Kids win three-OT thriller vs. Zephs
The Northampton and Whitehall boys basketball teams kicked off their EPC schedules with a dramatic, three overtime contest that Northampton won by the score of 60-58.
The Kids took a 14-9 lead after the first quarter on the strength of four three-point shots.
The second period saw the offenses stall a bit as the teams could only muster a total of 12 points. Northampton had seven of them and took a seven-point lead into halftime at 21-14.
After the Kids scored the first bucket of the second half, Joe Lisicky keyed a nine-point Zephyr run that brought the teams even for the first time since the score was 5-5 in the first. Northampton stopped the run with a three and the teams traded baskets twice more to make the score 30-27 Konkrete Kids with one stanza to go.
In the fourth quarter, Whitehall battled back to knot the score at 34-34 with 5:15 remaining in the game. Four Northampton free throws put the Kids back on top and they still held a two-point lead and possession of the ball with just over a minute remaining in the game. That’s when Joe Herman stole the ball near midcourt and took it all the way to the hoop for the tying points.
Northampton head coach Coy Stampone called a timeout with 17.9 seconds left in the game to set up a play for the final shot. However, the Zephyr defense denied the inbound pass and forced a turnover on a five-second violation. Whitehall was unable to capitalize on its opportunity for the final shot and the game went to overtime tied at 38.
Zach Gula scored the first two points of OT for Northampton right off the tip. The next three minutes belonged to Whitehall, as they used a nine-point run to go up by seven.
The Kids then went on a run of their own. When Isaac Harris converted the free throw on an and-one situation, Northampton led 48-47. Tyler Holubowski made one of two free throws with 23.4 seconds left to equalize the score and send the game into a second extra period.
The Zephyrs scored first in the second OT, but it was Northampton that held a three-point lead as the clock dwindled. Dylan McGinley was the Whitehall savior as he drained a corner three with seven seconds left to extend the game once again.
The game appeared destined to go to a fourth overtime. The score was even at 58-58 with 18.3 seconds left when Northampton was set to inbound on the Whitehall half of the court. Harris wound up with the ball in his hands and was fouled with 10.8 left. He missed the first of two free throws, but calmly knocked down the second one to give the Kids the lead. Gula rebounded the last-ditch Zephyr shot for the lead and made one of two free throws to finish the scoring.
Lisicky led all scorers with 19 points. McGinley chipped in 16 more toward the Zephyr cause. Gula and Spencer Cole paced Northampton with 18 apiece and Harris totaled 16 on the game.
Both teams will have to recover physically and emotionally from this hard fought game.
Northampton hosts Emmaus on Friday, travels to Lehighton on Saturday, and is home for Parkland on Tuesday.
Whitehall travels to Nazareth on Thursday and then has two home games, Pocono Mountain West on Sunday and Central Catholic on Tuesday.