Northampton’s boys’ basketball district playoff game couldn’t have come any sooner.
The tenth-seeded Konkrete Kids (12-10) traveled to seventh-seeded Parkland (13-9) in the opening round of the PIAA District 11 Class 6A playoffs Tuesday. The winner will meet second–seeded Nazareth Saturday at Allen in the next round.
It proved to be an anxious two-week period since the Kids last saw action. They did manage a scrimmage against Palmerton in the process.
In the end, Northampton wasn’t supposed to be there.
Yet, the Kids haven’t exactly followed the script.
Despite having a better overall record, the Konkrete Kids didn’t gain as much respect of the two-time East Penn Conference Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks.
They generally weren’t mentioned in the same breath as Becahi, Notre Dame, and Southern Lehigh when speaking about elite programs in the Lehigh Valley, or at least at the tail end of the reference.
However, the Kids are in the same 20-plus win (21-4) as their counterparts.
In the near future, Gabby Demchak has aspirations of being a math teacher and a basketball coach.
It is a part of her persona about educating and helping others along her way to playing a role for the common good.
In the present, Demchak is doing her part to make Northampton’s girls’ basketball season a memorable one.
The Konkrete Kids began the week in the middle of battling for an EPC title before districts start.
For the Northampton girls’ basketball team, these are the days of the battle of attrition.
All season long, the Konkrete Kids have played like a team on a mission, hitting only a few potholes along the way.
However, head coach Jeff Jacksits knows all too well how playing East Penn Conference (EPC) rivals late in the season and also playing in the EPC tournament easily can derail momentum.
One to go.
That’s the number of wins Northampton’s boys’ basketball team needed to begin the week for a return trip to districts. The Konkrete Kids certainly didn’t have an easy road in the final weeks to achieve the mark.
The Kids (10-8) began this week with their final home game against Whitehall Tuesday and then Nazareth Friday before they finish at Parkland next Monday and Allentown Central Catholic next Wednesday.
By most media accounts, Northampton’s girls’ basketball team has been flying under the radar this season.
The Konkrete Kids have done it in a true businesslike manner considering they arguably are the Lehigh Valley’s version of a Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter jet, stealthy and powerfully taking out teams in the process.
For Morgan Sterner, basketball has been a constant.
She began playing in kindergarten and was on her first AAU team in third grade. Since then, her love for the game hasn’t dwindled.
“I think I can say that basketball is a 24/7 thing for me,” said Sterner, a sophomore on the Konkrete Kids’ team. “If I am not playing it, I usually am working out to try and get better.
“When I was younger, my coaches told me that I had a gift for it and I should keep playing.”
That talent lately has been on display.
For Northampton’s boys’ basketball team, it is the first of a possible few late-season gut checks.
The Konkrete Kids (9-6) need two more wins to return to the district playoffs, and they have a huge gut check this week.
They met Allentown Central Catholic Tuesday, have a return date with Emmaus Friday, and then host Blue Mountain Saturday afternoon. The three teams have a combined record of 36-10.
In fifth grade, Donte Rodriguez decided to go out for the basketball team. The hunch eventually blossomed into a start reality.
Overall, it has been about reaching his potential.
“I figured I would give it a try,” said Rodriguez, a junior. “At that age, I was looking for help to keep it going. I had some pretty good kids playing around me.
“One of the coaches told me to use my left hand. That was a big help.”
Two years later, Rodriguez knew basketball was going to be a constant.
Simply put, Northampton’s hockey team can control its own destiny toward the postseason in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL).
The Konkrete Kids (6-4-3) began this week’s play tied with Allentown Central Catholic (15 points) in fourth place and also for the final playoff spot.
However, Central Catholic has one game left on it schedule, while the Kids have three.
“It is there for us,” said Kids’ veteran head coach Brian Ruff. “We play three teams that are below us in the standings. We have to pick up points.”