Bombers overcome slow start and cruise to easy victory
Abigail Meckes of Lehighton goes up for a shot as Palmerton’s Hollis Guedes (right) and Brianna Moore defend. MIKE FEIFEL/TIMES NEWS
Opening night jitters aren’t uncommon.
The best way to calm those nerves?
Go out and get a win.
Palmerton shook off a slow start and found its form in a 55-35 non-league win over Lehighton on Friday night.
“We were nervous, everyone is nervous the first game,” said senior Kayla Cincilla. “I think that got in our head a little, and we were just out of control and everything. In second half we sat down and said, ‘We need to get it together, this is us.’ We did and it went well.”
The Bombers (1-0) blew open a close game with a big run in the second quarter. Palmerton turned a one-point advantage at the end of the first period into a 10-point halftime lead.
It was a surge the Indians (0-1) couldn’t stop – or recover from.
“Palmerton is a quality club and they impressed me tonight,” said Indians head coach Joe Berezwick. “They were even a little better than I thought, so hats off to them.
“I thought we played really well (in the first quarter). Even halfway through the second quarter, I thought we were going to be in it. Then they made a mini run there ... and got separation. We just never really got back into the flow in the second half.”
A 9-1 run in the closing minutes of the second quarter turned a 19-17 advantage into a 28-18 lead for Palmerton at the intermission.
Freshman Bethany Morgan finished with a game-high 18 points for the Bombers, while Cincilla had 13 of her 17 points in the first half.
“It means the world,” said Cincilla. “This is a big rivalry game for us ... and coming out and starting the season with a big win like that is something you won’t forget, especially for me as a senior, and Beth as a freshman, it’s something really big for us.
“I think that we had a lot of good practicing leading up to the game, and our coaches expected a lot out of us,” added Morgan. “And I just felt that we executed really well. We still have a lot to improve on, but we started off really strong.”
The duo spearheaded an attack that saw nine different Palmerton players score in the win.
“Palmerton had a lot of late-season success last year, and I knew they had a lot of kids coming back,” said Berezwick. “I heard about the freshman point guard (Morgan), and after seeing what she could do, you wouldn’t think she’s a freshman out there. She played very, very well.
“And Cincilla had a very nice game as well. And I’m happy for her, because I’ve watched her struggle through injuries, and tonight she really put a good game together. We just didn’t have an answer for those two and they just wore us down.”
Morgan scored nine points in the third quarter and continued to make plays with her passing as the Bombers extended their advantage to 43-25 at the end of the period.
“Just her driving to the basket and seeing the open girl, and making a nice pass,” said Palmerton head coach Dan Beck. “It’s great when you can have somebody run the point like that.
“We had them all here last year, too. We’re missing Baylee (Guedes) from last year, but her sister (Hollis) stepped up, battling defensively. She did a great job.”
A district runner-up and state-qualifying team a year ago, the Bombers limited the Indians to just six field goals over the final three quarters.
Hailey Miller led the Indians with 10 points. Abigail Meckes tallied eight points, and Alexis Solomon added seven.
LAST YEAR ... Lehighton picked up a 36-32 win over Palmerton in last year’s season opener.
BACK TO WORK ... Palmerton hosts Panther Valley today, while Lehighton travels to Saucon Valley.
H. Guedes 0-1-2-1, Molchan 1-0-0-2, Papay 2-0-0-5, Cincilla 7-2-3-17, Recker 1-0-0-3, Nemeth 1-0-0-2, Morgan 8-1-2-18, Moore 2-1-2-5, Nothstein 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 23-5-9-55.
Klotz 2-0-0-4, Miller 2-5-8-10, Bowman 1-0-0-2, Meckes 2-4-8-8, Fisher 1-0-0-2, Gaston 1-0-2-2, Solomon 3-0-2-7, Williams 0-0-0-0, Schappell 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 12-9-20-35.
Palmerton 14 14 15 12 - 55
Lehighton 13 5 7 10 - 35
Three-pointers: Palmerton - Papay 1, Cincilla 1, Recker 1, Morgan 1; Lehighton - Miller 1, Solomon 1.