HS Basketball “Awards”

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Keith Groller and I recently gave our takes on the Lehigh Valley high school basketball season on “SportsTalk,” along with (some of) the following different categories for this season.

As we approach the final few weeks of the regular season, here’s a sample of some of our responses to these topics.

1) Team to Beat in the EPC & Colonial Leagues

 In what should be a great winter basketball season with lots of quality teams, you have to give the nod to the defending District XI 6A champion Allen Canaries.  They have most of their core returning and haven’t hurt themselves with their summer performances and could repeat–although they probably will have tougher competition come playoff time.

In the Colonial League, I put my money on Southern Lehigh to repeat again this year.  They feature too much talent not to successfully retain their title. 

2) “Surprise” Team 

Bethlehem Catholic

I know what you’re thinking–how can one of the premiere basketball teams and a perennial state playoff team be considered a ‘surprise?’  But consider, the Hawks lost perhaps the two best players (a point guard and a 6’10” center, no less) in the Lehigh Valley, yet hardly missed a beat, including incorporating two new players, both 6’6” and both can shoot, play inside and on the perimeter, defend, rebound…you name it.

Plus, the returning supporting cast looked good–especially having the rock and filling in the large departed shoes of Justin Paz.  You lose the players Becahi lost to graduation and you most certainly would have expected some semblance of a step back–at least to start. 

3) Most Intriguing Team to Watch 

Nazareth

Another team that lost a ton to graduation–although they were incredibly inconsistent last season, but Joe Arndt’s kids have been working hard this offseason and he is VERY high on the incoming players.

4) MVP 

This was not an easy topic to answer and the term “MVP” sometimes can be open to different interpretations…you might want to listen to our podcast to hear my entire “thought process” for this one. 

5) Biggest Question Mark This Winter 

I saw Freedom six times in a row last January and, during that stretch, no team looked better–especially defensively.  After that three week stretch I didn’t see Freedom again until the final week of the regular season, and, by that time, they had fallen from the #3 seed to a #9 seed and failed to qualify for the league playoffs and were non-factors in district.

This year, I’ve once again had the opportunity to announce a number of Freedom games and, once again, they’ve looked impressive–but have had trouble getting over the hump in winning big games.

What happened last year?  Can they avoid a similar fate over the next few weeks?  We’ll delve into the Patriots’ psyche as Head Coach Joe Stellato and members of his team (including the Mims brothers–both of whom eclipsed the 1,000 point plateau this month) will be in-studio guests on Thursday’s “SportsTalk” program. 

6) Underclassman to Watch 

Allen’s Nate Ellis

The freshman may have made some early season “ninth grade” mistakes, but he looked awfully impressive down the stretch, guiding his team to a championship.  Nate’s ceiling is already pretty high but certainly he has the potential to go down as one of the best point guard all-time in the rich Allentown basketball history books.  Should be a great story to watch over the next several seasons. 

7) Most Anticipated Colonial League Playoff Matchup 

Notre Dame at Southern Lehigh.

The defending Colonial League champs against the team with the most incoming talent…couldn’t get much better than this. 

8) Most Anticipated EPC Playoff Matchup 

Parkland vs. Allen.

Parkland, after having some issues during the regular season, came on strong late and played the Canaries tough in districts during Allen’s great run.  Would love to see what the Trojans can do with a full year of consistency in the rematch between these two schools. 

9)  New Head Coach with Biggest Impact 

We had a chance to interview the Lehigh Valley’s new coaches on “SportsTalk” recently.  Why don’t you watch those interviews and tell me your thoughts to this topic by emailing me at chris.michael@rcn.net ?  I’d love to hear your opinions!

 

 

 

Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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