Head basketball coach Jeff Jones and his staff won't have to do a lot of scouting when the Zephyrs begin district action this week.
That's because their opponent isn't a mystery among the 12 teams battling for a District XI AAAA Championship. The Zephs hosted Northampton on Wednesday, past Press deadlines, making it the third time these two division rivals will play one another. Whitehall enters as the 7th seed, while Northampton occupies the 10th spot.
Icy conditions may have forced the cancellation of the Whitehall boys basketball game against Parkland for a shot at a league championship on Monday night, but once they hit the floor on Tuesday, it appeared the cold front moved into the Trojans gymnasium.
In the inaugural season of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, the Whitehall boys basketball team had a chance to make a little bit of history.
They can become the first basketball team to become league champions in the newly-minted EPC, something that didn't seem possible a week ago. However, they managed to win the games necessary to secure the final wildcard berth into the EPC tourney, finishing the season at 8-8. Their ticket was punched once Northampton lost to Nazareth last Friday night, gaining entry via the league's power rankings.
Needing a final win against Parkland to qualify for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs, the Whitehall girls basketball team hoped they'd be able to join the boys in the postseason tourney.
The Zephyrs road to the conference championships went through the Trojans, a team they beat 28-24 earlier in the season. The game was close throughout, but their Skyline division rivals were able to dash their dreams of making the EPC playoffs, winning 35-26 to close out the regular season.
Whitehall's loss against Parkland last Friday officially ended the regular basketball season for the Zephs, but they'll have a chance for some quick redemption as they'll try to solve the dilemma of stopping the Trojans heading into the conference championship.
Inside a packed, the Zephyrs were looking to upset the Trojans who came into the game with a gaudy 21-1 record. They were also undefeated in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, and had earlier defeated the Zephs by 16 points.
They were denizens of the diamond, operators on the oval, and gladiators on the gridiron, all of whom were clad in maroon and gold to those many years ago.
They were also district and league champions, state qualifiers, all-stars, and fierce competitors whose accomplishments put them into the record books as well as the collective memory of the Whitehall community.
They were also the latest class of inductees into Whitehall's Hall of Fame, honored last Friday in a ceremony between the boys and girls varsity basketball games.
Robert Tully's performance at the District XI AAA Team Duals in many ways mirrored Whitehall's appearance at the district event which brings together the best teams from the area in a quest to become the top squad in the state.
Whitehall, who entered the tourney as the 12th seed, met Bangor in the opening round at Zephyr Gymnasium on Jan. 29. The Zephs were familiar with the Slaters, who came in as the 5th seed, having seen them at the Jim Thorpe Christmas Tournament right before the new year.
After their game against Emmaus High School, Whitehall girls basketball head coach Dwight Repsher was left wondering what could have been.
With Ivanna Jones on the line with a chance to make it a one possession game with just under a minute remaining in regulation, Repsher was confident the junior could cut the lead to one, helping them mount a ferocious comeback after being down by as many as 10 points heading into the final period.
The Konkrete Kids were able to take the Zephyrs boys basketball team out of their comfort zone last Friday night, and in so doing dealt Whitehall a blow that will most likely prevent them from making the league playoffs this year.
As it stands now, the Zephs would have to leapfrog two teams in order to get the final spot, with Northampton and Pocono Mountain West High Schools standing in their way.
Jeff Jones has coached enough basketball games to know that while a call at the end of a game may adversely affect the outcome, it's the plays leading up to that point that truly decide the contest.
Brett Radocha's phantom foul at least that's the assessment from the Whitehall faithful put Allentown Central Catholic's Jack Nosovitch on the line for a chance to win the game as time expired.
The game was tied 47 at that point, with Nosovitch snaring a long rebound following Zay Jennings miss.