Roughs part of Via games
The 42nd Annual Via All-Star Basketball Classic was played Saturday at Northampton Community College, pitting senior all-stars against one another in four separate games. The West squad featured seniors from Central Catholic, Northampton, Northwestern, Parkland and Whitehall among other Lehigh Valley teams.
The West came up on the short end of the score in both games, with the girls falling 56-49 and the boys suffering a 121-97 loss.
In the girls game, the lead bounced back and forth with the East squad taking a 31-28 lead going into halftime when Freedom’s Meckenzie Herman hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. The game remained close in the third quarter, but the West trailed 40-36 with time running out. That’s when Pleasant Valley’s Joyce Sullivan buried a three-pointer of her own to make it 40-39.
The East squad put on a run late in the fourth quarter, stretching their lead to 10 points at one point.
Sullivan finished with 12 points, the second-highest total on the West team. Northampton’s Aja Blount led the West with 15 and Herman led all scorers with 16. Catasauqua’s Jade Biviano and Jackie Garner represented the Rough Riders in the girls game. Biviano finished with four points in the game.
“I thought that it was a different experience to get to play with these girls,” said Garner. “It was sort of like a different vibe to be on the same team with girls that I’ve played against, but we had a great connection once we started playing together, which really helped out a lot.”
Garner and Biviano also had the added challenge of being the only Colonial League representatives among a group of East Penn Conference players, but Garner thought that they all meshed pretty well.
“It was pretty easy to work with them and cooperate on playing together even though we don’t really know each other,” said Garner. “It was for a good cause and I was really fortunate to be chosen to play.”
Defense was sorely lacking in the boy’s game, which turned into more of a slam dunk and three-point shooting exhibition. The two teams combined to hit 24 three-pointers and countless dunks. There were just four fouls total called in the boys contest, as the referees decided to let the guys have their fun on the court. Parkland’s Sam Iorio led the West team with 28 points, and Easton’s Arnel Lewis led all scorers with 30.
The Via All-Star Basketball Classic is more than just the four games played on Saturday. The event also features clinics, a scholarship award and an All-Star Banquet. This year’s speaker at the banquet was former NFL linebacker, commentator and team executive Matt Millen, who graduated from Whitehall High School, played his college ball at Penn State under Joe Paterno and then played 12 seasons in the NFL with the Raiders, 49ers and Redskins, winning a Super Bowl with each team.
The players are also involved in helping with the basketball skills clinic and raising money for Via, in addition to being the stars of the show.