Northampton Press

Monday, September 16, 2019
Northampton girls head coach Jeff Jacksits consoles his team following their loss to Becahi in the EPC finals. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA Northampton girls head coach Jeff Jacksits consoles his team following their loss to Becahi in the EPC finals. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA
Victoria Keenan blocks a shot during the EPC finals against Bethlehem Catholic. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA Victoria Keenan blocks a shot during the EPC finals against Bethlehem Catholic. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA
Jenna Rogers attempts to block a shot during the Kids game against Becahi last Saturday night in the EPC finals. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA Jenna Rogers attempts to block a shot during the Kids game against Becahi last Saturday night in the EPC finals. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA
Press photos by Rob MerchantThe girls basketball team poses with their second place trophy following last weekend’s EPC finals loss to Becahi. The district playoffs are next up for the girls. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA Press photos by Rob MerchantThe girls basketball team poses with their second place trophy following last weekend’s EPC finals loss to Becahi. The district playoffs are next up for the girls. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA

With Jacksits at helm, girls prove they are among elite

Thursday, February 21, 2019 by jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

In the end, Northampton wasn’t supposed to be there.

Yet, the Kids haven’t exactly followed the script.

Despite having a better overall record, the Konkrete Kids didn’t gain as much respect of the two-time East Penn Conference Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks.

They generally weren’t mentioned in the same breath as Becahi, Notre Dame, and Southern Lehigh when speaking about elite programs in the Lehigh Valley, or at least at the tail end of the reference.

However, the Kids are in the same 20-plus win (21-4) as their counterparts.

Yes, they are just as good or maybe better.

Against Becahi, the Kids quietly went about their business like they have all season and had some early momentum in the game before Becahi found its touch late in the first half.

From there, the Golden Hawks won the battle of attrition in the third quarter and gained control with a 16-3 spurt that would eventually lead to a 59-48 victory.

Still, the low-profile Kids can move on with their heads high. They again will roll up their sleeves and apply the same lunch box work ethic that has worked all season.

They suffered an opening–week loss in the championship game of the Owen J. Roberts tournament. Four wins later, they suffered their second loss to season nemesis Nazareth, the first of three classic battles that they both later avenged.

Taking their cue, the Kids reeled off 13 consecutive wins and began to become noticed as a legitimate Valley elite.

In the process, the Kids ignited their three-pronged offensive attack of Victoria Keenan, Jenna Rogers and Morgan Sterner, coupled with the perfect role play of Gabby Damchak and Kylie Gilliard, along with a budding class of underclassmen off the bench to form one of the more fluid units in the area.

They then endured an off night against Parkland in a 34-point effort, but the Kids quickly rebounded to advance to the EPC championship game.

Now, the Kids likely will regroup at practice this week before they begin district play Thursday at Whitehall as the top seed in Class 6A against the winner of eight-seeded Easton and ninth-seeded Stroudsburg.

If everything plays itself out, the Kids will have a rematch with Parkland in the district semis before either facing Nazareth again, or getting their first look at Freedom in the finals.

They have the perfect architect at the helm in Jeff Jacksits, whose calm, yet loose demeanor brings it all together.

Like his team, Jacksits often is overlooked for his 15-year, 247-146 mark that is only second to Central’s legendary Mike Kopp in career win in the conference.

He will look to lead the Kids to their first district title since they won consecutive ones in the 2009 and 2010 season behind the play of the Bonenberger sisters and an effective cast.

Ten years later, there are plenty of signs the Kids again can wear a district medal.

The powers-to-be and media types may think otherwise.