LVC teams win
The 38th Annual Via All-Star Classic tipped off at Northampton Community College Saturday, pitting teams from the Lehigh Valley Conference, Colonial League and Mountain Valley Conference against each other.
On the girls side, the Lehigh Valley West all-stars, comprised of players from Allen, Central Catholic, Dieruff, Emmaus, Parkland and Whitehall high schools took on a team of stars from the Colonial League, with players from Bangor, Palisades, Palmerton, Northwestern, Notre Dame Green Pond, Salisbury, Southern Lehigh and Wilson, with the LVC stars coming away with a 63-61 win.
Meanwhile, the boys all-star team from the same LVC schools downed a team of all-stars from the Colonial League, featuring players from Bangor, Catasauqua, Northern Lehigh, Northwestern, Notre Dame - Green Pond, Palisades, Salisbury and Wilson. The LVC boys picked up a win in that match-up in an exciting 105-95 game.
All of the players agreed that while they battled on the court, they also played with a lot of respect for the other players and made sure to have fun playing alongside players that they were more used to playing against. It was also an interesting send off for seniors, because they played the game under college rules, playing two twenty-minutes halves and using a shot clock.
"It was really great to coach these girls," said LVC West coach Tom Gallagher, who enters retirement after coaching the Allen Lady Canaries for the past eight seasons. "We only had one practice, but the way these girls worked and the chemistry that they developed was amazing."
In the girls game, Whitehall's Madison Kelly scored nine points in limited minutes, playing only in the first-half of the game. Nicole Umbenhauer scored nine points, including eight points in the second-half as the LVC squad held off the Colonial League's late rally.
When the boys took the court, Lehigh Valley West jumped out to an early lead and led by as many as 27, but the Colonial League team fought back, cutting the lead to just five points late in the game. Northern Lehigh's Josh Eden led the Colonial League with 18 points, including scoring five points in a 30-second span to cut the LVC lead to 91-86 with just over four minutes left in the game. Allen's R.J. Fletcher seemed to seal the Colonial League's fate when he slammed home a big-time dunk with just 30-seconds left to put the LVC up by 15, but the Colonial League still didn't die, scoring five unanswered points to cut it to ten.
The Zephyrs Tony Bellucci played a big part in the early domination by the LVC stars, hitting six early three-point shots and finishing the first-half with 18 points. Bellucci would add another five points in the second-half, finishing with a game-high 23 points on the day.
The teams were made up of players voted into the game by media members from area outlets, including the Times-News. That same group of voters assembled the Team of the Year lineup, Player of the Year honors and Scholar Athletes.
Northwestern's Sara Jones was voted the Via girls Player of the Year, while Gerald Terry of Wilson was selected as the Via boys Player of the Year. The Scholar Athlete Awards went to Bridget Smith of Bethlehem Catholic and Josh Eden of Northern Lehigh.