"It's now or never," or "It's never too late."
Those should be the rallying cries for Northampton's girls' basketball team.
The Konkrete Kids, who lost three times last week, are in a "do or die," situation as their schedule heads into the home stretch.
Coach Jeff Jacksits' crew has a 4-11 record overall and a 2-6 Lehigh Valley Conference mark with only seven games remaining-six in the LVC.
And the Kids must win five of the LVC games or all seven if they intend to reach the District 11 playoff tournament for the seventh-straight year.
Three years ago, Gunnar Mishko was able to celebrate a championship with his older brother Austin as members of Northampton's entry in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL).
Now, three years later, the younger Mishko wants to leave the program with another championship in the LVSHL Non-Pure division as well as the league's overall crown. It would be the first title for the program since both brothers celebrated three years ago.
But all is not right in the Kids' kingdom.
Northampton's Dylan Cook admittedly has had his share of troubling and frustrating times with the basketball program this winter.
The junior swingman has experienced his share of highs and lows of the team's overall 2-10 mark entering this season. Cook, however, has understood the situation with a new coach and system being implemented in the process.
Derrick Wruble bagged a hat trick, but it was too little, too late as Northampton fell just short of a comeback against Whitehall/Salisbury, losing 6-5 on senior night last Monday at Lehigh Valley Ice Arena.
Despite the loss, Northampton (6-6-1) remains atop the non-pure division, two games ahead of Becahi/Central Catholic.
The Konkrete Kids opened the scoring a little over three minutes in. Senior Tyler Feist scored on a deflected slap shot. Later, fellow senior Gunnar Mishko took a pass from Daniel Farkas, and ripped one past Tristan Collins.
It was a roller-coaster week for the Konkrete Kids girls' basketball team.
After beating Dieruff 54-46 for their second straight Lehigh Valley Conference win, Northampton ran into a buzz saw in the form of preseason LVC favorite Bethlehem Catholic with the Golden Hawks racking up a 63-36 decision.
But, Coach Jeff Jacksits' Kids bounced back with a Saturday matinee victory over visiting Holy Redeemer 49-44 in a nonleague clash.
Dylan Brown gave Freedom their first lead of the night over Northampton with one bout to go, but the reality of the situation made it bitter sweet.
Brown's fall in 3:13 over Brandon Wallander at 106-pounds gave Freedom a temporary moment of accomplishment, as they held a 27-26 advantage, but it all ended Monday night when Northampton's Mike Scheetz packed away Tyler Trapani with a pin in the final bout of the night at 113-pounds to give the Kids a 32-27 victory.
If you're looking to expand your wintertime pursuits, Pennsylvania's state forest and park systems are extending an invitation to enjoy their public offerings.
There's sledding, tobogganing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, ATVing, camping and ice fishing, all enjoyable outdoor activities - provided we get some appreciable snow and colder temperatures.
The Northampton swim team swept Pocono Mountain West. The girls won 102-66 while the boys won a close, 85-79 match.
Rachel Pursell and Emma Steirer each took home two victories to lead the way for the Kids. Pursell won the 200 free in 2:10.75 and the 500 free in 5:38.84. Steirer won the 200 IM in 2:34.85 and the 100 back in 1:09.58.
Other winners for the girls were Paige Knouse, Madison Bernal and Kaitlin Nemes. Knouse won the 50 free in 27.62, Bernal took the 100 fly in 1:05.61 and Nemes won the 100 free in 1:06.75.
Northampton head swimming coach Gwen Whildin expected to have her team endure some growing pains with a handful of experienced swimmers among a small squad. She also expected to see her team jell at this point of the season through the emphasis of daily basics.
"It is difficult to qualify the start of the season," said the veteran coach. "I had hoped by now we would see teamwork and commitment by our swimmers. Certain individuals have grasped the basic concepts of training and are seeing good results."
As a result, Whildin is seeking a more unified effort down the stretch.
Northampton's boys' basketball team has experienced a myriad of positive and negative emotions and incidents through their first five weeks of the season under first-year head coach Coy Stampone.
Fortunately, the Kids' recent output has been titled toward the positive. In a recent 43-36 victory over Phillipsburg, defense became their calling card, and it also marked their second win (2-8) in their past three games.