Boys win two important games
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.
But a two-game in two-day stretch last week brought back a ton of momentum for the program. Diehl returned in an 80-28 victory over Palisades last Thursday night, and the following night Sabol was inserted back into the starting lineup for a 62-42 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference win against Pleasant Valley last Friday night at Emmaus High School.
Diehl filled up the stat sheet, tallying five points, four rebounds, four assists and two blocks, and Sabol had two points and five rebounds in limited minutes. Those two have led Emmaus (7-7 overall, 3-6 EPC) in scoring for a majority of the season so far, but against the Bears (6-7, 2-5) three other Hornet players scored in double-figures. Junior Cameron Brooks recorded a game-high and career-high 16 points. Senior Josh Artis scored 15 points, and junior Mark Swedberg added 11, including eight in the third quarter to pace the Emmaus offense.
Brooks helped the Green Hornets get off to a fast start in the first quarter, knocking down four 3-pointers on four attempts, and scoring 15 of his 16 points in the opening eight minutes as Emmaus took a 22-10 lead after the first quarter.
“The fact that we had all of our horses back tonight really motivated us,” Brooks said. “With everyone back and healthy, I think it was our intensity on defense that helped the offense to click tonight. Anytime you have your whole roster back and healthy, and the way everyone played so well tonight, it was really fun to be a part of.”
It was a welcoming sight for the Emmaus coaching staff and fan base to have Sabol back, after the junior forward injured his ankle in a 62-52 loss at Allen High School back on December 29. With a large Pleasant Valley team in the post, Sabol and Artis anchored the Green Hornets frontcourt and combined for 13 rebounds. Artis also had two blocks and three steals.
Emmaus led 36-22 at halftime and then brought its advantage to as much as 23 points, at 46-23 in the middle of the third quarter. The Bears never got closer than 16 the rest of the way.
Seniors Cole Ferguson and Austin Boyd each had four points and junior Julian Rivera contributed two points.
Pleasant Valley was led by 12 points apiece from Collin Stivala and Michael Duviella.
The win capped an important two-day stretch for Emmaus as it plays four games in five days this week.
“This was an extremely important game for us to win,” Brooks said. “Every game in front of us is always the most important game, that is what we always say. We’re going to have to fight hard this next week, but the next game is always the most important, just focus on that.”
The Hornets followed those wins with a loss to Parkland Monday, 50-49. Sabol scored a team-high 17 points in the win, while Brooks added 12 points and Danny Bohman chipped in with 11 points. The Trojans were led by Logan Rindock’s 18-point effort.
The Hornets will need to win four of their final eight games to earn a spot in this year’s District 11 tournament. They have a busy week, hosting Nazareth on Tuesday and Dieruff on Thursday before traveling to Easton on Friday. They finish the schedule with Northampton (Jan. 30), Central (Feb. 2), Nazareth (Feb. 5) and Whitehall (Feb. 7).