Hornets return four starters
Even in somewhat of a rebuilding year last year, the Emmaus boys basketball team finished with a winning record (14-13 overall) and reached the District 11 Class 6A semifinals and the state tournament.
Now, looking into the 2018-19 season, the Green Hornets have plenty of key ingredients back to do even more damage and make an even deeper run this year.
Emmaus returns four starters and has added a transfer who started at his former school to form a group capable of competing for both league and district crowns this season.
“We made it to states last year and I think that was a huge accomplishment considering we have everybody back who played except for Josh [Artis],” said 11th-year head coach Steve Yoder. “We were really young last year, so we’re excited for what we have coming back this year.”
The Green Hornets will be led by a strong core of seniors, beginning with forwards Zach Sabol and Mark Swedberg, and guards Bryce Diehl and Cameron Brooks, who all started a majority of the games played last season. Sabol is the main cog, averaging 14.5 points per game and 13.6 rebounds per game. Swedberg excelled late in the year and had a breakout campaign during the summer league, showing his athleticism and scoring ability.
Diehl averaged 13.9 points per game and 4.3 rebounds last season, but could be limited by an early season injury. Brooks was the starting point guard last year and has been solid in leading the offense, averaging 6.4 points per game last season.
A key newcomer coming is senior guard Ethan Parvel, a transfer from Whitehall who quarterbacked the Hornet football team to a historic season. Parvel was a regular in the Zephyrs’ basketball lineup a season ago and will get plenty of minutes this season.
“This year I think we have a lot of experience, size and athleticism,” Yoder said. “We have four starters returning and a player in Ethan that started a lot of games at Whitehall, so we shouldn’t get rattled in big situations.”
Another newcomer of sorts that benefitted from playing extensive varsity minutes in the summer is sophomore guard Danny Bohman. Bohman started and ate up plenty of live action during the major summer tournaments and will surely be a part of the rotation come this winter.
Devon Boyko and Josh Moyer also return from last season and join newcomers in Mason Boyd, Ryan Todd, Demo Stephanidus, Stefan Rollins and Patrick Hunter that will be vying for time.
Emmaus is coming off a summer that saw it reach the finals of the Cedar Beach Summer League and both offseason tournament held at Cedar Beach. The Hornets took second place in all three.
“Our goals remain the same, we think we can compete for EPC’s, districts and the state tournament,” said Yoder. “If we stay healthy and have some luck, our expectations are to be in the hunt for a championship.”
Emmaus opens Friday against Southern Lehigh and begins league play Tuesday when it hosts Parkland. It will also compete in Orlando, Florida, in Disney World over Christmas break.