Hornets suffer first league loss
The Emmaus boys basketball team had slow starts to both the first and fourth quarters in Saturday’s match up against Bethlehem Catholic. The Hornets were unable to overcome the deficits and dropped the highly-anticipated showdown between two of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference’s top teams. The host Hawks came away with an 80-67 win.
The Green Hornets (9-2, 5-1) scored the game’s opening basket, but then Becahi answered with 15 straight points.
“We want to dictate the game to our opponent,” said first-year Becahi head coach Scott McClary. “Tonight our pressure defense sped them up and our fastbreak pace on offense got the game where we wanted it to be.”
Emmaus fought back and cut its deficit to 52-49 midway through the third quarter. The Hornets trailed 58-52 after three quarters. But Becahi (8-2 overall, 5-1 EPC) went on a 14-0 run to open the final quarter and held the Emmaus scoreless for the first four minutes of the final period.
“The beginning of the fourth quarter was our demise,” said Emmaus head coach Steve Yoder. “It’s our ball. It’s a six-point game and we didn’t execute. I think all of that fighting to get back into the game kind of caught up to us. We had a shorter bench tonight so that didn’t help. And they’re just a really talented team.”
Four Golden Hawks scored in double-figures, led by Julian Thomas, who tallied 19 points, a career-high for the junior.
Golden Hawk senior Justin Paz had a night he will always remember. In the third quarter Paz connected on a three-pointer and in doing so became the school’s all-time leader in career points at the 1,485-point mark. He finished the night with 18 points. Ryan Santana (15 points) and Kyle Young (13 points, 12 rebounds) also reached double-figures in scoring. Santana drained five three-pointers on the night.
Emmaus was shorthanded for the majority of the game. It was without starting point guard Cameron Brooks for the entirety due to an injury, and then was without senior swingman Mark Swedberg for the opening quarter due to a coach’s decision.
“It was a great win and they’re a great team,” Paz said. “But as coach reminded us, they don’t crown champions on January 5th. We have a lot of games left to play. We will probably be seeing them again down the road in the playoffs.”
Emmaus is scheduled to take on EPC foes Pocono Mountain East (Tuesday) and Liberty (Friday) this week before hosting Pottstown in a nonconference game Saturday.