Boys top Eastburg North
The Whitehall boys basketball team rang in the new year with a victory, keeping their foot on the gas with a decisive win over East Stroudsburg North last Friday.
The win 67-46 win marked the fifth win in a row for the Zephyrs who climbed to 6-3 on the season. However, that streak was snapped by Liberty who beat them in overtime on Saturday.
It was a wire-to-wire win for the Zephyrs who led by 11 points after the first quarter against the Timberwolves, and then steadily increased that lead, taking a 18-point lead into the break.
The win against ESN was also a game where multiple players got to see the floor. They had 10 players feature in the scoring, led by Tyler Holubowski and Joe Lisicky who each dropped 15 points.
Dylan McGinley, who scored 11 points, left his mark on the game, throwing down an emphatic dunk to give the Zephs a 50-22 lead.
It was McGinley’s first dunk in a varsity game.
“It was a different experience; I never experienced something like that before, so that was cool,” said McGinley.
McGinley received the ball in the post, and with his man behind him, he quickly spun to his left, leaving him all alone under the basket for the slam.
“That play is designed to get a layup,” said McGinley. “I kind of knew they were going to fall for it, and when I saw that they both fell for it, I thought, why not get up and dunk it.”
Another strong aspect of his game is finding the open man. In the first quarter, he had two nice inside feeds, one to Holubowski, the other to Lisicky, both leading to layups.
While the Timberwolves were 1-10 coming into the game, McKinley said that they need to bring the same energy to the court against every opponent, making sure they go 100 percent at all times.
The Timberwolves were able to cut into the lead in the second half, closing the gap to 59-42 in the fourth quarter. That’s when the starters re-emerged and cemented the win as McGinley hit a layup, followed by a Holubowski steal and basket, ending any notions of a Timberwolves comeback.
“As you can see, if we let up, we can let teams come back, and that’s just something we can’t do,” said McGinley.
McGinley said that every time they step onto the floor, they have to go 100 percent. He said that their mindset is to play hard every game.
McGinley said that in order to maintain their success, they need to continually work hard during practice. It also involves listening to their coaches and trusting “the process.”
“And just coming together as a team, and that unity,” said McGinley.
Head coach Jeff Jones said that they felt they had advantages in certain areas and capitalized on those for the win. He only cautioned them to play their normal style and not do anything out of character.
“Just stay the course, play your game, do what you do, and do what we do, most importantly,” said Jones.
He said that included running their sets, playing solid defense and rebounding the ball.
“They were certainly able to do that,” he said.
He said right from the start they were able to get the ball inside and that led to some early baskets, and that got them off to a fast start.
“That was important,” said Jones.
While Lisicky, Holubowski and McGinley were able to score inside, Ian Werner also managed to get into the paint, executing a nice pump fake to free himself for a layup. He finished with five points.
Shyhiem Foster provided some perimeter scoring nailing a trey and finishing with five.
Right now it’s an upbeat mood in the locker room as they look to march toward the playoffs. He said it’s really energetic and they’re eager to play who’s next on the schedule.
Jones said that it’s a confident, but not overconfident bunch. He said it’s been a few years since they’ve had some success, and the troubles they’ve endured in that journey, makes this season’s success something to savor. And right now, the postseason is what his players want to experience. The seniors have made that a priority.
At the beginning of the season, some pundits had Whitehall last in the division. The players have other plans.
“The Lehigh Valley’s going to be shocked this year,” said McGinley.