Bethlehem Press

Saturday, July 11, 2020

’Canes get big victory

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 by Peter Car pcar@tnonline.com in Sports

Liberty played their best game of the season on Sunday and look to carry that momentum forward following their showing at the Parkinson’s Jamfest at Parkland over the weekend.

Liberty knocked off last year’s PIAA 6A runner-up, Pennridge, 51-46 in the quadruple header that raises funds and brings awareness to the disease in support of former Northampton athletic director Mike Schneider.

Will Harper led the charge for the Hurricanes with 18 points in the win, as Liberty sprinted out to a 26-16 halftime lead before holding off the Rams (10-3) in the second half. Ish Gonzalez added 10 points in the win as well.

“Since the new year, we’ve been playing some really solid basketball,” said head coach Chad Landis. “I’m really happy with how our kids have been playing on both ends. I’m not sure what’s been the main reason, but I think beating Freedom before Christmas gave us some confidence and the kids have built on that ever since.”

Sunday’s victory pushed Liberty to 10-4 on the season and undefeated in 2020, as they’ve won five straight games to start the calendar year. They face a tough week ahead, as they had East Stroudsburg South (10-3) on Tuesday [past Press deadlines], Pocono Mountain West (4-9) on Friday and Southern Lehigh (11-2) on Saturday.

“As a coach, you would hate this type of schedule if you’re aren’t playing well at this time of the year, because these type of games can just keep rolling on you,” Landis said, “but when you have momentum and you’re winning, you’re looking at these games as opportunities to stack wins. We’re excited about the challenges this week.”

Freedom (11-3) had their six-game winning streak snapped in Sunday’s nightcap by Allen 64-49, as the Canaries (10-2) came back from a 20-point first half deficit to cruise to the win.

Caleb Mims had 14 points in the loss and his brother Malik added 13 on a night the Pates lost further ground in the hyper competitive EPC Steel Division.

The Steel Division is arguably one of the toughest divisions in the state led by Easton (11-2), Allen (10-2), Liberty (10-4) and Freedom (11-3). Sunday’s loss pushed the Patriots to fourth in the division with their 6-3 league mark, 2-3 record in the division, sliding them a game behind Liberty.

It will be a race down to the wire for all four teams at the top of the division, but the Pates rebounded on Monday with a 77-66 win over Southern Lehigh. They have East Stroudsburg North (1-12) and Central Catholic (11-2) left on the docket for this week.

Bethlehem Catholic (8-6) has continued the theme of city schools playing well as of late too, as the Hawks were winners of five straight heading into the week before falling to Easton 71-35 on Monday night.

They take on Whitehall (8-6) and Nazareth (4-9) Tuesday and Friday respectively to close out the week, as they look to stay lockstep with Central Catholic atop the District 11 4A rankings.