Heading into the final phase of the season, Northampton knew what it needed to do to secure itself a better playoff seeding.
They did just that.
Northampton’s boys basketball season was a myriad of highlights, some that may not be achieved for some time.
There was a 13-game winning streak that clinched an early district berth, the lone East Penn Conference team to beat Bethlehem Catholic during the regular season with a buzzer beater, and an appearance in a district championship game for the first time in 45 years among other events that dotted the season.
Mike Schneider vividly remembers his senior year at Northampton.
It was 1972 and the former athletic director was a member of the boys basketball team under then head coach Bob Nemeth - that was the last Northampton team to win a District 11 title.
In that year, the Konkrete Kids downed Easton, 60-57, behind Greg Vogel’s 16 points and Carl “Yogi” Christman added 13 in the win.
Northampton’s surge this season easily can be credited to the Konkrete Kids’ offense, paced by seniors Aidan Ellwood and Cory Weisenberger.
Both of them have averaged close to 20 points per contest and the Kids’ other remaining starters and their bench certainly has helped the cause. The Kids have averaged 59 points per game over their 23 contests (16-7).
Some situations in sports – and life – you never forget.
It was many years ago when I first met Coy Stampone. He was a basketball coach in the Nazareth program under then head coach Charlie McGarvey, and we met as instructors at a summer basketball camp at the school.
At approximately 6-foot-4, Coy is an imposing figure with his height and solid stature. But you soon realize he is a genuine, frank individual with his great sense of humor. He is the type of person who will always do you a favor if he can.
Northampton’s boys basketball team achieved a major goal when it qualified for the upcoming district playoffs, and the Konkrete Kids will see a familiar opponent for the third time this season.
However, the Kids can take another major step with a district win this Saturday that will propel them into the PIAA state tournament, as the top four teams in the district 6A bracket will advance.
Northampton’s hockey team is in a fixed mood in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL).
Coming off a 10-3 win over Beca/ Central recently, the Konkrete Kids will maintain their fourth seed and likely spot in the upcoming LVSHL playoffs. The Kids are in a position to face top-seeded and undefeated Parkland in a single elimination game that would lead to a best-of-three championship round.
Yet, the Kids haven’t lived up to preseason expectations with a 6-8-0 record.
Northampton’s run in the East Penn Conference (EPC) ended quickly, but the Konkrete Kids are confident in their district hopes ahead.
The seventh-seeded Kids dropped a 64-48 contest to second-seeded Allentown Central Catholic in an opening–round game Monday night at Rockne Hall.
It was the rubber match between the two teams as Central won the opening match, 66-36, Dec. 19, and Northampton returned the favor, 60-45, Jan. 18.
Aidan Ellwood paced the Kids with 20 points, and Central had four players in double figures led by Dat Lambert’s 18 and Jordan McChristian’s 13.
When he was younger, Mike Torres admired his father, Michael Sr., who was a handyman around the house.
The experience eventually would lead the younger Torres to seek to explore a possible career in electrical engineering next fall.
“My father could fix anything and he would show me how to do things,” said Torres. “He never had me around anything electrical because he was worried about me getting hurt. But I always wanted to do something electrical.
“Seeing my dad do what he did inspired me to try and fix things and get into an electrical field someday.”
For the Northampton Konkrete Kids, the winning streak is over at 13 games.
However, it was just one component of a multifaceted season that has elevated the Kids’ status among their peers and the area basketball community.
The Kids dropped a 71-53 decision at Nazareth Feb. 2 that ended their streak. They edged Emmaus, 55-54, three days earlier.
“Winning 13 in a row isn’t too shabby,” said head coach Coy Stampone. “We have played well and have felt pretty good about ourselves.