LOWER MORELAND >> The young Lower Moreland boys basketball team proved that its has the Philadelphia Eagles “underdog” mentality as it beat the third-seeded Tamaqua in a District 1/11-4A regional semifinal game by a final score of 69-58.
The second-seeded Lions and Blue Devils had tight, full-court defense through out the game, but Lower Moreland had the bigger offense including junior Shane Cohen, who scored a team-high 19 points.
Cohen was thrilled with how his team performed against a mighty tough defense.
“It was the same as any other performance for me,” said Cohen. “Everyday I try to give it a 100 percent and the team got me open and I got the team open as well.”
“We only have one senior on the team and a bunch of juniors,” added Cohen. “We knew that this was going to be a huge year for us and we all stepped up from last year and we just play our game.”
Lower Moreland faces Bethlehem Catholic for the regional championship Friday at a site and time to be determined.
Other Lions that contributed in the victory included Forrest Keys with 16 points, lone senior Dan Shimon with 10 points, Andrew Finnegan with eight points, Jordan Zoubroulis with seven points, Joey Cerruti with five points and Jake Himmelstein with four points.
Tamaqua and Lower Moreland were tied at 12-12 with four seconds left in the first quarter, then out of nowhere Cohen comes with back-to-back shots in two seconds to lead 16-12.
Both defenses were once again on fire in the second quarter, but the Lions were able to win the second quarter 18-16 to increase the lead to six points at halftime.
Both teams started to show the offensive side of the ball in the third quarter as Lower Moreland outscored the Blue Devils 19-16 to lead 53-44 heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Lower Moreland was up as much as 19 points with five minutes left, but then Tamaqua started a huge run to make it an eight point game.
Eventually Lower Moreland started hanging on to the ball in the final two minutes to seal the 69-58 semifinal victory.
Lower Moreland head coach Seth Baron was proud of the way his team performed to advance to the regional final.
“I think it was a matter of runs,” said Baron. “Our kids know that if we get punched a little bit, we’ll come back with a run of our own.”
“Tonight we did a real nice job,” added Baron. “When Tamaqua gets four points, we get six. We stressed on winning all four quarters and we did that tonight.”
Heading into the semifinal game, both teams already earned a spot in the PIAA 4A tournament.
Lower Moreland 69, Tamaqua 58
Tamaqua 12 16 16 14 -58
Lower Moreland 16 18 19 16 -69
Tamaqua: Zuber 24; Knoblauch 15; Rother 7; L. Gregoire 4; Kurek 3; Bonetsky 3; G. Gregoire 2.
Lower Moreland: Cohen 19; Keys 16; Shimon 10; Finnegan 8; Zoubroulis 7; Cerruti 5; Himmelstein 4.
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