LOYSBURG - Kyler Diehl's size and strength inside gave a lot of teams matchup problems this season. The 6-foot-5 Northern Bedford forward proved particularly troublesome for Windber Friday.
Diehl dropped 30 points on the Ramblers to help Northern Bedford defeat Windber, 67-51, in the District 5 Class AA semifinals.
"Diehl's 30 was obviously big. They had no answer for Kyler," Northern coach Jason Free said. "Jacob Dasher had a big night for us too, scoring in double digits along with Zane Snyder and Blake Over."
Dasher had 12 points and Snyder scored 11. Over put up a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Snyder and Over dished out seven and six assists, respectively, feeding Diehl down low for one bucket after another.
"They always seem to know exactly when to get the ball to me. Sometimes they make passes I don't think are coming my way so I always have to be ready," Diehl said.
The Black Panthers play Conemaugh Township at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center in a rematch of last year's district title tilt. Conemaugh Township pounded Northern, 75-29, in that game.
"Last year's romping is enough motivation," Free said.
Northern jumped on the Ramblers early, building an 18-8 lead at the end of one quarter. Windber caught fire from behind the arc in the second quarter, however. The Tomlinson brothers, Devon and Dan, knocked down a combined five 3-pointers that helped give Windber a 31-29 lead at halftime.
"We started trying to match them 3 for 3," Free said. "We had a real heart-to-heart talk at halftime. We played much better defense and did a nice job getting the ball to our big guys and attacking the rim in the second half."
Windber's Matt Barkley hit a 3-pointer early in the third quarter that gave the Ramblers a 36-31 lead, but Northern erased that in a matter of seconds.
Snyder sank a jump shot from the baseline, and Barkley was called for a foul on the play. The basket counted, and Northern retained possession of the ball. Snyder quickly fed the inbounds pass to Diehl in the paint for what turned out to be a 3-point play that tied the game.
After the two teams traded buckets, Diehl scored eight straight points, putting in three layups, two of which Snyder assisted on, and converting a pair of free throws.
Snyder closed out the third with a jump shot from the elbow that put Northern ahead ,50-41, heading to the final quarter.
Windber clawed back to within five before the Black Panthers put the game away with a series of points in the paint. Dasher, Over and Diehl all had baskets down low to extend the Northern lead and seal the win.
"We did a better job taking advantage of our size. We played our game and took them out of theirs," Diehl said.
After hitting five 3's in the second quarter, Windber made just three treys in the second half.
"They're a big time 3-point shooting team," Free said. "Once they got down, they got desperate. They were making one pass and shooting. Unless you're hitting them, that's a killer every time."
WINDBER (51): De. Tomlinson 5 0-0 15, Da. Tomlinson 3 1-1 9, Barkley 4 0-0 9, Spak 4 2-4 10, Pipon 2 2-3 6, Comisky 0 0-0 0, Tingatore 0 0-0 0, Leonardis 0 0-0 0, Walker 0 0-0 0. Totals - 18 7-10 51.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (67): Ebersole 1 0-0 2, Snyder 4 2-2 11, Over 5 1-2 12, Diehl 10 10-13, Dasher 6 0-0 12, Oswalt 0 0-0 0, Cherry 0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 0 0-0 0, Petrou 0 0-0 0, Foor 0 0-0 0. Totals - 26 13-18 67.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Windber 8 23 10 10 - 51
Northern Bedford18 11 21 17 - 67
3-point goals: Windber 8 (De. Tomlinson 5, Da. Tomlinson 2, Barkley); Northern Bedford 2 (Snyder, Over).
Records: Windber (19-5); Northern Bedford (19-5).