The Allentown High School boys’ basketball team is young and optimistic.
Allentown was brimming with satisfaction despite dropping a 59-38 decision to Hopewell Valley Central High School in Allentown. The young Redbirds came through on the offensive end of the floor in the loss, which came on Feb. 12.
Sophomore guard RJ Weise led Allentown with seven points, while freshman guard Brandon Pfeifer, freshman Neil DeFelice and sophomore Chris McCrea each finished with six points for the Redbirds.
“I think that our group of younger kids played really hard,” Allentown coach Jay Graber said. “They played well on defense and were able to work the ball around on offense and get open shots for each other.”
Graber specifically praised Weise and Pfeifer. The coach pointed out that the two players showed veteran poise in the game.
“They just played really hard,” Graber said. “Weise made some big shots, and Brandon really looked good today. It’s good to see young players play hard and learn the game in a tough matchup.”
The Redbirds played Hopewell Valley tough throughout the game, but a 16-3 deficit after the first quarter was a hole Allentown could not dig out of.
Allentown was only outscored, 26-25, in the second half.
“We need to look to continue to play tough on defense,” Graber said. “We need to take it personal and play really hard in our man-to-man defense. On offense, we need to remain selfless and move the ball around. Sometimes, when we get down, we tend to try to get it all back individually, and the ball stops moving. We have to stop doing that.”
Allentown suffered another loss at Hightstown High School on Feb. 15 in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament. The Redbirds closed the first quarter with a 10-9 advantage, but they were outscored the rest of the way in the 57-45 defeat. Hightstown fell to Ewing High School, 60-59, in the quarterfinals.
Allentown, which holds a 4-18 record, will close its regular-season schedule at Steinert High School on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.