If there's one thing synonymous with the holiday season, it's holiday tournaments. Liberty, Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic's boys' basketball teams will be making treks out of the area this week, as they gear up for out-of-area competition.
Liberty finds themselves in the most prestigious tournament on Dec. 27 and 29 when they take part in the Primetime Christmas Shootout at Trenton Catholic Academy (NJ).
Something happened on the way to Liberty's wrestling tournament at Penn Manor two weeks ago that prompted a slight change to this weekend's Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic plans. Following the tragic events that transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on December 14, Liberty's wrestling team had other things on their mind as they geared up for a wrestling tournament.
Bethlehem Catholic romped their way to the team title during last year's Tony Iasiello Christmas City Wrestling Tournament when they placed 10 wrestlers in the finals, with seven coming away with gold medals.
Whether that happens in the 45th version of this Bethlehem tournament will all unfold Friday and Saturday at Bethlehem Catholic's gymnasium. Head coach Jeff Karam hopes for more of the same this Christmas, but with Darian Cruz (120), Ryan Todora (145) and Jose Ortiz (182) returning as the only champions from last year, the Hawks will need to find new gold medalists.
With only two games under their belts heading into this week, Liberty's boys' basketball team had a slow start to December.
That all changes this week, as the Hurricanes (2-0) have a three-game slate the week before Christmas, none of which are easy contests.
Starting with last night's contest against Easton, followed by tonight's home tilt against Stroudsburg, the 'Canes have a busy two-night stretch.
Then they close out the week with everyone's favorite basketball contest in the Lehigh Valley when they host Freedom Friday night.
With any type of loss, there's always a lesson to be learned and Freedom's basketball team took a valuable experience from their setback to Easton last Friday night.
Closing out games and finishing contests that you can win are always important steps towards becoming an elite team and the Patriots (3-1) are certainly aware of that following a 47-45 overtime loss to the Rovers (3-0).
Anytime you can place half your roster at a wrestling tournament, it's been a good weekend.
Those were the words of Liberty head coach Jody Karam, as his Hurricanes came off a third place finish from the Penn Manor tournament last weekend.
Grimaldi Gonzalez was one of three finalists for the 'Canes, but the only one to come home with a championship, claiming the 126-pound crown following a 6-5 decision over Ronnie Perry of Solanco.
Noah Klingborg (170) and Jake Gunning (220) each took silver for Liberty, as eight Hurricanes came home with medals.
Brandon Hall has a knack for calculating team scores for Freedom's dual meets.
He says it's a blessing and a curse and the Patriots got the wrong end of the stick in last week's 29-27 loss to Emmaus.
Hall knew the bout was going to be tight heading in, but was disappointed walking away with a defeat.
Well, who's to say the dynasty can't continue with a new crop of wrestlers?
Becahi's uncertainty to open 2012 started off with signs of resiliency, which eventually led to the Golden Hawks capturing the King of the Mountain team championship over the weekend at Central Mountain.
Darian Cruz (120) and Jose Ortiz (182) both took away titles, as eight Becahi wrestlers came home with medals as the Hawks pulled away from foe Parkland in the team race 177.5 to 126.
You know the expectations for Freedom's wrestling team are different when a 4-1 opening weekend record is somewhat disappointing.
Head coach Brandon Hall doesn't want to seem overly critical or negative of his troops bringing home first place honors from the Quakertown Duals over the weekend, but when 5-0 was the goal for the Patriots, Hall meant it.
"I asked our seniors if I was being too critical about our results and they said no," Hall said. "It was the first weekend of the season and you're just not where you're going to be yet.
Dave Brown was relieved of his duties last week as head coach of the football program at Liberty and now the Hurricanes are looking for their second head coach following the Tim Moncman era.
Brown, who took over for Moncman three years ago, tallied an 18-16 record during his tenure, including a 3-7 record this past season after the team started 0-6.
After entering this season with the job of filling 19 starter positions because of graduation, Brown had mixed emotions about being let go.