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Fast Start Propels Olympians Past Spartans

Jim Thorpe eases by North Schuylkill for fourth consecutive time.

BRODHEADSVILLE – For the fourth time this season, the Jim Thorpe girls basketball team and the North Schuylkill Spartans met on the hardwoods Wednesday night, this time for a spot in the District XI championship game. When all was said and done, Jim Thorpe cruised by North Schuylkill 63-42 before a packed house at Pleasant Valley High School.
 
The Olympians jumped out to a 19-0 lead to start the game and were never threatened in the contest. Jim Thorpe(24-1) will now face Allentown Central Catholic(20-5) in the District XI 4A Championship game Saturday at Martz Hall in Pottsville at 4:30PM. The Vikettes defeated Lehighton 36-21 in the other semifinal contest.
          
Skyler Searfoss of Jim Thorpe led the way for the top seeded team by scoring the first seven points and finished with 18 points in the game. Maddy Wetzel ended the 19-point outburst with a bucket on a drive to the basket with just under two minutes left in the quarter.
 
The Olympians’ defense held North Schuylkill to 24 percent shooting in the first half on 6-for-25 from the floor. The score was 35-15 at intermission.
 
The Spartans stayed in the locker room for the entire length of halftime and did not take warmups to begin the second half. They were boosted by Kamryn Mengel as they ripped off seven consecutive points to cut the deficit to 35-22. Mengel finished the night with 23 points to go along with six rebounds and three steals.
 
Leila Hurley ended any thoughts of a miraculous comeback when she connected on a three point basket to make it 38-22 and the Spartans would not get any closer the rest of the way.
 
“We prepared for them, this being the fourth time playing them,” Olympians’ Oliva Smelas said, “We knew they would not quit coming out of halftime. We had to dig a bit deeper to get the win.”
 
Smelas picked up 13 points ands a game-high 12 rebounds, ten of which came in the first half and also had five assists.
 
 North Schuylkill (21-5) will face (12-12) Lehighton on Saturday for the third seeding for the upcoming State Championship Playoffs. That game will also be at Martz Hall at 1:00PM.

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