Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Summer basketball returns to area as A-Town Throwdown begins this week

Thursday, July 13, 2017 by Peter Car pcar@tnonline.com in Sports

It’ll be another opportunity to play for a trophy this Thursday night when SportsFest’s A-Town Throwdown takes place at Allentown’s Cedar Beach through the weekend.

Liberty, Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic will be back in action this week, as they hope to improve upon their tournament performances from the Cedar Beach Basketball Showcase at the end of June.

Each team in this week’s tournament is guaranteed three games and those will be opportunities that each head coach is looking forward to see how their respective teams have improved over the past few weeks.

“We’re playing better ever since the [Cedar Beach Showcase],” said Freedom head coach Joe Stellato. “I’m looking to get into Sunday’s action and play well. We are definitely playing better since June and the kids have more confidence and we’re excited.”

There are 12 pools of four teams slated for SportsFest with Stellato hoping to be one of 16 teams to make it to Sunday’s single-elimination bracket.

The Pates pool features Lehighton, Stroudsburg and Dobbins. Liberty is paired up with North Hunterdon, Central Dauphin East and Salisbury.

Bethlehem Catholic has Eastern Academy, Pocono Mountain West and Quakertown in their pool.

The Hawks won’t have star center Ryan Young again this weekend, but that doesn’t mean head coach Ray Barbosa is worried about his team’s chances, following a 1-2 spurt at Cedar Beach in June.

“We’ve had some good results over the summer without some of our top guys,” Barbosa said. “I think we have a shot this weekend and we’ll be fine. I don’t get too caught up in what we do in the summer. When we get back in the gym this fall, I believe we’ll be one of the top teams around this winter.”

For Liberty’s Chad Landis, this week’s tournament is the last major check-mark on the Hurricanes summer schedule. Landis also wants it to be a gauge of progression for his group.

“This is the time where we want to see progress of what we’ve done over the summer,” he said. “Whether it’s what guys can do individually or how we perform as a team, this is really a culmination of the summer for us.”

Building for next season is a common theme amongst coaches looking toward next season, but winning always makes everyone feel better about themselves and this weekend’s tournament is no different for competitors at heart.

“Obviously, we’re all trying to win the thing,” Stellato said of this week, “but more importantly we’re just looking to play well and take it from there.”