A look back at a special year for Lehigh Valley-area boys basketball

Lots of great games, moments and people to remember from 2013-14.

The state championship games will be played Friday and Saturday in Hershey, and once again, no area teams will be involved in the boys title games.

The wait for the first boys state champ since Central Catholic's 1986 team is now 28 seasons, and considering the dominance of the District 12 teams, you begin to wonder if any local team is going to be cutting down the nets in Chocolatetown again.

The road to the Giant Center is tougher than ever.

Yet the quality of the local boys basketball season shouldn't be measured by how deep our teams go in the state tournament.

The 2013-14 season was as memorable as any I can remember.

Those memories included some great performances by great teams such as Central Catholic and Parkland.

In the middle of the most brutal winter anybody can recall, the Vikings and Trojans packed Rockne Hall in late January with a big-game atmosphere that was a throwback to earlier generations.

We had buzzer-beaters and overtime thrillers and the emergence of some talented freshman players who will be fixtures on the scene for the next three years.

We had coaching milestones set by hard-working coaches and scoring milestones by special players.

We had a special floor dedication honoring the area's winningest coach.

We had teams stage remarkable turnarounds and others who simply couldn't sustain their early momentum.

We had postponements and schedule changes galore, and yet, through it all, we had a lot of fun.

Driving back from Souderton last Friday night after Central Catholic's PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal-round loss, there was a sense of sadness that another local season was in the books.

For me, no matter who wins or loses, the basketball season is a lot of fun.

Here to recap some of that fun is my 20th annual Kegger Awards (my initials are KEG), saluting the people, teams, and things that made us smile and warmed our hearts through the just-completed (thank goodness) brutal winter.

Best game: Central Catholic beating Parkland 66-62 in the Lehigh Valley Conference title game. The area's two best teams were finally at full strength and the outcome wasn't decided until the final, tense minutes.

Best player: Normally, I ask you to wait until the all-area package is revealed in another week or so. But there would be a federal investigation if our player of the year wasn't someone who wore No. 5 for Central Catholic this season.

Best team: Uh, again, no mystery. It's not every year you have a team start a season 29-0. Matter of fact, we've never had a team do it before this year.

Best performance: Lots of great candidates here, but for me it's hard to top Central Catholic routing a Bishop McDevitt team that was 27-2, in the PIAA 3A second round. The Vikings went from nine down early in the second quarter to an 82-55 victory that was more or less an intrasquad slam-dunk contest in the closing quarter.

Best preseason event: Central Catholic's "Rockne Rally," which was created by Vikings senior Jimmy Vaughan. The entire team was introduced that night and the guys squared off in an intrasquad game. It was a great way to get the student body pumped up about the coming season. Vaughan hopes it was something that will continue at CCHS and even at other schools.

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