Hornets get revenge on Parkland
It's been a while since the Emmaus boys basketball team has beaten Parkland.
The Trojans snapped a couple of winning streaks for the Green Hornets last year, winning three games during the 2011-12 high school season. This summer they were 56-49 winners over Emmaus in a Stellar Summer League Game. The Green Hornets were even unlucky enough to face a hot Parkland JV team in the Stellar "Catch A Rising Star" Showcase and lose that one.
There was a bitter taste in the mouths of these players and when they clinched a playoff spot on the last night of summer league play by defeating Allen, Emmaus had to be pleased to get a shot at Parkland in the first round.
Nate Feiertag went off for 18 points, and the Green Hornets finally got some revenge on the rival Trojans in a meaningful game, winning the teams' quarterfinal matchup 53-48 in overtime last Thursday night at Cedar Beach in Allentown. The win earned the Hornets a shot at top-seeded Central Catholic in Monday night's semifinals.
"It's a big relief," a delighted Feiertag said. "We've been losing to them a lot lately. We didn't think it was a hoax or anything, we knew we could beat them. Tonight we just played harder and wanted this so much more."
A sloppy first half saw both teams turn the ball over and no one seemed to get into a grove offensively. Gabe Shankweiler tacked on six of his 10 points in that half, backing down Trojan defenders in the post.
Emmaus shot 38 percent from the field in the first half, but took its first lead of the game on two Dan Brndjar free throws, going up 25-24 at halftime.
Even with the struggles shooting the ball, the Green Hornet defense stepped up big time. They held a potent Trojans offense in check. Parkland's big two of Austin Beidelman and Justin Zajko was held to just 11 combined points in the second half.
"They have beaten us before and have had big games against us," said Feiertag. "We knew we had to step up and lock them down to have a chance of winning."
Down 44-34 with under three minutes remaining, the Emmaus offense finally broke out of its slumber.
Along with Fiertag and Shankweiler, Kane McGovern and Joey Nicolini powered a 10-0 run to force the game into overtime. The Green Hornets then made 7-of-9 from the charity stripe to put the game to bed. They also held Parkland to 1-for-5 shooting in the overtime period.
"We had to make a run, we had no other choice," said Fiertag. "We didn't want to lose again. It was a big moment in the game, and we just had to step up, which we did."
The monkey is now off their back and the Hornets are playing good basketball at the right time, towards the end of the summer basketball season. They will now set their sights on winning two more games to bring home a title.
"It's going to be another tough game," Fiertag said, referring to the semifinal against Central. "We have to play hard again and play to win. Team defense is going to be key to shut down their big man [Jean Lee Baez]."
In Monday night's semifinal, the Vikings got the best of the Hornets, winning 47-41 to advance to Tuesday's final against Dieruff.