After win over Nolehi, CHS eyes finals
Eric Snyder knew after Friday’s practice and Saturday’s walk-through that his team couldn’t wait to play.
“I knew they were ready to go,” said Snyder. “It was a very good effort and the boys were chomping at the bit. You always get a little nervous when you haven’t played in a while.
“But I had the same feeling before we played in Pottsville last year. I cut practice short on the day before the game because I knew they were ready.”
The Roughies surely were.
Catasauqua had a steady effort from start to finish, pushing their lead to over 20 points late in the game, as they defeated Northern Lehigh, 75-60, in a PIAA District 11/1 Class 3A quarterfinal game Saturday night at Northampton High School.
With the win, the Roughies (15-9) met Norte Dame in a semifinal contest Wednesday night at Allen High School, which comes after Press deadlines.
Snyder not only had a good feeling before the game, but he also confirmed it in the game’s opening minutes.
“We had the really good practice Friday,” he said. “Jaylen (Green) started the game with a three and he had a big smile. I knew we were confident and we went from there.”
Isaiah Graves led the Roughies with 20 points and Robert Oppidasano added 15 points.
“Isaiah (Graves) came up big for us,” said Snyder. “Robert (Oppidasano) played well. He hit some jumpers and went to the basket. He gave us another scorer and outside threat.”
The Roughies traveled to Notre Dame Dec. 12 and stunned the highly-touted Crusaders, 84-81, in overtime.
Graves had fouled out in the fourth quarter, and fellow starter Miguel Hernandez fouled out in overtime, as the Roughies played without two starters down the stretch.
Snyder and his team watched three quarters of Notre Dame’s 59-42 victory over New Hope-Solebury, and they didn’t see too many differences from their initial meeting. Notre Dame is led offensively by Zach DeFoe, Filippo Baldo, and Jaden Cunningham.
“They pass, shot, and dribble the ball well,” said Snyder. “They have a big guy in the middle in Cunningham and he played well against us.
“But they are a lot like us.”
Snyder is pleased with the return of Cullen Bond and Derek Troxell to the lineup after they were both sidelined with injuries.
“They both provide a presence and give us our depth back,” said Snyder. “We had guys like Oppidasano step up when they were out, but now we are at full strength.”
If Catasauqua wins and faces Valley Forge Military, they will lay claim to their first District 11 title since 2006. Valley Forge Military Academy, the depending District 1 champion, will face Pine Grove in the other semifinal.