Liberty tops Emmaus in summer boys hoop action
No other team in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference has been playing better this summer than the Liberty boys basketball team. And the success continued as the Hurricanes erased a second half deficit and slow start to take down Emmaus 41-35 last Thursday night inside the auxiliary gymnasium at Whitehall High School in Lehigh Valley summer league action.
It was a fast-paced, high-tempo type of game with both teams competing at a high level like it was a postseason game and not a game played in the summer in front of a handful of fans.
After a back-and-forth first half, Liberty was out in front 22-17 after it got eight points from Jovonnie Nunez and Emmaus received six first half points from Mason Boyd. But the Green Hornets stepped up on both sides of the court once the second half began. They scored the half’s first nine points and held the Hurricanes without a field goal for a little over 10 minutes to go up 28-25 midway through the second half.
“Summer league, it’s kind of the way it goes,” said head coach Chad Landis. “Our athleticism is our strength. So when we can get up and down the court we’re good, but if we do it poorly like we did to open the second half, we can struggle. Our goal is to get them to buy in and play together for the full 40 minutes. We did it for probably half of that time, but we want it to be closer to 25-30 minutes. We have to make better decisions”
After struggling from the floor for a majority of the second half, Liberty found its footing once again. But the Hurricanes tied the score at 28-28 after a three-pointer by Joseph Barnes, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half. The score was even at 33-33 when Liberty connected on 9-of-12 from the free-throw line, and Emmaus was unable to find a basket late when it needed it.
“Our biggest problem early was that we stopped running our offense,” Landis said. “When we’re good and we’re sharing the ball, we’ve shown how good we can be. In almost every game this summer we’ve had stretches like that. The nice part is we have some younger players asked to do bigger things, but we’re beginning to gel.”
Will Harper tallied nine points, Ish Gonzalez had six and Antonio Montgomery added five for Liberty, who will now look to keep impressing as the Cedar Beach Bash at the Beach tournament begins this weekend.