I was asked to photograph the Pocono Mountain West PIAA Class 6A Tournament Game against Lower Merion. It was an opportunity I very much looked forward to because this time of year is always exciting in terms of basketball. Add to this a thrilling game and you are in for one incredible evening! The game started at 5:30pm and, of course, started with the tip off.
The teams came in evenly matched and everything was set for the thriller. The game started methodically, as each team began by testing the other and exchanging basket for basket at first. Then, Lower Merion scored and went ahead a little. It was still a back and forth game.
Then Lower Merion scored two 3-point shots in a row. They were on a roll and they appeared to know it. Pocono Mountain West did not appear to blink. They took the momentum shift in stride and went to the locker room at half-time down by six points. While the fans might not have sensed it at the time, the players seemed to exude a “we got this” attitude. Confidence is key in a big game and the second half would certainly dictate the outcome of this tournament game.
It did not take Pocono Mountain West long to erase the six-point deficit as the second half began. There was some more exchanges like two heavyweight boxers going toe-to-toe, but West was clearly gaining momentum and confidence in the game.
Watching this team work together on defense was one of the keys to the turnaround in the second half. Patience and persistence was paying off slowly but surely. Lower Merion was slowing the pace all game long. At fist, this seemed to frustrate the Panthers. The second half was a different story. They challenged the ball-handlers, forced some turnovers, and kept the opposing offense out of the paint. It was a strategy that worked to perfection.
The final score was 71-57 and showed how Pocono West not only weathered the storm but played confidently throughout the game and capped it with a strong finish. What a game and what a night for this talented basketball team! Congratulations, Pocono Mountain West!
Today I had another sports photograph published in the Pocono Record, but the story behind this photograph is not about me.
Dan Heckman, the batter in the photo, is an outfielder for the Pleasant Valley Bears. He hasn’t gotten much playing time this season, but Monday afternoon he did and he shined big time! Heckman hit a single in the last inning, producing 2 RBIs on the solid line drive. Earlier he hit a sacrifice fly for another RBI.
So here is a player who hasn’t seen much field time, but he did not give up! He is a team player and had the chance today to be out on the field. He definitely made it count!
Heckman’s lesson to all of us: never give up. Keep your head up, contribute to the team whenever and however you can, and be patient: your chance will come, and when it does, make the most of it. Heckman did!
Football players at the Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain West football game on Friday night took time to honor the fight against Pediatric Cancer. They also wore yellow socks to bring attention to this important cause. Yellow was everywhere!
Players held yellow balloons and sported the yellow socks as they came to mid-field for the coin toss. A few important words were shared over the loudspeakers about Pediatric Cancer first. The balloons were released into the cool night air following the coin toss by the referee.
The National Anthem was sung as the players stood at attention, their minds filled with anticipation for the upcoming kickoff. Those yellow socks look good, don’t they?
Even as the teams gathered before each play in their huddles, the yellow socks reminded fans of the fight against Pediatric Cancer. It was a well choreographed night to bring attention to a very important health issue.
My most recent gallery of photos from the high school football game this past Friday night is now available to view on the Pocono Record. These are just a few samples from the gallery, which can be viewed here.
It was a special night on several levels, not the least of which was “Senior Night” and highlighting “Pediatric Cancer.” Here, at the coin toss before the game, players from both sides held yellow balloons to honor the occasion. The players also wore yellow socks to acknowledge the cause.
I also enjoy trying to capture photos of the bands before the game and at halftime. I believe this helps to tell the full story of the football game, and there are some really captivating photos to be captured as well from these talented musicians!
To make the night even better, this game was a thriller and went down to the wire! It was a wild night for Lehighton and Pocono Mountain West! It was a great night on many levels and I was blessed to be there!
Last night I had the opportunity to photograph an incredibly exciting high school football game. I am not sure the game was billed to be such a thriller, but it sure was a wild game!
My newspaper deadline is typically before the game is over, so I have to be sure to capture photographs of both teams to cover the story. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes it is a challenge. As an example, sometimes the winning team is very easy to determine even early in the game. Lopsided games just aren’t as much fun to photograph. Last night’s game between Lehighton and Pocono Mountain West went back and forth all night long! Early on it looked like Lehighton was going to take control early, but the Panthers responded quickly with a touchdown of their own. Back and forth it went and the excitement continued to build with each successive drive!
The game was such a thriller that I stayed in position after my self-appointed cutoff time, which gives me more than ample time to cull through my photos and submit some before the newspaper’s deadline. I stayed alongside the field because the Panthers were driving again and I figured they might take the lead. Sure enough: they did!
I thought I had a few decent photographs to help tell the game story, so I left in a hurry and literally ran to my truck. This time I had to finish my submissions and get to another football game to pick up my teenagers from their Homecoming game. Time was a-wasting! I picked out four photos and then added captions. Then, I sent them over the wire as I drove to the other game, which was over by now. The photograph above was the one the editor published in today’s newspaper!
Amir Blair sings his school’s Alma Mater in pre-game ceremonies this past Friday night as Pocono Mountain West hosted Allen in High School football.
The pre-game activities build to a crescendo as both teams prepare to do battle on the gridiron. Bands play fight songs, fans gather into the bleachers, and the players get wound up for battle! There is nothing quite like this pre-game experience!
This photograph was deemed worthy for publication in Saturday’s edition of the Pocono Record.
A few of my photographs from Friday night’s high school football game featuring Allen v. Pocono Mountain West appeared online today. You can see the short photo gallery here.
There isn’t quite anything like the atmosphere of Friday night in the fall. Get to a game and feel the excitement!
The Panthers of Pocono Mountain West faced the Bears of Pleasant Valley for the Mountain Valley Conference Championship tonight in Stroudsburg.
The girls’ game was first and Pleasant Valley won in overtime. Then it was the boys’ turn. The Panther’s only loss this season was to Pleasant Valley, which was an upset. Tonight they were battling it out on the court again. The Panthers struck first and often. They ran off a big lead and never looked back. The Bears could not overcome the deficit and never led the game. It was a disappointing night for a team, which battled several injuries late in the season, including their all-star Nick Stanovick. The Panthers won big with a score of 82-49.
The Panthers looked strong off the glass, on rebounds, and on the floor. Their passes were crisp and sure, and their full-court press made for a difficult and frustrating night for the Bears. Both teams will play in Districts.
I photographed another football game last week but haven’t had time to include it here on my blog. The game hosted the 8th Grade teams of Stroudsburg and Pocono Mountain West. It was the last game of the season for these two teams and the last chance for off-season bragging rights! To add even more excitement to the game, Stroudsburg was vying for an undefeated season!
It was an exciting game to photograph! The game opened up with Pocono Mountain leading but Stroudsburg answered loudly and clearly. It was a game with hard-hitting, precision blocking, and great fundamental football. Both teams put it all out there on the field! It was a hard-fought game and in the end Stroudsburg prevailed with a solid win. Pocono Mountain made it interesting at the end, but it just wasn’t to be for them. Wow, what another exciting game!
Congratulations to Stroudsburg on their undefeated season!