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Northampton snaps EHS girls’ streak

The Emmaus girls basketball team recently had the unenviable task of traveling to Northampton to face the Konkrete Kids, one of the better teams in the Lehigh Valley.

A big night from Northampton’s Grace Lesko helped the Kids to a 46-27 win, snapping a five-game win streak for the Lady Hornets. Lesko finished with 17 points to lead all scorers and Kylie Gilliard chipped in with 12. Kam Watkins led Emmaus with 10 points in the game.

The Hornets came out strong, scoring the first six points of the game, but Northampton slowly chipped away until a Nicole Yellen jump-shot tied the game at nine with 1:37 left in the first quarter. Watkins got to the foul line and hit one of two shots to give the Hornets a 10-9 lead at the end of the quarter.

From there, Emmaus’ shooting went from hot to cold, while Northampton was able to find open looks and hit them. A three-pointer from Gilliard with 5:56 left in the second quarter gave Northampton the lead for the first time and sparked an 8-0 run that stretched the lead to 17-10 and then to 19-11 by halftime.

Emmaus finished the night shooting just 7-for-40 (17-percent) from the floor and 9-for-18 from the line.

“The girls played hard and we always give the effort,” said Emmaus head coach Kelsey Gallagher. “Unfortunately we didn’t shoot the ball and you can’t win a game if you shoot as poorly as we did tonight. We battled with them and fought them, and we showed that we belong. We just have to be able to knock down shots and I think at times, we folded and felt defeated when they went on a run.”

The second half was all Northampton as Lesko scored 11 of her 17 points over the final two quarters. Watkins and Paige Inman both picked up five points in the second half of the game.

“We talked about this game in the locker room, and we don’t have time to dwell on this loss,” said Gallagher. “We have to take care of business tomorrow and Monday in practice because we have a team on Tuesday (Pocono Mountain West) that will be just as physical. This is just a small bump on a long journey, so all we can do is learn from this game and regroup.”

The East Penn Conference has several teams in contention for the postseason. Easton and Bethlehem Catholic are both undefeated in conference games, while East Stroudsburg South, Pocono Mountain West, Nazareth, Northampton, Central Catholic and Emmaus all have just one conference loss. Pleasant Valley has just two losses within the EPC on the season. In all, eight teams qualify for the EPC tournament.

Emmaus has made consistent progress since Gallagher took over in 2017 and an appearance in the EPC postseason would be its first under Gallagher while a trip to districts would give the Hornets back-to-back appearances in the District 11 tournament.

“I talk about how hard they play all the time and that’s something that you can never take away from them,” Gallagher said. “I think this year especially, everyone is so bought into what we are trying to do. We believe in getting things done defensively, but we must make shots, too. Days like this happen and we just have to bounce back.”

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB The Hornets' Sarah Hoch drives to the basket during a recent game against Liberty.