Boys look for D-11 berth
And then there were two.
Beginning Thursday night at Notre Dame of Green Pond, the Rough Riders had to win their two remaining regular-season games in order to secure a postseason spot in the District 11 Class 3A tournament.
After a 54-52 victory at Northern Lehigh Tuesday night, the Roughies had an overall 8-12 mark and a 7-8 Colonial League mark. They host Northwestern in their home and season finale Tuesday.
Still, Catty could also grab one of the likely four or six district spots by percentage points. As of Wednesday morning, Palmerton, Notre Dame, and Panther Valley clinched berth.
“We knew this was a big week,” said Roughies’ head coach Eric Snyder. “These final two games are very winnable for us.
“We had a good win (against Northern Lehigh), but we almost gave it away. We were up by seven at the half and down by four with just over two minutes to go.”
Ty Reitz sealed the win at Northern Lehigh with a pair of free throws in the closing seconds. Derek Troxell led the Roughies with 19 points, helping them snap a four-game losing streak. Catty ended the game shooting 15 of 22 from the four line after sinking just three of eight in the opening half.
Troxell, a team captain and their leading scorer, understands his team’s sense of urgency.
“The win (against Northern Lehigh) was big,” said Troxell. “It was much needed for our push to get into the playoffs. We got down by a few points with a couple minutes remaining, but our defense stayed strong and got some key stops that lead to free throws to expand our lead.
“It won’t be easy playing Notre Dame and Northwestern, but if we come out as a team and execute, we can extend our season into late February and early March, which was the goal since day one.”
Snyder does have some regrets, as he envisioned his team already securing a postseason bid. The Roughies’ last appearance in the tournament was March of 2017 when they lost to Valley Forge Military Academy in the Class 3A semifinals.
“We didn’t play as well as we could have against Palmerton,” he said. “We also had games against Salisbury and Palisades get away from us.
“We just have had too many unforced turnovers all season, and we haven’t shot the ball well.
“Yet, we can still have a good shot at getting to the tournament.”