Kids building on positives
Northampton's boys' basketball team has experienced a myriad of positive and negative emotions and incidents through their first five weeks of the season under first-year head coach Coy Stampone.
Fortunately, the Kids' recent output has been titled toward the positive. In a recent 43-36 victory over Phillipsburg, defense became their calling card, and it also marked their second win (2-13) in their past three games.
"Our goal was to play one quarter at a time and hold (Phillipsburg) to less than double-digits per quarter," said Stampone. "We did that until the final quarter when we had trouble playing with a lead.
"But overall we had a good defensive effort and we wanted to play a tough man-to-man. We boxed out well and forced them (Phillipsburg) to take some quick shots. Good defense can lead to good offense and that happened to us. We had a 19-point lead at one point, but we struggled at bit in the final quarter. I have always told them if they can get a transition game going from our defense, we should go with it."
Stampone was also pleased with the play of senior center Derek Kulp, who had a season-high 18 points in his fifth game back from a knee injury. Kulp has been in double-digits in his last four games.
"Derek (Kulp) has a big game and we're counting on him to contribute and to lead," said Stampone of his 6-foot-7 pivot man. "He is starting to put everything together for us.
"It is good to see him back playing like he can. I know he wants to play in college next season and he should have a nice second half for us."
Along with the victory over Phillipsburg, Stampone was also impressed with his team's hard-fought 54-51 victory over arch-rival Catasauqua.
"We played a good game against them (Catasauqua) too," Stampone. "We went out and got a lead and then we had to hold them off at the end. It was a tough game, but that was good for us.
"Catty is a good team. We did a lot of good things against them and we also rebounded the ball well."
Between the victories, the Kids' suffered a 59-47 defeat to Emmaus in a gem that easily could have titled the other way.
"We played well against Emmaus," Stampone said. "We battled with them the whole game and we cut into their lead in the third quarter. They are a very good team, but I was proud of our effort."
Stampone is optimistic his team's recent rash of success can ignite them in the second half of the season. With a better sense of comfort in a new system and a steady defensive effort, the Kids' goal of reaching the playoffs well could be in reach.
The Kids' began the week hosting Dieruff and then traveling to Bethlehem Catholic Friday night.
"The kids have been getting more and more accustomed to the new system and they are not as robotic," stated Stampone. "They have been getting into a rhythm more and that will help.
"If we keep working hard and playing sound defense, we'll be right there."