East Penn Press

Friday, July 20, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBKelsey Gallagher made her Hornet head coaching debut Saturday against Wilson-West Lawn. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_ PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBKelsey Gallagher made her Hornet head coaching debut Saturday against Wilson-West Lawn. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Emmaus' Leah Tannous drives to the basket during Saturday's game. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_ PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Emmaus' Leah Tannous drives to the basket during Saturday's game. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_

Girls fall to Wilson-WL

Friday, December 15, 2017 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

As the new coach of the Emmaus girls basketball team, Kelsey Gallagher brought an up-tempo offense and a man-to-man defense to the team. While the changes have been difficult to adapt to, the players have bought into the system and have already come a long way since Gallagher’s arrival.

In their season opener, Emmaus (0-0 EPC, 0-1 overall) took on Wilson-West Lawn and put together a tough performance that saw them fall behind by as many as 15 points before mounting a late rally that came up short in a 43-37 loss.

Emmaus trailed by just one at halftime, but with seniors Bri Hart and CC Wippel in foul trouble, Wilson was able to outscore Emmaus 11-4 in the quarter. At that point, Gallagher was relying on freshmen and sophomores who haven’t had a chance to adapt to playing varsity basketball.

Hart and Wippel both finished the game with nine points to lead Emmaus. Wilson’s Kaya Burkhart led all scorers with 11 points in the game.

“I just told them, ‘no need to hang our heads, it’s game one. One thing no one can take away from you is that you played until that buzzer sounded,’” said Gallagher. “Wilson thought that they had this game in the bag and they pulled their starters, then he had to put them back in with 50 seconds to go because we cut it down. They come in and work hard and do what I ask and I expected that it would be no different in a game situation.”

Wilson built on its eight-point lead through three quarters to take a 42-27 lead. From there, Emmaus mounted a rally with Kathryn DeJohn picking up all five of her points and Maliah Fraction scoring four of her six points down the stretch to close the gap.

The Hornets got as close as five points, but ran out of time to finish the comeback.

Both teams turned the ball over 20 times, which is something that Gallagher has worked with her team to improve on since she took over the reins.

“That’s something that we’ve struggled with since the summer and it’s something that we’ve been working on,” said Gallagher. “Believe it or not, the number of turnovers is down from the games in the summer and the fall, so the best thing that we can do is learn from it and keep getting better, keep minimizing that number and go from there.”

The intricate defensive schemes that are new for this season are also somewhat of a work in progress. Basically, anything that Emmaus did defensively over the past few seasons is out the window, so there has been a lot of learning for players to make the defense work properly. Gallagher admits that they’re not where they want to be, but she’s pleased with how her players are picking things up and with the progress they’ve made.

“Overall, I was pretty happy,” said Gallagher. “It’s brand new and it’s tough for even college kids to run it, so it’s going to take some time. It’s a learning experience for us and for them, so for the most part, it looked good. We had a couple lapses, but you’ll find that in regular man-to-man or zone. For the most part, we did it really well. We communicated and did all the little things right, so it’s just more the mechanical and cutting down people from beating us to the basket.”

Emmaus has a difficult run of games coming up as the Hornets travel to Parkland (0-0, 0-1) Wednesday evening and then host Northampton (0-0, 2-0) Friday.