Whitehall-Coplay Press

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

WHS girls defeat PME and Eastburg N.

Friday, January 11, 2019 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

The Whitehall girls basketball team rang in the New Year with a couple of wins, giving them some momentum as they hit the midway point of the season.

The Zephs reeled off back-to-back wins, downing Pocono Mountain West and East Stroudsburg North once the calendar turned, lifting their record to 3-8 as they prepare for a busy week.

In Friday’s win over East Stroudsburg North, the Zephs jumped out to an early lead, leading by 15 points at the break.

However, once the second half started they got an early field goal from Joey Shaul on a nifty jump hook in the paint, but that was their only field goal until Grace Clary sank a trey at roughly the 7 minute mark of the final quarter. As they went through that lull, the Timberwolves began chipping away, whittling Whitehall’s advantage to just seven at 25-18 during their third quarter drought.

And just as quickly, they bounced back in that final frame as Clary and Olivia Hines began to provide an offensive spark, leading to a 39-23 win for the Zephyrs.

Head coach Josh Madas said that running into those dry spells in some measure can be attributed to their youth. He said that they continually talk about playing a complete game and that will help alleviate those dry spells.

“It’s really about staying focused,” said Madas.

He also felt that after building up a big lead, they may have gotten too comfortable. The Timberwolves also didn’t give up as post player Regan Stoddard sank some hoops to cut into that lead. Madas said that ESN fought tooth and nail trying to claw back into the game.

“In the fourth quarter we kind of woke up a little bit,” said Madas.

Both Clary and Hines play big parts in their offensive revival. Clary hit some jumpers, while Hines flashed across the lane, hauled in the pass, and then drove to the hoop to score on layups.

Clary, who led the team with 10 points, said that their energy has led to their current winning streak.

“We’ve been playing better and we’ve been playing full games,” said Clary. “And I think our offense, we’ve been working more as a team, and we’re finishing really well.”

Clary who was instrumental in righting the ship in the fourth quarter said that they need to keep plugging away when they encounter a tough stretch.

“We just have to keep pushing through,” said Clary. “We have to talk to each other and pick each other up, and just run our offense and defense.”

Taryn Sayre also played well throughout the game. The senior guard finished with nine points. Additionally, Katie Kelly dropped in three points, while Brianna Smith, Laky, Shaul and Willycia Mbungira each added two.

Madas said that he really liked the energy at the beginning of the game.

“We typically actually start slow, but the fact that we started out strong and had the energy, and continued for most of the game, I was really happy about that,” said Madas.

He also was pleased with their interior defense as they did an admirable job against the talented Stoddard, with Clary, Hines, Shaul and Kristin Laky all contributing to the effort.

With Shaul finding her way into the regular rotation, Whitehall now has some length down low that they can consistently throw at opponents. It’s something to watch as the second half gets underway.