Boys clinch a D-11 berth
Northampton head boys basketball coach Coy Stampone recalled a saying from his former high school coach that has applied to his current status.
"He usually texts me after our games and he recently told me to never get too high and never get too low," stated Stampone. "He told me to keep the team in the middle of the road. I want to try and keep these guys this way.
"We also try to keep in mind the three C's - confidence, culture, and chemistry. It really has been fun lately."
In the process of winning seven straight games entering this week, the Konkrete Kids clinched a district playoff berth for the first time since the 2009-10 season and the first in Stampone's three-year run.
"That was one of our goals and it is a great feeling," said Stampone. "We have worked very hard to learn a new system and we really took our lumps the past two years. This is a great group of kids who have really jelled together.
"I looked out on the floor in our game (against Lehighton Saturday) and saw two sophomores and a freshman. But these guys aren't freshmen and sophomores any more. They have played a ton of games during the summer and have really grown."
The Kids clinched the berth in an "ugly" win - coined by Stampone - over Lehighton by a 35-30 score in which the host Indians tried to slow the Kids' offense throughout the game.
The Kids trailed after three quarters, but outscored Lehighton, 10-1, in the final quarter to stay undefeated since Dec. 29.
Stampone believed his team may have been a little dawdling in the early going after an impressive win over Allentown Central Catholic the night before and also an appearance on the WFMZ-TV Channel 69 "Big Ticket" sports highlight show.
"We had the game (against Central Catholic) and then we didn't leave the (TV) studio until around midnight," said Stampone. "Most of the guys probably didn't get to bed until around 1 (a.m.) and then we had a shoot-around at 10.
"We were a little sluggish at the start and didn't shoot the ball well. But we stayed around and we really shut them down in the final quarter."
The Kids are also in the running for the Eastern Pennsylvania League (EPC) playoffs as they began the week in second place in the EPC Skyline Division behind leader Parkland, where they will travel Friday night.
Along with a key matchup at Parkland, the Kids still have games against Emmaus at home and then will have road games at Whitehall, Phillipsburg, Central Catholic, and Nazareth to send the regular season.
"The kids have been laughing when I say that this is a big game before our games recently," said Stampone.
"But we really have some big games left. We have games in our conference against Nazareth and Whitehall, we have a rematch with Whitehall and we have to go to the pit (Phillipsburg).
"Our student body and the community has been very supportive and behind us. We have to keep working and keep everything in perspective."