Freedom High School hosted the annual Yasso-Rothrock Christmas City Classic girls’ basketball games this past Saturday when Bethlehem Catholic won the day’s first game against Stroudsburg 55-34, Bangor won the second game against Liberty 33-31, and Freedom won the third over Phillipsburg 67-50.
Phillipsburg took the early lead against Freedom, but all that changed when Patriot guard Corrin Gill came up with a turnover and scored.
“Our coach [Dean Reiman] always talks about anticipation, so I kind of anticipate when they’re going to pass it,” Gill said.
With the weekend bringing frigid temperatures to the area, Liberty looked to stay on a hot streak as they step into the new year with their 56-50 win over Southern Lehigh in the Yasso-Rothrock Christmas City Classic on Saturday night.
It was the third straight win for the Hurricanes (5-6) in January after ending December with four straight defeats to bring them back toward the .500 level and provide some momentum heading into a week with matchups against Allen on Tuesday night and Pocono Mountain East on Friday.
As a young team, Liberty is taking a pretty good beating from their opponents this season, but it’s not all without development. While the Lady Hurricanes are 0-8 in the EPC and 0-11 overall, first-year coach Andy Wescoe is proud of the way that his players are responding.
Coaches often talk about how playing better teams give their players a good gauge as to how they’re developing and actually makes their team better even though they take their fair share of losses along the way.
By halftime, Bethlehem Catholic’s girls’ basketball team had its game against Allen well in hand with a 14-point lead, but there was still plenty to go over in the locker room.
“We knew they were quick. We knew they were going to be physical so we knew we had to beat them on the defensive end and then beat them on the floor,” said Becahi senior Hope Brown. “We just talked about who we needed to lock down on, our zone, and how to execute that.”
Brown had 13 points in the Hawks’ 66-45 victory over the Canaries last Tuesday night at Becahi.
Liberty’s top male divers, Kellen Rogers and Sergio Alvarez, placed second and third in the Hurricanes’ swim meet against Southern Lehigh, and third and fourth in their meet against Easton before the Christmas break.
Rogers’s scores were in the 173 to 175 range.
“Everyone said they saw improvement from last year, so I’m just trying to not be afraid to do higher dds,” Rogers said. “I think I figured out where I was. I got to my feet more. I think my tucks and pikes were tighter. Even though, some of them I wasn’t prepared for, I still did it anyway.”
It was another scramble for Liberty’s boys’ swim team when Coach Reik Foust had to make lineup changes because two of the Hurricanes’ top swimmers were sick for Liberty’s meet against Easton on Dec. 21.
Halfway through the meet, the score was tied at 31, but without Robert Negron and Jake Evert, things had the potential to get tough, and they did. The Red Rovers ultimately defeated the Hurricanes, 97-88.
Goaltender Alex Lyon earned the win in goal as he returned to the Lehigh Valley crease for the first time since Dec. 1 after spending most of the month with the Philadelphia Flyers. The key to Lyon’s success may have been the overall sharp play of the Phantoms defense, which held the AHL’s second-highest scoring offense to just 29 shots, 28 of which were turned away by Lyon in Lehigh Valley’s 3-1 win against the Charlotte Checkers.
Jared Papcsy was wrestling in his fourth and final Tony Iasiello Christmas City Wrestling Tournament, while Nate Lackman was in the event for the first time.
Both picked up gold medals as host Bethlehem Catholic crowned six champs and had six runners-up in the 50th annual edition of the tournament to cruise to first place with 301 points. East Stroudsburg South placed second at 166.
For Bethlehem Catholic’s girls’ basketball team, December is becoming that time of year when there’s not only Christmas to look forward to, but the Becahi-Easton game, this year on Dec. 22 at Easton.
With the intensity of a Freedom-Liberty rivalry, the Hawks held on in the fourth quarter to defeat the Red Rovers 49-43.
“It’s great competition every time we play them. They always bring their best, and we always bring our best, and we all play hard,” said Becahi guard Natalie Rhine, who scored the first points of the game and totaled 11.
When Damen Moyer claps his hands at the center of the mat, it usually means good things. And those good things could have been heard across Bethlehem when Moyer put an exclamation point on a hallmark two days of wrestling for the Hurricanes at their own Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic.
Moyer’s fall over Blue Mountain’s Nate Stine in 4:32 of last Friday’s 195-pound finals gave all the Liberty faithful something to clap about, as the Hurricanes came away with three champions and their first ever team title in the 24-year history of the event.