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Boys heading to EPC playoffs

Heading into Monday’s regular season finale with Allen, the Northampton boys basketball team had already locked up their district playoff berth, but were on the outside looking in as far as qualifying for EPCs. With only two spots unclaimed, the K-Kids were 7-8 in conference, tied with Pocono Mountain East and East Stroudsburg North and a game behind both Nazareth and Stroudsburg.

Before worrying about any out-of-town results, the Kids had to take care of their own business first and the Canaries were not about to roll over despite their 2-19 record. In fact when Manny Polanco hit a three just before the halftime buzzer, he gave Allen a 19-18 lead at the intermission.

Northampton scored the first seven points of the second half and when Shakim Dunbar hit his own buzzer-beating three to end the third quarter to give the K-Kids a 37-27 lead, it looked like the game was in the bag.

However, the Canaries hit two quick 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter and a third shot from deep at 1:13 cut Northampton’s advantage to 41-40. After the Kids added a free throw to go up 2, J.J. Kolumber created a key steal to deny Allen a look at a basket to take the lead.

Brody Graff added a free throw and Kolumber went 4 for 4 from the stripe down the stretch as the Canaries missed all three of their attempts from beyond the arc. Final – Konkrete Kids 47, Allen 40.

With their job done, the team adjourned to the locker room to see what else had happened around the EPC. Nazareth and Stroudsburg had both lost, creating a bit of chaos with four teams tied at 8-8 for two spots to be determined by power rating in conference games.

Head coach Matt Scholl was confident his team had qualified. He explained, “We have our own spreadsheet to calculate the league power rankings. This is one advantage of playing in our division (with so many top teams) is our calculation is significantly higher than anybody else’s.”

Scholl spoke with pride at his squad, “To be 14-8. What these guys accomplished so far... Being the smaller team the majority of the time. Not being given much of chance in most games. Hard work pays off. They have worked for 3-and-a-half years to get to this moment. It’s a great example to any youngster, to know that they don’t have to be the best player, but if they do the right things, they can get on the basketball court.”

That hard work came to fruition officially on Tuesday as the EPC announced that the K-Kids had earned the seventh seed for the league tournament. They will travel to Pocono Mountain West on Friday for the quarterfinals. A win would send the team to the semis at the PPL Center on Monday. All ticketing for EPC playoff games is done online through the league website epc18.org.