Paz nets milestone in win over EHS
In a matchup of the top-two boys basketball teams in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, one squad showed its muscle as Bethlehem Catholic got the better of Emmaus by double-digits, making a statement, winning 80-67 last Saturday night in front of a large crowd at Bethlehem Catholic High School.
Four Golden Hawks scored in double-figures, led by Julian Thomas, who tallied 19 points, a career-high for the junior. But it was senior Justin Paz who had a night he will always remember. In the third quarter Paz connected on a three-pointer and in doing so became the school’s all-time leader in career points at the 1,485-point mark. He finished the night with 18 points.
The milestone may have been on his mind for some time as he struggled shooting against Nazareth in the game prior, and then also throughout most of the first half. But he was finally able to get it passed him with his shot from long distance at the 6:28 mark of the third quarter.
“I had the early jitters and nothing was feeling right,” Paz said. “But we got ahead and I started to play my game and executed better. We felt like we had speed to our advantage. We needed to rebound and get the pace going offensively and get the transition buckets.”
In a highly-anticipated showdown with both teams sporting just one loss or less in the conference, the Golden Hawks (8-2 overall, 5-1 EPC) started out fast and kept their foot on the gas in running away with this one.
“It was a great win,” Paz said. “But as coach reminded us, they don’t crown champions on Jan. 5. We have a lot of games left to play.”
The Green Hornets (9-2, 5-1) scored the game’s opening basket, but then Becahi answered with 15-straight points to take a sizable lead early on.
“We want to dictate the game to our opponent,” said first-year head coach Scott McClary. Tonight our pressure defense sped them up and our fast break pace on offense got the game where we wanted it to be.”
Ryan Santana (15 points) and Kyle Young (13 points, 12 rebounds) were the other Golden Hawks to reach double-figures in scoring. Santana was feeling it from beyond the arc, draining five three-pointers on the night.
Emmaus fought back and actually cut its deficit to just three points at 52-49 midway through the third quarter, and then trailed just 58-52 after three quarters. But Becahi went on a 14-0 run to open the final quarter and held the Green Hornets scoreless for the first four minutes in taking back control of the game.
Becahi has games against Pocono Mountain West and Pleasant Valley this week in EPC action.