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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, July 28, 2017

A-Town Boys Varsity Hoops Summer League to End in Holy War

I spent every night this week in Allentown. You might think this is because of all the excitement concerning the Fed Ed prosecution, but what really drew me there is basketball. Whether it's been at a high school gym on rainy night or Cedar Beach, it's been a great season. It's the last time my grandson, "Who Dat?," will be playing there, but he's going out on top. In his three previous years of summer basketball, his teams never even made it to the playoffs. But this year, the Allentown Central Catholic Vikings are going to the 'ship. They'll be playing Bethlehem Catholic in a Holy War scheduled to start tonight at 6 pm. The game will be postponed if it rains.

Throughout the summer, 30 talented boys high school varsity teams have played at Cedar Beach. JV and Girls' teams have also participated in this increasingly popular summer league. It was started 30 years ago by Glen Klein, a Parks employee who also runs the Cedar Beach Bash every summer. I don't know how he does it, but he makes it seem easy.

"It's all about the kids," he tells me.

And it is. During the summer, many varsity basketball players are away at camps, the beach or AAU tournaments. This gives an opening for other players to show a coach what they're worth, and excite the rest of us in the process.  Also, coaches become far more flexible. Because the games are unofficial, they are much more likely to experiment and just relax a little themselves

During the school year, these young athletes have to adjust to the academic grind, learning about sines, cosines and tangents. But on these hot Summer nights, they teach their parents (and grandparents) and make us all remember what it is like to have fun.

It's the perfect atmosphere for someone like Kwame Alexander's mythical and confident Filthy McNasty to emerge :

At the top of the key, I'm
      MOVING and GROOVING,
POPping and ROCKING--
Why you BUMPING?
      Why you LOCKING?
Man, take this THUMPING.
Be careful though,
'cause now I'm CRUNKing
      CrissCROSSING
FLOSSING
flipping
and my dipping will leave you
S
  L
   I
    P
     P
      I
       N
        G on the floor, while I
SWOOP in
to the finish with a fierce finger roll ...
Straight in the hole:
Swooooooooooooosh.

Above, you see poetry on a page. At Cedar Beach, you see poetry in motion as hundreds of Filthy McNastys make their mark and choose to do something positive

There's Sam "The Ice Man" Vaughan, whose excellent ball control, quick hands and eye for openings makes him an excellent guard. He never gets frazzled. When Sammy comes on the court, Central starts scoring and building leads. Chad Kratzer has come out of nowhere and is proving to be just as exciting as was his father, a former Dieruff Huskie, back in the day. Jayden Walsh is as smooth as silk. Downright elegant. Nick Filchner and Jordan McChristian, both of whom are growing about an inch every week, are deadly from the three-point zone. Kevin Kern is a warrior and team leader who will rip balls (and heads) off his opponents.

Who Dat never stops. Last night, he had a good game against Emmaus with 17 points. But his real strength is his defense. He pressures ball handlers and forces turnovers. He will do what he can to get that ball back, including diving right on top of it. He did that last night on the macadam surface and managed to get a nice gash on his leg. He tried unsuccessfully to hide this from the refs in the closing seconds of the game. But he was busted and had to back to the bench, where a coach threw duct tape or something on it.

But that was OK because as Who Dat went out, the Sam "Ice Man" Vaughan came in.

Game over.

Central took the sting out of the Emmaus Hornets in a 57-53 defensive contest.  

In other quarter-final action last night under threatening skies, Bethlehem Catholic's Golden Hawks clipped the Allen Canaries in a high-scoring 70-67 game that included a trademark Allen dunk and Becahi's murderous treys.

Both of these games could have gone either way. Allen and Beca were tied at 40 going into the second half. Emmaus and Central were never separated by more than 5 points.    

10 comments:

jma said...

Always nice to see a proud grandfather, Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on Dat's success. Is there a list of the final standings? Where did the Bangor team end up?

Bernie O'Hare said...

http://www.mcall.com/sports/groller-blog/mc-allentown-summer-league-tuesday-night-schedule-standings-playoff-outlook-20170725-story.html

Keith Groller had the standings going into the final game. I believe Bangor did quite well, something like 8-4. It was eliminated by Allen.

Anonymous said...

GO CCHS.
GO DAT.

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

GO CANARIES!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
I just redd this article from begining to end, and not only are you a blogger extraordinair you are also howard cossel. That being said dat has got a multitere granfather not even to mention lifes experience of the ups and downs but still making the points count. I love the holy war thing as it trueley goes on in every city, borough and town accross this nation and the evil onez are not only in it for the money but the soulz are there booty?
Just watch out for fed eds night basketball parterners as the snake oil they may pass on to you could reely just be more posion peddled in many different venues of life?
Rumblin REpublican redd

Anonymous said...

In all seriousness, do you see any coaches or parents at these tournaments like Lavar Ball? And how is the quality of the officiating?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I see lots of parents. I see some parents who get intense. I do, too, but only have positive things to say and would never trash another team or their players. They are all great. I do not see college coaches but would not recognize most of them. This is a way for the kids to have fun, for coaches to try different things. The officiating can be good or bad, depending on the official. These are games with 29-minute halves and tge clock does not stop. What I hate is when an official wastes time on a running clock to explain to a kid on a team down by two why he has been called for a foul. If you want to do that, stop the clock. But I think they all try to be fair and mostly succeed

Buckets said...

Was there any Uncle Drew sightings?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I thought I spotted him.