Boys fall in district consolation game
It’s not as if Emmaus had no incentive to win Monday night’s District 11 Class 6A boys basketball consolation game. Third place was on the line when the Hornets faced Pocono Mountain West at Easton Middle School.
But the Hornets’ future was already determined. Both Emmaus and West already clinched spots in the state tournament.
And neither team was fighting for a district championship. Emmaus head coach Steve Yoder believes that may have had a bit to do with his team’s performance on Monday.
No. 5 seed Pocono Mountain West raced out to a 19-9 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. The Panthers went up by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter to down No. 7 Emmaus, 58-45.
“Consolation games can be a little bit tricky,” Yoder said. “You know you’re in states, and you know you’re not playing in the big game that follows. We’re all human. I’m going to chalk it up to that. We seemed a little disinterested tonight form the start.
“Call me foolish, but I think we’re going to play well in states. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. And we’re not done yet. We have more games left, hopefully multiple games.”
The Hornets scored the game’s first two buckets, and the Panthers failed to score until the 3:41 mark of the opening quarter. But once they did, the offense couldn’t be stopped.
A 3-pointer from Eddie Germosan at the buzzer gave Pocono Mountain West that 10-point lead after eight minutes. Emmaus’ offense suddenly looked stagnant.
“I remember standing in this locker room at this time last year when we had one heck of a team, and we were the fourth seed as well,” said Yoder. “I reminded them that history sometimes repeats itself, and we had a lot of fun in states. And wouldn’t you know it that we’re playing in the same exact gym that we played our opening round of states last year.”
Emmaus got within 23-19 at halftime, but Pocono Mountain West came out of the break on a mission. The Panthers went on an 8-2 run to push their lead back to double digits on a drive from Travis Elmore (game-high 22 points).
Elmore later gave the Panthers their biggest lead of the game with a 3-pointer from the right corner midway through the final period. And while the Pocono Mountain West offense looked sharp for most of the game, the Hornets’ biggest issue was dealing with the Panthers’ pressure on defense.
“We’re 25 games in,” Yoder said. “We’ve had games where we’ve had some trouble with pressure, but I was a little surprised. That’s tough for us.”
Still, the Hornets have at least one more game left to play. And Yoder is banking on a better performance the next time Emmaus takes the court. The Hornets face District 1’s Central Bucks West at Council Rock High School on Saturday at 4 p.m.
“These kids got a good taste of states the last couple of years,” Yoder said. “Some of them participating and some of them watching. When you’re a little kid, that’s what you lace it up for. I want to play for Emmaus and I want to play in states.”