, Balliet 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 14-7-12-39.
Wilk 1-1-2-3, Lear 1-0-0-2, Hoffner 0-0-1-0, Hoffman 0-1-2-1, Doughtery 0-0-0-0, Seier 3-2-3-8, Klimek 0-0-0-0, Niebell 2-4-4-8. TOTALS: 7-8-12-22.
Palmerton 1 17 10 11 - 39
N. Lehigh 4 5 9 4 - 22
Three-pointers: Palmerton – Cincilla 1, Papay 1, Morgan 1, Moore 1. Northern Lehigh – None.