Another summer, another year that Steve Yoder has to figure out new formulas for success after the Emmaus boys basketball head coach graduated a chunk of his roster from a year ago.
The Green Hornets lost three starters in Derek Tannous, Dan Brndjar, and Gabe Shankweiler from a team that went 12-12 overall and 9-5 in the Lehigh Valley Conference, and advanced to the District 11 quarterfinals last season.
It is the second year in a row Yoder has a whole group of new and inexperienced players to groom for success.
Before the final of the varsity boys basketball game on Sunday night, Tony Stellar said it best when he stated that "All of these teams played against the best, because this is the number one basketball tournament in the country."
The Emmaus girls basketball team was able to take part in the annual Stellar Catch A Rising Star Tournament, which began on Wednesday and concluded on Sunday.
The weekend consisted of many of the local teams in the Lehigh Valley Conference, Colonial League, and Mountain Valley Conference, but also featured teams from outside the Lehigh Valley.
The Emmaus boys soccer team ended last season as District 11 runners-up and Lehigh Valley Conference champions.
Those feats were accomplished in large part thanks to a core group of seniors. AJ Bishop, Adam Kita, and Ben Roda combined for 29 goals, and Kevin Fine was in goal for 14 shutouts and 53 career wins.
The Emmaus Legion team stretched out its season not just to the final day, but to an extra one-game playoff against West Allentown for the final spot in the Lehigh Valley Legion postseason.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, West Allentown proved to be too much and beat Emmaus 7-2 to grab the eighth and final playoff spot.
Emmaus forced the one-game playoff by gaining a split in a pair of games with Fullerton Saturday.
The first game was a resumption of a suspended game from earlier in the season that was tied at 3-3 after the regulation seven innings of play.
In two games this season, Salisbury downed Lower Macungie by a combined score of 20-2. The good news is that some believe the third time is the charm and Lower Mac gets a third shot at Salisbury in the first round of the Lehigh Valley Legion playoffs.
The Mustangs finished the regular season with a 9-9 record, but were seeded behind Fullerton (9-9) by because Fullerton also beat Lower Macungie twice in the regular season.
Weather and time worked against Lehigh Valley's Carpenter Cup softball team as it was eliminated from the tournament last week after losses to Tri-Cape and Burlington County.
Lehigh Valley's first game last Wednesday resulted in an early-morning 5-2 loss to Tri-Cape, but Lehigh Valley came back with a 4-0 victory over Olympic Colonial in the afternoon.
Northern Lehigh's Amber Thomas and Pen Argyl's Emily Smull pitched the shutout for Lehigh Valley.
For the Emmaus Legion team, it's been a matter of too little, too late pretty much all season long. Sunday presented a perfect case-in-point when West Allentown jumped out to a 6-0 lead before the Emmaus bats went to work mounting a comeback. In the end, Emmaus dropped an 8-5 decision.
"That's pretty much what we've been doing all season," said Emmaus coach Mike Anderson. "We can't do anything early in the game and then when we do start to hit, we're already in a hole."
The Emmaus Hornets 95-pounders shut out the North Parkland Buffaloes 13-0 in the SYFL semifinals on November 4 and this past weekend finished their season by beating the Lower Mac Mustangs by a score of 12-6 in the finals of the 95-pound SYFL league tournament. The finals win capped off an undefeated 11-0 season.
The Emmaus 80-pound Hornets completed their 2012 season with an undefeated 10-0 record and won their end of season tournament hosted by North Parkland. The Hornets defeated Saucon Valley in the semis, 37-18, to advance to the championship game.
The team put on an offensive display by scoring six touchdowns led by the blocking of Nick Davidson, Connor Brophy, Jake Fotta, Trevor Gitski and Chase Fotta. Three touchdowns were scored by Jared Groller, two by Tyson Karrat and one by Lance Farnschlader.
The 110-pound Lower Macungie Mustangs advanced to the league champsionship game by beating South Parkland 6-0 in a thrilling overtime battle last weekend.
After a defensive stalemate that led to overtime, the Mustangs' defense came up big again on four plays in South Parkland's opening overtime possession. Three plays later, Bailey O'Connor tossed the game-winning touchdown pass to Carlton Lovette which sealed the win. While the offense did not score in regulation, the Mustangs were able to move the ball with power running by Sone Ntoh and Timmy Higgins.