Area players deliver in Via classic
Lehighton’s Addison Howland scored 19 points for the West boys in the Via All-Star Basketball Classic.
BETHLEHEM TOWNSHIP – The 44th Annual Via All-Star Basketball Classic culminated Saturday at Northampton Community College.
The event, which includes camps and clinics and a banquet the week preceding the game, came to a close with Super Saturday, which features four all-star games that showcased the top high school seniors in the Lehigh Valley.
All of the events benefit Via of the Lehigh Valley, which provides services for children and adults with disabilities, showcases the basketball talents of our area student athletes, and educates attendees about Via and the need for community support through financial, partnership and advocacy support.
The girls South team, which included players from two District 11 champions in Southern Lehigh and Bethlehem Catholic, beat the North team 100-49.
The South team opened a 13-2 lead early in the first 10-minute quarter and extended it to 24-7 late in the period and led 46-16 at halftime.
Southern Lehigh’s Olivia Snyder led all scorers in the game with 17 points, while teammate Spartan Ellie Cassel added 15 points. Allen’s Asha Talib scored 12 points for the South.
The North, which had just eight players present for the game, was led by three players with 11 points each, including Pleasant Valley’s Madison Rosenberg, Bangor’s Emily Labar and Pocono Mountain West’s Juanita Wiggins.
“I was super-excited to represent PV and play with a lot of talented players in a competitive way,” said Rosenberg. “Luckily a lot of these players are on my AAU team, so it was nice to play with them again, but also some new players from North and South. Combining the whole Mountain (Division) was kind of cool.”
The boys North team won a slam-dunk filled game 123-113.
With neither team interested in playing defense, the South took the ball to the basket with big men Zach Sabol (Emmaus) and Kyle Young (Bethlehem Catholic). The North chose to take open jump shots as Winston Edwards (Pocono Mountain East) hit six treys in leading his team with 22 points. The North, which hit 20 three-pointers in the game, saw seven players reach double figures.
The contest was close until late in the first 20-minute half when the North used a 16-5 run over the final five minutes to turn a tie game into a 66-55 lead at intermission.
Sabol led the South with 22 points.
No Times News area players played in the game.
What started as a back-and-forth battle in the first half turned into a dominating 97-73 victory for the West against the East.
The West led by 10 points at the end of the first quarter (27-17), and at the half (53-43).
But the third period belonged to the West, which held a 29-6 edge on the scoreboard to blow the game open.
“We had a lot of talent. At the Via banquet, four of these girls made first team, which is incredible for one team. My job was not to screw it up,” Northwestern mentor and West head coach Chris Deutsch said with a laugh. “I just wanted them to go out and play.”
Northern Lehigh’s Jada Saeger scored 13 points for the West. Palmerton’s Baylee Guedes added six points, while Northwestern’s Sage Christopher tallied two points. Lehighton’s Emily Miller also played for the West.
“It was an honor to be selected to be a part of this, honestly,” said Guedes. “It was so cool. I wasn’t expecting it, and when I got it, I thought, ‘Wow, this is amazing. And I get to play with all these amazing girls.’ The talent level was incredible. It was the best of the best.”
Parkland’s Claire Courter scored a game-high 23 points for the West. Nazareth’s Madison Amy had 20 points for the East.
“It was a lot of fun, especially getting to know all the girls that I played with, because we’ve always been opponents,” said Christopher.
“It was kind of different, but it was really fun to get to know all of them. And we all played really well together.”
The East came away with a 139-127 victory over the West, but players from both sides put on a show in the final game of the day.
It was a flurry of early baskets from area players that helped the West squad build an early lead in the first half.
A pair of 3s from Lehighton’s Addison Howland, a trey from Northwestern’s Sam Yadush and a basket from Palmerton’s Nate Dougherty gave the West an 11-3 advantage in the opening minutes of the first half.
Howland tied for a team-high 19 points, while Yadush and Dougherty scored 17 points apiece. Northern Lehigh’s Brandon Hess scored five points, while teammate Preston Kemery added four. The Tigers’ Devin Thomas tallied two points.
Allentown Central Catholic’s Chad Kratzer also tallied 19 points for the West.
“It was an honor to represent Lehighton one last time,” said Howland. “I got to see a lot of familiar faces from playing in the offseason that we don’t really get to see during the regular season.
“It was nice to be out there and get to play with those guys and get shots up one last time. We had a good time.”
The West held a 37-36 edge midway through the first half before the East squad pulled ahead, carrying a 59-51 advantage into the intermission.
A highlight-reel-filled second half ensued, with dunks that would have made Duke’s Zion Williamson blush and threes so deep that Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry might have even been impressed.
Nazareth’s Stephon Sheard had a game-high 24 points for the East. Phillipsburg’s Richie Manigault added 23 points.
The teams combined for 26 three-pointers.
“There’s a lot of good players in the area around the Lehigh Valley,” said Dougherty. “So it’s nice to be able to come out here and see what they can do, and not beat up on each other for once. It’s nice to come out and play with and against them, not just always during the regular season.”
West head coach and Northern Lehigh mentor Jeff Miller was happy to share the moment with two of his players, and his son, Trevor, who was one of his assistants for the game.
“It’s phenomenal. It’s awesome,” said Miller. “I played in this game, I’ve been an assistant coach in this game, now to actually be the head coach, and to have two of my best players (in it), and to be able to coach with my son, it doesn’t get any better.”