Boys top Spartans in opener
Heading into the 2018-19 season, the Emmaus boys basketball team has plenty of positive hype and energy surrounding the program. It had won two District 11 Class 6A playoff games last year and advanced to the state tournament. The Hornets also had a successful summer season.
With four starters returning and a transfer that started a majority of games for Whitehall last year joining the fray, expectations were high for Emmaus.
The Green Hornets opened the season last Friday with a win over perennial Colonial League powerhouse Southern Lehigh, 61-40 in a nonleague game at Emmaus High School.
It took some time for both teams to adjust to live, competitive game action again.
Led by senior Zach Sabol, the Hornets’ returning leading scorer, Emmaus outscored the Spartans 30-14 in the second and third quarters to take control of the game. Sabol recorded a double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds to go with his 18 points. He paced the offense in the first quarter by scoring eight points as Emmaus led 14-10 after the opening quarter.
“Our teammates all put each other in good positions on the court to score,” said Sabol. “They were all great today. Even with it being the first game, we came in prepared, listened to the message our coaches were giving and executed the game plan.”
Senior Mark Swedberg, who made an impact at the end of last season and continued to play well through the summer season, entered Friday’s game in the second quarter and gave his team a spark and some energy off the bench. He tallied eight of his career-high 17 points in that quarter to help stake his team build it’s lead to 33-21.
Emmaus was also helped by senior Ethan Parvel, who transferred from Whitehall and played with the team over the summer. Parvel finished with 12 points, including eight in the first half and the first five of the game for his new team.
Sabol, Swedberg, Parvel, and then other major contributors including Bryce Diehl, Cameron Brooks, Devon Boyko and Josh Moyer are all seniors leading an experienced Emmaus group.
“I think our experience really helps,” Sabol said. “A lot of guys on this team have played in a lot of big games. We still have a whole year to mature, which is only going to help us in the long run.”
The game was really decided in the third quarter when the Green Hornets outscored the Spartans 11-3, allowing just one field goal during the eight-minute stanza. They led 44-24 heading into the final quarter and were able to hang on for the victory.
“They’re a great shooting team, so to be able to limit them to just one made shot was huge,” said Sabol. “There’s still some things we can work on, but overall our defense showed up.”
Emmaus has its first road game of the young season this Friday night when it travels to Northampton, a team that it lost to in districts last year.