Boys knock off Freedom
Starting the season off with a win can build confidence and lay the groundwork for a strong year.
That's what the Whitehall boys basketball team experienced when they tipped off the season against Freedom High School last Saturday at the Yasso/Rothrock Classic.
Not only was it a confidence builder in respect to beating a good opponent, but it was also in the manner in which they did it, trailing by as many as nine points at one point, but ultimately turning their fortunes around to post a 52-48 win over the Patriots.
"It was a real nice to get a close win like that on the road," said head coach Jeff Jones. "You certainly gain a lot of confidence when you win a close game like that."
The Zephyrs showed they could come from behind, using a three-pointer by Marcus Esquilin in the second quarter to start them down the comeback path. Jones said that was a crucial bucket since it kept Freedom from stretching the lead to double digits. From that point they were able to "chip away," according to Jones.
Once they drew even, Jones said it was "pretty much back-and-forth the whole time," as they battled down the stretch.
However, one area that was a mixed blessing was the free throw line.
Whitehall got to the line 20 times, but only converted 12 of those attempts. He said that you always want to strive for at least 70 percent, and not being able to make buckets from the charity stripe could be costly at the end of the game.
That could have been the case against the Pates, but Brett Radocha and Aaron Keglovits made key baskets in the waning minutes to ice the game.
Jones was also pleased that they limited Freedom's opportunities at the foul line, holding the Pates to just 11 attempts. Winning that aspect of the game is another area that they want to continue to exploit as they begin the new season.
That pair also did a good job rebounding, making sure Freedom didn't dominate the glass.
"They did a really good job on the boards," said Jones.
They also finished one-two in scoring, with Radocha leading the way with 17 points, while Keglovits finished with 11.
Also hitting double figures in scoring was Matt Melosky who knocked down 10 points, and point guard Chad Rex chipped in with six.
Jones said they played well against a very athletic Freedom team and came away with a gritty win in a game that saw them fall behind early. That win will now be a building block as the Lehigh Valley Conference schedule gets into full swing this weekend.