It was a tough night for Bethlehem Catholic in Friday’s East Penn Conference championship game against Allen, but it wasn’t the end of the season.
As the Hawks stumbled back into the locker room after an 84-62 thrashing at the hands of Allen in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Freedom, Becahi head coach Ray Barbosa had a simple message for his team.
It will be 17 days since Liberty last played when the team heads to Pleasant Valley Saturday afternoon for the opening round of districts against Pocono Mountain West.
The 1 p.m. tip-off probably can’t come soon enough for the Hurricanes (12-10), who enter the 6A tournament as the sixth-seed.
It’ll be a rematch from an earlier bout this season against the third-seeded Panthers, where Liberty lost a 76-74 overtime nail-biter on the road.
Bethlehem Catholic only returns one district champion from last year, but the Golden Hawks are planning on more than that when the District 11 3A wrestling tournament finishes up this weekend at Liberty.
Mikey Labriola is the lone gold medalist from last year’s crop of returning wrestlers, but that doesn’t mean the Hawks will be barren in the medal category.
The Hawks should battle with Nazareth for the team title and head coach Jeff Karam plans on advancing most of his lineup to regionals.
Freedom’s wrestling team is hoping that some of the late season momentum they established can carry over to this weekend’s district tournament.
Most of the expectations for the Pates will be laid at the feet of their upper-weights, starting with returning district champion Evan Callahan (220), who is still working to come back fully from his injury during football season.
Well, it’s no secret that Freedom will have a daunting task at hand when they open the District 11 6A tournament Saturday night against second-seeded Emmaus.
Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Allen and it will be the biggest game of the year for the Patriots (12-10), who enter the postseason with a five-game winning streak.
You can say that confidence has been building for Bethlehem Catholic’s basketball team all season, but after handing Allen their first loss of the season on the final night of the regular season, the Hawks may have added more pep in their step heading into the postseason.
That certainly looked to be the case during Friday’s East Penn Conference playoff quarterfinal, as the Hawks came out fast and never looked back during a 64-54 victory over Whitehall.
I received a phone call late Friday night from a friend where the narrative quickly shifted to opinion on what would happen in Saturday’s Class 3A state wrestling championship between Bethlehem Catholic and Nazareth.
I assumed Becahi would squeak through to top the Blue Eagles, which I was wrong about, but I was fairly correct when making the assumption that this may be the best and most important match in District 11 history.
Liberty defensive end Jaohne Duggan and Emmaus kicker Carson Landis were the only local players from District 11 selected to the Big 33 roster last week.
With the Big 33 foundation folding last month, the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) took control of the contest, as 2017 will mark its 60th year to date.
One of the changes already seen with new leadership is the game’s tentative play date of Monday, May 29th (Memorial Day) at Hersheypark Stadium against Maryland.
Were you entertained?
Saturday’s PIAA 3A wrestling state championship between Bethlehem Catholic and Nazareth came down to the final bout, where the winner took all and Zac Kiefer instantly became a Nazareth legend, following his 2-1 victory over Tavion Banks in the 170-pound finale to give the Blue Eagles a 30-29 state championship victory over Bethlehem Catholic.
It was a stunning match from start to finish and that we’ll likely never see again.
It’ll also be one that Hawks’ head coach Jeff Karam will never forget either, of course, for all the wrong reasons.
A mad Bethlehem Catholic wrestling team is one that nobody wants to see in Hershey, but that’s probably what the opposition is going to get after the Hawks 54-12 demolition over Cumberland Valley Monday night in the preliminary round of the PIAA 3A team tournament.
The Hawks opened with falls in three of their first four bouts from Ryan Zeiner (170), Mikey Labriola (182) and Andrew Balukas (195) and went on to win 11 of the 14 bouts to outclass the visitors.