A look back at boys last trip to states
The year was 2006, the last time the Roughies qualified for the PIAA state tournament.
It also is one of the more memorable years in the annals of Catasauqua boys’ basketball, one that resulted in a stellar and eventful 27-4 season.
The ride was a short one, but it was filled with memories that easily have withstood the test of time and don’t show any sense of withering away in the near future.
Probably the most permanent memory was the last-second shot Matt Morton hit to beat Saucon Valley in the Colonial League semifinals. Morton caught a full-court length pass from Andrew Armellino and fired a shot from the corner to create “Morton’s Miracle” or “Morton’s Moment.”
“Saucon (Valley) had just scored and everybody was pretty down thinking it was over,” recounted Morton in a previously published article about the play. “(Head coach Eric) Snyder pulled us together and drew up a play. I came off a back screen and caught a perfect pass from Armellino.”
Snyder also recalled Morton’s memorable thoughts about his team’s chances before they played Dunmore in the opening round of the state playoffs. Morton and his teammates watched the Allentown Central Catholic’s girls’ team jump out to a commanding lead over Bermudian Springs.
“Morton said that ‘if our game is that bad, I don’t to play’” stated Snyder. “He followed it by saying that ‘we should just pack up and go home.’”
Morton nearly got his wish.
The Roughies fell behind 19-3 and then went on to outscore Dunmore 60-21 to post a 60-43 win.
“We hit a couple of shots and got rolling,” said Snyder. “I remember hearing Mike Zambelli of Service Electric saying after we started hitting our shots that ‘it is game on!’”
Next, the Roughies again made headlines, this time with a spot on WFMZ-69 News.
Before their next game with Delone Catholic, a rash of illness riddled the team. Armellino, Josh Yoo, Ryan McGinnis and Tony Strein were among those ill.
Snyder took a lighter approach to the situation. The Roughies season ended, and Snyder would have relished the chance to play Penn Charter, which had current NBS players Marcus Morris and his brother Markieff, on its roster.
“We must have had eight or nine guys sick,” remembered Snyder. “My mother was a nurse and I came out for practice one day in gloves, hospital scrubs, boots, and a mask. It showed up on Channel 69 news.
But, really, it was frustrating. I think we would have had a good game if we were able to play at full strength.
We didn’t have a point guard and our center (McGinnis). But we did get good play from Corey Huerta, a future 1,000-point scorer, Daren Winch, and Kevin Carter.”
Snyder also noted the team went 60 days without losing a game from Jan. 10 to March 10. He also referred to a game at Northwestern Feb. 10 in which the Roughies were losing 44-32 right before halftime during their 60-day streak.
Suddenly, the lights went out and the game was temporarily suspended. When the game was continued, the Roughies won easily.
“People still talk about that game, too,” said Snyder. “People in Catty and Northwestern believe we probably would have lost that game.”
In all, it was a special year and a special team.
“It’s amazing how many things happened that year,” said Snyder. “But there was a lot to said about this team. They all really liked each other and got along well. That really was a big reason for their success.”