Story first appeared in the Lehighton Times News on Jan. 12, 2016 and on its website, tnonline.com, later that day.
With the 2015-16 regular season winding down, the Palmerton and Northwestern boys’ basketball teams are trying to reach that coveted plateau of 11 wins, the necessary amount of victories to qualify for the District 11 playoffs.
The Tigers got one step closer to the mark with a 67-64 victory against the Blue Bombers in a Colonial League boys’ basketball game at Northwestern Lehigh on Monday night.
“This was an important one,” Northwestern head coach Billy Hallman said. “Every one is important for us now, obviously, but we’ve battled with them the last couple of years. We look forward to this game. They are a real good team. Leigh [Keenan] coaches them real well and this was a real good win for us.”
Early on it looked as though Northwestern (7-7 overall, 4-6 Colonial League) would lead the way to a victory, holding a 17-13 advantage after the first quarter of play.
However, that scoring vanished for the Tigers in the second frame. After a basket from Robert Seyfried, who scored 21 points for Northwestern, with 7:42 left in the game, the Tigers didn’t score again until a Connor Hess finish at the rim with 4:02 remaining in the first half. Offensively, Northwestern committed 10 turnovers, and scored just nine points in the quarter, which allowed Palmerton (5-8, 3-7) to earn a 28-26 lead at the break.
The Bombers led for the majority of the third quarter until Seyfried’s basket with 38 seconds left gave the Tigers a 48-47 advantage, the first lead for Northwestern since the 58-second mark of the second quarter.
Clinging to a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, insert Northwestern’s Parker Jones. The senior captain poured in 13 points in the final eight minutes of the game, including going 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the final 63 seconds of the contest. Jones finished with 27 points, which led all scorers.
“It makes everyone’s job so much easier,” Hallman said of Jones’ precision from the foul line. “We know we can get it to him. We all have confidence in him. It really is a luxury for us.”
“That was the difference,” Keenan said of Jones’ free throw shooting. “If we didn’t foul with so much time on the clock. Parker Jones is such a great foul shooter. Had we not done that, had we made some, the pressure may not have been there on us as much. We couldn’t score there at the end like we did in the second and the third. That’s what it came down to, a little bit of execution and a little bit of pressure.”
Despite the Tigers leading by as many as six in the final few minutes of the game, Palmerton’s Spencer Hay, who led all Bombers with 26 points, scored five quick and had a 20-foot three-pointer at the buzzer for the tie, but it fell short.
The Bombers won a thrilling 36-34 decision in the JV game. Jake Taschler led the Bombers with 10.
STRETCH RUN … After Monday night’s loss, Palmerton needs to win at least six of its final eight games this regular season in order to qualify for the district playoffs.
DYNAMIC DUO … Northwestern got 48 of its 67 points Monday night from two players, Parker Jones and Robert Seyfried, who scored 27 and 21 points, respectively.
Hay 11-3-5-26, Svetik 4-0-0-10, Yaindl 0-0-0-0, Suto 3-0-2-8, Perschy 0-0-0-0, Andress 1-0-0-2, Stasko 1-1-4-3, Stahler 7-1-2-15. TOTALS: 27-5-13-64.
Yadush 0-0-0-0, Mengel 2-0-1-5, Jones 8-9-10-27, Snyder 3-1-2-7, Fatzinger 0-1-2-1, McCann 0-0-0-0, Seyfried 8-5-8-21, Lobach 0-0-0-0, Hess 3-0-0-6. TOTALS: 21-16-23-67.
Palmerton 13 15 19 17 – 64
Northwestern 17 9 22 19 – 67
Three-pointers: P- Svetik 2, Suto 2, Hay 1; NW- Jones 2, Mengel 1.