Boys top Parkland before holiday break
The Whitehall boys basketball team made some beautiful music together, handing Parkland their first defeat when they hosted the Trojans on Dec. 20.
And providing a strong solo in that ensemble was Tyler Holubowski who was on lead guitar, strumming away after his three-pointer to make it 34-28 in the pivotal third quarter which supplied the resounding accompaniment to the eventual 59-54 win. In that frame the Zephyrs outscored the Trojans 16-4, setting the tone for the second half with their stifling match-up zone and rhythmic offense.
Holubowski, who led the Zephyrs with 25 points, celebrates every made trey with a little guitar lick. It’s something he’s incorporated into his game.
“I saw Lance Stephenson do it, and it’s just been a thing ever since last year; it energizes us,” said Holubowski.
Holubowski said they faced a good Parkland team, a squad that’s had their number the last couple of years. He knew the visitors would put up a fight and they had to be ready.
In fact, it may have been an entirely different tune when Parkland began its run in the second quarter. After leading the Trojans by a point to end the first period, the Zephyrs were plagued by foul trouble, sending Parkland to the line where they took a 13-12 lead early in the quarter. From that point, the Trojans pushed the lead to nine points after another trip to the line, making it 23-14.
The Zephyrs had hit a sour note by putting Parkland in the bonus, and with Holubowski on the bench with three fouls, it seemed like the Trojans would orchestrate their sixth win. But they found their groove again, getting big buckets from a number of players, including Tommy Buskirk’s drive, Luke Gilbert’s three, and Shyhiem Foster’s layup in traffic to cut into that lead, trailing by just three at halftime.
Holubowski knew the contributions from the bench helped keep them in the game.
“Our bench in that second quarter provided a big energizer boost for us,” said Holubowski who sat for about four minutes in that first half. “Our bench stepped up big time for us, and that’s what really carried us over.”
The ability for the reserves to come in and cut into that deficit was vital since the Trojans clearly had the momentum and were threatening to leave the Zephyrs in the dust.
“The kids who came off the bench who kept us in the game, Bryce Bashore, Luke Gilbert, Matt Snyder, those guys who came in the second quarter while we were in serious foul trouble, they kept it close and actually got it to three,” said head coach Jeff Jones. “We felt pretty fortunate to go into halftime like that.”
He said that their early foul trouble necessitated the switch a zone defense in the second half, and not only did it frustrate the Trojans, but it also kept them out of foul trouble.
“We played the match really well, and the kids made some fouls shots down the end,” said Jones.
Since they were forced to alter their rotations, Jones said that they needed contributions from a number of players.
“This was the epitome of a team win,” he said.
He said that he reminded his team earlier in the week that at some point during the season, they’re going to get their chance. And for some of those guys it was tonight.
“I give them credit,” Jones said.
The Zephyrs have now won three games in a row to raise their record to 4-3. Those are also division wins, placing them in a three-way time with Northampton and Allentown Central Catholic.
Even with the three fouls, Holubowki still attacked the basket. And it was his dunk attempt that resulted in a trip to the line that helped quiet a Parkland run in the fourth that was fueled by Trey Rolle’s perimeter shooting, closing the gap to 44-43. Holubowski sank both free throws, and while Parkland closed the gap to one point again after converting at the line, Buskirk’s spin move in the lane, leading to a bucket and a foul to give them a four-point lead, provided the spark that Whitehall needed to hold off the Trojans.
“You have to keep playing your game,” said Holubowski. “You can’t ease off. If you want to win the game, you have to do that, and me and my teammates were able to do that.”
“He plays really hard,” said Jones.
The Zephs also got a huge performance from Buskirk who finished with 11 points. He was especially clutch in the second half from the field, while also playing tough defense in their match-up zone. Jones said that he plays beyond his years.
“He plays with a huge heart,” Jones said.
McGinley was a beast inside, scoring nine points, while Joe Lisicky dropped in nine as well.
With the Zephs now over .500, Holubowski said that their success started with their work in the offseason.
“We had a really good summer, we worked really hard, we put in the hours we needed to, and it’s starting to show on the court now,” said Holubowski.