By Lisa Byers
GUYS MILLS —
Scott Palotas’ first two weeks as the head coach of the Maplewood boys basketball team hadn’t gone so well. But on Wednesday, the Maplewood alumnus could finally celebrate.
The Tigers handed Palotas the first win of his coaching career last night with a 54-24 rout of Youngsville in Region 3 action at the Woodshed.
Maplewood moved to 1-4 overall. More importantly, the Tigers are now 1-0 in Region 3 heading into Friday’s showdown with rival Cambridge Springs.
“It’s great to get in that win column,” Palotas said. “It was nip and tuck there for a while.
“I am very happy to get a win and pick up a region win. That’s big for us. Winning cures everything so they say.”
As Palotas pointed out, though, win No. 1 didn’t come so easy at first. In fact, in the first six minutes of the game, Maplewood and Youngsville committed a total of seven turnovers and were a combined 0-for-3 from the floor.
Alex Reagle ended the drought with 6:07 to play in the first quarter. Maplewood finished the quarter up by just two (11-9).
In the second quarter, the Tigers pulled away.
Maplewood opened the period with a 6-0 run to take a 17-9 lead and finished the half up 22-15. The rout was on from there.
“We struggled at the beginning of the season with our turnovers,” Reagle said. “(Yesterday) we still had a lot, but we overcame those better than we did in previous games and finished a lot more of our shots.”
The Tigers did finish the game 23 of 60 (38.3 percent) from the field, while holding Youngsville to just nine field goals in 43 attempts (20.9 percent).
Maplewood also dominated the boards. Youngsville came away with just 19 rebounds for the game. Maplewood finished with 49. Reagle had 10 of those boards to go with his eight points. Dustin Delo had an 11-rebound, 11-point double-double.
Reagle and Delo played opposite of each other in Maplewood’s new 10-man rotation where Palotas substituted five players at a time. The first rotation consisted of Zack Wellman, Dane Barker, Jeremy Dahl, Randy Maloney and Reagle. The second set of five included Brandon Bishop, Tyshawn Johnson, Miller Peters, Ron Klingensmith and Delo.
“It’s something new,” Palotas said. “We started it last week. We’re working out the kinks so to speak.”
Whether or not the Tigers will continue to implement it remains to be seen.
“It might change throughout the year,” Palotas said. “We’re excited with it. We like it. We’re able to turn up the pressure a little bit and they create a lot of good things … and some bad things too. We’re happy with it.”
The win gives the Tigers their first advantage of the season. They will head into Friday’s game at Cambridge Springs with the upperhand. Maplewood is unbeaten in region play with its victory over the Eagles. The Blue Devils are 1-1.
“Big, big one on Friday,” Palotas said. “And it got even bigger now.
“Back in the old days, the old Maplewood-Cambridge Springs rivalry. There were some real good games back in the day.
“I’m excited. I’m sure Kevin Kurt is excited. I’m sure the Spa is pumped up. We’re ready to go here.”
Also scoring in double figures for the Tigers last night was Tyshawn Johnson with 10 points. Miller Peters added seven points and Brandon Bishop knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to finish with six points.
For the Eagles (0-5, 0-1 Region 3), Collin Lehnen finished with seven points. John Uplinger had six.