Northampton Press

Monday, September 16, 2019

It’s gut-check time for the K-Kids

Thursday, January 24, 2019 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

For Northampton’s boys’ basketball team, it is the first of a possible few late-season gut checks.

The Konkrete Kids (9-6) need two more wins to return to the district playoffs, and they have a huge gut check this week.

They met Allentown Central Catholic Tuesday, have a return date with Emmaus Friday, and then host Blue Mountain Saturday afternoon. The three teams have a combined record of 36-10.

“Central and Emmaus are very good, and Blue Mountain began the week with a 14-1 record,” said Kids’ head coach Coy Stampone. “Nothing is easy, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.”

The Kids began the week off an impressive win over Pocono Mountain West (PMW) after they sputtered in a loss to Easton earlier last week. Junior Zach Gula had a team-high 31 points against PMW and fellow junior Spencer Cole added 14. Freshman Issac Harris continues to make his make his mark as he logged 13 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.

Stampone also noted the team’s assist-turnover ratio against PMW, recording 18 assists to 13 turnovers. They also shot better than 60-percent from the field and out-rebounded PMW, 34-22, in their 71-58 victory.

“We had our best practices of the year before that game,” said Stampone. “The kids pushed each other and played hard. We had a sense of urgency.”

A few days earlier, the Kids fell behind Easton early, 15-5, and never recovered in a 58-46 loss.

“It seemed like Easton came out playing like a team with their backs to the wall needing the win,” said Stampone. “Maybe not with more energy, but with a greater sense of urgency. We fought back to get into the game, but we couldn’t match Easton’s energy at the end.”

Stampone cited the recent play of junior Jake Christman, who has provided a boost in recent weeks.

“Jake (Christman) has given the team a spark lately,” said Stampone. “He is a leader on and off the court and gives us everything at practice and games.

“He saved us against Dieruff. Without his effort and foul shooting coming off the bench, I am not sure we pull that one off. Against PMW, he did little things like boxing out and making the extra pass. He also is capable of hitting that jump shot.”

Over the next two weeks, the Kids also can be in the running for the East Penn Conference playoffs. They will meet Central Catholic again in the season finale Feb. 6.

“We are still in the thick of things for the league playoffs,” added Stampone. “Getting back to districts is our main goal. We have to play our best to get to the dance.”