It’s mid-July in Catasauqua and playoff basketball is starting to heat up.
The Catty League reached the quarterfinal stage Tuesday, and the North Catty League finds itself in a similar situation. The nearby Stiles league in Whitehall will begin their playoffs next week.
All three leagues will crown champions that will participate in the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Tournament of Champions in early August.
In her junior and senior years at Catasauqua, Kenzie Bradley was recognized as one of the better track athletes in the Lehigh Valley with her prowess in the long jump, triple jump and relays.
As a result, Bradley earned a track scholarship to Bucknell University.
However, her first year wasn’t a momentous one. Bradley, a three-sports athlete at Catasauqua, soon realized both track and Bucknell weren’t good fits and shifted gears.
This winter, Bradley will be playing basketball at Franklin and Marshall University.
Robert “Wabs” Chromiak literally watched the North Catasauqua William J. Albert Memorial Park be constructed out of the ground.
“I grew up across the street,” recalled Chromiak. “It was an all-wooded area and it was a dump with all dirt.
“After World War II, I would raise and take down the flag there.”
A few years later, Chromiak began a 25-plus career as playground director, a time period that began a long tradition of joy and competition that still lingers today.
With a strong showing at the recent Cedar Beach Basketball Showcase, Catasauqua’s budding boys’ basketball program got a boost of confidence toward the future.
The Roughies finished with an overall 2-2 mark, dropping their final game to eventual small school champion Salisbury. They beat Roberto Clemente School in their opener, beat Northwestern in double overtime, and then dropped a game to Lincoln Leadership before their final game.
Derek Troxell, Damian DiPaolo, and Derek George provided the bulk of scoring for the Roughies. George had 18 in the win over Roberto Clemente.
When he took the job a year ago, Catasauqua head girls’ basketball coach Mark Seremula knew it would be a lengthy process.
He took over a team last year that had a 4-18 mark the previous season, and the Roughies went 3-19 in his first season last year.
This summer, however, Seremula has reason to see the process begin to accelerate.
The Roughies posted a 2-2 record from the small school bracket in the recent competitive Cedar Beach Showcase, and they have had a healthy turnout for league games and workouts.
After they had less than their share of victories during the regular season, Wilquon Clemons and Andrew Martinez recently ended their high school careers on a high note.
Both participated for the Red team that posted a 28-14 victory over the Gold squad in the 49th Annual McDonald’s Lehigh Valley All-Star Football Classic at Nazareth High School’s Andrew S. Leh Stadium June 13.
Northampton’s Legion team ended last year’s campaign in the opening round of the state regional playoffs with nine healthy players.
Unless injuries arise again, that shouldn’t be a problem for them this season.
Depth won’t be an issue for Northampton, as it has an abundance of players from the EPC champion high school team as well as some recent graduates who are playing on the collegiate level.
As a result, Northampton won five of its first six games (5-1), suffering its first loss to Banko’s (7-2) Sunday.
If the summer league turnaround is any indication about the regular season, Catasauqua head boys’ basketball coach Eric Snyder could find himself in a promising situation.
In their games in the Catasauqua and North Catty leagues, the Roughies continue to have a healthy turnout. They are looking to reverse the path of a 1-21 campaign last summer that the majority of the current players undergo their growing pains.
“It has been going well,” said Snyder. “We started a few weeks ago and we have four games in. There has been a good turnout and that should help us.
Catasauqua head football coach Mike McClarin knows he will succeed with a foundation.
To the second-year head coach, it is about future players and future families.
“Things are going well,” said McClarin, whose team participated in a nine-day spring ball session. “We have plenty of interest in the program.
“This is about building a community. Not just on the high school level, but also from youth on up.”
After watching a friend’s sister throw the javelin, Catasauqua’s Tory Simmons had an idea.
“I thought it was cool,” said Simmons. “I tried it and liked it a lot. It seemed pretty easy for me. I had played softball for a while, and the throwing part came pretty naturally to me.”
Naturally quickly transformed into successfully for the junior. At the Colonial League meet, Simmons finished fourth with a throw of 108-11, and she was sixth at districts with a toss of 101-10.