Northampton kids take part in Via games
It was just two years ago when Lauren Sterner watched her older sister, Leandra, participate in the Via All-Star Basketball Classic. Fast forward to the present and Leandra is playing hoops at DeSales University.
Over the weekend, Lauren followed in her sibling’s footsteps as she also earned an opportunity to play in the same game.
“I look up to my older sister,” said Sterner, who will choose a different athletic path and compete in track and field at Kings College. “She’s a great role model. I aspire to do the same things.”
As part of a quadruple-header set of hoops games, the 41st Annual Via All-Star Basketball Classic was held on Saturday at Northampton Community College where dozens of female and male players earned one more opportunity to take the court in high school. Along with Sterner, three other Konkrete Kids were name as all-stars.
Sterner and Sophia Eckroth were named to the West girls all-stars. In the third game of the afternoon against East, it was the West that overcame a three-point deficit in the third quarter and turned the game into a rout by halftime.
With an EPC-heavy squad, West closed the first half on a 19-2 run and led 39-18 at intermission. That lead grew to 21 points after three quarters before West earned the 75-60 win.
“It was weird at first to pass it to them instead of trying to defend them,” Sterner said. “But Once we started playing together it was like we knew each other by playing against each other. We bonded really well in a short amount of time.”
Eckroth, who scored seven points in the win, agreed with how fast the camaraderie came together on the court.
“I really haven’t played with them together,” said Eckroth, who will play at Cedar Crest College next year. “We clicked together. It was better than I thought it would be. We worked well together.”
Palisades’ Karlee Krchnavi led everyone and scored 28 for the East; Parkland’s Nadine Ewald led the West with 19.
Immediately after Sterner and Eckroth took the court, a number of Northampton boys in Mario Delker (25 points) and Tyler Miller (2) helped the West boys down the East squad, 112-101.
Central Catholic’s Zay Jennings (26) and Catasauqua’s Shaquan Mason (22) also had big days for West as they erupted for 61 points over the final 20 minutes. Freedom’s Najee Cash led the East with 26 points.
Via’s “Super Saturday” of basketball games was just part of a great experience that benefited children and adults with disabilities from the area. Many of the players also had the opportunity to help run a clinic with those children, as well as attend the ceremonial banquet a week prior to the games.
The clinic was a touching memory for Sterner and Eckroth in particular.
“It was a really good experience to be able to play against people that I normally would hate on the court,” Eckroth said. “It was an honor because I love working with special needs kids, so it was good to actually be recognized for it.”
“It was awesome to be a part of it,” Sterner said. “It was awesome to meet all of the other players from the other schools, and to be able to help kids with special needs really meant a lot to me.”
The North girls edged the South in the first game of the day by a final score of 70-69. Bethlehem Catholic’s Jordynn Jones led the South with 14; Pleasant Valley’s Renee Milos led North with 19 and East Stroudsburg North’s Rona Robinson scored 18.
Shortly later, however, the South boys were able to gain a little bit of revenge for counterparts with a dominant 116-96 victory. South scored the first 10 points of the game and led the entire 40-minute duration of regulation.
Dieruff’s Tajon Roberts led South with 20 points, and Allen’s Josh Gray added 19. Kevin Ferguson of Pocono Mountain East led all scorers and paced the North with 23.