Hornets reach Beach Bash final
Rising senior Mark Swedberg was not a known commodity outside of the Emmaus boys basketball community last year.
But the Lehigh Valley knows his name now.
The 6-foot-2 forward scored one of the largest point total in the main Cedar Beach tournament history last Saturday, notching 43 points. In doing so he helped his team to a victory over previously unbeaten Glens Falls (New York) and a high-scoring, Division I recruit Joe Girard III, who finished with 40.
The Green Hornets had contributions from plenty of others in reaching the championship game of the four-day, 40-team, double-elimination style Bash at the Beach tournament last weekend. Emmaus won its first six games before falling in the final, 54-48 to two-time champion Berks Catholic on Sunday night.
The Saints looked like they were going to run away with their second straight title, leading the Green Hornets 22-9 in the first half. But Emmaus rallied to pull within 46-44 with five minutes remaining. Berks connected on a big three-pointer and then buckled down on defense to prevent the Hornets’ comeback attempt. Another Division I recruit, Casey Jack, won a second consecutive MVP for Berks.
“We probably had four or five straight possessions where the ball literally went in-and-out on us when it was a one-possession game,” Emmaus head coach Steve Yoder said. “But in my 10 years at Emmaus, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a team that grew more in a span of three days the way that this team did.
“We’re a lot better basketball team now than we were on Thursday night. Mark [Swedberg] did really great and Ethan [Parvel] really got settled in and it was a good weekend for a lot of guys. Hopefully, we can keep it going in the summer league and the A-Town Throwdown in two weeks and get some momentum going into the fall.”
Earlier that day, Emmaus defeated Central Catholic 49-29 behind 17 points from fellow senior Bryce Diehl. In the semifinals, the Green Hornets took down undefeated Freedom 52-41. Swedberg had a game-high 27.
Outside of one of the best tournament performances in program history, the highlight of the weekend was the double-digit victory over Glens Falls. Swedberg had never scored 43 in a varsity game, or at any level he said. It’s a game he’ll never forget.
“It felt great, obviously,” said Swedberg. “Honestly, it was our teamwork. The defense was there the whole game. We had great help defense and that forced the turnovers that led to our offense at the other end of the court.”
“Mark was the best player on the court,” said Yoder. “It was fun to watch.”
The 82-70 win was one of the highest scoring totals in tournament history. It also gave the Hornets plenty of confidence and momentum in reaching their yearly goal of playing on the final day, Sunday.
Emmaus won its first game of the day on Saturday against Stroudsburg 54-31. The Hornets were victorious over Exeter 63-45 on Friday, as senior Zach Sabol tallied a game-high 16 points. And in their first game of the tournament on Thursday evening, they won by double-digits, 68-43 over Phoenixville. Sabol had 16 points in that game, leading a group of four to score in double-figures. Diehl had 12. Swedberg contributed 11 and sophomore Danny Bohman added 10.
“We’ve won 10 of the last 11 [games] this summer,” said Yoder. “The one loss was to Central [Catholic], a team that made the final six of this tournament. So, I think the kids have played really well, and we’re excited to get back out on the court.”
Swedberg made the All-Tournament First Team and Diehl was named to the Second Team.
The Hornets resumed Cedar Beach Summer League play Tuesday against Liberty. They face Dieruff on Thursday then have four games left before the summer playoffs begin on July 24.