East Penn Press

Saturday, February 24, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY LINDA ROTHROCKEmmaus senior Chris Smith (3) and his teammates are battling to keep Emmaus in contention for a district playoff berth. PRESS PHOTO BY LINDA ROTHROCKEmmaus senior Chris Smith (3) and his teammates are battling to keep Emmaus in contention for a district playoff berth.

Boys need six more wins for D-11 berth

Friday, January 19, 2018 by Mike Haines mhaines@tnonline.com in Sports

For the Emmaus boys basketball team, the rest of the season is all about getting to 11. That’s the number of wins the Hornets will need to reach the district playoffs. And the road to 11 got a bit more difficult over the past couple weeks.

Emmaus head coach Steve Yoder knew this year’s team would have some inexperienced players taking key roles. He didn’t think it would be as many as he’s needed at this point in the season.

With junior center Zach Sabol sidelined for 3-6 weeks with an ankle injury and senior Bryce Deihl at home with a fever, the Hornets went to East Stroudsburg South last Friday night and started a line up that featured just one player that got significant varsity playing time last season.

The Hornets were stunned by the Cavaliers (12-1 overall, 6-1 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference). Emmaus fell behind 43-15 at halftime en route to a 65-44 loss.

“In my 10 years at Emmaus I can’t remember a half like that,” said Yoder. “You go in with a strategy and when you get behind you have to get away from that. We had a strategy and we felt good about it and we owned it as a team. But we couldn’t score.

“We got down 8-1 and we started pressing offensively. And then defensively we had to start doing things we didn’t want to do.”

While the Cavaliers were playing to clinch a district playoff berth, the Hornets were hoping to hold them off without their top two scorers in Diehl and Sabol.

“Obviously that changes how we look a little bit but we’re not making excuses,” said Yoder. “There’s a silver lining in that a lot of kids got a lot of minutes and that’s going to make us a little deeper when we get our horses back. We’re getting there where we have to make sure we take care of business and get to 11.”

Austin Boyd led Emmaus with 10 points against the Cavaliers. Danny Bohman had eight points.

Diehl should be back this week. Sabol could return either in the final week of the season or during the playoffs.

The Hornets (5-6; 2-5) need six more wins to clinch a .500 record and earn a district playoff berth. They have upcoming games against Palisades (Thursday), Pleasant Valley (Friday), Nazareth (Tuesday, Jan. 23) and Dieruff (Jan. 25).

“We’re going to be in a tough spot, but a wounded animal can be a dangerous animal,” said Yoder. “We’re hoping we can get our horses back, get to 100 percent and see what happens.”

While the team would certainly rather have it’s full complement of players at this point in the season, Yoder is using the adversity as a learning tool for his team.

“It’s fair because it’s life,” he said. “We’re not healthy right now. There’s going to be times in life when other things don’t go our way. It’s fair. As a competitor I’m sure everyone in the locker room would love another chance to play [East Stroudsburg South] again with all our guys. If we get to 11 [wins] that might happen.”