Allentown Central Catholic comes back through the heat to win the big school championship game at the Cedar Beach Basketball Showcase

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Allentown Central Catholic played at 10 a.m. Sunday and lost to Muhlenberg Township.

That meant the Vikings’ path to the championship game at Cedar Beach’s fifth annual basketball showcase had to go through a long, scorching day with a few dips in Little Lehigh Creek in between.

The cool water provided just enough refreshment to keep the Vikings strong, then ended the day 11 a.m. after starting with a 33-27 win over Township Muhlenberg in the title game that concluded the four-day 69-team tournament that brought teams at three different levels from across the region.

The championship was Central’s first since 2005, when the tournament was called the Stellar Construction “Catch A Rising Star” Showcase.

Whatever its name, it was an impressive tournament for the Vikings coming off a 21-6 season that featured a disappointing finish with semifinal losses in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 4A tournaments and a first-round loss in the PIAA Tournament.

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Sophomore Jahrel Vigo was the MVP and Nico Pulieri was the sixth recipient of the award.

“What a day,” said CCHS assistant coach Kevin Keeler, who was the main voice on the bench throughout the weekend. “In every game, we are fighting for our lives. We trailed by five or ten points at halftime and won games by two or four. We’re lucky to be deep because Jahrel was our MVP and he basically couldn’t run because he had cramps. We had another guy who had cramps. It shows our depth and pride in these guys.

Tommy Lloyd, son of former Whitehall star Jerry Lloyd, scored 13 points and was named MVP as the Zephyrs won the JV Tournament with a 47-36 win over Emmaus in the Championship game played on Sunday night at Cedar Beach.

Whitehall, whose varsity team went 7-15 last year, has shown signs of improvement throughout the offseason and the JV title means the upside. The Zephyrs won five games in total and beat Allentown Central Catholic 59-19 at the start of the day and edged Whitehall 43-40 at the start of the afternoon, then won the rematch more decisively in the game for the title.

“It’s a great group of kids with great families,” JV coach Erik Dogmanits said. “It’s a team. It reminds me of the old days of Whitehall where everyone played rough and they got together and they were scrappy. We preach the tradition of Whitehall and I’m really proud of them for coming out and winning this thing. We are opening gyms open and lifting tomorrow and that should give them a boost. I always say to reach the highest level as fast as possible. Work your cock and that’s what these guys do. They worked extremely hard in this tournament and I’m proud of them.

More story to come.

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