The 248 trophy was on the line last night at Lehighton. A fierce battle is always anticipated for the Lehighton versus Palmerton Boys Basketball season opener. The long-time rivalry between the schools continued to be on display from tip-off until the very end.
With the added intensity of a fired-up crowd, the Indians and Bombers played an exciting, quick, and powerful game of basketball. After taking a consistent lead in the second half, Lehighton was able to pull away from Palmerton and walk away with a huge win under their belts. The Indians defeated the Blue Bombers 63-44.
Lehighton hosted the game in their old high school gym as opposed to the normal location at the new elementary center. The smaller gym created a more packed environment and a louder crowd. The game had much energy around it, and the teams were ready to begin.
The Indians have a young team, but that did not show on the court. The entirety of their starters have significant amounts of varsity experience despite their age. Lehighton started Sr. Owen Serfass, Jr. Brayden Johnson, So. Blake Roberts, Jr. Joe Roth, and So. Cole Dietz. The starters for the Bombers were Sr. Matt Machalik, Sr. Jacob Grammes, Sr. Aiden Leister, Sr. Brayden Hosier, and So. Logan Anthony.
The game was fast from the start. Hosier of Palmerton had the first points of the game with a three-point shot. Lehighton quickly responded, as they realized they would have to lock in to get ahead. Machalik stood out for the Bombers in the first quarter, scoring seven points. Lehighton held it together by working on the court as a team. After the first quarter, the Bombers had the lead 14-12. It was clear at this point that the game was just getting started.
In the second quarter, Lehighton picked things up. The game went back and forth. The Indians were able to better shut down Palmerton offensively. They held Machalik to only five points and Hosier to zero. Sophomore Blake Roberts of Lehighton put up seven points. Lehighton was able to get ahead by focusing on their defense and scoring off of close shots. The Bombers were outscored in the second quarter and continued to be quarterly outscored for the rest of the game. At the half, the Indians led the Bombers 23-21.
The second half of the game brought even more power from the Indians. Sophomore Cole Dietz of Lehighton came alive with his skillful shooting, particularly his three-pointers. Dietz also did a great job of moving the ball and positioning the team offensively. After returning to the game from foul trouble, the Indian’s Joe Roth stood out both defensively and offensively. Roth put up six points underneath and made a foul shot. On defense, he had several rebounds and blocks. Roberts and Brayden Johnson each put up one three-pointer in the third quarter to help the Indians score 21 points. Lehighton continued to lead the Bombers. They led by ten points which was a game high at this point. The third quarter ended Lehighton 44- Palmerton 34.
The Indians knew that Palmerton was going to come out tough in the final quarter. A ten-point lead is good, but it had not sealed the deal just yet. That did not deter Lehighton from coming out just as strong. At this point, the Bombers were getting quite frustrated with themselves.
They were unable to get as many shots off as they had been. Lehighton was controlling the game. Roth continued to go all out on the court. He was fouled multiple times and put up two baskets separate from his foul shots. Dietz went two for two on his three-point shots. All of Lehighton’s starters were able to get on the scoreboard in the final quarter. After pulling away by 20 points at times, Lehighton had the game. The Bombers fought hard to win, but they fell short. Lehighton took a prideful win in the season opener, beating Palmerton 63-44. The 248 trophy returned to Lehighton after several years.
The leading scorer of the game was Lehighton’s sophomore Cole Dietz with five-three-pointers and 17 total points. Roberts and Roth trailed behind him with 16 points each. Palmerton’s leading scorers were Hosier and Machalik, both scoring 15 points. The Indians’ record for the season is 1-0, and the Bombers are 0-1. Lehighton will play Blue Mountain at Blue Mountain this Wednesday at 7 pm. Palmerton will play Pen Argyl away on Thursday at 6:45 pm.
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