Tuesday, December 18, 2018

76ers are overcoming early season struggles

76ers are overcoming early season struggles
Jack Gawason
Staff Writer

After a mediocre start and many roster changes the Sixers are finally playing up to their potential.
      Opening up the season with a loss to the Celtics 105-87 indicated there was room for improvement. A 4-4 start to the season had the team as an early borderline playoff contender but it did not appear they had improved from the 2017-2018 season, in which they finished with 52-30 and advanced to the Conference Semifinals. It was clear the Sixers returned virtually the same team as last season minus minor subtractions in Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. But  the additions of a healthy Markelle Fultz and Wilson Chandler were projected to cancel those subtractions out but the team was still underperforming. Partially because Markelle Fultz has continued to deal with shoulder injuries and miss time. The team is unsure when he will return to the court but the success of the team should not fall solely on having Fultz healthy. With these factors and the team’s overall play it was beginning to appear they needed to change things up.
     Philly had many options on the free agent market and players on the trading block, but ultimately Jimmy Butler was their best decision. Jimmy Butler had expressed his interest to be moved dating all the way back to the offseason. Finally, the 76ers agreed to a trade for Jimmy Butler, also receiving Justin Patton in the deal. The 76ers had to trade away Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves, filling a need for both teams. Butler immediately addresses the 76ers lack of perimeter playmaking and perimeter scoring and adds to a team that has success with playing strong defense and getting to the basket on offense.
When Brett Brown was recently interviewed by Sixers Wire’s Nathan Beighle about his thoughts on why Butler is a fit with this team he said, “It’s his physicality and grit that I believe will help Philly potentially take down the Celtics, which many claim as the Eastern Conference’s best team even with their underwhelming start to the season.” So far, it is safe to say the Philadelphia 76ers have won the trade improving their overall record going 10-2 with Butler in the lineup. They are winning games and enjoying a lot of individual success but this team is not complete. Joel Embiid has made it known he is unhappy with his new role following the addition of Butler. His averages for the season are down with Butler on the roster, but he needs to recognize the overall team’s success is more important compared to his personal success. Brett Brown and the team are still figuring out how to use Butler and how he fits in with other stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but when they do, this trio will be up there with the best trios across the league. Since the Miami Heat formed their “Big Three” with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in 2010 and even before that, teams were beginning to form these types of teams so this move gives the Sixers a very talented “Big Three” making an above average team in the east and putting them as championship contenders for the entire league. It will be interesting to follow how the Sixers play against top level competition throughout the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
Liam Curran and Andrew Purdy contributed to this article.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The favorites for NFL honors are emerging

Jack Gawason and Nick Fest
Staff Writers

As the 2018-2019 season is quickly coming to an end standout stars in their respected areas appear to be favorites. The Most Valuable Player, Offensive and Defensive Player, Comeback Player, and Coach of the Year races are shaping up each with someone different leading the conversation.

Most Valuable Player of the Year: Drew Brees:
Drew Brees has been one of the most consistent players in the league. He has completed more than 75 percent of his passes, which is 3 percent less than the record for completion percentage in a single regular season. The previous record was set by him as well. He is also leading the league in total QBR rating at 83.6. He might not be the league leader for touchdowns, but he is still 3rd and has the highest touchdown to interception ratio. He takes care of the football, reducing turnovers, making his team win. He is a leader on field as he led his team to a ten game winning streak before falling to the Cowboys. With his team at the top of the NFC it is his title to lose.

Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Mahomes
Second year player and first year starter has started his career with a huge bang. Head Coach Andy Reid took a gamble last year trading their reliable veteran quarterback, Alex Smith, to the Redskins leaving his team in Mahomes hands. Mahomes had a great college career at Texas Tech scoring many touchdowns and leading his team many wins but was never the most outstanding player during his time. But in his first game at the NFL level Mahomes burst onto the scene throwing for four touchdowns against the Los Angeles Chargers. Through eight games he broke the record for most touchdowns in a players first eight games with 22 touchdowns. Next, he broke the record for most touchdowns in a season by a Chiefs quarterback with 31, passing all time great Len Dawson. As the year starts to come to an end Patrick Mahomes is in the headlines as he chases the all time record for the most touchdowns in a season held by Peyton Manning. After eleven games it is safe to say Andy Reid made the smart move making Patrick Mahomes his franchise quarterback with all of Mahomes potential awards already beginning to add up.

Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald
It was not an easy offseason for Aaron Donald but it ended with a big pay day. This deal was record breaking making him the highest paid defensive player in the league with the deal being worth 135 million. This deal finally ended his season long holdout and allowed him to just focus on football. After last year winning Defensive Player of the Year Donald has only followed up that season with better stats this year. He has already passed his previous tackle and sack totals, on pace for over 20 sacks this year. Aaron Donald has headlined a superb defensive line that has been holding together a dynamic but dysfunctional defense. The Los Angeles Rams are hoping Aaron Donald is able to maintain this caliber of play for the rest of the remaining five years on ths mega deal.

Comeback Player of the Year: Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck is the front runner for 2018-2019 Comeback Player of the Year. He is accompanied by many stars, some historic legends, as well, such as J.J. Watt, Aaron Rodgers, and David Johnson and Luck has been outperforming them all. Luck is basically carrying his team, and after a 1-5 start to the season he is on a five game win streak putting his team in playoff contention. In his first season back since not even being able to throw a football in two years he is second in the league in touchdowns and carrying his team into the playoffs. Between injuries and non-existing skill at Lucks disposal he is making his surrounding players on offensive look very good.

Coach of the Year: Matt Nagy
First year head coach Matt Nagy has looked like an established veteran up to this point as the new Chicago Bears head coach. Previously, he was apart of Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs staff which is obvious after studying his coaching style. He has shown to be an aggressive offensive minded coach but has not forgotten about his defense. It would be difficult to forget about them after the season they have been having helping out their coach contributing to all these wins. Nagy along with the front office has also made some great decisions resigning key defensive players and adding to their defensive unit, along with adding skilled wide receivers in the draft and through free agency. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the 2018-2019 season goes for the first year coach as they are destined for the playoffs.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Struggling Flyers try to get back on track

Garrett Hoffman and John Devaney
Staff Writers

On Nov. 24, the struggling Philadelphia Flyers,10-12-12, blew a 6-0 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flyers organization decided to fire Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Hextall on Nov. 26, the latest front officer who failed to win them a Stanley Cup in 44 years. Coach Dave Hakstol is now under pressure as he has had his worst season in his history of coaching.
     According to Sports Illustrated, "I feel a responsibility for what happened today," Hakstol said. "Nobody feels good about that in our room." According to the Flyers President Paul Holmgren, they are quickly looking for a new general manager. The new general manager will decide if they want to fire Hakstal.
     On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Flyers fired the assistant general manager, Chris Pryor, and assistant coach Gordy Murphy after another brutal loss to the Ottawa Senators. They blew a two-goal lead late in the third period. At this point, the Flyers are the last place in the eastern conference, and third from last in the entire league. Pryor worked for the Flyers for 19 seasons, first getting hired as a scout. Murphy played with the Flyers for four seasons and then got hired as assistant coach in 2014. Flyers President Holmgren told NHL.com on Wednesday, " we don't anticipate any further personnel moves in the near term."

Friday, November 30, 2018

NHS Field Hockey Does it Again

Lila Datz and Rylie Hepp
Staff Writers

The New Hope-Solebury Field Hockey team has won the district title again; creating a winning streak of two years in a row. The team is expected to continue doing well all the way to states. To nobody's surprise, the team took down Lower Moreland in the 2018 PIAA District championship game on Nov. 1, in a game with the score of 2-0. The game was hard fought and extremely close the entire time. So close that there was only one goal scored per half during the game. Two of the team's juniors, Mackenzie Myers and Sara Hayden, were the players who scored the crucial goals for New Hope-Solebury.
Even though New Hope-Solebury came out with the victory, the team had to overcome some obstacles during the game. One of the team’s star players, Annelise Dahlin had to step out of the game due to a knee injury that shocked her teammates.
One of the team’s players, Lilly Smith, told the press that “the other team was really skilled, and it was a tough game, especially when we lost a key offensive player. But our team stepped up, played hard, scored a few goals and ended up with the result we wanted.”
The Girls Field Hockey team is not afraid of a challenge and this game was no exception. After overcoming many obstacles, the team pulled through and grabbed the District title once again.

Boys Soccer Postseason Review

Liam Curran and Andrew Purdy
Staff Writers 
The boys soccer team’s season came to an abrupt halt after a crucial matchup in their postseason. Going into postseason with a record of 8-6-1 the boys came out of their league with first seed in districts. After a tough loss against Holy Ghost Prep, the team's mentality changed to winning states. The captains Jake Jacquemot, Connor Campbell, and Nick Fest rallied the team in the two week preseason in between the regular season and postseason.
“We are on the road to states, so every game we play now determines the rest of our season.” Jake Jacquemot said as he addressed the team. All of the captains agreed the biggest thing for the team's success was to keep a positive mindset, even when losing a game.
            In game 1 of districts, the team faced off against Pope John Paul II which was an easy matchup. New Hope came out on top with a 3-1 win to move onto the championship. The team would go on to play Lansdale Catholic, whom they played in the previous district championship, which ended in an overtime win. New Hope trekked to Northeast Supersite for one of the hardest games of the season. After a well-played 80-minute match, the team won 2-1 off a penalty kick by Jake Jacquemot following a goal by Owen Nettles to secure the road to states.
In the first game of states, New Hope faced off against a new opponent: the Fleetwood Tigers. The boys went into the game coming off a crucial win over the weekend. They came ready to play coming out of the gate hot, but the Lions fell apart early. Fleetwood took advantage and scored 5 goals, winning 5-0.
            As the seniors head out, coach Bachart looks to carry on the tradition of winning: “The underclassmen are a strong and smart group that can fill the roles of the players leaving this year.”
Based on the underclassmen abilities to understand the game so well, the chances of the team moving further than they did this year is extremely high.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Golf team looks to build future success on 2018 accomplishments

Jake Menz
Staff Writer

The New Hope-Solebury golf team had a fantastic season. The team started off in August and ended in early October. Finishing the season with ar record of 9-2, the team dominated its division.
Individually, Liam Griffith and Kyle Sullivan made the cut to be eligible to compete in individual districts. As a team Liam Griffith, Evan Menz, Kyle Sullivan, Jake Menz, and Jack Buckard were selected to represent the team at the 2A division districts. Kyle Sullivan won the individual division 2A districts. This was huge for Kyle as he is only in his sophomore year. The team was very proud of Kyle as he had a triumphant victory. Much more is expected from Kyle next season.
As a team, the Lions came in second place at districts. The team consisted of players: Jake Menz (Captain), Matthew Bracco, Liam Griffith, Kyle Sullivan, Lear Asplundh, Will Kelley, Patrick Riedy, Evan Menz, and William Renson. The team’s home matches were played at Heron Glen in Ringoes, New Jersey.
It was truly a very exciting and interesting season. With no incoming freshman, the team was gifted with the newcomers Lear Asplundh and Will Kelley, both of whom are juniors. Practicing continually throughout the summer and fall, the players strived to achieve excellence. At the end of this year, seniors Jake Menz and Matthew Bracco will both graduate, while the young core will be looking to get even stronger for the upcoming season.
The golf season ended in mid-October due to the lack day daylight. Overall, the golf season was very successful and fun, but the team is still hungry for more. Next year they hope to capture the state championship, a feat they achieved in 2014.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Girls Field Hockey Team Win Districts

Lauren Hunt & Frany Barile
Staff Writers

The New Hope-Solebury Girls Field Hockey team claimed their title as district champions on Nov. 1, 2018. The team faced off against Sacred Heart at Lower Moreland High School and won with a final score of 2-0. Sara Hayden, a junior, scored the first goal off a pass from Lilly Smith at the end of the first half.
The title of district champs is not new to Girls Field Hockey. Last year, they defeated Gwynedd-Mercy; however, one new quality of this year’s team is that there are no senior players. The girls are very proud to have been so successful this year without the help of the 12th grade.
Valentina Waschbusch said, “It’s kind of scary not having any strong seniors, but the juniors enjoy being the only upperclassmen.” 
When asked if she thinks the team will win States, Valentina said: “We are staying very hopeful and we will do our best to make it as far as we can.”
After districts, the girls went into the first round of states with a strong attitude, coming out with a win of 2-0 against Northwestern Lehigh. With an almost undefeated record this year. Unfortunately, in the state quarterfinals, the girls lost 2-0 to Oley Valley.
Sophomore Sam Curtis said, “We had a great season this year, and we are even more hopeful for the next upcoming season.”
The girls are very proud of what they accomplished this season and are looking forward to maintaining their title during their next season.