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Boys hoops facing key games

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

The Pocono Mountain West Basketball team’s nickname is the Panthers, but last Friday against Whitehall, they could have been known at the Second Chancers.

They were demons on the glass, collecting almost every offensive board and turning them into put backs. While they had a host of players who filled that role, the main force behind all those second chance points was Lee Mosley who set up shop under the basket, collecting rebounds and buckets, finishing with 22 for the game.

Their ability to turn a bad outside attempt into two points fueled their win over the Zephyrs last Friday as they won 67-38. The loss dropped the Zephs to 3-9; however, Saturday’s win against Boyertown lifted them to 4-9 as they prepare for some critical league games this week.

Head coach Jeff Jones knew that PMW’s athleticism would pose some problems. While they weren’t efficient from the floor, they made up for that on the glass.

“I’m not sure what their field goal percentage was, but it wasn’t good, “ said Jones. “But it was like almost part of their philosophy was, let’s get a shot quickly, and then let’s go get a second, and a third, and a fourth, if we need to. They just dominated us on the offensive boards.”

The Panthers, make that the Second Chancers, were also converting missed free throw attempts into put backs, helping them jump out to a 35-19 lead at halftime.

Jones said that Pocono Mountain West played hard throughout the game, and crashing the boards is a byproduct of their intensity. Even when the Zephyrs established position inside, the Panthers were able to snag the boards.

“We just didn’t have enough tonight, that’s for sure,” said Jones.

It was close in the first quarter as both teams struggled to score. Kevin Virgo and Dylan McGinley helped the Zephs take an early lead, but soon Mosley’s night of second chances started to unfold. He also hit a three to close out the first period, giving them a four-point lead. Pocono Mountain West never surrendered that lead the rest of the way, as the closest Whitehall would get was 16-20 after Ethan Parvel collected a loose ball and drove to the basket to cut the lead back to four midway through the second.

Additionally, PMW never allowed the Zephyrs to get into any offensive flow. The Zephs, who scored 31 in the first half against Northampton, didn’t reach that mark until a minute gone in the final quarter.

“They just take you out of your offense and don’t allow you to get things started,” said Jones. “When you can’t get your first or second pass into you offense, it makes things really, really difficult.

“It’s frustrating, too. You’re on the defensive end and maybe play a decent possession, and they take a shot that’s way off the mark, and they get an offensive rebound and put back.”

The Zephyrs were led by Tyler Holubowski who finished with nine points. During one stretch toward the end of the third quarter, he scored six of his nine points, collecting back-to-back buckets on consecutive trips down the floor, sinking a put back and jumper.

McGinley tallied eight points, while Joey Lisicky and Ethan Parvel each had four.

It was also Hall of Fame night on Friday as Whitehall welcomed three former student- athletes as part of the Class of 2018. Inducted were John Barton, Maureen Whitsett and Jeff Buskirk.

Barton, Class of 1982, was a standout in both football and track and field. He was a 1981 East Penn Conference first team selection, and received all-state recognition as well. That same year he was also the District XI shot put champ, as well as a Pennsylvania State Powerlifting Champion. He went on to play collegiately at West Virginia University, and then became a football coach, spanning 24 years as both a high school and college coach.

Whitsett, Class of 2004, was a talented volleyball player for Whitehall, earning All- Lehigh Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference and All-District XI honors in 2002. She repeated those postseason honors the following year, while also being named the LVIAC Co-MVP. Finally, she was named to the All-State team in 2003. Whitsett continued her playing career at Temple University, playing one season for the Owls.

Jeff Buskirk, Class of 1984, was a three-sport star at Whitehall, playing football, basketball and track. In 1984, Buskirk was an East Penn Conference First Team quarterback and defensive back. He also earned all-state Honorable mention that year. Buskirk was also a member of the basketball team which were EPC and District XI champs, as well as sprinter on the track team that established a school record in the 4x100 relay that stood for a long time.

Buskirk went on to play at Syracuse University, playing in three bowl games as a defensive back.