Boys go 1-1 in Allen Holiday Tournament
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.
Turnovers and missed shots doomed Emmaus (3-4 overall), but it also had to play two-and-a-half quarters without its starting center Sabol, who injured his ankle early in the second quarter.
“We didn’t play our best game and were really poor defensively in the first half, and yet were still in the game late,” said Emmaus head coach Steve Yoder. “Our energy was better in the third quarter. Zach being out was tough for us to overcome, but the kids battled to the end. We could never climb back to where we wanted to be. We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to.”
The Canaries (6-2) played fast and were in front for much of the game. They did not shoot the ball well and had a stagnant half-court offense, but they pushed the pace and forced Emmaus to run up and down the court.
The Hornets were able to get the ball inside offensively where Sabol had good position. He had tallied 10 points and eight rebounds before getting injured.
But in Sabol’s absence, the Emmaus offense struggled. It had recorded just five field goals in the second and third quarters combined, and looked out of sync.
“We talked before the game about playing with good energy,” Yoder said. “Unfortunately we did not have that for a lot of the game, but we’re a work in progress. We’re not going to make excuses, and we’re just going to keep working hard.”
Allen held leads of 15-12 and 31-24 after the first and second quarters, respectively, and then went ahead 42-33 after three quarters.
Through it all, the Green Hornets hung around and made a push in the fourth quarter.
Emmaus was down 48-42 with 4:22 remaining, but a 3-pointer by Allen’s Bless Jones was a dagger that stopped the momentum and sparked a 7-0 Canaries run that sealed the game.
“That shot was deflating for sure,” said Yoder. “I thought there were some offensive rebounds that we gave up when we had initial stops that hurt us. We could just never climb back to where we wanted to be. You have to give Allen some credit. They played really well.”
Diehl finished with a team-high 14 points, and senior Josh Artis, who was named the team MVP for the game, ended with 10 points and nine rebounds for Emmaus.
The Hornets return to Eastern Pennsylvania Conference action when they travel to Whitehall Wednesday at 7 p.m.