July 10, 2018
By: Dan Fremuth
Awesome Fest, a new sports and culture festival spearheaded by Toomey Anderson, wrapped up last weekend and it certainly lived up to its name.
Awesome Fest began Thursday with The Purple Series Art Show at the Allentown Arts Walk Gallery downtown featuring some of the striking works of Los Angeles artist and Lehigh Valley native Bart Cooper. Live music could be heard throughout the weekend as well along with a variety of sporting events, including a flag football tournament on Saturday and the marque event, the A-Town Throwdown basketball tournament.
More than 60 different teams from the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey participated in the A-Town Throwdown with the four-day event culminating with a 16-team, single-elimination tournament on Sunday at Cedar Beach Park. I was lucky enough to be part of our broadcast team that televised the JV Finals and Varsity Finals on Sunday and it was only fitting that such a great tournament ended with a pair of tremendous games.
At 5:00 p.m., the William Allen Canaries tipped off against the Reading Red Knights in the JV championship where Allen got off to a roaring start jumping out to a 24-12 lead in the opening half. Guard Mel Copeland paced the Canaries with 12 points in the contest but the Red Knights used a surge at the close of the opening half to cut the deficit to just three points at halftime (24-21 Allen).
That momentum garnered late in the first half by Reading carried over into the final 20 minutes for the Red Knights who outscored the Canaries 23-10 in the second half en route to a 44-34 victory. Guard Jashire Sheriff (Reading) led all scorers with 15 points while his teammate Tashiro Alexis notched 10 in securing the victory.
Meanwhile, the Varsity championship featured some local flair as well as the Emmaus Green Hornets faced off against the Sankofa Freedom Warriors from Philadelphia. Emmaus got off to a fast start with 14 first half points from Mark Swedberg and eight more in the opening half from Zach Sabol as the Green Hornets had a 26-19 lead in the dying moments of the first half. But the Warriors closed the margin to just two points before half time thanks to a late dunk from Jaymes Savage followed by a half court buzzer beater from Derrius Ward.
The contest went back and forth throughout much of the second half but Sankofa was able to pull away in the final moments than to late three pointers from Ward and Khalil Turner, who led all Warriors with 16 points. Ward finished with 15 as Sankofa outlasted Emmaus 62-59. For the Green Hornets, Swedberg finished with a game-high 24 points while Sabol, who battled cramping issues throughout the contest, finished with 14 of his own.
Congratulations to each and every team that participated throughout the weekend making the 2018 A-Town Throwdown such a memorable one. Big kudos to Toomey Anderson as well for coordinating such a tremendous weekend overall. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a final shout out to Mother Nature who authored an absolutely picturesque weekend for all the festivities at Cedar Beach!