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Former NFL star Herschel Walker highlights Via All-Star banquet

Published March 29. 2018 11:28AM

Before this weekend’s 43rd annual Via All-Star Basketball Classic, boys and girls senior representatives of Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams were honored at the Via All-Star Banquet Wednesday night at the Sands Events Center in Bethlehem.

Every year, the night is highlighted by a group that is inducted into the Lehigh Valley High School Basketball Hall of Fame, established in 1978. This year’s class included Kelsey Gallagher, a class of 2008 East Stroudsburg South graduate and current Emmaus girls coach; Rich Baker out of Stroudsburg High School and East Stroudsburg University; Marc Holum, Saucon Valley’s Boys All-Time Leading Scorer; Rich Fatzinger, who coached at Parkland and Central Catholic; and the Allentown Central Catholic Class of 1984 team, which won the PIAA Class 3A boys state championship.

The guest speaker was former University of Georgia and NFL running back Herschel Walker. Walker, who supports numerous charitable and educational organizations, has also written a book called “Breaking Free.” He shared a 15-minute speech and talked about his upbringing and his life choices.

“I grew up on a farm in Georgia and never really even wanted to play football,” Walker said. “I wanted to go into the Marines out of high school. It was really just a flip of the coin that I chose to pursue college and football over the military. I’ve worked hard at whatever I did, and continue to do that to this day. I hope that all of you young people in the audience will work hard and be successful at whatever you do.”

Via Super Saturday is at Northampton Community College on March 31, 2018. Games begin at 10:30 a.m. Four boys and four girls all-star teams will match up for four games throughout the day. The North all-stars will face their counterparts from the South at 10:30 (girls) and 12 p.m. (boys. After the 1:30 p.m. Special Olympics Shoot Out, the West will face the East with a girls game slated for 2 p.m. and a boys game at 3:30 p.m. Games will utilize a running clock with 20-minute halves, as well as shot clocks and a college three-point line.

Several Times News area seniors will take part in Super Saturday.

Masani Francis and Mikaela Miller of Pleasant Valley represent the North Girls team. On the West girls squad are Aubrey Blasiak and Skylynn Faust from Lehighton; Linnaea Leister of Palmerton; Leighanna Lister, Gabby Sevrain and Jessica Williamson from Northwestern; and Jillian Olewine of Northern Lehigh.

Three Times News area coaches will be part of Saturday’s action, as Lehighton girls head coach Joe Berezwick (West) and Pleasant Valley girls head coach Nadia Gauronsky (North), along with Palmerton boys head coach Ken Termini (West) will skipper three of this year’s teams.

Isaiah Howard and Colin Stivala of Pleasant Valley will play on the North team in the boys game. In the afternoon boys game, several area players will be part of the West team, including Caine Carpenter from Lehighton; Gio Colon of Northern Lehigh; and Ryan Yacone of Palmerton.

The Classic raises funds to support Via of the Lehigh Valley’s services for children and adults with disabilities, showcases the basketball talents of the area student-athletes, and educates attendees about Via and the need for community involvement through advocacy, partnership and financial support.

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