Hampton boys basketball squad looks back on successful Class AAAA run
At the outset of the season, it appeared a lot was going against the Hampton Talbots' boys basketball team. A bump into the toughest section, Section 3-AAAA, coupled with early injuries to starting forward Collin Luther and the usual bumps and bruises that can sideline players for a few games here and there all hit the team.
But, in spite of it all, Hampton rallied and showed why it is one of the best programs in the WPIAL in recent history.
The Talbots regrouped and advanced to the WPIAL title game for the fourth time in the past five years. Hampton fell to New Castle in the finals but regrouped to win its first round PIAA game before losing a competitive 58-50 contest against Erie Cathedral Prep.
Although Hampton coach Joe Lafko is a competitive guy who coaches an equally competitive team, he said the season is one to be proud of, even if the team did not reach every goal it set fourth.
“We competed in an extremely good section and played a lot of good out-of-conference teams like Mars, Penn-Trafford and Kiski,” Lafko said. “We played in a lot of close basketball games. The kids got experience in a lot of big environments against extremely good competition that made our team grow and forced us to play at a high level night-in and night-out.”
The physical and mental grinds are other aspects Lafko said could not be overlooked, and he was proud of how his players responded. His players' response to adversity impressed him.
Due to injuries early in the season — sidelining starters as well as players like Jake Adams, Jon Floss, Rich Ford and Tom Radziminski — Jack Obringer, Trace McConnell and Hayden Seserko were called on to start and play quality minutes.
“They stepped in and played well, which is a tribute to their willingness to work and play at a high level against high-level competition,” Lafko said. “They are winners, they are competitors and they bring it against quality teams.”
Hampton loses only three seniors — Radziminski, Adams and Ford — and the starting five will be back.
Guards Joey Lafko and David Huber were sophomores this season, and Collin and Ryan Luther were juniors along with Floss.
The Talbots are looking forward to the next season, but Lafko said there still is a sting in the air.
“We are highly competitive and don't like to lose,” Lafko said. “But this will make us strive to get better. You can't rest on your laurels, and we need to continue to get quicker, stronger and more skilled and that is how we will approach the offseason.”
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.