HOOPS - Boys fall to Valley Forge
When they faced Valley Forge in a PIAA District 11/1 Class 3A game, Catasauqua’s boys’ basketball team literally has to overcome some tall odds.
Catty took the court facing a lineup that had a 6-10 center and four other players over 6-2, while their tallest player was six-foot.
Regardless, the Roughies displayed a valiant effort before they eventually fell in a 91-46 defeat at Valley Forge Military Academy. It marked the end of the 2016-17 campaign for the Roughies, who finished with an overall 9-15 mark.
“Our kids played hard and I am really proud of them,” said head coach Eric Snyder, who completed his 25th year at the helm. “There was an obvious physical mismatch for us.
“When I watched them on tape, though, my biggest fear was their three guards. They weren’t really together all that much during the season due to injuries. Their guards are very good.”
Snyder knew his team would have to duplicate a strong shooting effort it had in the opening district game, a 70-50 win over Pine Grove. He specified the shooting effort by recalling a famous one in college basketball lore.
Still, the Roughies were in striking distance at halftime when trailed by 17 at intermission.
“We had to shoot as well as we did (against Pine Grove),” he said. “They pressured us out front and we had trouble going to the basket. We would have to shoot the ball as well as Villanova did when they beat Georgetown in 1985. Yet maybe that wouldn’t have helped.”
“If we would have made a couple of shots in the early going, it would have been a lot closer at the half.”
Isaiah Graves, a junior, led the Roughies with 25 points and he finished the year with just over 900 career points. He and freshman Jaylen Green will return next season once again as an effective one-two scoring punch. Green was bothered by a recurring ankle injury throughout the season, but he still proved to be a consistent threat.
Graves and Green will head a strong returning cast, as Colin Hawk is the lone senior on the roster.
“Isaiah (Graves) is on track to break 1,000 career points and he will continue to do great things for us,” said Snyder. “Jaylen (Green) had a great year and he was basically playing on one leg.
“Andrew Martinez came on strong at the end of the year and played hard. He (Martinez) made a lot of things happen and he was aggressive out there. Andrew Brett gave us a great defensive presence and he developed his shot.”
Looking back, Snyder knows his team had their opportunities.
“We lost three games by five, four and 12 seconds left, and we should have won the game at Northern Lehigh,” he said. “Those four games made a difference for us. We would have had a higher seed in districts and likely would have been in the league playoffs.
“Once we qualified for districts, I thought we weren’t as focused. But these guys learned a lot and they will be ready for next season.”