Strong, CHS get by Kids
Jarrid Strong was determined to help his team beat Northampton in the annual recent hardwood matchup between neighboring schools.
Strong arguably did his part as he scored a season-high 18 points, but Catasauqua couldn't close the gap in a close 54-52 defeat to the Konkrete Kids. Northampton took a page from the football rivalry between the two as they registered their second consecutive victory in as many years, the same trait that has followed the football battle won by Catasauqua the past two seasons.
"People were saying that they would beat us for their only win of the season," said Strong on Northampton's 0-7 record entering the contest. "They (Northampton) were gunning for us after what happened on Thanksgiving on the football game.
"We knew it would be an intense game and it was great to see everyone come out. But we have been getting everything together and we are ready to make a run in the second half." Strong believes his team can reverse some of slow sledding his team experienced before Christmas and noted a tight 53-50 win over Northern Lehigh a week earlier as possibly being a springboard for January.
He hoped his teammates enjoyed the respite over the holidays that saw the Roughies' (4-3) only game against their rivals in a two-week period.
"I always enjoy playing, but I think this break will be good for us," said the 6-foot-3 senior post player. "We had the football players coming in and the break gave us some time to work on things.
"We do have talent on this team and we just have to put it all together."
During the summer, Strong worked on improving his outside shot, as he continuously has drawn more attention down low as one of the more recognized centers in the Lehigh Valley. He credited assistant coach Jeremy Eberhardt for the improvement in his post presence.
"I wanted to shoot better from the outside," he said. "When I step out of the key, most players don't expect me to shoot, and I'm left alone. It has been working and I need to keep improving on it.
"Coach Eberhardt has had a big influence on me and has really helped me with my moves and movement. I have been getting more attention and believe I don't always have to be the main go-to guy on this team. There have been games when I haven't scored or very little and everyone else has picked up the slack. We need to continue to work on our balance." His coach has appreciated his perseverance.
"Jarrid (Strong) has rally worked on his game," said head coach Eric Snyder. "He (Strong) usually gets a lot of attention, but he has developed a jump shot. (Strong) knows the game and can get better this season."
As far as next year, Strong would like to continue playing basketball in college and has entertained attending either West Chester or Shippensburg. He hasn't decided on a field of study.
For the time being, though, he has his sights set on getting back to the district playoffs.
That hunt began Thursday night when they traveled to Northwestern.
"We're starting to get everything together," he said. "We'll need to come out with a strong start in January and move forward. This team has the ability to make a run at the league and districts. We have to keep determined and focused."