Northampton Press

Thursday, February 27, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY LINDA ROTHROCKDonte Rodriguez will be back next year for the boys team. PRESS PHOTO BY LINDA ROTHROCKDonte Rodriguez will be back next year for the boys team.

Boys poised to return 14

Thursday, March 21, 2019 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Potential will be a key word for the Northampton boys’ basketball program in the 2019-20 season.

Having 14 players returning and losing only two can generate plenty of optimism.

The Konkrete Kids got a good glimpse of their future this season with a maturing team that found its way back to the districts playoffs after they lost three players who accounted for 75-percent of their offense last year.

Northampton recently ended its season with a 56-43 loss to Parkland in the opening round of the Class 6A district playoffs, leaving them with an overall 12-10 record.

“Your last game is always a tough one,” said Kids’ head coach Coy Stampone. “You want to keep playing and the kids were disappointed. People were saying that we would be in a rebuilding or transition year losing (Aidan Elwood, Cory Weisenberger, and Mike Torres).

“But districts is now a norm for Northampton basketball.”

Stampone noted how his team stayed with Parkland throughout the first half despite having starter Donte Rodriguez picking up two fouls. The Kids were within three at halftime, but they couldn’t maintain their drive.

“They took it to us in the third quarter,” said Stampone about Parkland. “Donte (Rodriguez) picked up his third foul and that hurt us.”

Rodriguez will be among several seniors and four returning starters for the Kids. His growth will be a key to the Kids’ success.

“We all knew he (Rodriguez) had the potential,” said Stampone. “He really started to show what he can do in the second half especially the last six games or so. He can make this team so much better.”

Rodriguez and fellow juniors Zach Gula and Spencer Cole along with freshman Issac Harris will provide the Kids with experience. Sophomore Joe Kerbacher also got some meaningful minutes down the stretch.

Junior Jake Christman also made huge strides during the season. Fellow junior Tyrese Brandon also figures to be a regular contributor.

“We’ll be deep,” added Stampone. “Guys like Gula and Cole have been very consistent the last two years. Issac Harris made his presence felt. Joe Kerbacher started slowly, but he came on the last few games.

“Jake Christman worked hard in the offseason and in the weight room. He was our either first or second guy off the bench. Tyrese (Brandon) just works his tail off when he’s out there. He’s unbelievable defensively for us.

“We also had a good year with our JV team and we’ll have more depth. It will be a nice problem to have.”

One glaring weakness the Kids will need to improve will be their weight training.

“We have been beaten up in the paint,” said Stampone. “We need to be a stronger team next year. We’ll get at it as soon as we can.”

In the meantime, though, the Kids have the potential for a bright future.