Hornets must replace three starters
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.
The team said goodbye to four seniors who all had two or more years experience as varsity players.
Emmaus’ all-time leading scorer David Kachelries (1,910 points), Matt Kachelries, Eric Cichocki and Daryn Lewis are gone and the Hornets need to replace three starters and the first member off the bench in 2017-18.
While last year’s team was mostly dependent on guard play, this year’s Hornets will rely heavily on post and wing players.
Senior Josh Artis and junior Zach Sabol are the returning starters back. Artis averaged 6.2 points per game and Sabol 9.2 last season.
Seniors Corey Riegel and Cole Ferguson and junior Bryce Diehl all contributed in a number of games last year and will be looked at in bigger roles this year.
Senior Chris Smith and junior Cameron Brooks are the lead candidates to take over the vacant point guard position left by the Kachelries brothers.
“We lost a lot from a production standpoint, but there are a number of younger guys back that saw some meaningful minutes last year,” said 10th-year Hornet head coach Steve Yoder. “The kids have given 100 percent in practice so far. They listen well and they learn at a pretty high clip, so I really can’t ask much more.”
Senior Austin Boyd, and juniors Mark Swedberg, Devon Boyko, Keyon Caroll-Herring, Carlton Lovett and Josh Moyer will look to enter the rotation this season.
Yoder sees the size of his team as a strength, but will have to overcome some growing pains early on of some inexperienced players. He doesn’t see that causing any lingering problem.
“This is a very coachable group that loves to compete and be coached,” Yoder said. “They bring a lot of energy and are positive around each other, which I’m always impressed with.”
Emmaus opens the season Saturday, Dec. 9 against Cardinal O’Hara at Lehigh Carbon Community College.