The teams that went into the locker room at halftime of the high school boys' basketball game between the Delone Catholic Squires and the Littlestown Thunderbolts Monday night at Littlestown didn't resemble in any way the teams that finished the game.
The Bolts (6-11, 5-6 YAIAA III) were a confident, fired-up team that had the Squires (9-7, 8-2 YAIAA IV) down by eight points after the first half. The Squires, meanwhile, were a lackadaisical team playing poor defense and shooting like a scared team.
Whatever was said in the Delone locker room had the desired effect.
The Squires outscored the Bolts 46-22 in the second half to come away with a 66-50 win.
The win breaks a three-game losing streak for Delone and finishes its Division III schedule. The Squires have a three-game lead in Division IV with five divisional games on their schedule. They have wins over all five teams still to play.
The Bolts, who have improved their play a great deal in the past few weeks, took it to the Squires from the get-go. Scoring the final seven points of the first quarter, Littlestown was able to open am 11-8 lead.
When they opened the second quarter on a 6-0 run, the Bolts had built their lead to 17-8 midway through the quarter. To make things worse for the Squires, they lost forward Devon Moore with a twisted ankle. He never returned after that.
With 3:11 remaining in the half, the Bolts opened their largest lead of the game when Braden Becker hit a layup to give them a 26-12 lead. Becker dominated the boards in that first half while scoring 13 points.
An 8-2 run led by sophomore guard Jake Wiles stopped the slide by the Squires and cut the Bolts' lead to 28-8 heading to the locker room.
Playing a much more aggressive game, the Squires opened the second half with a 10-2 run that tied the game with 4:54 remaining in he third quarter.
After a first half in which he scored only two points. Delone junior center Andrew Austin took over the game. He scored 13 points in the third period that saw the Squires take a 46-38 lead. Wiles also came up big with six points in the quarter, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"The second half showed how we are capable of playing," Austin said. "They are a good team but we came out flat. The coach just told us, 'Do we want to lose our season or do we want to come up here and play?' Number 34 (Becker) and I had a little thing going in the first half, but I had to just put that away in the second half."
Austin continued to dominate the inside with another nine points in the fourth quarter when the Squires began to pull away. He finished with a game-high 24 points.
"We had trouble with that little 1-3-1 press by Delone," Littlestown coach Scott Motter said. "I told the kids that press has won them championships. Not just league championships, but district championships. I'm taking it as a positive that they had to use it against us to win. In the past I don't think they took Littlestown too seriously, and tonight they had to use their best to beat us.
"Any team that has Brett Smith running their team, as he does 99 percent of the time, is going to be tough to beat. You will need a special performance to win."
In addition to Austin's points, the Squires also got double-digit scoring from Smith (11 points), Tanner Orndorff (10 points), and Wiles (15 points). Becker finished with 18 points while Austin Towner had 12 points for the Bolts.
"We have been playing like this for two weeks now," Delone coach Jim Dooley said. "Tonight, we obviously were not ready to play but were able to make a marvelous comeback. Littlestown is much improved and they play with a lot of intensity and spirit. You can thank their coach for that."
Delone (11-4) jumped out to a 25-0 lead in the jayvee game and came away with a 53-26 win. Jim O'Boyle led the way with 14 points while Bryce Mondorff and Justin Gobrecht added 10 each. Jeff Reed led Littlestown with nine points.
Hildebrand 0 2-2 2, Strevig 0 0-0 0, Austin Towner 6 2-4 15, Kehr 1 1-1 4, Alejandrez 0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 1 0-0 3, Trout 4 0-0 8, Braden Becker8 2-6 18. Totals 20 6-12 50.
DELONE CATHOLIC (66)
Brett Smith 4 2-6 11, Moore 3 0-0 6, Jake Wiles 4 6-7 15, Andrew Austin 10 3-8 24, Tanner Orndorff 4 2-6 10, Kilkelly 0 0-0 0, Altland 0 0-0 0, Ames 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 13-27 66.
Littlestown 11 17 10 12 -- 50
Delone Catholic 8 12 26 20 -- 66
3-point goals -- Littlestown 3 (Towner, Kehr, Zimmerman); Delone Catholic 3 (Smith, Wiles, Austin).
JV score -- Delone Catholic 53, Littlestown 26.