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WHS boys look to turn it around

When Whitehall met Allen Tuesday night for the second meeting of the season, it served as a friendly reminder of a former state.

At the time of their first meeting, the Zephyrs were 7-3. Since then, they have dropped five of seven and have fallen to a 9-8 mark. With five games left to play, Whitehall needs to win two of them to advance to the postseason.

“We had a good first and second quarter and a poor third and fourth quarter against Allen,” noted Zephyrs’ head coach Jeff Jones about the 64-50 loss in the initial meeting.

“A little bit of our confidence went away. After that game, we won by two and lost by four.”

Jones pointed to their 50-39 loss to Northampton as being a pivotal loss.

“I think the guys came into that game and expected to win,” said Jones. “It was a big night as we had the Coaches vs. Cancer program.

“But we played poorly, and it was a disappointment.”

Jones noted that his team needs to play consistently to be successful. Junior guard Luke Keppel and senior Gavin Roberts have been the team’s steadiest performers, averaging 15.65 and nine points per game respectively.

Sophomore 6-7 center A.J. Hines is averaging 12.6 points per game, but Jones has seen some erratic performances throughout the year. Jones also is looking for some more contributors.

“Keppel and Roberts have been consistent all year,” added Jones. “Hines is a big part of our offense, and he has all the tools.

“We need to have three other guys who can score three to six points a game. Those extra 12 or more points can make a big difference for us.”

Jones also is concerned about the team’s free throw shooting. In a recent loss against Parkland, the Trojans sank 12 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter after the Zephyrs resorted to fouling them to work to gain control of the game.

For the game, Parkland made 15 of 17 free throws, while Whitehall converted seven of 15.

Since the first Allen game, the Zephyrs have been above the 60 percent mark from the foul line only twice. They previously averaged better than 70 percent from the stripe.

“We had been shooting well from there,” said Jones. “It is something we need to clean up down the stretch.”

After Allen Tuesday night, the Zephyrs have home games against Emmaus and Allentown Central Catholic and away games at Northampton and Parkland.

“It is a tough schedule,” said Jones. “Everybody is battling at this point in the season. But we know what we have to do.”

Press photo by Al Zuzic Gavin Roberts