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Girls rally to beat Emmaus

As the high school basketball regular season passes its halfway point, the Northampton girls team has distinguished itself as one of a handful of legitimate contenders for both the EPC and class 6A District XI titles.

On Friday night Emmaus brought their 7-2 record to Pete Schneider Gymnasium in the hopes of staking a claim as the best team in the EPC West this year. The K-Kids sent the Hornets home on the short side of a 46-27 score despite turning the ball over 24 times.

Emmaus led 8-2 after the first four minutes of the game. From that juncture, the Kids held the Hornets to a single field goal the rest of the first half, a buzzer-beater that made the score 19-13 in favor of Northampton at the break.

A pair of Kylie Gilliard threes to start the second quarter erased a 10-9 first quarter deficit and the K-Kids never trailed again.

An 8-0 run to start the second half gave Northampton plenty of breathing room, although Emmaus was able to whittle the lead down to 7 with two minutes left in the third period. A 12-0 over the next six minutes blew the game open and put the matter to rest.

Grace Lesko led all scorers with 17. Gilliard tallied a dozen points. Devyn Demchak had 5 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals. Taylor Kranzley added 5 points, Brianna Tyler 3 points, Nicole Yellen 2 points and 6 rebounds, and Sophie Steirer scored 2 points.

Head coach Jeff Jacksits assessed the performance.

“We just have to settle down,” he said. “We’re just too anxious sometimes and we need to relax and be patient. We’re notorious for playing down to our opponents.

“We did do some good things. Kylie really stepped up and made some key shots in the first half. Grace kind of took over in the second half.”

With a 9-2 record at the midpoint of the season, the Kids are all but assured of qualifying for the EPC and District XI tournaments. Nazareth and Easton seem to be the main challengers for the 6A title with Becahi (5A) and Central (4A) added to the contender mix for the EPC crown.

The K-Kids will hit the road to play Whitehall tonight. The Zephyrs are struggling this year with only a lone win against Allen on their resume. On Saturday they travel to PM East to face a squad that is 2-5 on the season.

Those games are the precursor to the showdown with Nazareth on Tuesday in Northampton. The Blue Eagles are 9-1 through their first 10 games but play Becahi and Easton prior to taking on the K-Kids. While the teams are no longer division rivals, the stakes are still high with playoff seeding implications.

Press photo by Linda Rothrock Grace Lesko, left, shown here against Freedom, led the way for the Kids as they knocked off Emmaus recently.
Press photo by Linda Rothrock Sophie Steirer, shown here against Stroudsburg, and the rest of the Kids are off to a great start this season.