Northampton Press

Thursday, February 27, 2020
Press photo by Linda RothrockMorgan Sterner will return next season to hopefully help lead the Kids back to the playoffs. Press photo by Linda RothrockMorgan Sterner will return next season to hopefully help lead the Kids back to the playoffs.

Girls had great year, future bright

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

All season long, Northampton’s girls basketball team wore down opponents with their speed that fueled their transition game.

In a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal game against Norwin, the Konkrete Kids met a team that arguably was a little bit faster.

The Kids answered some early Norwin runs, but it wasn’t enough down the stretch as they eventually dropped a 68-58 decision at Cumberland Valley High School March 12.

“They were a lot faster than they looked on film,” said Kids’ head coach Jeff Jacksits. “They were a balanced team, not too tall or short. They hurt us on the boards as they got their share of second and third shots. They also brought four or five girls off the bench who were just as quick.

“We had some runs at them, but we had inappropriate timed turnovers that hurt us.”

Jacksits wasn’t happy with the lack of some calls, and noted one that easily could have shifted momentum in the second half.

“Victoria (Keenan) got handled down the court all night,” said Jacksits. “She hit a three and flung her hand toward her girl. She got called (for an offensive foul) and the three would have made it a one-point game.

“It’s easy to say that there were a few choice calls that didn’t go our way.”

He also cited the play of Norwin’s Emily Brozeski, who led the team with 17 points. At 5-9, Brozeski was a force down low all night.

“She (Brozeski) hurt us,” said Jacksits. “She was able to get a lot of rebounds, and we weren’t as active as we would have been.”

For the Kids, forward Jenna Rogers had a game-high 27 points and 14 rebounds. Keenan added 13 points.

“Jenna did a nice job for us and she battled all night,” said Jacksits. “They were collapsing on her the whole game.”

Despite being the top seed from District 11, the Kids were placed in the Western bracket. Norwin, the fourth seed from District 7, lost in the next round by 17 points to Peters Township, the top seed from District 7.

“It is pretty strange to have a one seed go out west,” said Jacksits. “You would expect a three- or four-seed to make the trip. I don’t know what their thinking was to have us shoved out to the West.”

The Kids will lose starters Keenan, Rogers, and Gabby Demchak to graduation, but they return starters sophomore Morgan Sterner and freshman Kylie Gilliard along with top reserve freshman Taylor Kranzley.

“Kranzley and Gilliard didn’t play like freshmen,” said Jacksits. “Morgan (Sterner) has another good year for us.

“Our JVs lost three games and they are good. We should have a good rotation next year.

“We also have some freshmen coming in who we believe can help us.”

Jacksits saw it as a productive year with a district championship, especially after they lost the East Penn Conference title game.

“It would have been a disappointment if we didn’t win the district title,” said Jacksits. “We let the league championship slip away from us. After we lost that, the girls really tried harder and they really wanted it.”

Jacksits also viewed his team in an underdog role all season, one that quickly and steadily molded into a 25-5 season.

“After we won a summer league, we thought we might have something,” he said. “The younger kids really meshed with the older kids.

“We had a number of pasta dinners at my house. They all hung out together and we became one, big happy family.

“This was one of the most enjoyable seasons I have ever had. The girls were always loose and had fun.”

Jacksits said the team will begin workouts in late April and the Allentown Summer League begins play in mid-May. It will be an interesting transition.

“We’re looking forward to next year,” he said. “The league is going to be loaded. We’ll be relatively young, but we should be right in the thick of things.”