Northampton Press

Saturday, December 15, 2018
Press photo by Linda RothrockDonte Rodriguez and the Kids are going to states, but are hoping for a trip to the District 11 6A finals. Press photo by Linda RothrockDonte Rodriguez and the Kids are going to states, but are hoping for a trip to the District 11 6A finals.

Kids were hoping to get by Emmaus

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Northampton’s surge this season easily can be credited to the Konkrete Kids’ offense, paced by seniors Aidan Ellwood and Cory Weisenberger.

Both of them have averaged close to 20 points per contest and the Kids’ other remaining starters and their bench certainly has helped the cause. The Kids have averaged 59 points per game over their 23 contests (16-7).

However, the Kids’ defensive effort has been as steady as their offensive showing. In their 16 wins, they have held opponents to an average of 49 points per game, while in their seven losses they have allowed an average of 62 points.

The Kids will need another solid defensive effort when they met Emmaus in a District 11 semifinal game Wednesday evening at Allen.

“Our defense has been steady all season,” said head coach Coy Stampone. “Our defense has really fueled our offense. If we can defend, we can definitely have some benefits for our offense.”

During the regular season, the Kids split with the Green Hornets, dropping a 53-47 decision at home and then winning at Emmaus, 55-54, Jan. 30.

The Kids won their first district game since 2008 when they defeated Parkland, 74-65, Feb. 24. It also qualified them for the state tournament in the Class 6A bracket.

“I guess this is the rubber match,” added Stampone of the matchup. “We will have a couple of days to practice for them (Emmaus). We look at some different things, but we were able to look more at the tapes and mix some defenses against Parkland because we had nine days. We were able to work more on our man-to-man against Parkland.

“We knew Parkland would make a run at some point, but we were able to finish. When we recently played Central (Catholic) in a league game at Rockne Hall, it was a playoff atmosphere. That game helped get us ready for a district game.”

Whatever the final outcome, Stampone and his players will continue to relish the moment.

“It has been a ride that hasn’t stopped,” said Stampone. “We had our goals or qualifying for the league playoff and districts. We got the district bid early and then leagues. Now, we win a district game for the first time in 10 years and get to states.”

Along with a streaming defense, the Kids have been empowered by a consistent overall effort, as they have had three or four players in double figures on any given night.

Against Parkland, Spencer Cole had 10 points along with Weisenberger’s 27 and Elwood’s 20.

“When we have three guys in double figures, we’re pretty successful,” said Stampone. “Spencer (Cole) has done a nice job for us all season. Mike Torres had a good game against Parkland and he has battled on the boards all season.

“We are also very grateful for all the rest of our guys who have done a great job in practice and help us to prepare for our opponents. Tim Gribb and Josh Smith are seniors who don’t get in the box score often, but both of them have helped along the way.”

If they defeat Emmaus, Northampton will meet either East Stroudsburg South or Pocono Mountain West for the district title. Stampone believes his team can advance and capture the title. He also realizes the Kids will improve their seed of the state tournament with every win.

“We want to get a good seed in the state tournament,” he said. “The old saying is defense wins championships and that’s true. If we can continue to defend well, we’ll be in good shape.”