This past Friday, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference girls’ and boys’ basketball championships were held at Freedom High School. Seating capacity at Freedom is @ 2700. All those seats were filled.
By the third quarter of the first game, it became obvious that the gym would be sold out. As we were doing game one, District XI personnel had to go tell the long line of people standing outside that many of them would not get in to see the game(s). And as regretful as that message was to those who came to see great basketball, it was just as rewarding to know that so many people had gotten caught up in the Lehigh Valley basketball scene this year.
And it was easy to see why. The Bethlehem Catholic girls had lost only twice and neither loss was to a Lehigh Valley team, but to two highly-respected programs – Cardinal O’Hara of Philadelphia and Rock Creek Academy of Maryland. Their opponent, Easton, had only three losses and two of those were to Bethlehem Catholic by 18 and 19 points. However, Easton was the defending champion and played like it. The game came down to a final possession and Beca forced a turnover and won by five: 45-40. Both teams played as hard as they could.
There was even more electricity surrounding the boys’ championship. Allen was the #1 team in the state. They were 23-1, with their only loss in overtime to (you guessed it) their opponent – Bethlehem Catholic. To increase the drama, Allen had beaten Beca earlier in the season, but by only one. The stage was set for a great battle.
It never happened. The #1 Allen Canaries jumped on the Hawks early and never looked back. With exciting and dramatic plays coming at a frenetic pace, Allen led at the half by 23. But no one left the gym. With Allen, you can expect plays, at times, that you have never seen before – whether it be passing, blocking, or, most dramatically, dunking. No one wanted to miss the play everybody would be talking about tomorrow. Allen supplies those plays every time they step on the court. So… almost everyone stayed right up to the medal and trophy ceremony.
It was a great night for Lehigh Valley basketball. Four good teams battling for two championships before a sold-out, standing room only packed house! Hopefully, those who were turned away went home and joined the others watching the games on RCNTV. High school basketball doesn’t get any better.
Or does it? District playoffs begin this week! Can’t wait!
ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
- If you like offensive basketball, then I am pretty sure you enjoyed the NBA All-Star Game this past Sunday. The game ended with the West defeating the East by the ridiculous score of 192-182 and Anthony Davis broke Wilt Chamberlain’s scoring record by scoring 52 points. It seems obvious that the game was only played at the offensive end of the court.
- November 17, 2014 is a long time ago, but that is the last time the Connecticut women’s basketball team lost a game – in double overtime to Stanford. 26 months ago! Following this past weekend, they have now won 101 straight games. On Saturday, they only won by three points over Tulane. That was the second smallest margin of victory in the streak. Could the streak end this year? Stay tuned.
- Dustin Johnson won the Genesis Open golf tournament this weekend and jumped to #1 in the world rankings. He is the 20th player to get to #1 in the 31 years of the rankings. He replaced Jason Day, who held the spot for 47 weeks.
- The NBA dunk contest is being rivaled every time the Allen basketball team steps on the floor. Talek Williams and Tyrese Martin produce a highlight reel in just about every game. The behind-the-back, between-the-legs pass by Martin to create a resounding dunk by Williams in the EPC Championship game this past Friday was just awesome.
- It’s PIAA playoff time and, for the first time, there are six classifications for both the boys and the girls. That means games almost every night. Pay close attention to the TV schedule as we wind our way through the next month.