Zephs knock off PME
It’s been a superb start to the new year for the Whitehall boys basketball team as they’ve reeled off two consecutive league wins to climb back to .500 as they begin to make their push toward the playoffs.
The first of those 2019 wins came against Pocono Mountain East which entered the game with a gaudy 8-1 record. The Cardinals have had an impressive start to their season with wins over Pocono Mountain West, Northampton and East Stroudsburg South, all of whom have winning records, so Whitehall knew this would be another fierce battle against a Mountain Division opponent.
Head coach Jeff Jones said that they couldn’t afford a slow start and once they fell behind by five points he called a timeout. Inside that huddle they were able to regroup, and came back out on the floor and eventually took a four-point lead as the first quarter drew to an end.
Jones said that they really dug in on defense and that allowed them to take the lead over the Cardinals.
“We ended the first quarter playing smart on offense and getting stops on defense.” said Jones.
The second quarter featured more defensive excellence, invoking images of their second half perforce against Allentown Central Catholic earlier this year. They held PME to just three points the entire period, while putting up 19 points to take a 36-16 advantage heading into the break.
“It was the best quarter of the season for us, both offense and defense.” said Jones. “[There were] no second chance shots for them and great offensive possessions for us.”
Once the second half began, Jones knew that PME would make a run. The Cardinals came out and did just that, winning the third quarter by seven points to cut the lead to 42-37.
The Cardinals continued to cut into Whitehall’s lead in the final frame, but the Zephyrs made sure that they wouldn’t complete the comeback, staying tough on defense to weather the run to win 62-58.
“We were able to hold them off with enough defensive stops to never allow them to get too close until they hit a 3 at the buzzer to make it a four-point game,” said Jones.
In the win, the Zephs were paced by Dylan McGinley who dropped in 17 points. The junior made seven field goals, including a trey, continuing his strong season for the Zephyrs.
Both Rick Melosky and Tyler Holubowski each chipped in with 11 points, while Joe Herman netted eight and Na’Mirr Boatweight added eight.
Jones said that the win came with one big drawback as Joe Lisicky had to leave the game with an ankle injury. He said the timeline for his return is still uncertain as of this week.
The Zephyrs followed that big win with a victory over East Stroudsburg North, evening their record at 6-6 with the 50-37 win.
Jones said that the game went back and forth in the first half, but once the third quarter started, they were able to slowly build a lead. That advantage was driven by the play of Holubowski who finished with 19 points, going 9-10 from the charity stripe for the bulk of those points.
With Liberty set to invade their gym this Tuesday, followed by a trip to the Poconos later this week to play Stroudsburg, Jones said that their challenges will continue to become greater as each team remaining, save one, currently have winning records. Defeating those remaining teams will be the task they seek a playoff berth.