Hornets fall to Parkland
For two-and-a-half quarters it looked as if the Emmaus boys basketball team was not only going to defeat rival Parkland, but it also seemed the Hornets would get a victory rather easily in front of a rowdy, sold out crowd in the Hive.
The script was set for the Hornets to receive an early Christmas present, but then the Trojans came back from down 16 points to win the early season Eastern Pennsylvania Conference game 50-47 last Tuesday, Dec. 19 at Emmaus High School.
Parkland (3-3 overall, 1-2 EPC) seniors Michael Ruisch and Jake Bartholomew and junior Logan Rindock each scored in double-figures and combined to score 39 of the team’s 50 points. The trio was a big part of a second-half comeback that Emmaus (2-3, 1-3) just could not stop.
The Trojans scored the first basket of the game, a 3-pointer by Ruisch, to take the lead right out of the gate. It was one-of-four 3-pointers on the night for Ruisch, who finished with a team-high 14 points to go along with seven rebounds.
But outside of a Bartholomew (12 points) jumper, Parkland could not find any rhythm over the first eight minutes. The Trojans shot 2-for-13 from the field and 0-for-2 at the free-throw line and headed into the second quarter trailing 14-5.
An 8-0 run by Emmaus to open the second period brought the Hornet lead to 22-6 before Parkland head coach Andy Stephens called a timeout. Parkland was down 24-10 at halftime and faced a double-figure deficit until the middle of the third quarter. Behind 33-20, the Trojans closed the margin to 35-29 in heading into the fourth quarter.
Emmaus was led early by junior big man Zach Sabol, who led all scorers with 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds. He was a force inside the paint during the first half. Parkland used more than one defender any time Sabol got a touch down low, and held him to just six points in the second half.
“He has shown a 100 percent improvement in his ability to finish and make decisions quickly,” said head coach Steve Yoder. “He is really growing up quickly and becoming reliable on both ends of the floor.”
The Trojans continued their run into the fourth quarter, and got their deficit down to just 35-33 in the first two minutes. After the teams traded baskets for a couple of possessions, Ruisch tied the game with a 3-pointer, and it was 41-41 midway through.
With the scored even at 45-45, Parkland took its first lead since the opening basket on a Rindock layup. When Josh Artis tied it back up with a jumper, Rindock and Bartholomew combined to go 3-of-4 from the free-throw line in the final minute to hold a 50-47 lead.
A turnover by the Green Hornets on the other end with eight seconds remaining, sealed the victory.
“We definitely got fatigued and loose on defense in the second half,” Yoder said. “I needed to do a better job of seeing that and adjusting to defensive changes by our opponents.”
It was a tough loss for a young team, but it is better Yoder expects his team to learn from the experience.
“I told them to be patient, continue to learn from every game, and use moments like this to grow as a team,” said Yoder. “The more we play the more we will learn about how to win and finish.”
Bryce Diehl finished with 15 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets.
Emmaus will return to the court this weekend in the Allen High School Holiday Tournament where it will take on the Canaries and Springfield.