Basketball program turnaround

Constantine Donahue

Left to right: (No. 3) Alex Magnotta, (No. 10) Jacob Albert, (No. 25) Cydae Joseph-Davis and other starters get ready for the District XI Championship game vs. Executive Education Charter Academy (Photo credit to Christine Kreschollek –

Saucon Valley’s basketball team has been down for multiple years. Accumulating a 22-82 record (according to over the 2017-2022 years. 

This was a very disappointing time, after having much success in years prior. This left avid Saucon Valley basketball fans distraught. This wasn’t the standard for the team and everybody knew that.

Going into the 2022-23 season, there wasn’t much hope from anyone. Including well known Lehigh Valley reporter, Keith Groller. 

“Projected order of finish: 1. Bangor; 2. Notre Dame-Green Pond; 3. Wilson; 4. Moravian Academy; 5. Palisades; 6. Saucon Valley; 7. Pen Argyl.” 

But where there was hope, within the Saucon Valley Gym where players worked extremely hard to prove everybody wrong, making it their goal to do so. 

“We knew what we had to do, we knew we could be good. We wanted to do something special,” said sophomore Jack Robertson.

Saucon Valley started off with a home-opening win against Pen Argyl, 46-32. But they knew there was work to be done, considering they were projected to win. This work was done in the coming days, before playing defending colonial league champions, the Wilson Warriors.

The Panthers won the bout 59-41, which sent a message to the rest of the league. This message was that they were not a team to take lightly anymore.

The Panthers started out the season 8-0, going into the Christmas break. The last win was over the Notre Dame Green-Pond Crusaders, who are a rival of the Panthers, and an always top-ranked team in the league. It was a game that came down to the wire, with Saucon winning 51-50. They managed to win 1 more against Oley Valley in a Christmas tournament, making it 9-0.

But in the next 6 games, the team went 3-3, losing some tough ones. But this didn’t stop them from getting back on track.

“We had to regroup and get back on the right track. I believe we did that, but had some rough games in between. We did well leading up to the playoffs, and that set us up for success,” said senior captain Alex Magnotta.

Following the losses, they went 6-2 to end the regular season, finishing at 17-5 and 3rd in the colonial league. This set up a first round league playoff matchup with the Wilson Warriors, which the Panthers won 71-62. 

Following the win, the Panthers were scheduled to play the Southern Lehigh Spartans. Southern Lehigh won the first, and only matchup during the regular season, 43-41.

This did not faze Saucon Valley, as they won the game 46-38. This put them in the Colonial League championship, against Notre Dame Green-Pond. This was a highly anticipated game, as the teams split the regular season one to one. 

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the outcome was not what they wanted. The game lived up to the expectations, going into two overtime’s. Which Notre Dame won, 45-42.

This was devastating, after working extremely hard to turn the program around, and get to the championship. 

But the journey wasn’t over yet, as they had qualified for the district playoffs. The first round matchup was against MaST Community Charter, which Saucon handled 63-34. 

Senior Jacob Albert spoke upon the emotions he felt after winning this game, having just lost the Colonial League championship.

“Last week was tough. Definitely for myself and obviously for everyone,” Albert said. I think we just needed to get back playing, get back to practice. It’s behind us,” he added.

The win set up yet another matchup against Notre Dame. Being the 4th time the two teams have met in one season. 

The game was close all throughout, coming down to the final seconds, where Saucon led 54-51. The Crusaders had a chance to tie the game with a final shot, which was blocked by Robertson. 

The Panthers had another chance at a championship, but this time a district championship. This game was against previous 4-year champs, Executive Education. 

Saucon Valley battled hard, and managed to have the game tied at the half. They were then down 30-29 going into the fourth quarter. 

The Panthers lost the game 45-32, and earned another silver medal on the year. 

The season wasn’t quite over yet, as they were qualified for the state tournament. This game was a matchup against defending state champs, Devon Prep.

Saucon Valley lost the game 77-50, which brought their season to an end.

Although the Panthers didn’t get to hang gold around their necks, it was absolutely a season to remember.

They had tripled their wins from the previous year, and were 1 win away from matching the amount of wins they had accumulated in the past five years.

They earned a Colonial League silver medal, and a District XI silver medal. The last time Saucon Valley had been in a District XI championship game was 23 years ago.

These were a couple of many accomplishments they had earned this year. They look to carry this momentum into next year, and hopefully, win some gold.