East Penn Press

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DON HERB/THE PRESS Nate Feiertag scored a game-high 22 points to help Emmaus past Becahi and into the district field. DON HERB/THE PRESS Nate Feiertag scored a game-high 22 points to help Emmaus past Becahi and into the district field.

Boys clinch berth in district field

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 by TODD KRESS Special to the Press in HS Sports

The opportunity to secure a postseason birth in the District 11 4A boys basketball tournament was at stake for the Emmaus boys basketball team during last week's game against Bethlehem Catholic.

With that on their mind, and an opportunity to respond to a tough loss to Liberty two days earlier, the Hornets dismissed the Hawks on Thursday night, 66-52, at Bethlehem Catholic High School.

"We're eager to get into the postseason," said Nate Feiertag. "With this win we're now eligible for districts. We want to keep our season alive."

"I think Liberty gave us more confidence," said head coach Steve Yoder. "We played the pre-season number one and we took them to the wire. We were disappointed that we lost, but truth is I think the kids felt good coming into tonight."

The Hornets (9-8 overall, 7-3 in LVC) could be seen as a team with a short memory when it comes to previous losses. They haven't let losses keep them down, as was seen with a dominating victory over Boyertown a day after losing a tough one to Easton in mid-January. That was evident against the Hawks on the road as well.

"We haven't been a spectacular team away from The Hive," said Yoder. "So any road win is great. We qualified for districts tonight which is really significant. It wasn't the prettiest game, but any road win is a good win."

Led by a game-high 22 points from Feiertag, the Hornets built a nine-point advantage after the first quarter. He started off the game hitting a three on the Hornets' first possession and tallied 11 points in the opening eight minutes.

"It's always nice," said Feiertag. "It really relieves the pressure on us to know that we have a lead and we can play at our pace."

That lead then ballooned into double digits in the second quarter, and while the Hawks (8-10, 2-8) cut it to seven on a number of occasions, the Hornets were never severely threatened. Every time the Hawks seemed poised to regain momentum and cut that deficit even more, the Hornets responded with a clutch hoop or key stop on defense.

Dan Brndjar scored 13 for the Hornets, while Joe Nicolini added 12 points and eight rebounds on the night.

The Hornets sought to once again overcome a tough loss, this time to Bangor on Saturday night, when they took on Freedom Tuesday night.

They'll next face Allen on the road on Friday night. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.