Boys look to maintain status
For the first time in a while, Northampton’s boys’ basketball team found its niche last season. They also discovered how timing can be everything.
The Konkrete Kids posted an overall 18-9 mark and advanced to the District 11 Class 6A championship game. Paced by seniors Aidan Elwood, Corey Weisenberger, and Mike Torres, the Kids reached beyond an anticipated level.
Now they need to maintain their status without the trio that accounted for 75-percent of their offense. Elwood and Weisenberger accounted for nearly 38 points per game.
“When I figured it out, that’s what it came down to,” said Kids’ head coach Coy Stampone, who will enter his seventh year at the helm. “They were great players.
“Elwood would knock down threes and was one of the best players in the area. Weisenberger could hit threes and played smart. Torres all the dirty work down low for us.
“We have to find our identity, and I have to be patient.”
Tyler Gilliard is the lone returning senior for the Kids. He and juniors Zach Gula and Donte Rodriguez are projected starters and will all captain the team this winter. Gula is the team’s leading, returning scorer with 165 points from last year.
Beyond the trio, there are a number of candidates who could see significant playing time.
“We’ll look to those three for the experience,” said Stampone. “We have a lot of guys and it has been competitive. That’s what has made practices good. Everybody is pushing each other, and we will have a different team this year.”
Freshman Issac Harris arguably was the biggest splash in the preseason, and he figures to log some significant minutes. Junior Spencer Cole, who made his mark last season, also is expected to have a major role.
Sophomore 6-foot- 6 Jon Altomare provides height and has improved offensively, but he still needs to work on his footwork defensively.
Stampone was impressed with the team’s showing in a quad-scrimmage with Liberty, William Penn (Delaware), and Faith Christian (Sellersville). The Kids had their final scrimmage against Northern Lehigh.
“The kids have brought a lot of enthusiasm and energy,” said Stampone. “But we don’t have a lot of height. We’ll have to play good defense and rebound well. We want to get out in the open court and run.
“In every game, we’ll have to play hard. We’ll see if we have the talent to get to the next level.”
The Kids once again will be tested in the ultracompetitive Skyline Division of the East Penn Conference (EPC). They will open against Whitehall Dec. 11 and then tangle with EPC favorite Emmaus Dec. 14.
“The league is tough,” deadpanned Stampone. “Emmaus us loaded and they have everyone back. Parkland will be a lot better and Nazareth has gotten a couple of transfers that will help them. The Kids won’t play Liberty, Bethlehem Catholic, East Stroudsburg North, and Stroudsburg this season, but they will play in the Salisbury Tournament over the holidays.
Regardless of the situation, Stampone is optimistic about his team’s chances.
“I’m excited,” he said. “We’ll have some growing pains, but we’ll play through it. We had a good JV season last year, and we think we can go eight or nine deep.
“We just have to stay patient.”