Northampton Press

Saturday, January 19, 2019
Press photo by Linda RothrockZach Gula and the Kids are hoping to start a big win streak like they did last year after winning the Salisbury tournament. Press photo by Linda RothrockZach Gula and the Kids are hoping to start a big win streak like they did last year after winning the Salisbury tournament.

Gula plays bigger role

Monday, January 7, 2019 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Over the past two years, Zach Gula played his part into transforming Northampton into one of the better programs around in the East Penn Conference and the Lehigh Valley.

This season, Gula knew he would play a bigger role, and he has made a smooth transition.

The junior guard has been one of the team’s leading scorers this season, as the Konkrete Kids continue to adjust to their new identity after a momentous season last year.

“We’re just playing hard,” said Gula. “We sometimes struggle to score at times, but we have had different people step up for us.

“We’re doing a good job defensively as we’re holding teams to around 45 points a game. We lost two big scorers from last year, and we have a true team effort this year.”

Gula has a game-high 16 points in the Kids’ opening-game victory over Saucon Valley in the Salisbury Holiday Tournament. He had 12 points in the championship game win over Quakertown and was named to the All-Tournament team.

He consistently has been in double figures and had a season-high 18 points sinking four three-pointers in a triple-overtime victory over Whitehall earlier this season.

Head coach Coy Stampone was confident Gula would be a big contributor.

“Gula played in big games for us last year,” he said. “He is an excellent shooter and continues to work on his overall game.

“Zac is a competitor and strives to be one of the best players in the league.”

Gula has adapted well to a leadership role this winter.

“For the past two years, I was one of the younger kids on the team,” he said. “It can be a big transition, but I like it. Everything that I had done has prepared me. I have really worked extra hard to be ready for this season.”

Over the past couple of seasons, Gula has recognized the level of respect the program has garnered. The Kids knocked off Parkland earlier, but they dropped games to Emmaus and Nazareth.

However, Gula sees the team winning the Salisbury tournament as another possible springboard. After the Kids won it last season, they embarked on a 13-game winning streak that elevated them into the upper echelon of the league.

“That was a good jump-start for us last year,” he said. “We were very confidence going into it and we did what we needed to do.”

Gula would like to play in college, and he would welcome the chance. His mother, Michelle, was a 1,000-point scorer at Lehigh Valley Christian High School, and his father, Michael, played at Northern Lehigh.

“I hope I can,” said Gula about his college options. “My whole family has helped me and they have been invested in sports. If there is an opportunity in the future to play in college, I’ll take it.”

Until then, Gula will make the most of his opportunities with the Kids.