Lewisburg Lays Foundation for the Future.
J. C. Tilton
On Saturday night the TriCounty North boys varsity team paid a visit to the Carlisle Indians. North has been having a tough season. A young team, with not much height, and they have lost their leading scorer a few weeks ago. So North came into the game with the odds stacked against them. But the young players are scrappy; it was a rubber band game for the most part. Carlisle would go on a run and stretch out a lead, then North would snap back and close the gap. This happened several times over the course of the evening. The 4th quarter however was a different story. But when you look at the game as a whole, you could see that a solid foundation was being laid for the future.
Both teams opened with man to man defenses. But North quickly switched to a zone when it became apparent that the taller Carlisle team was going to force the ball inside to their post. Carlisle would employ a number of defensive tactics over the course of the night. A full court press, a half court trap, and a trapping half court defense. You could see that the Indians wanted to keep pressure on the younger North team so that they would be off balance and stay out of their normal offense. Initially North played with the Indians, both teams had 11 at the end of the 1st quarter. Carlisle was able to stretch out a lead in the 2nd, due to vigorous full court pressure and North turnovers towards the end of the half.
Down 30 to 21, it would have been easy to let up. But North battled intensely in the third. Emotions ran high when Carlisle got a technical foul late in the quarter. Music was sent to the line and now it was a 2 point ball game. Carlisle could feel the heat. But the Indians responded in the 4th and started a run. The run turned into a rout when Panther senior point guard Music fouled out by getting his 4th and 5th fouls in the opening minutes of the quarter. This seemed to take the wind out of the Panther sails. Offensively, the team struggled to run their plays and on defense the post players started to feel the effects of bigger Carlisle athletes. You could see that they were getting wore out. Carlisle kept working the ball inside and getting points. They outscored the Panthers 25 to 10 and broke the rubber band, winning 69-50.
Head Coach Mike Waggoner had some comments after the game. "Scoring points has been a problem for us all season. We were worried when Carlisle tried to make it an uptempo game. We wanted to keep the score low. We wanted to score at least 50, which we did, but we didn't stop Carlisle on defense. The team just needs to limit it's mistakes. The game got away from us because of our ball handling. If we can improve our ball handling and scoring, we will do better. When asked to comment on Music fouling out and how the team seemed to falter at that point, Waggoner responded, "Music gives us poise and composure at the point." The team missed that when he left the game. Finally when asked about losing Heltsley for the season, Waggoner admitted the team did miss him, but even at the game where he was injured the team still fought to end and only lost by two. He thought that Baumbarger did a good job of stepping up and scoring more points. But the team as a whole has picked up the slack and gone on.
At Carlisle, the team started 2 seniors, a sophomore and 2 freshmen. Even though they were outsized and out muscled at times, the team scrapped for 3 quarters. As the younger players get stronger and more experienced, the team will improve over the next few years. The younger players definitely were not intimidated, they came ready to play. It has been a dismal season for the Panthers when you look at their win/loss record. But you can see a solid foundation being laid for the future. Scoring for TCN: Putnam 2, Baumbarger 18, Mullins 2, Dunham 3, Kovach 7, Haines 14, Music 14 (10 from free throws), Price 2, Summer 2.
The JV's won an exciting contest. The team had a 5 point lead towards the end of the game until it was cut to 2 by a NBA 3 pointer by Carlisle. Carlisle had to foul towards the end, but North coolly hit their free throws to win 52-49. Scoring: Haines 4, Smith 7, Oldham 6, Summer 6, Bierly 10, Biser 19.