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!
Steve Harris dunks home two points for East Stroudsburg University against Lock haven on Saturday, February 20, 2016. I love the expression of total intensity in his face as the ball went through the hoop. ESU’s basketball teams, both men and women, are continuing their winning ways, as they are both headed to the PSAC playoffs!
This reminds me of the wonderful opportunities I have as a sports photographer to follow in their footsteps. A winning sports photograph should show action, have the ball in the frame, and tell a story. I believe this photo does all three.
I played sports and now keep close to the games and players through my photography. I’ve always believed that lessons learned on the court or field are helpful in life, too. We learn a lot about life from winning and even losing. One of my goals in life is to continue winning ways!
East Stroudsburg University won big over Millersville University in PSAC quarterfinal action on Wednesday night. The Warriors split the two regular season games against the Marauders but came up with a huge victory to advance to the PSAC Final Four. They will face Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Saturday in the semi-final. I was covering the game for The Pocono Record and the above photo was published on Thursday.
Here are some additional photos from the game at Koehler Fieldhouse.
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.
This is one of my favorite times of the year.
The college football championship was just decided — Roll Tide! And now the NFL playoffs are in full swing with two wildcard games completed today. College basketball is in full swing and the NHL is playing, too. Isn’t this a great time of year?
Photographically I will be shooting some upcoming basketball games and this week I will be in Chincoteague, Virginia to do some bird photography.
I love this time of year!
Tonight I photographed the Pleasant Valley basketball game. They played a good game against Northampton. In the end they came up a little short, but it was fun to try to capture the action on the court.
Indoor photography can be tricky at best. Working without a flash I had to bump up the ISO. My Nikon f/2.8 70-200mm got exclusive use and performed beautifully. Fast lenses are a necessity in situations like this. I turned my white balance to florescent which seemed to work very well and render colors correctly.
The action was fast and furious at times. I positioned myself on the baseline, hoping for the action to come straight at me. It did!
I did learn a few things that I need to remember for the next game I shoot:
1. Remember to follow the players as they jump. Sometimes they jumped out of the frame!
2. Keep shooting after the play is over. Players reactions are sometimes very photographic.
3. Bring knee pads along. They will save my knees from becoming so sore.
Overall, this was a fun shoot. I can’t wait for the next tip-off! I hope to have some of these photos posted on my website soon. www.bobshankphotography.com