Hornets handle Parkland, 63-50
The Emmaus boys basketball team has had trouble knocking off Parkland over the course of the last five-plus years.
But the Green Hornets had a fast start to the game and never looked back, opening up a 16-2 lead in the first quarter on their way to a 63-50 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference victory over the Trojans last Tuesday night at Emmaus High School, just their first victory over Parkland in more than two years.
It was a packed house inside of the Emmaus High School gymnasium, and the week-one regular season game had a playoff-like atmosphere with two perennial District 11 contenders and rivals.
“This is one of the last times we’ll play Parkland and it’s always special to play them,” senior Zach Sabol said about himself and his eight senior classmates who all see regular time on the court. “It’s a great rivalry, and one we always want to win.”
It was a special win for the Hornets (3-0 overall, 2-0 EPC), who lost to Parkland last year on their home floor after holding a double-digit lead.
“It was in the back of our minds what happened last year,” Sabol said. “There’s always some bad blood playing Parkland. We haven’t beaten them at home in five years so it’s nice to finally get a win for the Hive.”
“It’s always hard to come into this gym and win,” said Parkland head coach Andy Stephens, who once coached the Hornets. “They always play us tough, and we always get up for this game. It’s just a great rivalry in high school sports and they got the better of us tonight.”
Emmaus scored 16 of the first 18 points last Tuesday, but Parkland scored the final five points of the first quarter and outscored Emmaus 11-4 to start the second quarter, cutting its deficit to 20-18 with 2:50 left in the half.
Sabol did his part, recording a game-high 17 points along with 18 rebounds. Classmates Mark Swedberg and Ethan Parvel both added 14 points, claiming eight and five rebounds respectively.
“You win these games with seniors,” Emmaus head coach Steve Yoder said. “They understand it and came out with a lot of energy, but knew that Parkland would make a run and they’d have to respond.”
Parkland was down just 28-23 at halftime, but the Green Hornets once again stepped up and went on a run to open the third quarter. They went on a 14-1 run in a quick span to take a comfortable lead and then hold on in the end.
Senior Bryce Diehl contributed eight points and fellow senior Devon Boyko tallied seven for Emmaus.
Jared Kucharczuk sparked the Trojans with 14 points, including 12 in the second half. Jake Melady was also in double-figures with 10. Gabe Khalife had eight points and Adam Klinger tallied six in the defeat.
Parkland (3-2, 1-1) was playing without its leading returning scorer Logan Rindock, who was injured in its opening tournament at Notre Dame Green Pond.
After taking down Northampton last Friday, Emmaus hosted Nazareth (Tuesday) and will face Central Catholic (Friday) before heading into the Christmas break.
They also square off with perennial power Abington Heights on Saturday evening at Muhlenberg College in a jam-packed week of action.