The 28th version of Catasauqua’s Tournament of Champions proved to be an old-fashioned basketball barnburner.
Top-Cat, the champion of the nearby Stiles League, defended its title with a tight-knit, 62-59 win over Ohlson’s Landscaping to capture the crown.
Derek Hall hit John Amoroso for a layup with roughly 15 seconds remaining in the game to help Top-Cat to the title. It was a close contest throughout the night, as the tournament featured its share of interesting games.
Twenty-eight years ago, Eric Snyder had one of those night’s where he couldn’t sleep.
He remembered a passage from a book written by legendary college football coach Lou Holtz who stated that he would “get up and do something to make him tired.”
So Snyder decided to follow the initiative. He had his concept and groundwork for the then initial Tournament of Champions, but he wanted to add another twist. Snyder wanted it to be a rotating tournament in which a different league every year would be the host site.
For the Northampton’s basketball team, it was a busy and productive summer.
This week, the Konkrete Kids were in the final stages of the Allentown Summer League. They also participated in the Cedar Beach Bash and SportsFest’s “A-Town Thrown Down,” both of which had strong showings.
The Kids also had weekend shootout tournaments at East Stroudsburg University and Millersville University, as they were exposed to teams outside the general area.
In all, it proved to be an interesting summer.
Northampton’s Connie Mack team’s ride in the postseason didn’t end according to their script, but they did experience a ride that could leave lasting impressions.
The Konkrete Kids went on a late-season binge that saw them advance to the Lehigh Valley Connie Mack championship game, only to lose in an 8-7, eight-inning contest to Bethlehem Catholic.
With their late-season heroics, Northampton received a bye in the opening–round of the state Connie Mack tournament and began play two days later at Limeport Stadium.
Northampton Legion head coach Mike Bodnar likely will remember this past Father’s Day.
Aside from his family’s celebrations, Bodnar watched his Northampton Legion team take stock of itself and begin a rampage that has carried them to the top seed in the playoffs and Northampton County League finals.
“We lost to East Stroudsburg and we played badly” said Bodnar. “I benched four players and the coaches agreed with me that we had to send a message. Our play just wasn’t acceptable.
“That really sunk in because we haven’t lost since then.”
A few weeks ago, Northampton’s Lehigh Valley Connie Mack (LVCM) team faced the arduous task of a stretch of six games in seven days.
Head coach Steve Kerbacher wasn’t sure how his club would respond to challenge, as it could greatly impact their season. In the end, though, Kerbacher and his team eventually saw the test as one that would leave its mark for quite some time.
Coming into summer league play, Aidan Ellwood viewed the landscape of his team at Northampton, and he began to undertake a new role.
The lone senior and returning leading scorer, Ellwood understands it simply won’t be about putting the ball in the basket.
“We’re young,” said Ellwood describing his team. “We have a lot of the younger guys realizing their roles. But we are starting to come together as a unit.
Northampton’s team in the Lehigh Valley Connie Mack (LVCM) League is optimistic it can enter the upcoming postseason with some momentum.
However, they will have their work cut out for them.
Northampton will finish the regular season this week with games against Lehigh Bethlehem and Catasauqua, both teams that could stand in their way of getting an elevated spot in the standings.
They recently suffered a hard-fought , 5-3 loss to Bethlehem Catholic, but they bounced back with a convincing 10-2 suspended/completed victory over Pen Argyl.
Northampton boys’ basketball coach Coy Stampone always has cherished his team’s involvement in summer leagues, using it as a proving ground for the upcoming winter season.
This summer Stampone has taken the same approach, but the emphasis is more on keeping a busy schedule.
The Konkrete Kids recently competed in Allentown’s Cedar Beach Bash, a tournament that attracted some of the top teams in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They finished with an overall 3-2 mark, losing to Allen in a consolation game.
As they enter the final phase of the season, Northampton’s American Legion entry’s recent packed schedule hasn’t slowed their overall progress.
Instead, they have continued on their steady pace that has kept them near the top of the league standings.
Heading into this week’s play, Northampton had an overall 11-4 record despite playing 11 games over a 14-day period.
They have three games left before the postseason begins.