EHS boys ‘stick together’
Every team wants to play its best basketball toward the end of the regular season and into the postseason. Teams with momentum often make runs at championships.
That is just what the Emmaus boys basketball team is experiencing in the month of February. After a 68-42 thrashing over Easton in the District 11 Class 6A quarterfinal round last Saturday afternoon at Allen High School’s Sewards Gymnasium, the Hornets (14-10 overall) are surging at the right time. They are 5-1 this month, including riding a five-game winning streak. Emmaus has not lost since a setback to Central Catholic on February 2.
“This is an example of what can happen when you stick together,” head coach Steve Yoder said. “We faced a lot of adversity throughout the year with different things. But we never play the victim and we find the positives in the challenges. Maybe we’re peaking at the right time. That was the best game we played all year and what a great time to play that way.”
It was a complete game on both ends of the floor.
The Hornets’ 68 points is the most it has scored this season since January 18, and the second-highest output of the year. Emmaus shot 57 percent from the floor (26-for-45), and had four players score at least nine points, three of which were in double-figures. Defensively, the Hornets held the Red Rovers (14-10) to just 29 percent from the field (16 of 56) including just 14 percent (3 of 21) from beyond the arc.
“It was definitely a good team performance,” said junior guard Bryce Diehl. “Mark [Swedberg] stepped up. Zach [Sabol] played amazing. Cameron [Brooks] was doing everything. Then, we played really well on defense and we played together as a team.”
The Hornets’ Devon Boyko guarded the Rovers’ Ryan Boylan, Easton’s leading scorer, and held him scoreless in the contest.
Those five players seemingly did it all for Emmaus. Diehl finished with a game-high 18 points, followed by Sabol with 17 points and 18 rebounds, on the same floor where he picked up an injury during a holiday tournament against Allen, which forced him to miss a few games this season. Swedberg poured in a season-high 16 points, and Brooks added nine.
The Hornets led from the opening tip, took an early 12-4 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Emmaus went up by double-digits, 25-14, in the second quarter, but led just 26-21 at halftime. However, in the third quarter, the Hornets limited Easton to just six points and pushed their lead to 42-27 after three.
After having to qualify for districts on the final week of the regular season, Emmaus is in the District 11 Class 6A semifinals for the second straight season. It will play three seed Northampton, a team which it split its two games with this season, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Allen High School.
“Four of the last five years, we’ve made states,” Yoder said. “In this (district), that’s quite an accomplishment that the coaching staff and the boys should be proud of because we’ve had a lot of changing parts in that time. We seem to be a pretty consistent program right now. That makes me really proud and makes me really happy for the boys and the coaches.”
Josh Artis chipped in six points for Emmaus.
The Hornets got to the district quarterfinals with a win over Pleasant Valley in the opening round.
The No. 7 seed, Emmaus beat the No. 10 Bears 63-48 to earn their matchup against No. 2 Easton.
Diehl scoreed a team-high 14 poiunts to lead four Emmaus players in double digits as Brooks added 12 points, Sabol scored 11 and Swedberg chipped in with 10 points.