Northampton’s girls’ basketball team simply isn’t bothered by their surroundings. The Konkrete Kids quietly and efficiently posted a 14-3 record through their first 17 games, and haven’t been fazed by their secure district berth.
“This team isn’t bothered by any pressure, and they just go out and play,” said head coach Jeff Jacksits about his team. “That’s what it is all about.
For the Northampton boys’ basketball, it is now about the final two weeks. Finding some consistency certainly will help.
The Kids will have five of their final six games against divisional opponents in the East Penn Conference, and they are two wins away from clinching a district berth with an overall 9-6 record.
Northampton has split its last four games, the latest a 56-52 loss to East Stroudsburg South.
“These are two big weeks for us,” said Northampton head coach Coy Stampone. “We just have been very inconsistent all season.
Northampton head hockey coach Brain Ruff is following an age-old adage as his club maneuvers itself toward the upcoming postseason.
“We’re just trying to take one game at a time,” said Ruff. “We know we have Parkland at the end of the (regular) season and we have a few games before them.
“We really believe we have enough talent to go the distance, but we can’t look too far ahead.”
Beginning this week, the Konkrete Kids were in third place in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL) behind undefeated Parkland (12-0-1) and Phillipsburg (10-2-0).
Growing up, Northampton guard-forward Donte Rodriguez usually one of the big players on his team.
That is, Rodriguez was the tallest or among the taller players on his team.
“When I moved to Northampton and started playing basketball on the fourth and fifth grade teams, I probably was the tallest kids on my team,” said Rodriguez. “I definitely has some trouble because I was pretty a one-dimensional player all with my right hand.
Morgan Sterner always has been ahead of her time.
She has a basketball pedigree from older sisters Lauren and Leandra, both of whom excelled in the Konkrete Kids’ program and went on to collegiate careers.
Since she began in the Kids’ program, Sterner has been an integral part of teams as a well-rounded athlete on and outside the court.
In addition, Sterner understands what it takes to make a team whole. She wore a Grinch costume before a Christmas practice.
In his final season, Zach Gula is relishing every moment.
The Northampton guard/forward is among eight seniors in the mix this season for the Konkrete Kids, who were off to a 5-2 start through their first seven games this season.
So far, the Kids have lived up to their expectations as they expect to be a contender in the East Penn Conference (EPC) tournament as well as major player in the District 11 Class 6A tilt.
Gula already knows the feeling.
Northampton’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams both kick-started a busy second half of the season by capturing their respective holiday tournaments.
The girls’ fought off and then took command over a talented Jim Thorpe team for the title in the Pocono Mountain West tournament, while the boys’ had little trouble with Saucon Valley as they won the Salisbury tournament for the fourth consecutive year.
Versatility and balance.
Those will be two philosophies that will either make or break Northampton’s basketball season this winter.
The Konkrete Kids have eight experienced seniors, all of whom can play more than one position on the floor. They don’t have a predominant player like they have had in the past, but they have a core that can score inside as well as hit their share of three-pointers.
They already responded with a 73-55 victory over Catasauqua in their opener in which Zac Gula had a team-high 22 points supported by Donte Rodriguez’s 15 and Issac Harris’s 10.
To say Tyrese Brandon has had a busy year might be an understatement.
The Northampton senior running back set numerous school football records helping the Kids to a 10-2 record.
The Konkrete Kids posted their second winning season since 2008 and are making their second appearance in the postseason since 2003. It was the best regular season record since the 1974 team achieved the same record.
Tyrese Brandon recently ended his career against Catasauqua on Thanksgiving morning with his share of contributions in the Northampton football record book as well as a feeling of earned respectability for the program.
The senior ran for two touchdowns and was the recipient of two others in the Konkrete Kids’ 63-0 whitewash of Catasauqua that gave them a 10-2 overall record and the best mark for the program. It was the most victories since the 2008 team posted a 10-3 mark.