Boys bounce back, trounce Bears def
Following their tough loss to Easton on Friday, it was important for the Emmaus boys basketball team to respond after their second conference loss of the season with the upcoming portion of their schedule looming.
And the Hornets wasted little time in doing so.
Just a day later, the Hornets used a suffocating defensive effort in avenging that defeat with a dominating 67-40 victory over Boyertown at Emmaus High School.
"Defense was the word of the day today," said head coach Steve Yoder. "They live and die by the three. They have a lot of threes over 100 on the year. We completely shut them down."
"We like to say that defense leads to offense," said Nate Feiertag. "The other team can't beat us if they don't score. We like to get stops and push the ball to get threes and layups."
That Hornet defense which forced the Bears into eight first quarter turnovers and 21 for the game was evident from the opening tip. The Bears were held to just two points and made one of their 10 field goals in the first quarter as the Hornets (8-6 overall, 6-2 LVC) opened up an 18-2 lead after eight minutes.
The Hornets never trailed against the Bears and ballooned that lead to 25 at halftime.
"I said to the boys during the first timeout, 'That's a great example of what good defense does for you,'" said Yoder. "Because offensively we were out of sync for about two minutes, but our defense was spectacular. And then we just got our transition going and the flood gates opened."
Six quick points by Derek Tannous to start the second half increased the Hornets' lead even more. Tannous first hit a three-pointer from the left baseline on the team's opening possession, then responded with one from the right baseline the next trip down the floor. Gabe Shankweiler found Tannous in the corner on both occasions, and Emmaus solidified its dominance early and often.
"The season is a grind," said Yoder. "And any time you have a complete night like we did tonight it's hopefully a springboard to next week."
Feiertag and Joe Nicolini, who combined for 22 first half points, led the Hornet charge to open up that big lead. Feiertag continued his scoring spree in the second half and finished with a game-high 24 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field.
"He always gets his shots," said Yoder. "Tonight was a good example of him taking really good shots. If you give him shots like that he's going to have a big night."
"I always try to look to score," said Feiertag. "And if I don't have it I look for a teammate [and] try to get an assist."
Nicolini had 11 points and Tannous added nine for the Hornets.
The Hornets will next travel to Becahi (8-7, 2-6) on Thursday for a 7 p.m. tipoff before facing one of the Colonial League's top teams in Bangor (10-4, 8-2 Colonial League) on Saturday night.
Yoder's words were short and to the point, but he understands fully how important these next couple games are for his team.
"Big week coming up," he said.