Zephs win at Jamfest
Eight area boys basketball teams gathered at Parkland High School for a good cause last Sunday, and in turn the setting also proved beneficial for the Zephyrs who got back on track with a victory over Pocono Mountain West.
The teams were part of the annual Lehigh Valley Parkinson’s Jamfest which raises awareness of the disease. Now in its fourth year, the afternoon of hoops is in honor of former Northampton Athletic Director and coach Mike Schneider who’s currently battling the disease.
Whitehall entered the afternoon in search of a win after suffering some heartbreaking losses, one of which was by a point to Allen who won the game with a bucket in the final five seconds, and the other an overtime loss to Liberty. On Sunday, they were matched against PMW who came into the game 4-8 and were looking to gain some traction of their own with a victory.
Head coach Jeff Jones said that his team got off to a good start, taking a 10-point advantage into intermission, and then maintained a comfortable lead throughout the second half to secure the 57-40 victory.
The win raises the Zephs overall record to 8-6. Their next three games are against non-division teams, starting with Bethlehem Catholic on Tuesday, and once they finish that stretch with Governor Mifflin on Jan. 18, they’ll dive into Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Skyline Division games that will most likely determine their playoff fate.
Unfortunately, they’ll have to make that postseason push without senior Joe Lisicky who suffered a knee injury in their loss to Stroudsburg on Jan. 8.
Jones said that moving forward, the team will need to find players who will pick up the 15 points he’s been averaging this season. While his production on the court can be distributed among a number of players, it’s his experience and leadership that will leave the biggest void.
“It’s his senior leadership that you take off the court that’s tough to replace,” said Jones.
Lisicky was a valuable player at both ends of the floor for the Zephs. He was adept from inside and out on the offensive end, and his motor never stopped on the defensive side.
Jones said that he discussed that need for extra scoring, noting that no one guy is going to do it. Sunday’s win demonstrated that Luke Gilbert and Ian Werner are capable of picking up some of that production as both players hit three treys in the win. Both guards finished with nine points.
Jones believes that Werner is someone who can expand his offensive game. He said that he’s spoken with his point guard, encouraging him to look for his shot. He wants him to be a “little more offensive-minded” as they enter the final eight games of the season.
One player whose mindset won’t change is Tyler Holubowski. He led the Zephs with 21 points in their win over the Panthers.
“Tyler was really good in pretty much all phases of the game,” said Jones.
Jones said that the senior is shooting the ball much better now, and he’s also grabbing rebounds which ignites their offense.
Holubowski utilized his strength and athleticism to get into the paint against the Panthers, and his aggressiveness was a key to their win.
“We certainly needed that against West, and he did a great job for us,” said Jones.
Dylan McGinley is another player who can change the outcome of a game at both ends of the court. Both he and Holubowski will look to forge a path to the playoffs as they gear up for the final push.
The Zephs also got some solid play from Shyhiem Foster who finished with five points, while Marc Augustin dropped in three. Additionally, Tommy Buskirk netted six points, while Raymond Jackson and Zack Hartman each finished with two.