Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Girls end season with win over Emmaus

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

While the Whitehall girls basketball team had to endure some disappointing developments that hampered their roster in their push for a playoff spot, they still managed to end the season with some impressive play.

They defeated Emmaus 46-44 in their final game of the season. It was a win in which they had to come from behind, trailing by eight points at the break. But they persevered and head coach Dwight Repsher said that it was a testament to their fighting spirit.

“We hung in there, and hung in there, and kept cutting it down until we got over the hump,” said Repsher. “It was a nice and fitting way to end the season.”

Hanging in there became their mantra the second half of the season when misfortune struck the team. Injuries and other factors decimated their roster, but they stayed together and played each game as hard as they could, said Repsher.

“You play with the hand you’re dealt, and that’s what the kids have done,” said Repsher. “We were going to make the best of it, and that’s what we did.”

He said that didn’t mail it in or feel sorry for themselves, but dug down deep and gave a great effort in their remaining games, including a 10-point loss to Steel Division-leading Easton who were 18-3.

“We played Easton tough over there,” said Repsher. “These kids didn’t pack it in. They played hard. That’s a really good tribute to them.”

The game against the Green Hornets was also senior night as the program said goodbye to Alix Buskirk, Ariana Hines and Iliana Oliver, all of whom were integral parts of the Zephyrs the last few years.

All three helped pave the way for the win, with Buskirk and Hines combining for 27 points.

Repsher said that the game started to tilt their way in the second half when they recognized something that they could take advantage and began to run their offense “through the basket.” That led to some early foul trouble for the Green Hornets, putting Whitehall in the bonus in the early stages of the second half.

They started making trips to the fouled line and converted 28-35 from the charity stripe, making them 80 percent on free throws for the game. He said that Hines hit a few big could down the stretch that helped ice the game.

He said that they’ve been about 70 percent from the line all year, with a small dip occurring after their injuries, but it ramped up in their final game as they calmly dropped the freebies to help them win their final game of the year.

Another play that showed their intensity when the game was on the line, was a hard fought 50-50 scramble that wound up in the hands of Meghan Hutter. Hunter had been inserted once point guard Cassie Due fouled out, and Repsher said that Hutter made an aggressive play, sticking her head right in the middle of the scramble to come up with the loose ball.

As they made their comeback, eventually tying it at 40-40, Repsher said that the gym was as loud as he’s ever heard it.

Repsher said that it was a good feeling ending on a positive note.

“The kids were all really excited,” he said.

He also said that what they went through this year as a team would serve as a teaching lesson, something more valuable than wins and losses.

“It isn’t always easy, and it always doesn’t go your way,” said Repsher.