Hornet girls reach final day of summer tourney
Emmaus was one of the final three girls teams still standing on Sunday of the ‘Bash at the Beach’ tournament at Cedar Beach. And with two starters missing from the high school season, head coach Kelsey Gallagher couldn’t have expected much more from her team.
The Hornets’ run came to an end in Sunday’s consolation bracket final against eventual-champion Jim Thorpe, 31-23. Emmaus went 2-2 in the tournament as it picked up wins against Catasauqua and Liberty.
Jim Thorpe defeated Dunmore in the championship game, 44-38, avenging an earlier tournament loss to the Bucks. Dunmore reached the PIAA Class 3A championship game this past winter.
“We’re playing hard aggressive defense,” Gallagher said. “We are missing two starters from last year. But we’ve had a lot of freshmen and sophomores step up and play some solid minutes for us, especially defensively.”
Brooke Wunderler and Gabrielle Martin both missed the tournament due to vacations. Both started for Gallagher last winter.
But considering the Hornets’ only losses came against the eventual champion and runner-up, it was a successful trip to Cedar Beach. One thing Gallagher hoped to gain over the Hornets’ two days of playing was improving their chemistry on the court.
“We just have to piece it together as a team,” Gallagher said. “Right now we’re kind of playing too much individual basketball. And that’s the difference between Dunmore and us this morning. Dunmore played as a team offensively and defensively, and we just don’t have that chemistry.”
Emmaus got its chance against one of the top teams in the state early on Sunday with a spot in the championship game on the line. But Dunmore’s defense was too tough, especially inside without Wunderlerer occupying the paint as a threat offensively. The Hornets scored just six points.
“They came out solid in a zone defense, and we struggled getting in the flow of our offense,” Gallagher said. “They have a big presence down inside and we couldn’t adjust.”
The Hornets then fell to Jim Thorpe a few hours later behind Skyler Searfoss’s 12 points. It was a close game until the Olympians pulled away in the second half.
“We think we can compete with both of these teams [Jim Thorpe and Allen], and I think if we just put it together against Dunmore we can compete with them,” Gallagher said as she watched Jim Thorpe and Allen play with her team waiting the winner. “Obviously, they’re a good team, but I don’t think they are 20-some points better than us. We just struggled offensively.”
A number of underclassmen impressed Gallagher throughout the tournament. Cam Watkins, Grace Oglesbee and Paige Inman all played key roles in the Hornets’ four games.
Emmaus also had its JV team entered in the tournament. That team lost to Jim Thorpe and Parkland’s B team on Saturday.