It was a tough task at hand, but one which was achievable.
The Emmaus boys basketball team entered the last week of the regular season needing two wins in its final three games to qualify for the District 11 Class 6A tournament. Not only did the Hornets win two, they won all three games last week to clinch their ninth consecutive trip to districts.
Allentown Central Catholic has been known as a knockdown-shooting team from behind the three-point line this season, and last Friday night at Emmaus High School was no different.
The Vikings connected on six 3-pointers by four different players in the first quarter to help them take a 22-9 lead after the opening frame, and while the Green Hornets fought back, they just did not have enough firepower to make it all the way back, falling 56-44 in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference matchup.
Take away one period and Monday’s ice hockey meeting between rivals Emmaus and Parkland could have been a completely different game.
The Trojans (13-0 overall, 26 points) scored five goals in the opening period to jump out to a 5-0 lead on the Hornets (6-6-1, 13 points) on their way to a 7-1 in Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League action.
For a few weeks in the middle of the season, the Emmaus boys basketball team missed it’s big man, as junior forward Zach Sabol was sidelined with an ankle injury. He recently returned and had one of the best games of his career last week against Dieruff.
Sabol pulled in 31 rebounds, to go along with 18 points in a 60-44 victory over the Huskies in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference game at Emmaus High School. The 31 rebounds were the most that Sabol has recorded during his three years on the varsity, and may be an Emmaus record for rebounds in a game.
The Emmaus boys basketball team was in need of a spark. Having lost two games in a row earlier this month, the Green Hornets fell below .500 with a 5-6 record overall. They were also without regular starters in juniors Zach Sabol (foot injury) and Bryce Diehl (illness) for much of that stretch, and struggled to find an offensive rhythm.
Just like it had a year ago, the Emmaus boys basketball team competed in the Allen Holiday Tournament at William Allen High School over the Christmas break. And just as in December of 2016, the Hornets defeated Springfield-Delco in their first game before falling to the host Canaries in the final.
Last Thursday in the opener, Emmaus took down Springfield 67-50 behind 19 points each by juniors Zach Sabol and Bryce Diehl. But in the championship game the next night, the Hornets were beaten by Allen 62-52.
From her sophomore year to her junior year Emmaus volleyball player Caroline Bond saw improved play, not only individually but also from the Green Hornets program.
Bond finished her junior campaign with 863 assists and 258 digs on her way to earning District 11 MVP honors.
“It’s a great honor because I worked really hard to get to where I am,” said Bond. “Last year I was more passive, and this year, as an upperclassmen, I knew I had to be more aggressive and be more of a leader. I gained a lot of experience in the offseason and just matured as a player this year.”
For two-and-a-half quarters it looked as if the Emmaus boys basketball team was not only going to defeat rival Parkland, but it also seemed the Hornets would get a victory rather easily in front of a rowdy, sold out crowd in the Hive.
The script was set for the Hornets to receive an early Christmas present, but then the Trojans came back from down 16 points to win the early season Eastern Pennsylvania Conference game 50-47 last Tuesday, Dec. 19 at Emmaus High School.
After a sluggish and late start to the 2017-18 regular season, the Emmaus boys basketball team got into the win column with its first victory, rallying in the fourth quarter to take down host Northampton 53-47 last Friday night an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference game at Northampton High School.
The Emmaus boys basketball program had one of its best seasons in school history last year. The Hornets went 22-7 overall and were 7.9 seconds away from clinching a berth in the state semifinals before falling to Carlisle 78-74 in double overtime of the PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal round.
Emmaus used a high-powered offense to win the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Skyline Division, reach the District 11 Class 6A semifinals and win two games in the state tournament, the most in program history.