The Allentown High School boys’ basketball team recently suffered a season sweep at the hands of Nottingham High School, but the Redbirds are still excited to see how far they have come over the course of the season.
Allentown head coach Jay Graber was quick to praise his team following its 58-45 loss to Nottingham on Feb. 2 in Allentown.
“Well played them on opening night, and we lost by 50,” Graber said. “So we just really wanted to come out, compete, try hard and show the improvements that we made over the course of the season. I thought we did that. I thought we played extremely well tonight.
“Unfortunately, when you play against a really good team that has 12 to 13 wins, you have to do every little thing right or you’re not going to win. So I thought that we did a lot of things right, and we showed a lot of improvement, but there’s still little things that we have to improve on.”
The Redbirds lost their first game of the season to Nottingham, 97-47, on Dec. 15.
In the rematch, Allentown trailed, 26-19, at halftime but was able to cut the deficit to 31-30 with 3:45 left to go in the third quarter. Nottingham bounce back, however, and went on a 27-15 surge to end the game for the 13-point victory.
The loss was the Redbirds’ seventh straight and dropped them to 4-15 on the year. However, even the players see the difference between how the team performed on opening night and now.
“Seeing as how we played against them the first time, this was definitely a step up from then,” senior Yeshua Powe said. “We definitely played them at a higher level. I know we didn’t get the win, but it’s nice to see that we still have room for improvement.”
Powe had 10 points for the Redbirds in their second matchup with Nottingham. Sophomore RJ Weise also scored 10 points, while senior Robert Hynes led the team with 12 points and sophomore Tim Mastromarino had nine points.
Graber and Powe believe the game will help Allentown finish the year off strong.
“I think this just gives us confidence,” Graber said. “We have the Mercer County Tournament coming up, as well as a few regular-season games still. So it gives us confidence going into all of that.”
“I think that it shows that we can compete and play against any team in the [Colonial Valley Conference],” Powe said. “I think it was a good test in our level of expertise.”
The Redbirds hoped that confidence led to a better result when they visited Hamilton High School West in a game scheduled for Feb. 5. They play as the host to Hopewell Valley Central High School on Feb. 12 at 5:30 p.m.