Coming into the District 11 4A boys championship game, the two teams involved have had a long dry spell of district gold. It had been since 2002 that Bethlehem Catholic last won districts, and even longer for their opponent, Jim Thorpe, which last won gold in 1972.
But something had to give.
For once during this 2016-17 winter season, it wasn’t about X’s and O’s or winning and losing. There was a greater cause to a Lehigh Valley Scholastic ice hockey game.
Last Wednesday evening at the Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink, high school rivals Freedom and Liberty joined together for the fourth annual Winter Classic.
Although a score was kept (Freedom won 6-4), the game was focused more on a student that didn’t lace up the skates.
Six-foot, nine inch forward Ryan Young knew he needed to take over. He knew it was the type of game where he had a big advantage with a sizable edge over the opponent.
The junior came through for his team and had one of his best performances of his career, scoring 19 points and grabbing 25 rebounds in leading Bethlehem Catholic to a 71-48 victory against Lower Moreland (8-14) last Friday night at Allen High School in the quarterfinals of the new District 11 Class 4A Subregional, which added teams from outside the district this year to fill out the additional classifications.
Momentum has played a pivotal role during the season for the Freedom boys basketball team. Whether it was good or bad, the Patriots experienced both ends of the spectrum.
With seven straight losses during the meat of their schedule, it looked like it was going to be a quick end to the season back in late January. But Freedom kept pushing each and every day, and wound up winning five consecutive games to qualify for the district playoffs.
Bethlehem Catholic girls volleyball head coach Paul Abi-Daher knew his team was going to be in for a battle all night when the fourth seeded Golden Hawks (13-4 overall, 13-3 EPC) took on number five seed Emmaus (14-6 overall, 13-5 EPC) last Tuesday evening at home in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference quarterfinal round matchup.
Besides the close seedings and records, the two teams have met in the postseason in recent years, and have been tight contests. Tuesday night was no different.
It was a game that the Bethlehem Catholic football players, coaches, and fans had circled on their calendars for a while. Even with all of the success in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11, the Golden Hawks hadn’t played the four-time district champion Parkland Trojans for a few years.
The way that the conference was aligned, it didn’t allow these two powerhouses to meet on the gridiron until the league realigned before the start of the season.
The Emmaus boys soccer team snuck into the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference tournament as the 8th seed, winning their last four games of the regular season to clinch the final spot.
Last Saturday afternoon in the conference quarterfinal, however, the Green Hornets (9-6-4 overall) played like the league favorite that they have perennially been over the past decade under head coach John Cari.
James Haag headed in the game’s opening goal and Emmaus held all of the momentum.
Heading into the clash last Friday night at Parkland School District stadium, the average Lehigh Valley football fan would assume that it would be a high-scoring affair between the undefeated Liberty and Parkland football teams.
With the Trojans averaging 47 points through their first two games, and the Hurricanes with a 35-point average a game after their first two contests.
But that was far from the case.
Execution and focus were two words that assistant coach Chris D’Emilio used to describe how his Liberty boys basketball team’s second half surge came to fruition. The Hurricanes (6-1 overall) outscored Northampton (1-5 overall) 25-19 in the second half to take the game 54-46 in summer league action last Thursday night played at Allen High School’s Sewards gymnasium due to rain.
In only their second year as a varsity program, the Freedom boys lacrosse team has faced some bumps and bruises.
Last year they finished 4-11 overall and 3-7 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. With aspirations of a District 11 berth in 2016, the Patriots hoped a new year brought new and better outcomes this time around.
But 2015 EPC runner-up Parkland did not help out. The Trojans dominated on both ends of the field in a 17-1 victory last Monday afternoon at Bethlehem Area School District stadium.