Twenty-nine years of teaching at the same school isn't uncommon, but 29 years of coaching the same sport is.
Boiling Springs' 29th-year head boys basketball coach Pat Dieter earned his 400th career coaching win as the Bubblers beat host East Pennsboro, 46-33, on Tuesday night.
"Our kids played hard, and they executed what we wanted to do on defense," said Dieter, who was downplaying the milestone victory. "Matt Aikey is a very good player and we basically had one day to prepare for him. We can't practice against that size so we showed the kids how he is going to run around out here. They responded and we were able to body him and front him and face him one on one. We knew we needed to control him and make someone else beat us. We have played from behind a lot this year, but I was pleased with how our kids responded with the lead. We got out of our offense a bit in the final quarter but we did well after a time out."
East Pennsboro jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind senior big Aikey as he scored twice on putbacks. The Bubblers responded to tie the game at 4 points apiece, but Ben Barlet canned a trey for the Panthers to put them back in front.
Matt Gelber scored for the Bubblers, but the home team scored twice on buckets by Aikey and A.J. Wilson to take an 11-6 advantage midway through the opening quarter.
Boiling Springs (5-7, 3-3 Colonial) ran off 16 straight points to take a 22-11 lead behind the shooting of Jeff Rogers. The senior captain for the Bubblers canned three treys on consecutive trips down the floor and to cap the 16-point run, Dylan Randall and Matt Gelber scored between the 3-point showcase.
"Give them credit for making the plays," Panthers coach Tim Bean said. "That streak of threes was basically the difference in the game. With the lead it forced us to play from behind. It was not a good offensive showing for us. Coach Dieter is a great guy, you won't find any better. I just wish his win wouldn't have been against us."
The Bubblers were able to maintain the lead throughout the game. East Pennsboro cut the lead to four, at 28-24 in the third quarter, but Rogers hit a short jumper in the lane and Gelber added a foul shot to stretch the Bubblers' lead to seven after three periods.
"Our defense was solid tonight," Dieter said. "They battled Aikey tonight and did a good job of fronting him and not allowing him to control the game."
Aikey fouled out in the final minute with nine points,a season low.
The Bubblers' big men, Jared Bliss, Dylan Randall and Eric Contreras as well as the Gelbers, Matt and Sam, spent the night fronting and forcing Aikey to give up the ball. They also challenged his shots, and Contreras contributed four blocked shots. The Panthers shot 7 of 30 in the opening half, with the majority of shots coming from within eight feet of the basket. Contreras added 11 rebounds for the Bubblers.
In the final quarter, the Panthers were forced to foul in an attempt to get back into the game. The Bubblers hit 10 of 12 foul shots in the final quarter. Contreras hit 3 of 5, Randall hit both of his shots while freshman Austin Pittenger hit 3 of 4 while handling the ball throughout the game.
Boiling Springs spread the floor over the final two minutes and did a good job of handling the ball and forcing the Panthers to chase the ball.
"This was a huge win for us: No. 400 for coach and No. 5 for our team," Rogers said. "This was a great team win - everybody contributed on defense and on offense. Austin has a lot of heart and has some guts for a freshman. "
Rogers led the team with 16 points.
"I felt our kids were a bit nervous before the game, so I told them I know they can read the papers, but No. 400 will come at some point this season, but I am more worried about No. 5 (win on the season) now," Dieter said. "This means more to me because of the number of people who took the time this week to contact me. It brought back a lot of memories about each team and the players and coaches that have been involved. They have won the games, I haven't. I don't try to hold any victory as more significant that others. We have had some big wins in the playoffs and so forth. It just means I have been around too long. I have been very fortunate over the years."
Boiling Springs hosts West Perry Friday night while the Panthers travel to Camp Hill Friday night.