March “Mess”ness

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

For the past bunch of years, I have entered, for entertainment purposes only (excuse me while I clear my throat), an NCAA Tournament pool. I did not go in this year, primarily because of time, but mostly because it is so difficult to win.  This year there are 346 entries.  I was NOT one of them.

As of Monday, out of the 346 entries, only 5 could win! 5!

Those five individuals have picked West Virginia, Clemson, Gonzaga (2), and Michigan to win it all. Now the reason I bring this up is because, in the only pool I entered, I picked Villanova.  Villanova, in case you stopped watching, is still alive and now is the highest seed in the tournament.  I would have been the 6th person with a chance to win out of (did I mention) 347 entries.

This NCAA Tournament has been nothing but a mess. Two #1 seeds did not get out of the first weekend, with the biggest upset coming when #16 UMBC beat the overall #1 Virginia.  That has never been done before.  I’m sure a big smile came over the faces of Allen’s Ray Barbosa and Whitehall’s Jay Greene.  Both were on the UMBC team the last time they were even in the tournament in 2008.  They lost to Georgetown that year.

In the South region, none of the top four seeds are still playing. That’s never happened before.  Nevada was down in their game against Cincinnati by 22 points and staged the second largest comeback in tournament history for their win.

In the West, #1 Xavier and #2 North Carolina (the defending champ, by the way) both lost. North Carolina was never in their game with Texas A&M.

In the Midwest, Syracuse had to come out of the play-in round in Dayton and then won their next two weekend games. That NEVER happens.  Next up for them is Duke.  Imagine if Syracuse…

The East had some semblance of sanity – 4 of the top 5 seeds advanced to play in Boston. #1 Villanova, #2 Purdue, #3 Texas Tech, and  #5 West Virginia.

So anybody can win the 2018 national championship – anybody, that is but YOU! Unless you were a miracle prognosticator, your pool is probably now scrap paper and, instead of being glued to your TV for the next week, you might actually go shopping with your significant other.

Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities said,

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Just insert “The 2018 NCAA Tournament” for every “it”. I think you get my drift.

What a mess.


  1. Last week, I picked North Carolina (out), Virginia (out), Kansas (in) and Villanova (in) as my final four. I still feel Villanova (my pick) will win the National Championship.
  2. I hope you went to or watched the Bethlehem Catholic-Imhotep Charter PIAA semi-final game on Monday night. It was a classic. Beca battled the #7 team in the nation right down to the wire losing 65-60. It was a great high school game. Beca won the EPC and District XI championships and came, oh so close, to going for a state title. Congratulations!
  3. There have been plenty of miraculous endings this past weekend in the NCAA Tournament, but the craziest may have happened at Liberty High School on Monday where Abington Heights was playing Bonner-Prendergast in the PIAA 5A semi-final. AH was leading 48-45 when B-P missed a 3 and two players battled for a rebound as the buzzer sounded to end the game. AH fans showered the court with Hershey Kisses signifying their team was headed to the state championship played in Hershey. BUT, the officials had called a foul on AH and, then, a technical foul on the fans for throwing Kisses. B-P would be awarded four foul shots, just enough to win the game! The player made the first three, but missed the fourth. AH won in overtime.
  4. Remember the name Donta Scott a 6-7 junior. He played for Imhotep-Charter. He was the best player I saw in the tournament. Right now, he has scholarship offers from St. Joe’s, LaSalle, Temple, and Penn State. I guarantee you that list will grow.
  5. Our basketball season has concluded and I just want to thank the RCN crew for another great job of bringing you high school basketball and wrestling during the winter months. Imagine all the places and times that they have to run camera connections, carry that heavy equipment, do a game, tear it all down, and get ready to do it again, often four or five times a week. I’m sure I speak for Chris Michael, John Leone, Tom Stoudt, Scott Barr, and Ryan Nunamaker in thanking those hard workers for making the announcers’ jobs so much more rewarding!

Playoffs 2018 Recaps-Part 2

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

We’re nearing the end of the winter sports playoff season and there’s been some exciting action over the last few weeks on RCN-TV!

Be sure to keep watching the final state playoff games of the season and, in case you missed it, here are video recaps of some of the recent basketball games and wrestling matches on RCN. Don’t forget RCN customers can see all these games in their entirety for free, at any time, by viewing the games through RCN On-Demand.

Check back here for our RCN TV broadcast schedule covering the Pennsylvania state basketball playoffs!

And…coming up on our “SportsTalk” show (Thursdays at 7pm), we’ll continue to talk high school basketball playoffs, plus get you ready for the start of the Major League Baseball season, with live reports from spring training facilities in Florida!

Expanded Spring DC Coverage

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

A few years ago, one of additions on our “SportsTalk” show was the “DKN Sports Minute,” a 60-second reel highlighting a recent DC-area high school football or basketball game produced by the great people at the DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music & Entertainment (OCTFME) located in Washington, DC.

Well, the OCTFME has been busy adding to its own plate with expanded coverage of news, community events, public affairs, entertainment and sports in the DC region.  In its enhanced sports coverage are more-detailed and more in-depth interviews, videos and features of scholastic, collegiate and professional teams, personalities and special happenings.

With these additions, we’re proud to announce that we will share even more of their outstanding programming going forward on our Thursday night “RCN SportsTalk” shows.  Plus, you can see the “DKN Sports Reporters” show itself on RCN-TV on Fridays at 4:30pm each week.  The DKN sports channel is also available to RCN customers in Washington, DC on channel 18.

Starting this month,  there are a number of features we’ll look to present on “RCN SportsTalk”  that have been produced by the office of OCTFME, including:

“Britt Waters’ Recap of the DC Red Bull Reign”

“New Team, New Look”

ESPN’s Lisa Salters on Her Keys to Success”

Redskins VP Tony Wyllie on Football, Family, and Fandom””

“RFK Campus Block Party”

Plus, features on several high school sports programs in DC

…and many more!

And, to coincide with the start of the spring sports season in April, we’ll have regular interviews and videos of sports teams in the Washington, DC region.

We’ll look to have guests from OCTFME on a regular basis to get their opinions, sports rumors and first-hand impressions on sports action and previews of upcoming events of interest to sports fans in the DMV.

There’s an abundance of great student-athletes and sports action in the Washington, DC area, along with a number of nationally ranked teams and players in different sports, which is of interest to sports fans in many different markets in which RCN-TV broadcasts and is available.

We look forward to adding these interesting elements to our lineup in continuing to provide entertaining sports conversations and stories to our RCN viewers and followers here on the RCN-TV website!  As always, we appreciate your opinions on our coverage and would welcome your thoughts via email:

True March Madness

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

It is NEVER good when the acronyms NCAA and FBI are used in the same sentence. But as everybody gears up for the start of March Madness  this week, the bigger concern for the NCAA is the FBI investigation into the black market of college basketball.

Big-time schools with big-time programs like Miami, Louisville, Auburn, Oklahoma StateSouthern California, and Arizona are all being investigated for either funneling money to families of star recruits or steering current college players, who are soon-to-be NBA players, to potential agents for money. This involves offering bribes (as high as $100,000) to players’ families, assistant coaches, and head coaches. The NCAA, obviously, prohibits this kind of activity.

In other words, someone was getting “pay-to-play” money. “Pay-to-play” is the same phrase those of us who live in the Lehigh Valley have heard over and over again in the past few months in connection with the mayor of Allentown.  As you must know, he was found guilty and faces many years in prison.  In the same vein, the FBI investigation could send coaches and shoe company executives to prison.

Some question the ethics of a university making millions and millions off the skills of their athletes, offering the athletes little in return. Duke reported they made $33.7 million for the 2014-15 season when they won the national championship.  And the coaches of these money-making programs take in millions of dollars themselves.

It is estimated basketball shoe companies take in @ $950 million annually.

In the ideal world of the NCAA, a basketball player receives nothing other than a college scholarship (the elite players almost never finish college) and some meal money. Is it any wonder they and their parents want a piece of the immense pie that they help to create?  Many wonder who really is a victim here – certainly not the institutions that get these players; certainly not the shoe companies that get the university endorsements; certainly not the coaches; and certainly not the players.

So, yes, fill out your office pool, enjoy the next few weeks of college basketball, and try to forget that this is all going on around the game. But, rest assured, the scandal is not going to go away.

This March Madness will certainly lead to April Madness, May Madness, etc.


Gary’s Guesses (March Madness) By Region


With Xavier, North Carolina, Michigan, and Gonzaga in this region, this is a VERY, VERY tough one to pick. My heart is with Michigan because of Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman of Allentown Central Catholic High SchoolProvidence is hot right now after forcing overtime against Villanova in the Big East tournament championship.

My pick – North Carolina


Everyone ALWAYS likes Duke and they are #2 in this region, with Kansas getting the top spot. Michigan State is #3, but with the Big Ten tournament played a week earlier than the others, they have had a long layover (could actually be good for them).  But not quite good enough.

My pick – Kansas


This is where the #1 team in the nation, Virginia, resides and they are the best. Defense wins championships and they are a great defensive team.  Maybe Kentucky or Cincinnati can forge an upset, but I do not think so.

My pick- Virginia


As good as Virginia’s defense is, that’s how good the #1 seed Villanova’s offense is. They just won the Big East tournament, were ranked #1 longer than any other team before giving it up to Virginia, and seem to have the easiest region.

My pick – Villanova


“Early” Playoffs Recaps

We’ve embarked on the District playoffs for basketball in Pennsylvania and the RCN Sports Crew has been busy bringing you six-days-a-week of coverage of the top games in our Lehigh Valley viewing area.

Here are highlights of our recent playoff broadcasts on RCN-TV (you can see these games in their entirety through RCN On-Demand!)


Check out our broadcast schedule here on our website for our Pennsylvania state basketball playoff coverage coming up on RCN-TV! And check back for more video highlights and notes from the final rounds of the District XI high school basketball playoffs.

What A Mess

 The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Around the middle of the high school basketball season, my partner, Tom Stoudt, and I looked at each other and pretty much simultaneously said, “What a mess,” as we discussed the 6A boys’ basketball outlook. These are the big schools.

They bring the most drama – remember the semifinals last year at the PPL Center where 8,000+ fans packed the arena when Allen, Emmaus, Parkland, and Pocono Mountain West would play and they all were terrific.

Not this year. The two best teams, Central Catholic and Bethlehem Catholic, were in the 5A and the 4A district brackets.  That, historically, is somewhat unheard of.  The big schools normally dominate the attention.  Not this year.

The 6A bracket had no clear-cut favorite. It was so bad that, at the very last minute, the nine-team field became a ten-team field when Nazareth was added based on power points and not a qualifying record.  That had never happened before in 6A.  Nazareth had put their uniforms away and Liberty found out they were playing Nazareth and not Pleasant Valley (the team they had prepared to play).  Did I mention “mess”?

In the quarterfinals – #5 beat #4, #7 beat #2, and Nazareth (remember, the last minute entry) almost beat #1. But sanity returned in the semifinals when #1 East Stroudsburg South (a team that has won one district championship ever in 1994 when they were JUST East Stroudsburg) and #3 Northampton (who last won a championship in 1972) came out on top to play for a championship.

But who would have guessed that two teams that were 9-13 last year and had a combined 70 years between titles would be playing for the most coveted District championship? Let me tell you – no one!

The “mess”, however, did not end there. The wind and snow arrived on Friday, causing problem after problem in the Lehigh Valley and paralyzed the North where East Stroudsburg South and Pocono Mountain West (a consolation game participant) reside.  Neither could get to their scheduled games on Saturday.

So, as I write this, the consolation game and the championship game are to be played tonight. All four teams will continue into the PIAA state playoffs.  Those games begin on Friday.

I just saw the weather forecast for later in the week – possible 6-12 inches of snow on Wednesday into Thursday.

Did I mention – MESS? Stay tuned.


  1. Did you know that mid-March is the expected hearing date by the Supreme Court to entertain New Jersey’s request to legalize sports betting? Las Vegas currently has the monopoly on legal betting in the US. The NCAA and the four professional leagues are suing to stop New Jersey. The Supreme Court decision could come as early as May.
  2. Michigan won the Big 10 basketball championship at Madison Square Garden over the weekend. Central Catholic’s Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 51 points in the three tournament games and the TV announcers threw plenty of superlatives at him. “Local kid does well” – always a good story.
  3. Are you ready to fill out your brackets for the NCAA March Madness tournament? Do you like Villanova, Virginia, Kansas, Xavier, etc.? Or do you stay with Duke, North Carolina, or, perhaps, Michigan? Good luck to all.
  4. With all the hype over the NFL Draft, would you believe it is still eight weeks away? That’s right; the first round does not take place until Thursday, April 26. How many Saquon Barkley stories between now and then? He must be exhausted.
  5. Which of our teams has the greatest chance of getting to Hershey for the state championships? The Bethlehem Catholic girls could repeat and the Bethlehem Catholic boys have all the ingredients. RCN-TV will follow them to the semifinals.



Not Sports

This blog expresses my views and opinions, and not those of RCN. I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to read them and I assume readers are sports fans, much like me. So let me apologize up front for this blog because it is NOT about sports. So if you want to stop reading now, I truly understand.

Everyone now knows that this past week, 17 people (students and teachers) were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. You all know that.

The gunman, a 19-year-old, has been arrested. He used an AR-15 rifle to kill the 17 in a relatively short period of time.

So America finds itself dealing with another senseless mass killing at a school – like Columbine, and Sandy Hook. If experience is such a great teacher, then what have we learned from this latest tragedy that we did not already know from the others?  Absolutely nothing!

But at least the students and the parents of Florida are not just asking questions – they are also demanding answers and organizing their power. I have some questions of my own for the NRA, politicians, and average citizens:

  • Why does anyone, except our police and soldiers, need a rapid fire weapon?
  • Why does anyone need to possess more powerful weapons than the police have?
  • Why does any politician feel it is much more important to take money from the NRA than it is to stand up against the gun lobbyists?
  • Why is any elected position more important to a politician than protecting human life, especially the lives of children?
  • Why have we defined “regulated militia” as a way to allow virtually any American citizen to “bear arms”?
  • Why have we used a time when the most dangerous firearms were “muskets” to now include guns capable of mass shootings?
  • Why is there no compromise on the types of firearms that can be purchased by the average citizen to protect their family?
  • Why aren’t background checks on those who purchase guns just plain common sense?
  • Why does the NRA just talk about the mental instability of the shooter and say nothing about the fact that he purchased a weapon that can kill so many in so little time?

About 30 years ago, when I was teaching school, an administrator walked into my classroom and summoned me to step outside. Another teacher was asked to cover my class.  I had volunteered to be on the school safety committee and the principal said I was needed.  I had NEVER been needed as a member of the Safety Committee except to go through some training from time to time.

The principal asked me to come with him and we descended to the basement where an art class was being held. As I approached the classroom, I saw four policemen in the hall.

It turns out that there was a rumor that one of the students had brought a gun into the school (mind you, this was @ 30 years ago). The principal felt that since I taught this student and I had a good relationship with the young man, I could get him to quietly leave the class he was in.  The police told me they thought a gun might be in his duffel bag.

I thought they must be kidding. I knew the student and I would never have suspected him to do anything so foolish and outlandish.  I entered the classroom, quietly went up to the student, picked up his duffel bag, and asked him to come out into the hall with me.

Once out of the classroom, I saw the panic on his face when he saw the police. They opened up the bag and there was a pistol and it was loaded.  I was absolutely stunned.  Never did I think this would ever happen in my school.  Never would I have suspected this student would do such a thing.  He was being bullied, he told the police, and brought the gun to school for protection.  He was expelled.

I taught another 15 years or so and never experienced an incident like that one again. I also never forgot that day.  Nor could I have imagined what that day would portend.

And now today we experience the tragedies that have occurred in our schools and occur on our streets. Gun deaths are commonplace in this country every day.  We focus more on these mass killings, but, according to the Huffington Post, seven people are shot every 60 minutes, over 150 per day.  Aren’t these also another form of mass killings?

“People kill, guns don’t” is what the NRA says all the time. Well, people DO kill, but weapons that kill so many so quickly must be kept out of the hands of those who do kill.

If you argue that, I can only once again say, “Why?”

I promise I’ll get back to sports next week.





The Valley’s All-Underrated Team

The Lehigh Valley has a number of star athletes who have excelled throughout the regular season and the first few weeks of the playoffs.

The star athletes get the most attention for their accolades, abilities and impressive statistics. However, I always try to look beyond the marquee names and highlight some of the tremendous efforts that might not get as much attention as they should.

With that in mind, here a look at my “All-Underrated Team” members–based entirely on my experiences of games I’ve either announced, reported on or attended as a fan.

  • Nazareth’s Maihan Ramin
    Nazareth’s point guard got a huge lift when Ramin’s good friend and Penn State-bound Jahan Dotson returned to the school this year, but Ramin was “the engine that drove the ship” according to Blue Eagles’ Head Coach Joe Arndt. Ramin ran an efficient offense, delivered some of the best passes I saw all year and, when Dotson was not available, stepped up with some key buckets. In his final home game against Liberty in last week’s district playoff game, he had one of the best all-around games of anyone in the post-season thus far.
  • Central Catholic Girls Basketball Team
    Aside from us (see our blog two weeks ago), no one had the Vikettes advancing to the EPC final. Central Catholic’s team contains a number of people who have flown under the radar this season. Margaux Eripret has been one of the top girls players in the EPC the last few years but hasn’t seemed to have gotten the recognition of other top girls players in recent years, and Eripret realizes when other players have the hot hand, to find a way to give them the ball.Her teammates also have gone unheralded this winter and their improvement as the season has gone on just recently came into the spotlight with the team’s success in the post-season. Regular contributors Jess Davis, Kayla Reed, Diana Kocsis, Morgan Dietz, and Lizzy Szmigiel all deserve to be in this category. Emily Vaughan is one of several outstanding freshman ball handlers who should NOT be in this underrated category by next season, and has outstanding potential that should be recognized sooner rather than later.
  • Allen’s Malik Gordan
    Some of the most aggressive defense and best passes I’ve seen have come from the Canaries boys basketball team, and Gordan has been a big part of Allen’s success for a few years now. Last year, he fed two Division-I athletes the ball and played well in the shadows of two tremendous scorers. This year, the team has taken a more blue-collar approach in having success this year, and Gordan’s blend of athleticism, court savvy and unselfishness have paced his team with great court-making decisions.
  • Catty’s Cullen Bond & Miguel Hernandez
    It  isn’t hard to overlook anyone besides Isaiah Graves, who frequently scored over 30 points per game for Catasauqua this winter, but on a team that didn’t have much height, Bond was one of the guys chosen to guard the opponent’s big man and did a lot of the blue-collar work on the rare occasions that Graves missed a shot. Bond was the Rough’s tallest player (listed at 6-foot-2) and sometimes faced post players while giving up five (or more) inches in height, but never complained about his role in helping his team reach both the league and district playoffs for the first time in years.When it wasn’t Bond in the post (he missed the last few weeks due to lung surgery), it was Hernandez (listed as 6-foot-even) who did tremendous work inside this winter, guarding taller players and grabbing down rebounds. Hernandez’s singular effort in their game against a much taller Southern Lehigh team was one of my standout moments of the regular season.Bond is fighting to come back from the injury to help out his team during a playoff run and Hernandez missed last week’s games to be with his ailing grandfather in Florida. Both deserve kudos for their work on the court and for what they’ve had to deal with off the court.
  • Liberty’s Amadeus Cannon
    Like Graves, Cannon’s efforts (over 11 points & nearly eight rebounds per game) go under the radar because of the awesome scoring machine known as Alex Serrano at Liberty. The Hurricanes had to win the final three regular season games to clinch a playoff spot and, with every opponent’s top priority being to shut down Serrano, Cannon’s efforts down the stretch run were even more pivotal. Cannon’s scholastic career numbers have been very solid over the last few years and he deserves a shout-out.(By the way, I listed Will Harper as a standout freshman star last year here at “The Shop” and he’s not getting the press he deserves, so make another note that you heard it here first if he shows up on an All-Star list a year from now).
  • Easton’s Jonathan Pineda
    Wrestling teammate Jonathan Miers seemed to receive most of the individual attention for the Red Rovers this winter, but Pineda was a steady regular in The Morning Call’s “Top Wrestler Rankings” each week. Easton Head Coach JaMarr Billman was very complimentary when we asked about Jonathan’s success and abilities on a recent “SportsTalk” program. Helping his chances of making the “underrated” team—Pineda was also a big piece of another underappreciated squad this fall—the Rovers lineman on the school’s football team.Pineda got to shine last weekend as the Rovers continued “the streak” for their wrestling program by capturing a good medal in the District XI Individual Wrestling Finals.
  • Northampton’s Cory Weisenberger
    On a team with Aidan Ellwood, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. But make no mistake, Northampton’s success this year was a great team effort, with lots of hustle and great defense all across the board. Weisenberger not only rose to the occasion when needed by providing some major offense during key games this year, but–on multiple occasions—also realized when Ellwood had the hot hand and read what the opponents’ defense was trying to do and found the best possible ways for the team—not necessarily him—to score.Weisenberger has also showed a tremendous amount of character during his career at Northampton and, without sounding too political, that’s a more-valued commodity nowadays than anything that will ever show up on a stat sheet or post-season awards listing.

I freely admit I’m missing some names from this list and invite you to email me ( ) the names of athletes who you feel deserve extra attention and we’ll look to mention them either here on my blog or on upcoming editions of “SportsTalk.”

Winter Regular Season Recaps

We’ve reached the end of the scholastic regular season and the first wave of playoffs for many of the winter sports teams in the RCN-TV viewing area in Eastern Pennsylvania.

The EPC championships were a battle for both the Bethlehem Catholic and Allentown Central Catholic boys and girls teams, which each contest going down to the wire.

The Colonial League games were closer than the final score would indicate, although both Southern Lehigh girls and Bangor boys teams had a much easier time in capturing their titles. It was the third straight league championship for the Spartans, while the Slaters set a league record by winning its fourth title in a row and capturing championships in five of the last six seasons.

Here are video highlights of RCN’s coverage of local wrestling and basketball games over the last several weeks, including last week’s league playoffs…

Check out our broadcast schedule here on the RCN-TV website and be sure to tune in for our District XI basketball playoff coverage this week!

Reality Check-Winter ’18 Edition

People who know me well will readily admit that I am not an “I told you so” type of guy.  I try not to be too outspoken and limit my opinions and predictions on the “SportsTalk” show to a minimum. And, despite playing the trumpet for 15 years, I rarely blow my own horn.

But every once in a while, as a representative of our TV sports show and the one responsible for creating the blog entry here each week, I do feel a certain obligation to speak up, point out facts and predictions and defend some of the hard work by the many people we are blessed to have work with us on the “SportsTalk” panels.

In recent weeks, I’ve heard one too many “boy, who would have thought Central Catholic would be this good” and “I don’t know anyone who predicted Catty’s success this winter” to just sit by and not speak up.  Our production team members who get the stories, our guests that are kind enough to give of their time and their opinions, and even a blind squirrel (aka, me) work too hard to NOT say anything.

So for those of who are not active readers or don’t follow RCN Sports on a regular basis, here are ALL of our basketball predictions made between July and the start of this winter’s basketball season (early December, 2017), along with a quick update on the status of each one heading into the post-season.  And if you don’t believe these were given on the TV show, our podcast and/or here on the blog, I invite you to go back and prove me wrong.

Go ahead, I DOUBLE dog dare you! (It’s never too late in the winter for a “Christmas Story” reference).

Becahi boys team will be the top dog this winter

Bethlehem Catholic finished the year with the best record in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and among all District XI 4A teams. Many now expect the Golden Hawks to make a long run in the state playoffs.

Central Catholic’s boys team will be right behind them

Central Catholic held off an impressive Northampton squad and a late surge by Parkland to take the top spot in the EPC Skyline Division and also ranked first in the District XI Class 5A rankings by accumulating the most power points. Some might be surprised if we don’t see Becahi and Central playing for this Friday’s EPC Championship (which you can see Friday, live at 7:30pm on RCN-TV).

Central’s girls teams will also be improved and not need an expanded format to make the playoffs this year 

The Vikettes not only improved on their record this year but enter the post-season with the third highest power point total among all District XI 4A girls schools. They’ll probably face Bethlehem Catholic in the final, and as Easton proved last week, it is possible for a Lehigh Valley team to beat the Hawks. 

Whitehall and Parkland will not have the success they’ve had in recent years, but will play better by the end of the season

I think many would agree that Whitehall did improve and will be a force to be reckoned with again next year. They were in a lot of ball games and posted some impressive wins, including victories over Parkland, Dieruff and Boyertown.

Parkland defeated Nazareth in mid-January and ended up winning 8 of their last 11 games. Their furious finish just edged out the Blue Eagles (who were 9-3 at once point) for the final spot in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs. While some fans thought that this might be the year Parkland didn’t qualify for the league and district playoffs, they enter the post-season as one of the most dangerous 6A teams in the Valley. 

Catasauqua boys AND girls teams, after struggling the last few years, will both be improved and capture more wins this season and the boys Rough Rider team will make the playoffs this year (we even predicted Catty’s boys would struggle from the free throw line this winter)

Catty’s boys team did qualify for both the league playoffs (a number-four seed) and the 3A District playoffs (a number-three seed) after having their best regular season in years. The Roughies were one of the few Colonial League teams that hung with Bangor until later in the fourth quarter. A few people (including myself) thought the Roughies might give the recently depleted Bangor team a run in Tuesday’s semifinals (which you can also see live on RCN-TV) and make it to the championship. Instead, Catasauqua will have to shake off a disappointing 21-point loss from Saturday’s opening round playoff game against Wilson to have success in the district round of the post-season.

Catty girls did register two Colonial League victories this year including a win over Saucon Valley and an 11 point contest versus Pen Argyl. It certainly appeared like the Rough Riders girls program were moving in the right direction by the end of 2018.

Freedom and Easton (both boys and girls) will be major players in both the league and district playoff races

Easton’s girls team defeated Becahi, won the Rotary Tournament (which included Southern Lehigh this year) and held the best overall record of any team in the EPC entering the playoffs. They look to build on their success and have a very good chance of making a nice run in the PIAAs.

Easton boys clinched both the EPC and District XI playoffs for the first time in a number of years. The Rovers posted some strong wins (including Nazareth, Emmaus and Central Catholic—all on consecutive games) and also played powerhouse Bethlehem Catholic tight for three quarters in BOTH meetings.

While the Freedom girls team did have their best season in years and could make some noise in districts, Freedom’s boys did not make the playoffs—missing by three games—although there were in the hunt until the final 10 days of the regular season.

On a side note, the Patriots also had some impressive “upsets” this year, including perhaps our best finish of an RCN game to-date—a buzzer beating, game-winning three point shot in overtime against the Blue Eagles in the first of several “must win” games Freedom faced during the final two weeks of the regular season.

Bangor will again dominate the Colonial League

The Slaters barely had any competition in the league again this year and only had a couple losses overall (one of them to Easton, which made both the EPC & District Playoffs this year). Furthermore, they only had three regular season league games decided by less than 11 points all year in completing their second straight undefeated Colonial League season.

We’ll got a first-hand impression of the Bangor boys basketball team when Head Coach Bron Holland and his players visited our studio last week (you can see their “SportsTalk” show through RCN On-Demand and hear the podcast here on the RCN-TV website.)

East Stroudsburg North will struggle this year after its magical District Championship Title run last season

It was a disappointing year for ESN as they failed to make the playoffs—even with the expanded formats—for both the league and district post-season.

Becahi’s boys & girls team, along with Central’s and Bangor’s boys and Southern Lehigh’s girls team will not lose 10 league games combined this regular season

Becahi boys lost 1

Becahi girls lost 2

Central boys lost 2

Solehi girls lost 0

Bangor boys lost 0

Again, apologies for the braggadocios tone this week, but really, if you’re not following us at RCN each week, please don’t ask me if I’m surprised that our predictions came true — especially when some of these predictions were made months before the current basketball season got underway!

And, if you don’t want to stay in the dark for the upcoming high school basketball playoff season, make sure you tune into our show on Thursday, February 15th when local coaches and media members will give analysis and insights (and predictions) for the postseason.