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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, May 20, 2016

CCHS Shocks Parkland at Stellar Summer League

"Who Dat?" Lambert sinks three-pointer against Parkland.
Central won with balanced attack. 
Though high school baseball season is still going strong, Cedar Beach Basketball League began this week with games on Tuesday and Thursday night. If you like high school basketball, that's the place to be. The price is right (free) and you get to see the Lehigh Valley's top athletes play in a more relaxed setting than a regulation game. These kids all know each other, so if their game is over or has not started, you can find them cheering on their friends from other teams. Coaches are more willing to take chances and experiment, and it makes for very exciting games.

You never know who you'll see. I've seen Allentown City Council President Ray O'Connell several times at these events. He loves hoops, and as an Allen guy, has every right to be proud. Whatever problems William Allen High School might be having at the moment, basketball isn't one of them. This year, they are poised to take it all the way.

Of course, a few other teams like CCHS, Parkland, Liberty, Freedom, Easton, Whitehall, Becahi and Emmaus might have something to say about whether this is Allen's year. We'll find that out during regular season. For now, it's mostly fun.

Jay Vaughan pulls trigger in three-point territory. 
I skipped last night's Council meeting so I could watch CCHS take on Parkland. When I heard that Morning Call columnist Bill White was in Easton, I felt relieved. There always needs to be at least one prick at a meeting, and Bill White is reportedly Lucifer in disguise. I'm only a minor demon. .

These were the first games played outside at Cedar Beach Park. Rain on Tuesday forced athletes to play indoors at Allen.  

What I loved about Tuesday is that Caden Giordano, a Freshman at Becahi and already 6'6", was given the nod to start in a tough game against Trevor Storm and the Easton Rovers. Caden, who wan't even sure he'd be allowed to play at all, ended up scoring the first point of the Summer League for Becahi. Beca went on to beat Easton, but only by a buzzer beater, in a very tight game in which the lead went back and forth.

Caden is Judge Emil Giordano's son, and he coached both Caden and my grandson Dat to the championship when they were in grade school.

Lambert sinks foul shot. 
Like Caden, Dat Lambert got to start in Central Catholic's game against Reading High School, which is among the top ranked teams in the state and includes Lonnie Walker, a 6'5" shooting guard being pursued by Arizona, Villanova, UConn and Kentucky..

Just as Caden scored the first point for Becahi, Dat managed to score the first three points for Central . Central played Reading tough in the first half, and the game was tied. But when the second half began, Reading ran away with the game.

After being speared by the Red Knights on Tuesday, CCHS played outside at Cedar Beach last night against Parkland, which has been the league champion for the last two years.

Not last night. Last year, CCHS relied heavily on the shooting of Zay Jennings. But now it is a more balanced attack that includes Shack Dezonie, Chris Ocasio, Jay Vaughan, Sammy Vaughan, Dat Lambert, Kevin Kern and AJ Dana. Ironically, one of the biggest cheerleaders for this new approach was Senior Zay Jennings, who told me he was itching to get into the game.

Whitehall PG Mikey Esquilin and friends enjoying the games. 
Parkland's Seniors are gone, but the team that faced CCHS is the team that will be playing this fall. It still includes exciting players like Jake Bartholomew, who is both strong under the boards and can burn you with a three-pointer.

Last night the Trojans bowed to the Vikings, 44-29. But don't write their obituary. They are too talented to give up.  

As Keith Groller's Corner blog reports, thirty high school teams participate in Cedar Beach's Summer League, including 19 big schools and ten small schools.

The season climaxes with the Sportsfest Tournament and then the Stellar Tournament, which are usually on the hottest days of the summer.


Anonymous said...

Congrats to Dat on a big evening.Like I said many times,he is an excellent basketball player, but truly an outstanding young man.CCHS and many others are going to be tough this year.I feel that the league will be more balanced this year than ever.Talek from Allen is an amazing player.The summer league and the 2 tournaments should be very exciting. There is no other place to be if you are a basketball fan than Cedar Beach.It is the best venue for b-ball.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the basketball commentary. I enjoyed it

Bernie O'Hare said...

I enjoyed being there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:03, Talek is an exciting player who loves the game and inspires his team. Though I am going to root for Central, I would have to agree that Allen is in good position.

Anonymous said...

Which of the kids on the bottom picture is your grandson. Is it the kid in the red shirt?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The young man in what you call a red shirt (it's purple) is Mikey Esquilin, who is Whitehall Tp's point guard. He's under doctor's orders not to play outside and tried getting there early to hose the courts so that the games would be forced indoors. Mikey is a great young man and the fellows with him are his brother (another great player) and a friend. What I like about these games is you'll see athletes like Mikey, cheering for their friends. Mikey is a fireball on the court, but he will always stop and talk to me and sat With Dat's mom. He is very respectful, as are most of these kids.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, thanks for the info and update - hope CCHS is the 2nd best team in the league this year!

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...

Heh, heh. I know a few Emmaus fans who feel just like you!

Anonymous said...

What time do they usually tip off on Tuesday and Thursday? Do they play games under the lights? Been a long time since I have been to Cedar Beach.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The games start at 6 pm, 7pm and 8 pm. The last game is usually under the lights. The reason I was able to get sme half decent pics is bc my shots were at 6 pm. Keith Groller has the schedule for Tuesday and Thursday night: http://www.mcall.com/sports/groller-blog/mc-thursday-night-s-stellar-summer-league-results-and-next-week-s-schedule-20160520-story.html