Bombers top Rough Riders
Palmerton’s Owen Buck gets ready to go up for a shot while Catasauqua’s Ty Reitz defends. For a photo gallery, visit www.tnonline.com. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Comeback performances, supporting casts, role players, the big stage.
It might be award season for Hollywood, but the script could have just as soon referred to Tuesday’s Colonial League showdown between Catasauqua and Palmerton.
The teams battled to the very end before the Blue Bombers continued their recent string of success with a 61-58 victory.
Both squads faced holes in their lineups, as Palmerton’s leading scorer Kody Kratzer is dealing with a minor shoulder injury, and the Roughies’ Derek George opted to transfer a few days ago.
That allowed other team members to step up and shine — and that they did. The supporting roles of the Blue Bomber players were a little more effective in the long run, as they placed four players in double digits en route to their 12th win of the season.
Catasauqua head coach Eric Snyder referred to his defensive strategy as “a soft triangle and two” that covered the Bombers’ Kratzer and Justin Hosier early on. But while that strategy did its job, Palmerton’s Owen Buck did some damage to help his team build an early 16-2 lead.
“It felt great tonight against a tough team to have everyone chipping in to win,” Buck said. “We try to play ‘5 as 1’ and if we could pick one night to try it out, tonight was perfect.”
His early inside scoring, coupled with Catty’s 10 first-quarter turnovers and 1 of 7 shooting, caused concern for Roughie fans.
However, in the second frame, Dave Troxell took the spotlight as he began to hit shots. Still, the Bombers maintained, and even grew, their lead to 30-17 at the break, as Kratzer, Tyler Christman and Tyler Stuck all scored four points in the period.
With its postseason chances in jeopardy, Catasauqua’s urgency seemed to show in the third, as Troxell’s 11 points allowed the Rough Riders to trim the deficit to nine (45-36).
“Troxell doesn’t have many threes on the year, and even though our guys were up on him, you have to tip your hat to Snyder and his whole ball club because they kept fighting,” Palmerton head coach Ken Termini said.
To start the fourth, the Bombers extended their advantage to 13, but an 11-0 run by the visitors made it 49-47 with 5:26 to play.
That’s when Kratzer drove down the lane and drew a foul, but had to leave the game due to an injury.
Senior Ryan King came off the bench to hit two free throws, and the Bombers seemed to stay in control the rest of the way.
Each time the lead shrunk, a different Palmerton player came up with a play.
“Back when (Justin) Hosier was out (with illness), some of the other guys learned to take bigger roles for us, and honestly, if we didn’t go through that learning period, I’m not sure we would have been able to hold on to win tonight,” Termini said.
Hosier and Stuck had a few buckets down the stretch, and with time running out, a last-chance heave from the Roughies came up short.
STUCK IT ... Stuck, a junior, had one of the biggest nights for Palmerton, as he scored a career-high 16 points. “We knew Catty wasn’t going to go away, and we had to keep battling and I just tried to do my best when my number was called,” Stuck said.
OUTLOOK GOOD ... According to sources, Kratzer should be able to return for the Bombers’ next outing against Pen Argyl on Thursday. The Bombers improved to 12-5 overall and 8-4 in Colonial League play.
Smith 1-0-0-2, DiPaolo 4-0-0-8, Shiffer 1-3-4-5, Mackenzie 2-0-0-5, Reitz 3-0-0-6, Troxell 9-10-11-32. TOTALS: 20-13-15-58.
Connell 0-0-2-0, Kratzer 3-4-4-10, White 0-0-0-0, King 1-2-2-4, Mooney 0-0-0-0, Christman 2-0-0-4, Stuck 7-2-4-16, Hosier 6-3-3-16, Buck 5-1-2-11. TOTALS: 24-12-17-61.
Catasauqua 4 13 19 22 - 58
Palmerton 16 14 15 16 - 61
Three-pointers: Catasauqua - Troxell 4, Mackenzie 1; Palmerton - Hosier 1.