WHS boys fall to 1-4 to start the season
With the Whitehall boys basketball team closing the gap to six points twice in the second quarter against Pocono Mountain West, part of a four-game docket at Liberty’s Memorial Gym on Sunday, the Zephyrs seemed poised to settle into a tight back-and-forth battle against their Eastern Pennsylvania Conference foe.
That stretch had some productive possessions with Shyhiem Foster getting fouled on a fast break opportunity, converting one at the line; Dylan McGinley serving up a nice dish to fellow post player Jacob Gladish for two points down low, and Joe Lisicky sinking a jumper, the latter score cutting the Panthers lead to 24-30.
But the Panthers athleticism in which they closed space quickly on open looks, hit perimeter shots, and grabbed offensive rebounds, allowed them to extend their lead to nine points heading into the break.
Once the second half began, the Zephyrs could never shrink that advantage, and the Panthers rolled to a 69-54 win, dropping Whitehall’s record to 1-4.
Whitehall was part of the third annual Lehigh Valley Roundball Jamboree, an event that benefits St. Luke’s Parkinson’s disease Fund. The other teams participating at Liberty were Parkland, Phillipsburg, William Allen, Pocono Mountain East, Liberty and Wilson West Lawn. Parkland, Allen, PMW and Wilson West Lawn emerged as the victors in their respective contests.
Head coach Jeff Jones said that over that five-game span, they’ve demonstrated that they’re good in certain aspects of the game, namely the execution of their offense in their half-court sets.
But just like last year’s meeting, the Panthers used their quickness to force Whitehall to play at a pace that wasn’t to their liking, said Jones. Jones said PMW’s forte is their speed and not their size, and that posed problems once again for Whitehall.
However, once Whitehall got into their sets, they capitalized on a lot of those opportunities. In fact, the way they’ve been playing while in the half court, is something that has even surpassed Jones’ expectations at this point.
“When we’re in our half-court set, we’re able to execute probably a little better than I expected this time of year,” said Jones.
One player whose contribution has been continually expanding in those sets is Dylan McGinley. McGinley scored inside and out, playing with determination in the post against the Panthers quick frontcourt. He finished with 11 points.
“He just continues to get more comfortable in the paint,” said Jones.
Jones said that McGinley’s growth as a player has taken a big step from his sophomore season, and he continues to develop his game.
Rick Melosky, who was the team’s leading scorer in their loss to Nazareth, saw limited action in Sunday’s contest. Jones said that he turned an ankle, and was unable to impact the game offensively as he has to this point. He scored 17 points in the game against the Blue Eagles.
With a key player sidelined, Jones said that a number of younger players got some valuable playing time. In that mix was Gladish who played well inside for the Zephs. Jones also got extended looks at Alex Rummel, Luke Gilbert, and Foster.
While those underclassmen saw more playing time, senior Joe Herman turned in a solid all-around game, finishing with 11 points.
Jones said that they’re coming off a stretch where they’ve played five games in the last nine days. So when they gathered for Monday’s practice, Jones wanted to limit the time on their feet since they have three games on tap for this week.
He foresees some better matchups with this upcoming street and hopes they’ll be able to secure their first conference win. That starts Tuesday against Allentown Central Catholic who are currently 3-1 and sit atop the Skyline Division of the EPC.
“We think we match up with them pretty well,” said Jones.