Hornets take second at A-town Throwdown
The Emmaus boys basketball team may get tired of hearing the word runner-up this summer. but the Hornets can still take solace in the fact that they’ve played well against many quality teams this summer.
Two weeks after finishing in second place at the Cedar Beach Bash, the Hornets rode a six-game win streak into the final of the 11th annual A-town Throwdown. But once again, a team from out of the area got the better of them to take home the championship.
In both tournaments, Emmaus had multi-game win streaks, defeating District 11 foes and teams from outside of the Lehigh Valley. Emmaus fell to Berks Catholic two weeks ago and then to Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter of Philadelphia 62-59 this past weekend and showed it could be the team to beat this winter.
“We’ve played 14 games in these tournaments, and there’s nothing but positives to take away,” said hornet head coach Steve Yoder. “I’m exhausted so I can only imagine how the kids feel. They’re a little bit bummed out because they think they left one out there they should have won. But overall, I’m hoping this makes them understand the fine line between winning and losing.”
Just like when it faced Berks Catholic back on June 24, Emmaus held a lead and played with a state power, but came up just short in the end against Sankofa.
The four-day event consists of pool play, featuring four teams in each pool that play each other once for a total of three games. The Hornets won all three of their group games, defeating Central Dauphin East 66-27 on Thursday, and Saucon Valley 50-25 and Bensalem 46-27 on Saturday to qualify for the Sunday playoffs.
Breakout summer star Mark Swedberg led the team in scoring in two of the games, scoring 19 against Saucon Valley and 16 versus Bensalem. Bryce Diehl tallied a game-high 18 points against CD East.
On Sunday, Emmaus had two double-digit victories. First it beat New Brunswick 55-27 in the first round, led by 17 each from Diehl and Swedberg. Then the Green Hornets took down rival Parkland 47-22 in the quarterfinals, as Zach Sabol and Swedberg each chipped in 12 points.
In the semifinals, Emmaus held on for a 42-37 win over past state champ Constitution. Sabol and Diehl both had 12.
In the final, the Hornets were ahead 26-15, but allowed nine straight points just before half as they took a 26-24 advantage into halftime. After Sankofa took the lead in the second half, Emmaus went back in front and were up by as much as six, 50-44. It even led 57-54 with one minute to go, but were unable to hold on.
“Playing four games in a day takes a toll on you and I think it took a toll on us at the wrong time,” the senior Sabol said. “They have great players and they’re a physical team, so that made it hard for us. Hopefully this will help prepare us for the upcoming season.”
Swedberg was named the Beast of the Tournament, and Diehl and Sabol were both named to the Most Awesome Team.
Emmaus will look to bring home a title this summer when Lehigh Valley summer league playoffs come around in the next few weeks.