What Bethlehem Catholic’s girls’ basketball team had in the state final were answers, but the questions started being answered at the start of the season when they knew their best player, Taliyah Medina, would be out all year with an injury.
“Our philosophy has been the same all year,” said Becahi coach Jose Medina. “We’re going to work hard. There are things we’ve got to do and make the game ugly. They might not be the tallest, and they might not be the strongest, but they work the hardest together.”
“Too happy to even cry,” said Bethlehem Catholic guard Jaleesa Lanier after the Hawks were crowned PIAA State Class 4A girls’ basketball champions by defeating North Catholic, 60-49, on Saturday at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.
Screams and squeals filled the arena as time ran out in the state final and the Hawks’ emptied the bench to celebrate.
For Bethlehem Catholic’s girls’ basketball team, last year’s state playoff against Bonner Prendergast was the game that got away, and the Hawks never forgot that.
“We just knew, coming out, we do not want to repeat last year,” said Becahi center Abby Brown. “We practiced our fast breaks, we practiced pushing and pushing and pushing because we wanted to get off to that quick start and jump to the big lead. That way, at the end, it didn’t come down to the refs like last year.”
Liberty’s volleyball team brings plenty of experience heading into spring and that usually equates to success on the court.
With veteran coach Neiad Ammary entering his 15th season at the helm, the Hurricanes, who finished 10-8 last year, look to improve upon that mark and hopefully have a bigger push through the District 11 tournament.
Editor’s note: The Becahi girls semifinal game took place after Press deadlines.
Bethlehem Catholic’s girls’ basketball team cruised again this past Saturday when they defeated Danville, 60-37, in the PIAA State Class 4A quarterfinal at Hazleton High School.
Becahi guard Jaleesa Lanier came out in the second quarter firing two consecutive threes, and the Hawks were off and running.
Despite a strong second half by Freedom’s girls’ basketball team, the Patriots were unable to overcome an 18-point deficit in the first half and were knocked out of the PIAA State Class 6A tournament by Garnet Valley, 62-40, last Tuesday at Souderton High School
“I think we blew a great opportunity. They took the game to us. There’s no doubt about it,” said Freedom coach Dean Reiman. “We didn’t shoot a free throw in the first half. We didn’t play the way we know how to play. We were intimidated by their size.”
Bethlehem Catholic’s boys’ tennis team got in some extra days of practice due to its season opener scheduled for last Thursday against Nazareth at Illick’s Mill.
“It feels good,” said senior Stephen Botek. “We still have some improvements to make, but I think for the most part, we have a solid group of kids, good team chemistry and we can only get better from here.”
Freshman Curt Gruber is the Hawks’ number one singles player this year, Botek is at two singles, and Gabe Velez is at three singles.
Botek and Velez were doubles players last year, although not together.
This season might shape up to be a memorable run for Freedom’s volleyball team, as the Patriots return their entire squad from last year’s 15-6 campaign.
Head coach John Yanek, coming into his 28th season, has high expectations for the group, as they hope to be in district and conference title contention.
EPC girls volleyball all-stars
The East Penn Conference volleyball all-stars for the fall saw Emmaus’ Caroline Bond coming away with MVP honors.
Liberty seniors Linda Perugini and Julia Burcin were both named to the first team list as well.
The complete all-star list is below.
Caroline Bond (MVP), senior, Emmaus; Rachel Hess, senior, Central; Lina Perugini, senior, Liberty; Maria Harding, senior, Nazareth; Macy Van Den Elzen, junior, Emmaus; Julia Burcin, senior, Liberty; Grace Steurer, senior, Parkland
The East Penn Conference boys’ tennis season was slated to have begun on March 11, weather permitting.
Liberty’s courts were clear of snow as of March 10, and Hurricane coach Chris Conrad expects that other schools’ courts are also clear since Liberty is one of the last courts to dry.
In the meantime, the Hurricanes had an opportunity to get some matches under their belts along with players from Parkland and Muhlenberg High Schools on March 9 at a junior team tennis event sponsored by the USTA.