The basketball spotlight of the Lehigh Valley was front and center at Bethlehem Catholic last night, as the Golden Hawks hosted Freedom in the marquee battle of the season in the East Penn Conference. With both teams battling for the top spot in the conference, Tuesday’s showdown, which happened after Press deadlines, would play a pivotal role in the league playoff race.
Freedom (15-3) saw its 11-game win streak snapped last week in a 76-59 loss to Easton, but the Pates rebounded with wins over Bangor, Dieruff and Pocono Mountain East heading into Tuesday’s tilt.
Freedom High School inducted a new Hall of Fame class on Friday, Jan. 25, before the boys’ varsity basketball game against Dieruff.
This year’s class included: Scott Tuner, Michael Lawrence, Beth (Crocus) Kondorossy, Lauretta Dezubay Harbilas and the 1973 baseball team.
A brief bio for each inductee is below:
Scott Turner was a three-time Northeast Regional champ in wrestling at Freedom. He went on to become a two-time All-American, a three-time ACC champion and a national champ at North Carolina State in 1988.
The 2018 East Penn Conference field hockey all-stars were announced and Liberty’s Rayne Wright came away as the league MVP. The midfielder has helped the Hurricanes to a 15-2-2 record heading into this week’s EPC semifinals where the Hurricanes took on Emmaus Tuesday night.
Bethlehem Catholic’s Jaleesa Lanier also earned first team consideration from the midfield, while Wright’s teammate, Sadie Abboud, earned second team honors at forward.
The entire all-star list is below:
The last time Liberty and Nazareth met at the Virginia Duals, both teams took away seven wins apiece until the Blue Eagles managed to sneak out a 27-26 criteria victory. This weekend the Hurricanes will have a chance at redemption with the EPC title on the line when they get a rematch with Nazareth Saturday night at Easton Area Middle School in the EPC Championship Day.
Saturday’s festivities will cap off one of the most memorable regular season’s in Liberty history, as the Hurricanes (14-2) will have the chance to win their first league title since 1980.
While Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic have already locked up district berths on the season, Liberty is still working its way toward that goal as they head into an important week of action.
The Hurricanes (9-6) have won four of five games and pushed themselves in good position heading down the home stretch to clinch a district berth, barring a sudden skid in the final seven games.
Bethlehem Catholic and Freedom both entered this week’s play as the hottest teams in the East Penn Conference.
The Hawks (10-2) were riding a six game win streak coming into the week, while Freedom (10-2) was winners of nine straight games.
With both teams playing in the Steel Division, it’ll make for an interesting stretch for both teams, as they take on this week’s calendar.
For the Hawks, coming together under first-year head coach Scott McClary has been all about buying in.
Jeff Karam told his wife he isn’t reading the newspapers anymore. He isn’t even sure what his future at Bethlehem Catholic will be next season. All that matters to Karam is the present situation of taking over the coaching duties of the Golden Hawk wrestling program for the recently fired Rick Thompson.
Karam, who spent the last 10 years as head coach before stepping back this season to watch his sons wrestle in college, is back in the saddle of head coaching duties as of last Thursday when athletic director Chris Domyan asked if he would step back in charge.
The Rick Thompson era at Bethlehem Catholic came to an expedited end last week, as he was fired roughly five weeks into the regular season.
Becahi athletic director Chris Domyan sent out a press release shortly after 3 p.m. last Thursday, notifying of the change and reappointing former head coach Jeff Karam back in charge of the program.
You can say Freedom’s basketball team has been a pleasant surprise this winter, but maybe that’s an indictment from the public perception more than anything.
The Patriots have jumped out to a stellar 8-2 start to the year and entered this week as winners of six straight games.
Freedom earned two pivotal league wins last week against Central Catholic (57-52) and Stroudsburg (72-63) and look to keep streaking this week with a win over Southern Lehigh (4-6) with Northampton (6-4) and Parkland (8-3) on tap.
It was a historic moment for Liberty’s wrestling program last Friday night and one that every Hurricane alumni will cherish in the wake of the Hurricanes riveting 32-30 victory over Bethlehem Catholic at Memorial Gymnasium.
Senior Jake Ahmad (220) secured a takedown in the final 30 seconds of the final bout of the night against Joe Kurtz for a 3-1 decision that clinched the biggest result of the season in District 11, and perhaps in recent memory.