Boys head down the stretch
Tyler Holubowski’s dribble took him into the paint just below the foul line where he quickly rose up and sank the jumper, prompting a reaction from the opposing coach.
“Too easy,” yelled Pocono Mountain East head coach Mark Dudley from the sideline. It was just three minutes into the game and Holubowski already had six points.
It’s an understandable reaction since Holubowski can carve up an opposing defense and make it look easy. He was getting to the basket for layups, and his aggressiveness was also earning him trips to the foul line in the opening quarter. Along the way, he scored via a dunk, an alley-oop, reverse layups and jumpers en route to a 25-point performance to lead the team.
He was one of three Zephyrs to reach double figures, along with Dylan McGinley who finished with 15, and Tommy Buskirk who netted 10, as the Zephyrs defeated the visiting Cardinals 66-50 last Friday.
His active hands on defense also caused a number of steals that led to run outs, quickly turning defense into offense.
The senior was also getting to spots on the floor almost at will, and then imposing that will on the Cardinals. He had 15 points before intermission, causing PME to scramble to slow him down, using a number of defenders to try to stop him throughout the game. It didn’t matter.
“I was definitely in a zone,” said Holubowski. “I definitely prepared myself right before this game, and so did my teammates. We played a really good game, altogether.”
Now that fellow senior Joe Lisicky is sidelined with an injury, Holubowski’s offensive role will expand. With that development, he said that he’ll be looking to score, and make that extra pass if needed. It’s also going to take a team effort.
“Everyone’s got to pick it up on both ends of the court, offense and defense,” he said.
Head coach Jeff Jones knows the value Holubowski brings to the floor.
“Since Joey’s gone down, especially, Tyler’s really taken his game to the next level,” said Jones. “He’s been excellent.”
Jones said that Holubowski has worked on his jump shot with the help of the coaching staff, and noted that those jumpers will go in when they’re really good shots and it’s within their offense.
“He’s figured that out,” said Jones.
After the Zephs sprinted out to a 16-8 first quarter lead, the Cardinals clawed back into the game, cutting the lead to 24-22 after a Colin Castillon three-pointer. But the Zephyrs got some spark off the bench to regain their cushion, with Cassius Watson converting a three-point play after a drive to the basket.
Jones said that there was a stretch in the second quarter where they had difficulty getting into their offense. That led him to bring three junior varsity players into the game. Zack Hartman and Raymond Jackson entered the game along with Watson.
“The lead went from four to ten before halftime, so that was really great to see,” said Jones. “I thought those guys gave us some pretty good energy, especially Cassius.”
He said that once in the locker room at halftime, he told his players that they need to build on that, something they achieved, scoring 23 points in the third quarter to effectively ice the game.
Shyhiem Foster’s trey was one of those buckets in that pivotal third quarter. He was effective from outside against the Cardinals, finishing with seven points. He also had the prettiest play of the night as his no-look pass underneath led to a layup.
That third quarter put the Cardinals on their heels.
“That puts a little doubt in their head and makes them take more chances on defense which allows us to get better shots.” Jones said. “I think that was the difference.”
Jones knows that it’s going to take contributions from a number of players to keep them successful. He said if those players each drop four, five, six points, that will help them regain Lisicky’s productivity. It was in full force against PME.
The win puts them 9-7 overall, and with the Governor Mifflin game postponed Saturday because of the snow, they’ll jump back into Skyline Division games on Tuesday against Northampton.
“They’re a really good team, we just have to execute our plays like we have been, and hopefully come out of here with a W,” said Holubowski. “It’s a home court advantage, and it’s a big game and we need that win.”
Jones said it’s one of their last home games and it’s a game they want to win.
If they’re able to accomplish that, it will put them in a good spot as they look to gain a playoff berth.