Tyler Hall opened the game with a 3-pointer for State College and all seemed well, but things quickly went south for the Little Lions.
Carlisle put together a 13-0 run in just over three minutes that allowed the Thundering Herd to jump out to an early double-digit lead on State College.
Carlisle continued to dominate the Lions and did not look back from there, not allowing them to climb back within seven for the remainder of the game en route to the 66-23 blowout win.
While the final score may not reflect it, the game was still in reach for the Lions at the break, as they only trailed by 13 at the half. But a strong second half fueled by a 23-point outburst in the third quarter, allowed the Herd to pull away and keep State College winless on the season at 0-5.
“I think it got out of hand pretty early,” Little Lions assistant coach Mike Morse said. “We were turning the ball over a whole lot. That’s a very good Carlisle team, they got a lot of intensity, they play hard, they defend well and they press extremely well. Quite frankly, our kids just didn’t handle the pressure, didn’t handle the press…they really stuck it to us.”
After only matching half of his squad’s first quarter point production in the second frame, the Herd’s Andre Anderson got his team on track at halftime. Anderson was not pleased how his unit was producing and his speech in the locker room produced a completely different team in the second half.
The Herd only allowed nine total points in the final 16 minutes of play and came out of the locker room explosive, as they broke the game wide open and enjoyed a 31-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“I would love to throw that first half out, completely out because the guys didn’t come out ready to play,” Anderson said. “We didn’t come out with any enthusiasm at all, but when it counted for me starting in the third quarter the guys stepped up and played some ball. We upped our pressure a good bit, guys started playing together, we started making the extra pass and I told the guys ‘This is the way we can play if you come out focused and you come out playing hard.’”
A majority of the third quarter production came from Jordan Dockens. The guard knocked down five field goals in the third including two 3-pointers. He ended the game leading all scorers with 25 points on 10 made buckets from the field.
“He’s good, he put a little bit more with his game this year,” Anderson said. “He used to be straight inside at 6-1, 6-2, whatever he is. He added that outside game and he really picked us up.”
Hall ended up finishing the night with eight points for the Little Lions, while Alex McCann and Lonnie Koudela each chimed in with four tallies.
On a night where not many things went as hoped for a Little Lions squad that is bitten by the injury bug, Morse said that continued progress is going to be vital as the rest of the season unfolds.
“I’ll tell you, this is one where you go back to the drawling board and this may be a season where you measure success in terms of progress rather than wins and loses,” Morse said. “We (have) our top player (Michael) Beattie out injured, that’s a blow to us.
“Other kids when they have the opportunity need to step up, but this is a group that I don’t think has known how to win yet. We need to just keep working on the things we are working on, there’s no magic X and O option, I don’t think we switch offenses or sets, it’s just we’re not executing.”
The Little Lions will continue their search for their first win of the season when they travel to Chambersburg at 5 p.m. Wednesday.