POTTSVILLE BOYS BASKETBALL

Welcome graphic

camp2015/2015Travis.jpg

 

Blankenhorn decides to go pro, signs with Twins

by leroy boyer
Published: June 18, 2015



              

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

SUBMITTED PHOTO Pottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn signs to play in the Minnesota Twins organization on Thursday at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

SUBMITTED PHOTO Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan, left, shakes hands with Pottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn on Thursday in Minneapolis. Blankenhorn signed a rookie contract and is headed to the GCL Twins of the Florida Gulf Coast League.

Every young boy who has ever swung a bat or played catch with his dad in the yard has dreamed of one day becoming a Major League Baseball player.

That day was Thursday for Travis Blankenhorn.

The recent Pottsville Area High School graduate officially signed a rookie contract with the Minnesota Twins during Thursday’s interleague game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Blankenhorn, the fifth pick of the third round (No. 80 overall) in last week’s Major League Baseball Amateur Player Draft, received a signing bonus of $650,000. He departs today for Fort Myers, Florida, where he will join Minnesota’s rookie team, the GCL Twins of the Florida Gulf Coast League.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” Blankenhorn said Thursday by telephone. “But I also know a lot of work has to be done yet.”

Blankenhorn and his family flew to Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon and were guests of the Twins for their 3-1 interleague victory that evening over the Cardinals.

“We got to watch the whole game (Wednesday),” Blankenhorn said. “It’s a very nice stadium, and they put us in a really nice suite.

“I even caught a foul ball in the suite. It was a pretty cool first experience.”

Thursday, Blankenhorn took a physical for the team, which consisted of “bloodwork, EKG, the usual doctor stuff,” then signed his contract with Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan in one of the team’s offices during the game.

Blankenhorn, who projects to be a third baseman in the pros, then watched the rest of Thursday’s interleague game, which the Twins won 2-1 on a walk-off homer by Kennys Vargas.

He was entertained on the field, then taken to the media room, where he was photographed wearing a Twins jersey.

“The Twins made it a very special signing day for me,” Blankenhorn said. “It was pretty cool for me.”

Blankenhorn’s signing bonus is $104,000 below the Major League Baseball slot value of $754,000 for the No. 80 selection in the draft.

Major League Baseball assigns a dollar value to the signing bonuses for all of the picks in the first 15 rounds in the draft. Each of the 30 MLB teams has a specific amount of money it can spend on its draft picks — that number varies by team, depending on the number of picks they have — and teams can exceed that amount by 5 percent without paying a penalty or losing future draft picks.

Blankenhorn said the signing bonus being below the slot value didn’t bother him one bit.

“It was a mutual agreement,” said Blankenhorn, who is represented by Ryan Royster of California Sports Management. “I was the No. 80 pick, so I knew it wasn’t going to be really big.

“They offered $650,000 and I took it. I didn’t want to risk not getting anything.”

Blankenhorn said he departs Minnesota on a flight for Florida at 7:30 a.m. this morning. He’s played in Fort Myers once before during travel baseball at the Red Sox’ training facility, about a mile away from the Twins’ stadium.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder said he’s been impressed by the amount of attention he’s received over the past week and is excited to play professional baseball.

“It’s definitely been a neat experience, and I love that I’ve been able to enjoy it with my family and friends,” Blankenhorn said. “It’s been very exciting.”


camp2015/2015Travis.jpg

camp2015/2015Travis.jpg

camp2015/2015Travis.jpg

 

HS BASEBALL: Tide's Blankenhorn selected by Twins in MLB Draft

by leroy boyer
Published: June 9, 2015

              

Photo: David McKeown, License: N/A, Created: 2015:05:23 15:55:20 Photo: David McKeown, License: N/A, Created: 2015:05:28 18:57:01                             

David McKeown/Staff PhotoPottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn (7) connects with the ball during the District 11 baseball semifinal game at Blue Mountain on Saturday, May 23, 2015.

DAVID MCKEOWN/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn makes a dash for second base during the District 11 Class AAA championship game on May 28 at Coca-Cola Park, Allentown. Blankenhorn will have until July 17 to decide to sign with the Minnesota Twins or play baseball for the University of Kentucky.

Surrounded by his family, Travis Blankenhorn sat in front of his computer Tuesday afternoon in his West End Avenue home, anxiously awaiting to hear his name called in the Major League Baseball Amateur Player Draft.

It didn’t take long.

Roughly 10 minutes into Tuesday’s session, the Pottsville senior shortstop and University of Kentucky recruit was taken with the fifth pick of the third round, No. 80 overall, by the Minnesota Twins.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound 18-year-old is the first Crimson Tide high school player selected since Jeff Yoder went in the third round of the 1995 MLB Draft. He’s the first player from the Pottsville program selected since Pat Boran was taken in the 24th round of the 2002 draft out of Princeton University by the Boston Red Sox.

“It was pretty exciting,” Blankenhorn said. “There’s not many other feelings in life like that. It was a very exciting moment for me and my family ... and all of Schuylkill County.”

Blankenhorn hit .441 (41-for-93) with 40 runs scored, six doubles, six triples, six homers, 13 stolen bases, 27 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .544 for Pottsville, helping the Crimson Tide go 23-5 and win the Schuylkill League and District 11 Class AAA titles. It was Pottsville’s first district crown in 17 years.

Blankenhorn went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in Monday’s 4-3 loss to Abington Heights in the PIAA Class AAA state semifinals at Easton High School.

After the game, Blankenhorn and his family returned to their Pottsville home to watch the draft. A total of 75 players were selected Monday night, as the MLB Draft conducted its First Round (1-26), Compensation Round (27-36), Lottery Round A (37-42), Second Round (43-70) and Lottery Round B (71-75).

Blankenhorn was ranked No. 75 on Baseball America’s Top 500 prospects list, and No. 184 on MLB.com’s Top 200.

There was a thought Blankenhorn could be taken Monday night. It didn’t happen.

“I was anxious,” Blankenhorn said. “I had some contact with some teams (Monday night). But I’m happy with the way it worked out.

“I’m happy I got drafted by the Twins. It’s a great opportunity.

“I was upset about losing the game, obviously,” he continued, “and then coming home and not getting picked (Monday) night was a little disappointing. I knew it would work out fine in the end.”

Blankenhorn’s advisor, Ryan Royster, an MLBPA certified agent at California Sports Management, said several teams contacted Blankenhorn on Monday night and Tuesday morning, expressing interest.

Minnesota also had selection No. 73 on Monday night, but chose Kentucky pitcher Kyle Cody.

“We didn’t know for sure, but there was a lot of interest from (Monday) night after the draft through the morning,” Royster said. “The Twins hinted that they had interest (at No. 80). We thought No. 73 was going to be it, and when that didn’t happen, we had a good feeling that the Twins weren’t going to pass twice with having two picks that close to each other.

“On into the morning, they kind of hinted that their interest was still high and not to worry that they didn’t pick (Blankenhorn) at 73, that their interest was still high.”

Blankenhorn and Royster both said Minnesota was the team that expressed the most interest throughout the season and as the draft approached.

Blankenhorn conducted several individual batting practice sessions for scouts during the season following Pottsville home games at Steidle Field. The sessions were highly attended by MLB scouts, and became a “must-see event” for local baseball fans.

“I hit for them a lot during the season,” Blankenhorn said of the Twins. “They probably came to see my games the most. They showed a lot of interest.

“I was invited to a workout, but I was playing high school baseball and couldn’t go there.”

The moment arrives

After fielding some calls Tuesday morning, Blankenhorn sat down in front of his computer in the family’s living room, along with his father Brian, mother Ann, brother Cody and Royster.

When it was the Twins’ turn at No. 80, at 1:10 p.m., a voice announced Blankenhorn’s name and school twice, it flashed across the computer screen, and the MLB.com crew showed video from showcases last summer and provided analysis on the pick.

A draft report on Blankenhorn is available on The Republican-Herald Sports Facebook page. Blankenhorn is projected as a corner infielder at the college and professional ranks.

“That was pretty emotional,” Brian Blankenhorn said. “It’s been a lot of hard work over the years to get here. It’s a special feeling to see your son’s name (in the MLB Draft).”

Added Ann Blankenhorn: “I thought (Monday) night was stressful waiting. Today was much better. It was quicker.

“I’m just very proud of him. He works really hard and will always be focused on his goals.”

Blankenhorn’s selection filled social media, as his Twitter handle @tblank7 was filled with congratulatory messages, and cell phones throughout the house rang with similar greetings.

“If you search his Twitter handle, you can see all the people that are tweeting at him. They’re not just Pottsville people,” Cody Blankenhorn said.

Blankenhorn tweeted a message thanking everyone for their support: “Like to thank the @Twins organization for believing in me, and my family and the Pottsville community for supporting me! #twins”

“The first hour was crazy. It was off the charts,” Brian Blankenhorn said. “There was a couple of numbers I didn’t recognize.

“The whole town ... the whole county ... is behind him.”

Ann Blankenhorn said the support the family has received has been overwhelming.

Running errands an hour later, she was impressed to see Travis’ selection on the Pottsville Area High School electronic message board.

“It reflects on Schuylkill County, and the support Schuylkill County gives to fellow people from Schuylkill County. It’s awesome,” Ann Blankenhorn said.

“Not even an hour later, and the school had it on the lighted board. That was like, ‘Wow.’ ”

What’s next?

Major league teams must sign drafted players, other than those who were college seniors, by 5 p.m. EDT on July 17. Players who have exhausted their college eligibility have until one week before the 2016 draft to sign.

For Blankenhorn, that means he must choose by July 17 between playing for the Minnesota Twins or going to the University of Kentucky.

Over the next couple of weeks, he’ll go to Minnesota for a physical examination and negotiations will begin on a possible professional contract.

“The next step is making a decision,” Royster said. “Basically, making a decision on what Travis and the Blankenhorn family want to do with the next step in his career and his future. They’re going to do their due diligence and make a good decision. I think he has two great opportunities in front of him with the Twins and Kentucky.”

Should Blankenhorn decide to sign with Minnesota, he’ll likely report to the Twins’ rookie-level team in Fort Myers, Florida. Until that decision is made, he’ll continue to work out with trainer Russ Frantz and take batting practice in the cage located behind his home.

“More than likely, if he does choose to sign, he will go to rookie ball in Fort Myers,” Royster said. “High school players generally tend to go to that level.

“Up until that point, it will be decision-making and staying ready. Taking his swings, doing his workouts. Whichever opportunity comes his way, he’s prepared to be the best version of himself.”

The Blankenhorn family held a large get-together Tuesday night to celebrate Travis getting drafted.

For Blankenhorn, he’s glad the process is over.

“It was a fun process and a very exciting process, but it’s kind of a relief that it’s all over,” Blankenhorn said. “I’m just excited for it to happen and that it did happen.”


SesqTwp/2015Travis.jpg

 

Twins select Blankenhorn to begin Day 2

Twins select Blankenhorn to begin Day 2
Twins draft Blankenhorn No. 80 1:09
The Twins select right-handed pitcher Travis Blankenhorn with the 80th pick of the 2015 MLB Draft

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins opened Day 2 of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft by selecting high school infielder Travis Blankenhorn in the third round with the No. 80 overall pick.

Blankenhorn, 19, hails from Pottsville Area High School in Pennsylvania. He played shortstop in high school, but the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder projects as a third baseman. He's the first high school player taken by the Twins in the Draft, as they went with college pitchers Tyler Jay (No. 6 overall) and Kyle Cody (No. 80) with their first two picks.

Draft Tracker

Blankenhorn saw his stock rise after playing well in the East Coast Pro Showcase in Syracuse and the Metropolitan Baseball Classic held at Citi Field in New York. He swings from the left side and is expected to develop power. He's currently committed to the University of Kentucky.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

team.2014.15/IMG_3098.jpg

Travis is now a Minnesota Twins player!!

 Congrats to Travis on being drafted in the Majors!! 

 

HS BASEBALL: Pottsville falls in state semifinals

by leroy boyer
Published: June 9, 2015

              

Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:06:08 16:23:34

ANDY MATSKO/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Darion Jacoby scores in the first inning Monday to double the Crimson Tide’s lead to 2-0 over Abington Heights.

Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:06:08 17:49:39

Pottsville’s Eric Wapinsky, left, scores a run in the seventh inning as Abington Heights pitcher Tyler Ksiazek covers home plate during Monday’s PIAA Class AAA semifinal at Easton High School. The run cut Pottsville’s deficit to one, but the Comets held on for a 4-3 victory.

EASTON — They sat in a circle in the first-base dugout, a stunned silence engulfing them.

There were heads buried in hands, tears streaming down faces, blank stares on others.

Dreams of playing for a state championship that only minutes before had still seemed possible were dashed.

Pottsville’s deepest run in the PIAA baseball playoffs had come to a sudden end.

Tyler Ksiazek pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh as Abington Heights edged Pottsville 4-3 in a Class AAA state semifinal at Easton High School.

The victory advances the District 2 champion Comets (18-3) to Friday’s PIAA state championship game in State College. The loss ends the Crimson Tide’s glorious season at 23-5.

“It’s disappointing to come up a run short,” Pottsville coach Mike Welsh said. “We kind of got in our own way. We couldn’t execute as well as we have over the course of the year, and it came back to haunt us.

“When you play a quality team like this and you don’t execute as well as you should have … you can’t do that.”

Early on, Pottsville looked en route to the state finals for the first time in program history.

Travis Blankenhorn opened the bottom of the first with a single, took second on a wild pitch, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ty Painter and scored on Darion Jacoby’s single.

Jacoby took second when the ball kicked away from the right fielder, went to third on a single by Eli Nabholz and scored on Connor Hinchliffe’s sacrifice fly.

One inning in, Pottsville had a 2-0 lead.

Unlike its seven previous playoff games, however, the Crimson Tide weren’t able to do the things that they had done in winning Schuylkill League and District 11 Class AAA championships to preserve the lead.

Nabholz got uncharacteristically wild in the top of the second, walking four batters and throwing a wild pitch. The Comets added a pair of infield singles and took advantage of a passed ball to score three runs and take a 3-2 lead.

“That inning, it was the deciding factor for sure,” Nabholz said.

Pottsville had several chances the rest of the game, but could never regain the lead.

More importantly, the Tide never got the big break they needed.

In the fifth, Eric Wapinsky led off with a double, but Trent Barnes popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt.

The Comets intentionally walked Blankenhorn, and Painter walked to load the bases. Jacoby, however, hit a grounder up the middle that Ksiazek turned into a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.

“That’s why it’s called baseball. Anything can happen,” Blankenhorn said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way today.”

In the sixth, Nabholz hit a long fly ball to right in which the right fielder twisted and turned before somehow making the catch for the first out. Connor Hinchliffe then ripped a ball up the middle that Ksiazek kicked and turned into an out.

Ksiazek then struck out Brandon Daubert on a high pitch that didn’t look like a strike. It was that kind of day for the Tide.

“I kind of felt like the Baseball Gods today … they’ve been on our side a lot throughout the course of this year … today the Baseball Gods just didn’t happen,” Welsh said.

“It’s the beauty of the game. It keeps us coming back. You can’t win them all.”

Nabholz pitched well after the second inning, but Abington Heights added a key insurance run in the sixth inning when Colin McCreary and Sam Arnold hit back-to-back doubles.

That run proved critical in the seventh when Pottsville put together a rally and seemed poised to claim a dramatic victory.

Gavin Hinchliffe opened the frame by drawing a walk and Wapinsky reached on an error. Barnes hit into a fielder’s choice that retired the lead runner at third, but Blankenhorn singled to load the bases.

Ksiazek retired Painter on a foul popup for the second out and struck out Jacoby. The third strike, however, wasn’t handled by the catcher, allowing Wapinsky to score and loading the bases for Nabholz.

After falling behind 1-2 in the count and fouling a pitch off, Nabholz tapped a ball back to the pitcher, ending the inning and the Tide’s season.

“The pitch before, it was really close,” Nabholz said. “It’s a pitch I should have probably fouled off. The kid put it in almost exactly the same spot. I tried to foul it off and it hit the bat and squirted back toward the pitcher. They made the play. It’s baseball.”

As they gathered on the field following the game, Welsh and his players reflected on one of the greatest seasons in Pottsville history.

Blankenhorn, Painter, Nabholz and Connor Hinchliffe will depart for the college level, leaving behind a legacy that will be hard to match by future Pottsville teams.

“It’s a very, very special group. It’s the best group of kids I’ve ever been around,” Welsh said. “Collectively, from top to bottom, the way they handled themselves on and off the field, the way they approached their work on the field, and you take the athleticism and you add that to it.

“Overall, they’re just great people. Their parents and family should be very proud of who they are. They left Pottsville baseball much better than they found it.”

Welsh’s players agreed.

“We’ve been friends since I can’t remember when. I’m going to miss playing with them,” Painter said. “I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life. I think everybody else will. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime team.”

Added Nabholz: “It definitely hurts a little now. The fact that we lost … it’s a game.

“We’re going to wake up tomorrow, we’re going to hang out with our families, hang out with our friends and everything is going to be fine.

“What’s going to hurt is not being able to come to practice with these guys every day, not be able to work out with these guys, not be able to get in the weight room. Not be able to joke with each other during warm-ups. It’s those little kind of things.”

Game Summary

PIAA Class AAA Semifinal

At Easton High School

ABINGTON HEIGHTS (4) — Fayocavitz ss 2 0 0 0, Spangenberg 2b 4 0 0 0, Campbell c 4 0 2 1, Kelly cr 0 0 0 0, Ksiazek p 3 0 0 0, Salerno lf 2 1 1 0, McCreary cf 3 2 2 0, Arnold 3b 2 1 1 1, McDonald 1b 3 0 0 0, Nolan rf 0 0 0 0, Manasek dh 2 0 1 1. Totals 25 4 7 3.

POTTSVILLE (3) — Blankenhorn ss 3 1 2 0, Painter 2b 2 0 0 0, Jacoby cf 4 1 1 1, Nabholz p 4 0 2 0, Liptock cr 0 0 0 0, C. Hinchliffe c 2 0 0 1, Siminitus cr 0 0 0 0, Daubert lf 3 0 0 0, O’Pake 1b 0 0 0 0, G. Hinchliffe dh 2 0 0 0, Wapinsky rf 3 1 1 0, Barnes 3b 3 0 0 0, Wood pr 0 0 0 0. Totals 26 3 6 2.

Abing. Hts. (18-3) 030 001 0 — 4

Pottsville (23-5) 200 000 1 — 3

E — Abington Heights 2, Pottsville 0. DP — Abington Heights 1, Pottsville 2. LOB — Abington Heights 5, Pottsville 7. 2B — Campbell, McCreary, Arnold, Wapinsky. SB — McCreary. S — Fayocavitz, Painter. SF — C. Hinchliffe.

Abington Hts. IP H R ER BB K

Ksiazek W,9-0 7 6 3 1 3 5

Pottsville IP H R ER BB K

Nabholz L,11-1 7 7 4 4 4 5

WP — Ksiazek, Nabholz. PB — C. Hinchliffe. T — 1:51.

 

PIAA BASEBALL: Uncharacteristic second inning sinks Tide

by mike wilson

Published: June 8, 2015


 

$(function() { $('a.41116827_gallery_1_1895225').lightBox({ imageLoading: '/img/lightbox/lightbox-ico-loading.gif', imageBtnClose: '/img/lightbox/lightbox-btn-close.gif', imageBtnPrev: '/img/lightbox/lightbox-btn-prev.gif', imageBtnNext: '/img/lightbox/lightbox-btn-next.gif', imageBlank: '/img/lightbox/lightbox-blank.gif', boolShowSell: true, txtSellText: 'Click here to buy this photo', txtAffiliate: 'republicanherald', txtDomain: 'http://republicanherald.com', imageSell: '' }); }); Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:06:08 16:02:41

Pottsville’s Eli Nabholz delivers a pitch to Abington Heights during Monday’s PIAA Class AAA semifinal at Easton High School. Nabholz finished the season 11-1 with 99 strikeouts.

Lightbox link Lightbox link jQuery(function() { jQuery('#gallery_41116868_7_623801 a.galleryitem').lightBox({ imageLoading: '/img/lightbox/lightbox-ico-loading.gif', imageBtnClose: '/img/lightbox/lightbox-btn-close.gif', imageBtnPrev: '/img/lightbox/lightbox-btn-prev.gif', imageBtnNext: '/img/lightbox/lightbox-btn-next.gif', imageBlank: '/img/lightbox/lightbox-blank.gif', boolShowSell: true, txtSellText: 'Click here to buy this photo', txtAffiliate: 'republicanherald', txtDomain: 'http://republicanherald.com', imageSell: '' }); });

EASTON — Pottsville’s success this season can’t be boiled down to one inning of baseball.

So it wouldn’t be fair to say the Crimson Tide’s 4-3 loss to Abington Heights in Monday’s PIAA Class AAA semifinal at Easton High School could be attributed solely to one bad inning.

But the impact the top of the second inning had on Monday’s outcome was substantial.

Pottsville ace Eli Nabholz walked four batters and advanced a runner on a wild pitch, the Crimson Tide defense allowed two infield singles and an Abington Heights run scored on a passed ball.

The Comets scored three runs in the inning to come back from an early 2-0 deficit, and Pottsville never recovered.

“There’s been a couple times like that this year where I just didn’t get a feel for things out there,” Nabholz said. “Something like that, I’ll put that on me right there. Couple walks, couple passed balls. (Pottsville catcher Connor Hinchliffe) was mad at himself for one (passed ball), but the pitches were pretty far away.

“That’s an inning where I kept it from getting too big, but a couple runs scored that shouldn’t have, especially on walks.”

To put things in perspective, Nabholz walked four batters in his last 24 playoff innings. He walked four in six at-bats during the second inning Monday.

“I don’t think he had his best stuff but he battled his ass off,” Hinchliffe said. “He just got behind on some batters and we had to throw some fastballs. Just didn’t have it today. It’s no big deal.”

Eric Salerno led off the second with a five-pitch walk and advanced to second base when a wild pitch settled against the deep Easton backstop.

Colin McCreary followed with a dribbler for an infield single before Sam Arnold walked on a full count to load the bases. Nabholz struck out Matt McDonald for the first out

of the inning, but the trouble was just about to begin.

Zach Manasek walked on four pitches to force in Salerno. A passed ball with leadoff hitter Jimmy Fayocavitz at the plate scored McCreary to tie the game at 2.

“My glove side starts to fly open a little bit and pitches start to go all over the place,” Nabholz said. “Even some pitches that are close, you don’t get those close calls in that situation because you’re not around the strike zone.”

Zach Campbell gave the Comets the lead for good with an RBI infield single. Nabholz fielded Abington Heights pitcher Tyler Ksiazek’s groundout to end the inning, but the damage had already been done.

“I made an adjustment the next inning, tried to give us a chance to win,” Nabholz said. “But that inning, it was the deciding factor for sure.”

Just like Pottsville’s tremendous season can’t be boiled down to one inning, neither can Nabholz’s year be condensed to the measurements of one unfortunate half-inning.

The Penn State-bound senior finished the year 11-1 with 99 strikeouts. His career numbers are even more impressive. He’s second all-time on Pottsville’s wins list with 24 and his 244 strikeouts are third in school history.

“The guy we have on the mound is one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Pottsville coach Mike Welsh said of Nabholz. “I’d take him every day of the week. Super proud of his effort throughout the game, throughout the season.”

Bad luck simply struck at the wrong time Monday. And the reality is it could’ve been a lot worse.

“He just kind of lost the control there and they took advantage of it, put a couple balls in play,” Welsh said. “That’s the funny thing about the game ... I don’t think they hit the ball too hard that inning, but when you walk a guy, couple infield singles, all of a sudden you’re looking at a three-run inning.

“From there, he was able to right the ship,” Welsh added. “Can’t say enough about the way he’s done things all year. I’m not going to hang my head on that inning. That’s a baseball game and (Abington Heights) is quality baseball team. They got to us there that inning.”

The rest of the game was much more characteristic of Pottsville baseball. Nabholz needed just 17 pitches and scattered two leadoff hits to get through the third, fourth and fifth innings unscathed. He got great defense behind him, including two double plays that started in the outfield.

“These guys here kept us in the game here for so long,” Nabholz said, nodding to his teammates on the field. “That’s all you can ask for, especially with an inning like that. It’s tough, but it’s baseball.”

The second inning created a hole from which Pottsville couldn’t escape. The Crimson Tide only registered three hits for the rest of the game and stranded seven runners, five in scoring position.

“We haven’t seen much adversity all year,” Hinchliffe said. “I think after they scored the first run, it kind of got to us a little bit. We just needed to start making plays. The ball bounced a long way and we got some bad breaks in that inning.”

try { _402_Show(); } catch(e) {}  

 

PIAA BASEBALL: Pottsville advances to state semifinals


              

Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:06:04 19:11:31

Pottsville’s J.J. Spehrley allowed one run in five innings Thursday against Twin Valley.

Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:06:04 19:57:06

ANDY MATSKO/STAFF PHOTOS Pottsville’s Darion Jacoby slides home safely to score in the fourth inning on a hit by Connor Hinchliffe during Thursday’s 2-1 win over Twin Valley in a PIAA Class AAA quarterfinal at Wenger Field in Fredericksburg.

FREDERICKSBURG — For the second straight night, Connor Hinchliffe was the right guy in the right place at the right time.

For the second straight night, the Pottsville senior came through when his team needed him the most.

Hinchliffe delivered two key at-bats that produced runs as the Crimson Tide edged Twin Valley 2-1 in a PIAA Class AAA quarterfinal at Wenger Field.

J.J. Spehrley pitched five strong innings and Travis Blankenhorn tossed a pair of scoreless frames to close it as Pottsville (23-4) advances to Monday’s state semifinals.

Winners of 13 straight, the Crimson Tide will face District 2 champion Abington Heights, a 6-1 winner over Manheim Central, at a site and time to be determined.

It’s the deepest a Pottsville baseball team has advanced into the state playoffs since the 1977 squad placed third.

“This is just a great feeling,” Hinchliffe said. “At the beginning of the year, we talked about going to Stump Stadium for Schuylkill Leagues, then the IronPigs’ stadium for districts, then to the state championship at Penn State.

“It’s nice to get one game closer. We’re taking it one game at a time.”

Hinchliffe had the game-winning hit in Wednesday’s 1-0, PIAA first-round win over Spring Grove with a seventh-inning RBI single.

He found himself in a similar situation in the fourth inning Thursday with the

Crimson Tide trailing the Raiders 1-0.

Darion Jacoby led off the frame with a single and Eli Nabholz bunted him to second. On a 1-2 pitch, Hinchliffe lined a single into left-center to plate Jacoby and tie the game at 1.

“It’s a good job by my teammates to get on and Eli to get the runner in position for me to get the RBI,” Hinchliffe said. “Two strikes ... we preach to put the ball in play and not go down looking.

“I was in some nice opportunities the last couple of games and I was fortunate enough to pull through.”

Two innings later, Pottsville was in business again.

With two outs, Nabholz singled. Three pitches later, Twin Valley’s Colby Hiddeman bounced a curveball in the dirt and catcher Mark Keys went down to block it.

Letting his instincts take over, Nabholz took off for second. When the throw from the unsuspecting catcher trickled into center field, Nabholz raced for third. His head-first dive beat the throw.

It was Nabholz’s second stolen base of the season.

“I know once the catcher goes to his knees, it’s hard for him to get back up and throw anybody out at second base,” Nabholz said. “I saw the ball go down and got a good read on it and went to second base.

“Once I saw the ball kick away ... I knew I had to get to third base. I knew I had to give Connor a shot because he’s been so hot. It worked out.”

Added Pottsville head coach Mike Welsh: “Give Eli a lot of credit for his head’s-up baserunning. We don’t score that run without his baserunning. He’s not the fastest kid in the world, but he’s a great baserunner.”

On the next pitch, Hinchliffe sliced a ball up the middle. The Twin Valley shortstop cut it off, and his bouncing throw wasn’t handled by the first baseman.

Ruled an error, Nabholz scored on the play to give Pottsville a 2-1 lead.

“It’s high school baseball. Nothing is guaranteed,” Hinchliffe said. “Whenever you put the ball in play, there’s a chance they’re going to screw up or it’s going to find a hole somewhere.”

Hinchliffe’s offensive heroics proved to be enough thanks to the solid pitching efforts of Spehrley and Blankenhorn.

Toeing the rubber for the first time since shutting out Palmerton in the District 11 quarterfinals May 20, Spehrley yielded four hits and one run, walking two and striking out four, over 73 pitches in five innings of work.

“It was a gutsy, gutsy performance by J.J.,” Welsh said. “This is a huge spotlight for that kid. He’s been in some big moments in the Schuylkill League playoffs and the District 11 opener against Palmerton, but obviously this is a step up.

“He came out and gave us a quality start. We asked him to get us five innings, and he gave us five great innings and only gave up one run. I can’t ask any more out of the kid. Great moment.”

Spehrley walked the first batter he faced. He said getting out of the first inning was key.

“I was definitely a little nervous at the start,” the junior right-hander said. “I battled through and got out of that inning. That was all I was worried about.

“After that, I got into a nice rhythm. I love pitching with these guys behind me. It’s a great feeling.”

Twin Valley scored the game’s first run when the Raiders combined a walk, a hit batsman and two singles in the fourth inning.

The Raiders would get a runner to second in both the sixth and seventh innings against Blankenhorn, but could not score.

With the tying run on second and one out in the seventh, Blankenhorn struck out Alec Ranck and retired Mitch Carsley on a comebacker to end it.

For the second straight night, Pottsville celebrated a PIAA playoff victory.

“We take a lot of pride in our program, and we have a good history,” Welsh said. “We’re happy to represent our program the best way we can.”

Game Summary

PIAA Class AAA Quarterfinal

At Wenger Field, Fredericksburg

TWIN VALLEY (1) — Ranck 3b 2 0 1 0, Carsley 2b 3 0 0 0, Hiddeman p 2 0 0 0, Sabulsky cr 0 1 0 0, Hartley cf 2 0 0 0, Fitzsimmons 1b 3 0 2 0, Brosius pr 0 0 0 0, Lemmon lf 3 0 1 1, Alexy ss 3 0 0 0, Keys c 0 0 0 0, Weber dh 2 0 0 0, Otto rf 2 0 1 0. Totals 22 1 5 1.

POTTSVILLE (2) — Blankenhorn ss-p 3 0 0 0, Painter 2b 3 0 1 0, Jacoby cf 3 1 1 0, Nabholz 1b 2 1 1 0, C. Hinchliffe c 3 0 2 1, Daubert lf 3 0 1 0, Barnes 3b 0 0 0 0, G. Hinchliffe dh 1 0 0 0, Wapinsky rf-ss 1 0 0 0, Spehrley p 2 0 0 0, Siminitus cr-rf 0 0 0 0. Totals 21 2 6 1.

Twin Valley (19-8) 000 100 0 — 1

Pottsville (23-4) 000 101 x — 2

E — Twin Valley 2, Pottsville 0. DP — Twin Valley 2. LOB — Twin Valley 7, Pottsville 3. 2B — Fitzsimmons, Daubert. SB — Nabholz, G. Hinchliffe. CS — Otto. S — Ranck, Carsley, Otto, Nabholz.

Twin Valley IP H R ER BB K

Hiddeman L 6 6 2 1 1 0

Pottsville IP H R ER BB K

Spehrley 5 4 1 1 2 4

Blnknhrn W,1-0 2 1 0 0 1 1

HBP — by Spehrley (Hartley), by Hiddeman (G. Hinchliffe). WP — Hiddeman. T — 1:32.

 


 

PIAA BASEBALL: Nabholz tossed no-hitter as Tide blank Spring Grove


              

Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:06:03 19:47:53

ANDY MATSKO/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Darion Jacoby scores the only run against Spring Grove during their PIAA Class AAA game at Pine Grove on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.

Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:06:03 19:57:26

ANDY MATSKO/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Eli Nabholz and Connor Hinchliffe celebrate their 1-0 win over Spring Grove during their PIAA Class AAA game at Pine Grove on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.                                                          

PINE GROVE — Eli Nabholz made Pottsville’s first PIAA baseball playoff game in 17 years one for the record books.

The Penn State-bound senior right-hander tossed a no-hitter and struck out 13 as the Crimson Tide blanked Spring Grove 1-0 in a Class AAA first-round game at Stump Stadium.

Nabholz threw just 77 pitches and faced one batter over the minimum, hitting No. 9 hitter Cameron Sterner with a pitch with two outs in the sixth inning.

Otherwise, he was simply perfect.

“He just came out and was dominant from the very beginning,” Pottsville coach Mike Welsh said. “He came out and showed tonight what type of pitcher he is.

“The people in attendance were able to see a great performance, one for the ages. It’s certainly one of the all-time best performances in our program’s history on a special night for us, the first round of states.”

The victory, Pottsville’s 12th straight, advances the District 11 champion Tide (22-4) to today’s quarterfinals, where they will face District 3 third-place finisher Twin Valley at 6:30 p.m. at Wenger Field in Fredericksburg.

Twin Valley advanced with a 2-0 victory over District 12 champion Archbishop Wood.

“We came in saying we had four championship games to win,” Nabholz said. “That’s how we’re going to think about it. We have another championship game to win (today).”

Nabholz’s performance wouldn’t have happened if the game would have been played as originally scheduled Monday.

With Nabholz having thrown seven innings in Pottsville’s win over Blue Mountain in the District 11 championship game last Thursday, Welsh planned to use junior J.J. Spehrley against Spring Grove.

When the game was rained out both Monday and Tuesday, it gave Nabholz two more days of rest.

Welsh changed his mind, and Nabholz came through with his best performance of the season.

“The two extra days certainly helped,” Welsh said. “We talked (Tuesday) and he said he was ready to go.”

Added Nabholz: “A couple of extra days rest is a chance for me to rest up and recover well. I have a chance to prepare, come out and do what I want to do.

“Today, I had a feel for everything. I could get ahead and throw strikes.”

For five innings, Spring Grove starter Matt Brooks was equally impressive.

The junior right-hander, who struck out 11 in a District 3 semifinal win over Twin Valley, allowed just one hit through five innings with five strikeouts.

In the sixth, Darion Jacoby led off with a single.

Nabholz, not known for his bunting, laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Jacoby into scoring position.

“Coach Welsh and I talked before that inning, and we had a feeling Darion was going to get on base,” Nabholz said. “Bunting is something we do everyday. It’s something we practice, it’s something I’m comfortable doing.

“It’s another aspect of the game that everybody can do, but needs to be done. I was able to get it done.”

Connor Hinchliffe followed with a single up the middle to score Jacoby and give Nabholz all the run support he would need.

Hinchliffe’s at-bat was one to admire ... he fouled off three pitches with two strikes before lining a pitch back through the box.

“All year long, you preach little things, little things,” Welsh said. “One of the little things we work on is two-strike hitting.

“Darion did a great job battling with two strikes to get a base hit. Connor battled his tail off with two strikes and comes up with that clutch hit to get that one run.

“Sometimes all it takes is one run,” Welsh continued. “Tonight, all it took is one. Eli came in and said ‘Get me one run, get me one run.’ They got him that one run.”

The last two times Pottsville advanced to the PIAA baseball playoffs — in 1998 and 1994 — the Tide won their first game before falling in the quarterfinals.

Today, they’ll look to end that streak when they take on the Raiders.

“It’s special for our program,” said Welsh, who was a starter on the 1998 club. “Hopefully the younger guys see it and get a little taste of it. There’s no guarantees that you get back here ever.

“We’re going to battle our tails off (today) and compete and try to keep it going. This is a special group, it’s a special team. We’d like to make the run last as long as we could.”

Game Summary

PIAA Class AAA First Round

At Stump Stadium, Pine Grove

SPRING GROVE (0) — Miller ss 0 0 0 0, Baker dh 3 0 0 0, Ruth 3b 3 0 0 0, Brooks p 3 0 0 0, Hoiles c 3 0 0 0, Sager cf 2 0 0 0, Schuchart 2b 2 0 0 0, Piety 1b 2 0 0 0, Reed lf 2 0 0 0, Sterner rf 1 0 0 0. Totals 21 0 0 0.

POTTSVILLE (1) — Blankenhorn ss 2 0 0 0, Painter 2b 2 0 0 0, Jacoby cf 3 1 1 0, Nabholz p 2 0 1 0, Liptock cr 0 0 0 0, C. Hinchliffe c 3 0 1 1, Siminitus cr 0 0 0 0, Daubert lf 2 0 0 0, O’Pake 1b 0 0 0 0, G. Hinchliffe dh 3 0 0 0, Wapinsky rf 1 0 0 0, Barnes 3b 2 0 0 0. Totals 20 1 3 1.

Spring (17-9) 000 000 0 — 0

Potts (22-4) 000 001 x — 1

E — Spring Grove 1, Pottsville 0. DP — None. LOB — Spring Grove 1, Pottsville 6. SB — Sterner, Liptock. S — Painter, Nabholz.

Spring IP H R ER BB K

Brooks L 6 3 1 1 3 5

Pottsville IP H R ER BB K

Nabhlz W,11-0 7 0 0 0 0 13

HBP — by Nabholz (Sterner). WP — Brooks. PB — Hoiles. T — 1:33.

2015 District XI AAA Baseball Champions

SesqTwp/11391354_1166269853398645_8828808518068028437_n.jpg

SesqTwp/11391354_1166269853398645_8828808518068028437_n.jpg

"The Boys are Back To Back"

2015 Schuylkill League Baseball Champions 

SesqTwp/11206977_10206190456183202_5760934482684824446_n.jpg

 

 Pottsville repeats as Schuylkill League champs

by leroy boyer
Published: May 15, 2015

              

Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:05:14 21:17:14

ANDY MATSKO/STAFF PHOTOS Players and coaches of the Pottsville baseball team pose with the Schuylkill League championship trophy after defeating Blue Mountain 9-5 in Thursday’s league title game at Pine Grove’s Stump Stadium. Participating in the celebration are, front row, from left: Tommy Welsh, head coach’s son, and Michael and Ava Terefencko, assistant coach’s kids; middle row, Collin Herndon, Ryan Kalinich, Darion Jacoby, Eli Wood, manager Josh Holobetz, Eric Wapinsky, Ty Painter, Brandon Daubert, Gavin Hinchliffe and Sam Siminitus; back row, head coach Mike Welsh, Alex Everly, Aiden Liptock, J.J. Spehrley, Trent Barnes, Mike O’Pake, Eli Nabholz, Travis Blankenhorn, Connor Hinchliffe, Mitch Robison and assistant coach Ed Terefencko.

Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:05:14 19:35:39

Pottsville's Gavin Hinchliffe lays down a bunt during the second inning of Thursday’s Schuylkill League baseball championship game against Blue Mountain at Stump Stadium. The bunt was misplayed, helping the Tide score four runs in the inning.                                                           

PINE GROVE — When Pottsville’s four talented seniors look back on their 2015 Schuylkill League baseball championship, they’ll thank their underclassman teammates.

The bottom of the Crimson Tide order came through when it needed to the most Thursday night, lifting Pottsville to a 9-5 victory over Blue Mountain at Stump Stadium.

Juniors Brandon Daubert, sophomores Gavin Hinchliffe and Eric Wapinsky and junior Trent Barnes — Pottsville’s Nos. 6-9 hitters — combined to collect five hits, score six runs and drive in five as the Crimson Tide claimed their second straight league crown.

The first team to win back-to-back championships since the playoffs returned in 2009, Pottsville (18-4) also claimed the top seed in the District 11 Class AAA playoffs with the victory. The Crimson Tide will host No. 8 Palmerton in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

“Since the beginning of the year, we knew that if we were going to have a successful year ... we knew what we were going to get out of our seniors ... it would be up to the other guys,” Pottsville coach Mike Welsh said. “Throughout the course of the whole year, those guys down at the bottom, 6-7-8-9, have continued to produce and turn the lineup over.

“Tonight they were huge. Absolutely huge.”

Pottsville’s four seniors — Travis Blankenhorn, Ty Painter, Eli Nabholz and Connor Hinchliffe — are multiple-year starters who have led the Crimson Tide on and off the field all season long.

Three of those four, Blankenhorn (Kentucky), Nabholz (Penn State) and Connor Hinchliffe (LaSalle), are headed to Division I colleges, while Blankenhorn has received a ton of interest from MLB scouts.

They continued their excellent leadership Thursday, but it was the underclassmen at the bottom of the order that made the difference.

“These guys are incredible. They’re a great bunch of leaders,” Wapinsky said of the seniors. “Some of the pitchers take it a little easy on us because they’re so good.

“It’s a team, and everybody has to produce. Tonight it worked out for us.”

Pottsville took control of the game with four runs in the second inning and three more in the third to build a 7-0 lead.

The bottom four hitters in the order were the spark plugs, scoring six of those runs.

In the second, Connor Hinchliffe opened the frame with an infield single off Blue Mountain starter Sean Greenawalt. Daubert and Gavin Hinchliffe each followed with sacrifice bunts that were misplayed, allowing one run to score.

Wapinsky, who finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBIs, made it 2-0 with a solid single to left. Barnes (2-for-2, 2 RBIs) then executed a safety squeeze bunt to plate Gavin Hinchliffe, and Wapinsky scored on Blankenhorn’s RBI single.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play and get a couple of runs on the board,” Wapinsky said of his first hit. “It found the hole and ended up working out for me.

“We just tried to get the momentum on our side for the rest of the game.”

In the second, Daubert reached on a two-out throwing error, Gavin Hinchliffe singled and Wapinsky delivered a two-run double to center. Barnes made it 7-0 with another single to center.

Pottsville’s other two runs came in the fourth on a walk, two errors and an RBI single by Nabholz.

Blue Mountain (17-5) helped the Crimson Tide offense by committing six errors in those three innings. Of the nine runs Eagles’ pitchers would allow, only one was earned.

“A team that good, you can’t give them 4-5 outs in an inning,” Blue Mountain coach Tom Kramer said. “We did that a couple of times, and we paid for it.

“Good teams have bad days. That’s high school baseball. (Pottsville) is a very well-coached, solid baseball team. They’re going to be a tough team to deal with for anybody down the line from here on.”

The offensive outburst was plenty of support for Nabholz, who improved to 8-0 by allowing two hits and two earned runs over six solid innings.

The hard-throwing right-hander retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced before struggling in the fourth, when he walked four straight batters and threw a wild pitch to allow the Eagles to score two runs.

After the wild pitch, however, Nabholz retired eight of the next 10 hitters, seven by strikeout. Nabholz finished with 10 strikeouts in his 114-pitch effort.

“I got a little mad (after the fourth),” Nabholz said. “I knew exactly what I was doing wrong. I struggled slowing the game down for myself.

“Eventually, at the end of that inning I was able to slow the game down mentally and throw some strikes. After that, I’m a mature enough pitcher to go out and keep our team in the lead and ultimately win.”

Blue Mountain, which will be the No. 3 seed in districts and host Palisades in Wednesday’s quarterfinals, made one final charge in the top of the 7th.

Blankenhorn relieved to start the seventh and surrendered two walks, an RBI double by Dean Stramara and a run-scoring hit by Greenawalt. Another run scored on an error.

Blankenhorn induced a pair of groundouts to end the threat, and his teammates piled on top of him near the pitcher’s mound in celebration.

For the second straight year, Pottsville was the Schuylkill League champion.

“It’s a credit to our kids,” Welsh said. “They come out, they go to work. It’s a great bunch to be around and a joy to coach. I’m really proud of them.”

Added Nabholz: “Winning a second straight Schuylkill League championship is a great feeling. As a team, we have much loftier goals. We’re right on track with where we want to go, but we’re not satisfied yet.”

Game Summary

Schuylkill League Championship

At Stump Stadium, Pine Grove

BLUE MOUNTAIN (5) — Hull cf 3 1 1 0, Stramara ss 4 1 1 1, S. Greenawalt p-3b 3 1 1 1, Hammer lf 0 0 0 0, Martin dh 3 1 0 0, Moyer 2b 3 0 0 0, Oliver 3b-p 2 0 1 1, Kyslinger c 3 0 0 0, Krammes 1b 2 0 0 0, Benner ph 1 0 0 0, Barton rf 1 1 0 0. Totals 25 5 4 3.

POTTSVILLE (9) — Blankenhorn ss-p 4 0 1 1, Painter 2b 3 1 1 0, Jacoby cf 4 1 1 0, Nabholz p-1b 4 0 2 1, Liptock cr 0 0 0 0, C. Hinchliffe c 4 1 1 0, Daubert lf 2 2 0 0, O’Pake 1b 0 0 0 0, G. Hinchliffe dh-rf 2 2 1 0, Wapinsky rf-ss 3 2 2 3, Barnes 3b 2 0 2 2. Totals 28 9 11 7.

Blue Mtn. (17-5) 000 200 3 — 5

Pottsville (18-4) 043 200 x — 9

E — Blue Mountain 6, Pottsville 1. DP — Blue Mountain 2. LOB — Blue Mountain 6, Pottsville 5. 2B — Hull, Stramara, Wapinsky. SB — Blankenhorn, Jacoby. S — Daubert, G. Hinchliffe, Barnes.

Blue Mtn. IP H R ER BB K

SGrnwlt L,6-2 2.2 7 7 1 0 2

Oliver 3.1 4 2 0 1 2

Pottsville IP H R ER BB K

Nabholz W,8-0 6 2 2 2 4 10

Blankenhorn 1 2 3 2 2 1

HBP — by Nabholz (Barton). WP — S. Greenawalt, Nabholz 2. T — 1:55.

 

H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Tide's Blankenhorn earns player of year honors


                                                                         

When he was a freshman, Pottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn was a super athlete who was a pretty-good basketball player.

By the time he finished his high school career, Blankenhorn transformed into a complete player. He also became one of the best in the Schuylkill League.

This past season was no different, and for his performance, Blankenhorn is the 2014-15 Republican-Herald All-Area Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year. It is the second straight year Blankenhorn has earned the honor after sharing it in 2013-14 with Mahanoy Area’s Dylan Mahmod.

Blankenhorn, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, averaged 16.6 points (482 total), 6.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game this season for Crimson Tide. A four-year starter, he’s accurate from beyond the arc — 46 3-pointers on the year — but Blankenhorn also excelled at taking it to the basket, posting up and finishing in the paint. He ended his career with 1,588 career points.

Blankenhorn rounded out his skills this winter by developing into a top-notch defensive player.

With a talented and experienced group of players around him, Blankenhorn helped lead Pottsville to 28-1 overall record, including a 28-game winning streak. Pottsville won its sixth consecutive Schuylkill League Division I title, fifth overall league title in the past six years, as well as a District 11 Class AAA championship, the Crimson Tide’s first since 2010.

Blankenhorn was named third- team All-State in Class AAA, while Pottsville finished ranked No. 6 in Pennsylvania in Class AAA in the final Pennlive.com rankings. The Crimson Tide’s season ended with a 44-37 loss to Susquehanna Township in the second round of PIAA playoffs March 10.

Blankenhorn was part of a talented group of seniors in the league as Nativity’s Jeff Yordy (1,729), Tamaqua’s Brett Kosciolek (1,502) and Bo Rottet (1,117), Pine Grove’s Kobe D’Agostino (1,041) and Lehighton’s Tyler Crum (1,089) also accumulated with more than 1,000 career points.

Coach of the Year honors go to Mahanoy Area’s Scott Hudson.

Hudson took over for the legendary Mickey Holland, who retired at the end of last season after 33 years and a 614-243 career record at Mahanoy Area. Despite five new starters, a thin bench and a move up to Class AA, the success continued.

Hudson’s Golden Bears went 22-5 and earned their fourth straight Division III title and appearance in the league playoffs. Mahanoy Area went on to claim its third consecutive District 11 title, the previous two were in Class A. The Golden Bears’ season ended with an 82-31 loss to eventual state champ Conwell-Egan in the second round of the PIAA playoffs March 11.

The Rookie of the Year is Shenandoah Valley’s Joel Santana.

Santana, a 5-8 sophomore point guard who transferred from Brooklyn, New York, finished the year averaging 20.5 points per game. After a 2-8 start, the Blue Devils finished the regular season winning nine of their final 12 games as Shenandoah Valley returned to the District 11 Class A playoffs for the first time since 2013. The Blue Devils lost to eventual district champ Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg in the semifinals 50-46 on Feb. 24.

Blankenhorn becomes complete player

When he was a freshman and sophomore, Blankenhorn was mostly a 3-point shooter. But last year he became more of a threat in the paint and turned into Pottsville’s main offensive weapon, averaging 18.2 points per game.

The one piece that was missing from Blankenhorn’s game was excelling at the tough man-to-man defense that Crimson Tide coach Dave Mullaney expects out of all his players. Blankenhorn became that type of player this past winter.

Mullaney said he used to hide Blankenhorn on defense as an underclassman, but wasn’t afraid this past year to match him up against anybody. The best example came against Susquehanna Township in the state playoffs. Blankenhorn guarded first team all-state player Nehemiah Mac and held him scoreless in the first half.

His improvement on the defensive end was the result of Blankenhorn taking on more of a leadership role.

“From a leadership perspective, completely understanding what we are trying to do as a program,” Mullaney said. “That really led to him being a great defensive player, which, I don’t know if I would always have considered him that through his years, but as a senior, I think defensively he just became a great player.”

While his scoring average dipped slightly, Blankenhorn’s offensive skills never deteriorated.

In his eyes, Blankenhorn’s best game was at Tamaqua on Jan. 5. He scored a season-high 30 points that night, helping the Crimson Tide to a 57-40 victory, the first of four meetings between the two teams this past season.

The Raiders were Pottsville’s biggest league rival this year. But the Crimson Tide beat Tamaqua in their next three meetings, too, including a 33-28 win the Schuylkill League title game Feb. 13, and a 50-35 victory in the district semifinals Feb. 24.

“Just to get a big win on their home court was a big one,” Blankenhorn said of the Jan. 5 game. “That was one of the most important ones my senior year.”

Blankenhorn’s play, along with the performance of his teammates, finally helped bring the Crimson Tide some state-wide recognition for the program. He finished his career second on Pottsville’s all-time scoring list behind Nick Schlitzer (1,884).

Blankenhorn is proud of the accomplishment, but knows it couldn’t have happened without his teammates’ contributions.

“I had a lot of good players who I played with that made some good passes and got me into good position to shoot the ball,” he said. “Like Dutch (2013 graduate Brandon Bridy) was a good point guard, Tyler Heffner (a 2012 graduate), everyone. There was just a lot of people involved with scoring those points.”

That leads to one final area that Mullaney will always remember Blankenhorn for — his humility.

“I can’t imagine any other kid, and I’ve said it a million times, that is as talented as him that has conducted himself the way he does,” Mullaney said. “I am sure he does some things in games I am sure that maybe rubs somebody the wrong way, but what I am saying, everybody loves Travis. In practice, he doesn’t act as if he is better than anybody else. They love him and he is like kind of an all-shucks kid.”

Hudson carries on Golden Bears’ tradition

Hudson wasn’t the first coach to replace Holland.

Mahanoy Area graduate Ty Wartman was hired last April and worked with the Golden Bears during the summer. But when Wartman found out his wife was having twins, he resigned in August.

With football underway and the basketball season fast approaching, Hudson felt an obligation to take over.

The biggest challenge facing Hudson, who’s been with the program since he was a sophomore in Holland’s first season in 1981, was replacing four starters from a team that went a combined 47-9 the previous two years. That included a Schuylkill League title in 2014 and back-to-back District 11 Class AA championships in 2013 and 2014.

“Nothing is ever going to be easy when you are taking over a program that’s been winning for a long time and trying to keep the tradition up and following a guy like coach Holland,” Hudson said.

The number of new starters became five when 2013-14 point guard Jason Richmond injured his knee in Mahanoy Area’s first football game of the season and was lost for the year in both sports.

Hudson wanted to put his stamp on the program, but the Golden Bears’ style didn’t change much. A big point of emphasis early was defense, and Hudson saw how good the Golden Bears could be during a Jan. 8 game at home against Nativity.

Mahanoy Area held a high-powered Hilltoppers’ offense that entered averaging 55.4 points per game to eight first-half points. The Golden Bears jumped out to a 31-8 halftime advantage and went on to win 58-37.

Mahanoy Area won 11 in a row during January, but hit a rough patch, going 2-2 to end the regular season. The Golden Bears were then blown out by Pottsville 59-31 in the league semifinals.

“We ran into a stretch at the time it wasn’t good, but looking at it now, it might have been the best thing that might of happened to us because we sort of got off track a little bit,” Hudson said. “It is one of those things where you are winning 11, 12 in a row and you might start taking things for granted.

“Then we just caught fire.”

Indeed they did, with everybody contributing in three postseason wins by a total of seven points.

Both of the Golden Bears’ District 11 playoffs games went into overtime, a 60-57 victory over Marian in the semifinals Feb. 24 and a 51-49 win over Minersville on Feb. 28 at Martz Hall. Brian Miller hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime against the Colts, while Mike Joseph had the go-ahead bucket against the Miners.

Mahanoy Area then beat Wellsboro 42-40 in the first round of the state playoffs March 7, with Matt Yedsena scoring the decisive points.

There was plenty of pressure during the postseason, but Hudson said he never felt pressure from the community to win. Most of the pressure he felt came from within.

“It is more self-inflected pressure because I know the type of pressure I like to put on myself,” Hudson said. “Just the pressure knowing that the job I think I can do and should do and just try and keep everybody knowing their roles, accepting their roles and keeping the team playing as a team.”

Hudson also wanted to stress that his players stepped up this season, and the honor wouldn’t have been possible without their play.

“I consider this a team award,” Hudson said. “If they don’t do well, this isn’t possible.”

His first season as Mahanoy Area head coach will also be his last. Hudson felt he didn’t have the time to devote to the Golden Bears’ summer program and he resigned from the position two weeks ago.

Wartman is expected to become Mahanoy Area’s new coach.

Santana leads Blue Devils’ turnaround season

From the moment Shenandoah Valley coach Robbie Miller first saw Santana, he knew he had a player who could score.

Santana, who is the cousin of Shenandoah Valley sophomore Isaiah Alvarez and 2013 Shenandoah Valley graduate Justin Alvarez, did plenty of that this past season. His season high was 38 during a 57-56 overtime victory against Weatherly on Jan. 8. He poured in 20 or more points in a game 10 times.

But it wasn’t until around mid-January that Miller convinced Santana to start creating more shots for his teammates, and focus more on the defensive end.

Santana then grew even more as a player.

“He bought into the team game, cut his shots down and made shots for other people,” Miller said. “That is when he became a great player. That’s when I started realizing how good he could be.”

An example of Santana’s growth came in the District 11 Class A semifinals against Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg. The Blue Devils struggled in the first half against the Spartans’ 3-2 zone and fell behind 28-13 at halftime. During the break, Santana pointed out that the only way Shenandoah Valley could get back in the game was to start knocking down 3-pointers. In the third quarter, he started to penetrate the zone, then throw kick-out passes to the Blue Devils’ Ian McCole and Jermaine McNeil on the wings.

The Blue Devils held a 23-6 scoring advantage in the third quarter and led 46-40 with 3 minutes left in the game before a 10-0 run closed out Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg’s win.

Santana’s biggest strength is creating shots in the paint, both for himself and his teammates.

“It is some of the best I’ve ever seen, especially for someone his size,” Miller said. “A lot of shots that people his size take in the paint get blocked or they would miss. He would find a way, like a magician, to get the ball up on the glass and in the hoop. Beyond that, his court vision gets overlooked a lot. He sees a lot of open things that makes him an excellent point guard beyond the ball handling skills.”

2015 Give & Go Boys Basketball Camp

Monday-Friday June 9 -12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Martz Hall. Camp is open to boys entering grades 3-10 as of September 2015. Camp fee is $80.00 and includes individual prizes and a T-shirt. For more information and a brochure contact John Toomey at (570) 622-4304 or Dave Mullaney at (570) 269-5695 or go to our website at CTideboysbasketball.com

 

H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Blankenhorn, Yordy, Miller named all-state



Pottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn, Nativity’s Jeff Yordy and Upper Dauphin’s Matt “Mookie” Miller each put up big offensive numbers this past boys’ basketball season.

In the process, the trio helped take their programs to new heights.

For their performances, the three were rewarded with selections to the 2014-15 Pennsylvania Sports Writers’ All-State Boys’ Basketball teams.

The team was released Thursday by the Associated Press.

All three were named to the third team in their respective classes — Blankenhorn in Class AAA, Yordy in Class A and Miller in Class AA.

It is the first all-state selection for each.

“I was pretty excited,” Blankenhorn said when he found out by Twitter. “It was definitely an accomplishment. It is good for Pottsville, too. Most of the players on the team were from Philadelphia and knowing I was right up there with them is a good feeling.”

Blankenhorn, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, finished the season averaging 16.6 points (482 total), 6.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game for the Crimson Tide.

He also hit 69 percent (80-for-116) from the foul line, 46 3-pointers and became one of Pottville’s best defensive players.

“I was more of an all-around player than in year’s past,” Blankenhorn said.

Blankenhorn’s season high was 30 points against Tamaqua on Jan.

5. He averaged 15.9 points per game during Crimson Tide’s seven postseason contests, including 28 against Valley View in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs March 6, a 63-37 Pottsville win.

Blankenhorn finished his career with 1,588 career points, second on the Pottsville’s boys’ all-time list behind Nick Schlitzer (1,884).

The Crimson Tide went 28-1 overall this past winter, winning their sixth consecutive Schuylkill League Division I title, fifth overall league championship in six years, and first District 11 Class AAA title since 2010.

Pottsville finished the season ranked No. 6 in Pennsylvania in Class AAA in the final Pennlive.com rankings and had a 28-game winning streak, longest in program history, snapped with a 44-37 loss to Susquehanna Township in the second round of the PIAA playoffs March 10.

Yordy found out he made the team at 12:30 p.m. Thursday when he got a text from Panther Valley graduate Jake Szczecina. Yordy was pleasantly surprised.

“I put a hard work in and I am happy to see it pay off,” Yordy said.

Yordy has been pouring in points since he was a sophomore and earned his third consecutive overall league scoring title this past winter, averaging 22.4 points per game. The 6-2 senior guard also hit 55 3-pointers and shot 65 percent (77-of-119) from the foul line on the year.

Yordy scored a season-high 39 on Dec. 15 during 69-68 win over North Pocono on Dec. 15. He also put up 30 or more points in a game three other times, including 34 against a normally stingy Mahanoy Area defense during a 52-50 Hilltoppers’ victory Feb. 6.

Yordy also come through in the postseason, averaging 16.7 points per game as Nativity (15-10) reached the District 11 Class A championship game and appeared in PIAA playoffs for the first time since 2007.

“It was a good season and making states was a good accomplishment,” Yordy said. “This is good recognition for our school, too.”

He finished his career with 1,729 points and is currently second on the Hilltoppers’ all-time boys’ list behind Kevin Cuff.

Points wise, Miller had the best season of the three.

The 6-foot guard averaged 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, two assists and 1.9 steals per game. Miller scored a season-high 41 against Lancaster Country Day on Jan. 13 and cracked 30 or more points in a game eight times this season. He also knocked down 93 3-pointers on the year and was 83-for-125 (66 percent) from the foul line.

Miller was named the Tri-Valley League Player of the Year and led the Trojans (20-5) to their first overall league title since 2008.

He currently has 1,115 career points.

Philadelphia schools swept on-court victories in all four of last month’s PIAA boys’ basketball championships, and dominated again on the all-state teams.

Each of four players of the year selected calls the greater Philadelphia area home. Three of the four men chosen as coaches of the year also front Philadelphia-based programs.

And while players from PIAA programs were eligible to be chosen and honored by the panel, players from non-PIAA schools also were eligible for selection.

Just 12 months after claiming Class AA player of the year honors, Constitution’s Ahmad Gilbert was tagged Class A’s top performer after averaging 17.6 points per game for Robert Moore’s Generals (24-8). Gilbert scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Constitution defeated Farrell 85-53 for its second straight state title.

Constitution won state gold for the third time in four years.

Joining Gilbert on the Class A first team are his Constitution teammate Kimar Williams, Samir Doughty of Math, Civics & Sciences, Brandon Martinazzi of Bishop Carroll, Malik Miller of Farrell and Nate Sestina of Cameron County.

Doughty is a repeat first-team selection, while Williams and Gilbert landed first-team recognition at the Class AA level.

Moore, the Class AA Coach of the Year following the 2013-14 season, was tagged the Class A Coach of the Year this time around.

Although Neumann-Goretti captured its second consecutive Class AAA championship with a 69-67 victory over Philadelphia Catholic League rival Archbishop Carroll — the Saints have won five of the last six — Carroll’s Derrick Jones was named Class AAA Player of the Year.

The 6-7 Jones, who signed in November with UNLV, capped his run of five straight double-doubles in state tournament play by popping Neumann-Goretti with a 30 point, 18 rebound performance. It still wasn’t enough.

Jones averaged 19.3 ppg for Paul Romanczuk’s Patriots, finishing his career as the Radnor school’s all-time leading scorer.

Joining Jones on Class AAA’s first team are Milik Gantz of Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, the Neumann-Goretti duo of Quade Green and Lamarr Kimble, Nehemiah Mack of Susquehanna Township and Daron Russell of Imhotep Charter.

Jones and Mack were the lone first-team repeat selections.

Indiana’s Greg Lezanic, who piloted the Little Indians to a 25-3 record and their first WPIAL championship, was named Class AAA Coach of the Year.

Roman Catholic junior lead guard Tony Carr, whose stat line (14 points,5 rebounds,6 assists) was a major reason why the Cahillites turned back Martin Luther King 62-45 in the title game, was tagged Class AAAA’s Player of the Year.

The 6-4 Carr is uncommitted, but holds scholarship offers from George Washington, La Salle, Maryland, Penn State, Rhode Island and Temple. He averaged 12.8 ppg for Chris McNesby’s club.

Joining Carr on Class AAAA’s first team are Levan Alston of Haverford School, Chris Clover of St. Joseph’s Prep, Sammy Foreman of Martin Luther King, Matty McConnell of Chartiers Valley and Jahaad Proctor of Harrisburg.

McNesby, who guided the Cahillites to a 29-2 record and the Philadelphia Catholic League championship, was named Class AAAA’s Coach of the Year.

Conwell-Egan’s Stevie Jordan, who pocketed 21 points in the Eagles’ 62-51 conquest of Aliquippa in the Class AA title game, was named the Class AA Player of the Year. The 5-10 Jordan, just a junior, averaged 16.8 ppg.

Joining Jordan on the Class AA first team are Jair Bolden of Westtown, Nelly Cummings of Lincoln Park Charter, De’Andre Hunter of Friends Central, Stephon McGinnis of Aliquippa and Trey Staunch of West Middlesex.

Frank Sciolla was tagged Class AA’s Coach of the Year after leading Conwell-Egan (21-8) to its first state championship. Conwell-Egan had never won a postseason basketball game in 51 seasons, but won six in a three-week span.

HARRISBURG — The 2014-15 Pennsylvania Sports Writers’ All-State Boys’ Basketball teams, including each player’s school, height, class and scoring average.

CLASS AAAA

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tony Carr, Philadelphia Roman Catholic

COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris McNesby, Philadelphia Roman Catholic

FIRST TEAM

Levan “Shawn” Alston, Haverford School, 6-4, sr, 19.4 ppg

Tony Carr, Philadelphia Roman Catholic, 6-4, jr, 12.8 ppg

Chris Clover, St. Joseph’s Prep, 6-3, sr, 20.7 ppg

Sammy Foreman, Martin Luther King, 6-1, sr, 14.2 ppg

Matty McConnell, Chartiers Valley, 6-2, sr, 29.5 ppg

Jahaad Proctor, Harrisburg, 6-3, sr, 24.4 ppg

SECOND TEAM

Cole Constantino, North Allegheny, 6-2, sr, 23.4 ppg

Kobe Gantz, J.P. McCaskey, 6-4, jr, 17.8 ppg

Kason Harrell, Hempfield (D-7), 6-2, sr, 25.2 ppg

Amir Hinton, Abington, 6-4, sr, 19.8 ppg

Lamar Stevens, Haverford School, 6-7, jr, 18.3 ppg

Lonnie Walker IV, Reading, 6-4, so, 17.0 ppg

Derrick Woods, Pennsbury, 6-8, sr, 16.3 ppg

THIRD TEAM

Nazeer Bostick, Philadelphia Roman Catholic, 6-3, jr, 12.5 ppg

Luke Connaghan, Archbishop Wood, 6-5, sr, 19.0 ppg

Ramon Creighton, Taylor Allderdice, 6-1, jr, 12.0 ppg

Jonny David, Mount Lebanon, 6-2, sr, 18.5 ppg

Gemil Holbrook, Philadelphia Roman Catholic, 6-4, sr, 13.9 ppg

David Krmpotich, La Salle College, 6-7, sr, 13.7 ppg

Jahaire Wilson, York William Penn, 6-4, sr, 18.1 ppg

CLASS AAA

PLAYER OF THE YEAR:Derrick Jones, Archbishop Carroll

COACH OF THE YEAR: Greg Lezanic, Indiana

FIRST TEAM

Milik Gantz, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, 6-4, sr, 18.3 ppg

Quade Green, Neumann-Goretti, 5-11, so, 17.8 ppg

Derrick Jones, Archbishop Carroll, 6-7, sr, 19.3 ppg

Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble, Neumann-Goretti, 6-0, sr, 14.5 ppg

Nehemiah “Bud” Mack, Susquehanna Twp., 6-0, jr, 14.1 ppg

Daron Russell, Imhotep Charter, 5-10, so, 16.5 ppg

SECOND TEAM

Sam Allen, Lewisburg, 6-8, jr, 21.9 ppg

Tarojae Brake, Octorara, 6-2, sr, 22.5 ppg

Daylon Carter, Ambridge, 6-4, sr, 24.0 ppg

John Castello, Mars, 6-5 jr, 17.8 ppg

Zane Martin, Neumann-Goretti, 6-2, jr, 16.5 ppg

Riley Stapleton, Indiana, 6-4, sr, 13.1 ppg

THIRD TEAM

Travis Blankenhorn, Pottsville, 6-2, sr, 16.6 ppg

Josh Creach, Beaver Falls, 6-6, so, 17.7 ppg

DaShon Giddings, Delaware Valley Charter, 6-4, sr, 16.5 ppg

Donovan Jeter, Beaver Falls, 6-5, so, 17.5 ppg

Dom Keyes, Steel Valley, 6-7, sr, 19.4 ppg

David Morris, Erie Strong Vincent, 6-1, so, 20.1 ppg

Tim Rose, Scranton Prep, 6-0, sr, 15.2 ppg

Josh Sharkey, Archbishop Carroll, 5-10 jr, 12.4 ppg

CLASS AA

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Stevie Jordan, Conwell-Egan

COACH OF THE YEAR:Frank Sciolla, Conwell-Egan

FIRST TEAM

Jair Bolden, Westtown, 6-4, jr, 17.0 ppg

Nelly Cummings, Lincoln Park Charter, 6-0, so, 24.5 ppg

De’Andre Hunter, Friends Central, 6-7, jr, 20.8 ppg

Stevie Jordan, Conwell-Egan, 5-10, jr, 16.8 ppg

Stephon McGinnis, Aliquippa, 5-9, sr, 17.0 ppg

Trey Staunch, West Middlesex, 6-5, sr, 23.6 ppg

SECOND TEAM

Kyle Datres, Loyalsock Twp., 5-10, sr, 10.2 ppg

Noah Davis, Bellwood-Antis, 6-3, jr, 24.7 ppg

Tim Guers, Germantown Academy, 6-3, sr, 16.4 ppg

Jason Kenny, Mid Valley, 6-2, sr, 21.4 ppg

LaPri McCray-Pace, Conwell-Egan, 6-2, jr, 11.4 ppg

Ryan Norkus, Seton-La Salle, 6-3, sr, 18.1 ppg

Kody Trude, West Branch, 6-4, jr, 21.4 ppg

THIRD TEAM

Julian Collazo, Lancaster Mennonite, 6-0 sr, 23.2 ppg

Vinny Dalessandro, Conwell-Egan, 6-7, jr, 10.5 ppg

Austin Gilbertson, Camp Hill Trinity, 6-2, so, 17.8 ppg

Sam Lindgren, Germantown Academy, 6-6, sr, 12.6 ppg

Matthew “Mookie” Miller, Upper Dauphin, 6-1, jr, 24.1 ppg

Romano Sebastiani, Greensburg Central Catholic, 6-4, sr, 22.7 ppg

Ben Sosa, Loyalsock Twp., 6-2, sr, 15.9 ppg

CLASS A

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ahmad Gilbert, Constitution

COACH OF THE YEAR:Robert Moore, Constitution

FIRST TEAM

Samir Doughty, Math, Civics & Sciences, 6-4, sr, 24.5 ppg

Ahmad Gilbert, Constitution, 6-7, sr, 17.6 ppg

Brandon Martinazzi, Bishop Carroll, 5-9, sr, 22.4 ppg

Malik Miller, Farrell, 6-3, jr, 20.0 ppg

Nate Sestina, Cameron County, 6-8, sr, 21.5 ppg

Kimar Williams, Constitution, 6-1, sr, 16.2 ppg

SECOND TEAM

Chad Andrews-Fulton, Constitution, 6-7, sr, 11.0 ppg

Julian Batts, Jeannette, 5-11, sr, 22.4 ppg

Caesar DeJesus, Goodling Impact Academy, 6-3, sr, 23.4 ppg

Dane Jackson, Cornell, 6-1, sr, 28.0 ppg

Sagaba Konate, Kennedy Catholic, 6-8, jr, 16.1 ppg

Tyerell Mann, Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg, 6-4, sr, 23.0 ppg

Lavelle Rush, Monessen, 6-1, jr, 18.1 ppg

THIRD TEAM

Kevin Anderson, St. John Neumann, 6-1, so, 19.1 ppg

Michael Bryja, Portage, 6-4, sr, 20.5 ppg

Bo Burleigh, North Penn-Mansfield, 6-2, sr, 18.3 ppg

Juwan Gooding, Goodling Impact Academy, 6-0, sr, 23.8 ppg

R.J. Laugand, Clarion-Limestone, 5-11, sr, 17.6 ppg

Nasza Short, St. John Neumann, 6-2, sr, 18.9 ppg

Jeff Yordy, Pottsville Nativity, 6-2, sr, 22.4 ppg

2015 Schuylkill League Champions

2015 District XI AAA Champions 

team.2014.15/IMG_3098.jpg

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_3892.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

"28 - 1"

Best Winning Percentage Ever for Pottsville Boys Basketball Team 

"What A Season" 

To All Crimson Tide Fans,

   I have had the pleasure of running, this website for the past couple of years, It has been a great honor to be associated with the Pottsville Crimson Tide boys basketball team. The character of the young men who represent this team, this school, and the Pottsville Area School District, is First class, on and off the court. The time and effort, put in by these young men, into a sport that they love, is unbelievable. Their hard work, paid off in one of the finest season ever at Pottsville.  The word team is well chosen for this year's group of young men, each player on this team bonded with each other, "Like a Band of Brothers".  To all the seniors on this years team, I wish the best of luck as they move forward with their lives. I know, I will be proud of each and everyone of these young men and I am sure, the parents are extremely proud of each one of these young men.

Respectfully,

 Craig S.L. Shields 

Congratulations To Our Seniors on a Great Season

Travis Blankenhorn

team.2014.15/IMG_3098.jpg

Eli Nabholz

team.2014.15/IMG_3098.jpg

Connor Hinchliffe

team.2014.15/IMG_3098.jpg

Ty Painter

team.2014.15/IMG_3098.jpg

Jed Dunkel

team.2014.15/IMG_3098.jpg

Derek Shuman

team.2014.15/IMG_3098.jpg

Patrick Coyle

team.2014.15/IMG_3098.jpg

Jake Guzick

Shields2013/IMG_2240.JPG

 Indians knock Crimson Tide out of Class AAA playoffs

By Mike Carnahan
Published: March 11, 2015


READING — As the Pottsville boys’ basketball team somberly walked off the court Tuesday night, they got one final standing ovation from the Crimson Tide student section.

One of the best seasons in program history came to an end.

Travis Blankenhorn had a game-high 14 points, but the Crimson Tide were done in by some cold shooting and fell to Susquehanna Township 44-37 in the second round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs at the Geigle Complex.

It the was the second consecutive year the Crimson Tide (28-1), the District 11 champs, were knocked out the of state playoffs by the Indians, who beat Pottsville 52-45 last year in a game also at the Geigle Complex.

This time round, the Crimson Tide’s half-court, man-to-man defense was once again very good to, at times, great, holding down an offense that came in averaging 66.6 points per game. The tempo of the game was exactly what Pottsville wanted, too.

But the Crimson Tide just

weren’t consistent enough offensively, especially down the stretch in the fourth quarter, and finished the night hitting 11-for-31 (35 percent) from the floor.

“I thought we got some open looks from the guys we wanted to shoot and they didn’t happen to fall,” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. “I don’t want to just lay it on that. They are a great team.

“We knew we were going to have to play well. I think we played OK and we executed our game plan but we needed to play a little bit better to beat a team of that caliber.”

Dejour Williams had 12 points and Nehemiah “Bud” Mack 11 for Susquehanna Township (22-6), the third-place finisher out of the District 3. Next up for the Indians is Imhotep Charter, a 73-54 winner over Scranton Prep on Tuesday, in the quarterfinals Friday.

“Pottsville is probably one of the best defensive teams throughout the state,” Indians’ coach Vince Rogers said “They showed that tonight. They are just so physical.

“It wasn’t easy tonight.”

All of Mack’s points came in the second half, seven in the third quarter, including on consecutive possessions midway through the quarter that gave the Indians the lead for good.

Susquenhanna Township didn’t exactly light it up offensively either, but was just a little bit better on the defense end. That was especially the case in the fourth quarter, when Pottsville was held to 1-of-10 from the floor.

“Our defense came up big tonight,” Rogers said. “We got critical stops and we got critical rebounds in the fourth period. Defensively, I can’t be prouder of our kids.”

Eli Nabholz (12) and Jordan Melochick (11) also reached double figures in scoring for Pottsville.

The Crimson Tide battled back from a second-quarter, 17-8 deficit and held their final lead of the night at 27-26 at 4:44 of the third quarter when Nabholz hit both foul shots after he was fouled inside.

Mack sliced his way inside for a layup at 3:53, then had a steal and layup on Pottville’s the next possession. Williams later hit one of his four 3-pointers to make it 33-27 with 2:50 left in the third.

The Crimson Tide were within 34-31 at the end of the third, but a putback by Roman Letterlaugh and dunk by Joe Marshall made it 38-31 early in the fourth.

The Crimson Tide got within four twice, the final time on a Melochick back-door layup with 1:47 left, making it 40-36. But Pottsville missed its final six shots of the game.

It wasn’t Pottsville’s night, but it certainly has been a season to remember.

The 28-game winning streak that was snapped Tuesday was the longest in program history, as is the .965 winning percentage. This season’s 28 wins were three off the school record of 31-2 mark set in 1983-84.

Along the way, Pottsville won its sixth consecutive Schuylkill League Division I title, its fifth overall league title in the past six years and first District 11 championship since 2010.

It was the final game for seniors Connor Hinchliffe, Ty Painter, Jed Dunkel, Derek Shuman, Pat Coyle, Blankenhorn and Nabholz.

“I love going to practice and being around these guys,” Mullaney said. “They are so close. They are all friends. They are humble. They are a once-in-a-lifetime group of seven seniors. I truly believe that. Our coaches are well aware of that and its a combination of the talent and the character, everything. They are special.

“It’s sad. There are a lot of emotions in the locker room. I feel really fortunate to coach them.”

Game Summary

PIAA Class AAA Second Round

At Geigle Complex, Reading

POTTSVILLE (37) — Hinchliffe 0 0-0 0, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 4 4-6 14, Melochick 4 2-2 11, Witman 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 3 5-6 12. Totals 11 11-14 37.

SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP (44) — Letterlough 1 0-0 2, Marshall 2 2-3 6, Mack 3 5-6 11, Williams 4 0-0 12, Ward 3 0-1 6, Blair 2 3-4 7, Dawson 0 0-0- 0. Totals 15 10-14 44.

Potts (28-1) 8 12 11 6 — 37 Susq. (22-6) 11 8 15 10 — 44

3-point FGs: Blankenhorn 2, Melochick, Nabholz, Williams 4

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

Pottsville - Susquehanna - WNEP

 

Susquehanna Twp. outslugs Pottsville in PIAA Class AAA boys' basketball

second-round battle

 

READING -- One field goal over the last 10+ minutes was all Susquehanna Twp. allowed Tuesday night.

And that was plenty good enough for the Indians to claim a defensive slugfest against District 11 champion Pottsville 44-37 in a PIAA Class AAA second-round contest at Reading's Geigle Complex.

Nehemiah "Bud" Mack scored all 11 of his points in the second half, and fellow guard Dejour Williams drained four 3-pointers en route to a team-high 12 points for the Indians (22-6), who snapped a 28-game winning streak by the Crimson Tide (28-1).

Next up for Vince Rogers' club is a Friday quarterfinal date against Philadelphia's Imhotep Charter at a site and time to be determined. Imhotep clocked Scranton Prep 77-54 Tuesday night.

Travis Blankenhorn (14), Eli Nabholz (12) and Jordan Melochick (11) shared all 37 points for Dave Mullaney's Crimson Tide, who also lost to Susquehanna Twp. in this round last year.

FOURTH-QUARTER D

Pottsville, which held a 20-19 halftime lead, trailed by just three, 34-31, into the fourth quarter. But the Indians' smothering defense was already taking over.

Blankenhorn's coast-to-coast drive with 2:40 left in the third preceded two free throws by Nabholz that had the Tide within two points.

But the Tide would manage just one more field goal over the final 10 minutes. Susquehanna Twp. held Pottsville to 1-for-12 shooting in the fourth quarter, including eight misses in eight 3-point attempts.

Plus the Indians rebounded, pulling down eight defensive boards in the final stanza and owning a 25-20 edge overall.

Mack, who added a game-high six assists, knocked down all four of his free throws in the final two minutes to help punch Susquehanna's ticket into the quarterfinals.

POTTSVILLE'S PACE

After the teams essentially traded buckets through the first quarter, the Indians rode seven straight points from reserve Jaquan Blair to a 17-8 lead three minutes into the second quarter.

Blair helped save the Indians in an otherwise ugly first half, scoring all seven of his points and grabbing all four of his rebounds.

But after the advantage hit nine points, the slow-it-down Crimson Tide turned up its own defensive pressure and closed the half on a 12-2 run, including 3-balls from Blankenhorn and Melochick.

They took their largest lead, 25-21, on a Nabholz trey early in the third quarter, but the Indians -- riding an enthusiastic Mack -- embarked on a 12-2 run of its own to seize control. Mack's drive to the dish with 3:58 left in the third gave 'Hanna a lead it would keep.

NOTES & NUMBERS

Mack scored 22 in last year's 52-45 victory over Pottsville, one more point than Nabholz for the Tide. ...

Pottsville's loss leaves just one unbeaten team remaining in the PIAA tournament: Aliquippa in Class AA. ...

Three of Pottsville's starters -- Nabholz (Penn State), Blankenhorn (Kentucky) and Connor Hinchliffe (La Salle) -- are ticketed to play NCAA Division I baseball. ...

Susquehanna Twp. finished 47 percent (15 of 32) from the field, bettering Pottsville's 34 percent (11 of 32). The Tide attempted just six shots in both the second and third quarters. ...

The Indians -- well, Williams -- knocked down four triples over a team total of 10 attempts. Pottsville finished four for 16 from the arc, failing to hit any after Nabholz's early in the third. ...

Leading rebounders for the Indians were Joe Marshall (six), Williams (five), Blair and Quintin Ward (four each). Blankenhorn led the Tide with five, one more than Melochick and Nabholz.

We'll add commentary from Rogers, Mack and Mullaney to this post later Tuesday evening.

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

SesqTwp/_MG_1344.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

Crimson Tide vs. Susquehanna Township

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Geigle Complex, Reading High School

Come out and support the Crimson Tide in the Second Round of States! 

 

 PIAA Class AAA Second-Round Capsule

By Mike Carnahan
Published: March 10, 2015

Class AAA second round

3-3 Susquehanna Twp. (21-6) vs. 11-1 Pottsville (28-0)

6 p.m. today, Geigle Complex, Reading High School

About the Indians

Head coach: Vince Rogers (9th season)

How got here: In District 3 playoffs, beat East Pennsboro (69-53) and Berks Catholic (53-47), then lost to Steel-High (64-59) in semifinals, beat Milton Hershey (49-35) in consolation game; beat 1-2 Glenn Mills (73-53) in first round of PIAA playoffs

Team stats: Offense (66.6 points per game), defense (52.8)

Probable starting lineup: G Dejour Williams (sr., 6-0, 16.2 ppg, 54 3-pointers), G Nehemiah “Bud” Mack (jr., 6-0, 13.9, 40 3-pointers), F Joe Marshall (sr., 6-5, 10.6), F Quintin Ward (sr., 6-6, 12.0), F Roman Letterlough (sr., 6-5, 5.5)

Key reserves: F Jaquan Blair (sr., 6-3, 4.5), F Matt Dawson (sr., 6-1, 1.8)

About the Crimson Tide

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (8th season)

How got here: Beat Blue Mountain (60-31), Tamaqua (50-35) and Allentown Central Catholic (57-47) to win District 11 title, beat 3-3 Valley View (63-37) in first round of PIAA playoffs

Team stats: Offense (60.5), defense (32.5)

Probable starting lineup: G Connor Hinchliffe (sr., 6-1, 4.5), G Ty Painter (sr., 5-7, 3.2), F Travis Blankenhorn (sr. 6-2, 16.7, 44 3-pointers), G Jordan Melochick (jr., 6-2, 9.3), F Eli Nabholz (sr., 6-5, 12.4, 25 3-pointers)

Key reserves: G Derek Shuman (sr., 6-1, 1.0), G Christian Witman (jr., 6-1, 1.9), G Jordan Abdo (soph., 5-10, 5.7, 20 3-pointers)

Game notes

Williams scored 32 points (6 3-pointers) and Mack added 22 in Indians’ first-round victory over Glen Mills. Mack dished out eight assists, while Ward finished with nine points and 11 boards. Susquehanna Township, which led 32-31 at the half, scored the first 10 points of second half. ... Indians shared Mid-Penn Keystone Division championship this season, but did not participate in Mid-Penn Conference tournament (lost out on tiebreaker). … Williams returned to Indians after spending two years at Harrisburg. ... Blankenhorn scored 28 points, while Nabholz added 16 in Crimson Tide’s first-round win over Valley View. Raced out to a 15-5 lead after the first quarter and put the game away with a 20-5 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter. Forced 13 turnovers and held Valley View to 13-of-39 from the floor. … Blankenhorn’s performance against Valley View was two off his season high of 30 against Williamsport on Jan. 5. … Crimson Tide are No. 5 in Class AAA in most recent PennLive.com state rankings, while the Indians are a team to watch. ... Rematch of a second-round game from last season, won by the Indians, 52-45, at the Geigle Complex. Crimson Tide got to within 26-25 early in the second half before the Indians pulled away. All five of the Crimson Tide’s likely starters tonight started in that game. Mack, Ward, Marshall and Letterlough started/logged serious minutes in win for Indians, who went on to lose in state title game to Neumann-Goretti.

What next: Winner faces 2-1 Scranton Prep vs. 12-2 Imhotep Charter winner in quarterfinals Friday, March 13, at site and time to be determined.

Directions to Geigle Complex: Take Pa. Route 61 south for 32.7 miles, then turn left onto Spring Street. Travel 1.1 miles and make right onto North 13th Street. School is located at 801 N. 13th Street, Reading, Pa. 19604.

— Compiled by Mike Carnahan


 Susquehanna Twp. (3-3, 21-6) vs. Pottsville (11-1, 28-0), at Geigle Complex, Reading, 6 -- Here's another rematch of a 2014 second-round scrap claimed 52-45 by Susquehanna Twp., but not without a physical struggle. Arguably the toughest game Vince Rogers' Indians encountered before they reached last year's state final. And with a number of players back for Susquehanna Twp. — Nehemiah Mack, Quintin Ward, Joe Marshall, Roman Letterlough and Jaquan Blair shared 39 points — most of Rogers' club knows what to expect. Same for Dave Mullaney's unbeaten Crimson Tide, which returned all five starters from a defensive-minded group that will try to control tempo while using the screen effectively at the offensive end. Pottsville's Eli Nabholz and Travis Blankenhorn, who combined for 36 points and six treys a year ago, are equally effective in the paint and on the perimeter. Difference could be Susquehanna's Dejour Williams, who popped Glen Mills for 32 in opening round. Winner gets Scranton Prep/Imhotep Charter winner. -- The pick: Susquehanna by 3.

 

PIAA BOYS' BASKETBALL: Crimson Tide advance in Class AAA with 63-37 win

By Mike Carnahan
Published: March 7, 2015
              

Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2015:03:06 19:25:09

JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Jordan Melochick goes up high over Valley View’s T.J. Halloran during Friday’s PIAA Class AAA game at Blue Mountain High School. Melochick had six points as the Tide advanced with a 63-37 win.

Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2015:03:06 19:14:43

JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn drives to the basket over Valley View’s Alec Rodway during Friday’s PIAA Class AAA boys’ basketball first-round game at Blue Mountain High School. Blankenhorn scored a game-high 28 points as the Crimson Tide beat the Cougars 63-37.

ORWIGSBURG — Travis Blankenhorn picked a great time to turn in his best offensive game of the postseason.

It was just one of the many things that went right for Pottsville in its PIAA Class AAA boys’ basketball playoff opener Friday.

Blankenhorn poured in a game-high 28 points and Eli Nabholz added 16 to back a solid defensive night in the Crimson Tide’s 63-37 victory over Valley View at Blue Mountain High School.

Blankenhorn finished two points shy of his season-high of 30 points scored against Williamsport on Jan. 5. The 6-foot-2 forward had 10 field goals and was 7-for-8 from the foul line.

Blankenhorn had only one 3-pointer, instead opting to take the ball aggressively to the hoop. His night also included a trio of three-point plays, while he missed a free throw on another that would have given him four.

“I think their kids were a little smaller,” Blankenhorn said. “I tried to go inside and post up and see if my teammates could give me a lob pass or score a layup.”

Blankenhorn was especially big early in the fourth quarter, when he scored the Crimson Tide’s first seven points to turn a 43-32 Pottsville lead into a 50-34 advantage and finally put the game away.

The District 11 champion Crimson Tide (28-0) remained perfect on the season with the win and advance to the second round of states for the second consecutive year. Next up is a rematch with Susquehanna Township (21-6), the third-place finisher out of District 3.

Susquehanna Township beat District 1 runner-up Glen Mills 73-53 in a first-round game Friday. The Indians knocked the Crimson Tide out of the state playoffs in second round last year.

“It’s a great feeling to win a state game,” Blankenhorn said. “We do it as a team as always and we hope to keep going.”

Nabholz scored nine of his points in the first quarter as Pottsville opened the game on a 15-3 run and led 15-5 after one quarter. The Crimson Tide were up 30-18 at halftime and 43-32 after three frames.

“It is just doing what we always do,” Nabholz said of the Friday’s quick start. “We move the ball, set a lot of ball screens throughout the game. We try to work a lot inside-out. It pretty much doing what we always do.”

Alec Rodway led Valley View (15-12), the third-place finisher out of District 2, with 16 points. Rodway scored 11 of those in the third quarter as Cougars hung around but were never able to cut the deficit to single digits.

Valley View couldn’t overcome its slow start as it was 2-of-12 from the floor in the first quarter against Pottsville’s tough man-to-man defense.

“We got off to a slow start and against a team like that, you are not just putting ourself into a hole, but making it hard to battle back,” Cougars coach Mike Kurpis said. “I don’t know if it was the big stage that got to us, or their intense, man-to-man pressure, which really takes you out of what you want to do. I will give them the credit for that.

“They have five guys that overplay, their help defense is tremendous and they rebound the heck out of the ball.”

The Crimson Tide forced 13 Valley View turnovers and held the Cougars to 13-of-39 (33 percent) from the floor in the game. Pottsville’s defense was especially strong in the fourth quarter, when the Crimson Tide held Valley View to 0-of-7 from the floor.

“I was disappointed in some of the things we were doing defensively,” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. “But to hold a team as good as Valley View to 37, you have to be happy with that. Overall, the effort must have been there. Maybe some of the design or game-plan wasn’t great, but our guys came through.”

Pottsville finished the night hitting 18-of-40 (45 percent). The Crimson Tide felt they had an advantage inside and pushed the ball down low the entire game.

Nabholz scored Pottsville’s first points of the night on a 3-pointer, while Blankenhorn followed with a 3-point play off a baseline drive. After Rodway knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing, Nabholz scored on back-to-back layups on a cut inside and then hit two foul shots to make it 12-3 at 3:09.

Blankenhorn hit 1-of-2 from the free-throw line after he was fouled after an offensive rebound, and then made it 15-3, going coast-to-coast after a defensive rebound.

Pottsville led 22-9 with 4:47 left in the first half when Christian Witman hit 1-of-2 from the line. But the Cougars got the deficit down to 30-18 after Rodway knocked down a 3 with 1:36 remaining in the first half.

Game Summary

PIAA Class AAA Boys’ First Round

At Blue Mountain High School

VALLEY VIEW (37) — Rodway 5 4-8 16, Homish 1 1-2 3, Gallagher 3 0-0 8, Cruz 1 1-2 3, Halloran 3 1-2 7, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Ziminskas 0 0-0 0, Peters 0 0-0 0, Bailleau 0 0-0 0, Cwalinski 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 7-14 37.

POTTSVILLE (63) — Hinchliffe 0 4-4 4, Painter 0 2-2 2, Blankenhorn 10 7-8 28, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Melochick 2 1-3 6, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 1 3-4 5, Abdo 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 4 6-7 16, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Renninger 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 23-28 63.

VV (15-12) 5 13 14 5 — 37 Pot (28-0) 15 15 13 20 — 63

3-point FGs: Rodway 2, Gallagher 2, Blankehnorn, Melochick, Nabholz 2


28 - 0 
 
Crimson Tide Rolls over Valley View
 
The Crimson Tide rolled over Valley View Cougars by a score of 63-37 tonight at Blue Mountain High School. The Crimson Tide was led by Travis "Money" Blankenhorn's game high 28 points and Eli " Big Easy" Naholz's 16 points. The Tide will be playing Susquehanna Township on Tuesday's night in Reading.
The Tide advances to the second round of the state's AAA playoffs for the second time in two years. This game sets up a rematch from last year's game. 

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ValleyView/_MG_1271.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

Crimson Tide plays Valley View Cougars at 7:00, Friday Night at Blue Mountain High School in the First Round of State Playoffs!

Come out and support the Crimson Tide!!! 

 

 

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

2015 District XI AAA Champions 

2015 Schuylkill League Champions

27-0 

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

  Fast start leads Crimson Tide to Class AAA title

BY MIKE CARNAHAN
Published: February 28, 2015

Article Tools
              

    

Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2015:02:27 20:14:35

JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Eli Nabholz goes strong to the basket past Allentown Central Catholic’s Jack Nosovitch (5) during the Crimson Tide’s 57-47 victory Friday.

Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2015:02:27 21:23:26

JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville's players Travis Blankenhorn, left, Eli Nabholz, center, and Jed Dunkel, right, celebrate with teammates after defeating Allentown Central Catholic in the District 11 Class AAA Championship Game Friday at Blue Mountain High School in Orwigsburg. Pottsville took a 57-47 triumph.

ORWIGSBURG — With 16 seconds left in the game, the Pottsville fans rose to their and filled Blue Mountain High School gymnasium with a thunderous roar.

Then when the final buzzer went off, the Crimson Tide bench rushed the court.

It was time to celebrate another title this season.

Pottsville was expected to be here when the year began in December. That is where the Crimson Tide were Friday night.

Senior Eli Nabholz scored nine of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter as top-seeded Pottsville started hot and lead from start to finish in a 57-47 victory over No. 3 Allentown Central Catholic to win the District 11 Class AAA boys’ basketball championship.

Travis Blankenhorn and Jordan Melochick added 11 points apiece for the Crimson Tide (27-0), who won the Schuylkill League title two weeks ago.

Pottsville’s championship Friday was its first district title since 2010 when the Crimson Tide downed the Vikings 63-58 at Blue Mountain.

With all five starters back from last year’s team that was hammered by Allentown Central Catholic 64-34 in the Class AAA title game, Potts-

ville was the favorite to win it all this season.

Friday, the Crimson Tide finished it out.

“We like to say we win things for ourselves, but we worked so hard and we finally got one,” Nabholz said. “But I mean this is for Schuylkill County. This is for every team that we played all year, every team that was close with us. This is a awesome feeling.”

Pottsville already clinched a berth in the PIAA tournament by reaching the championship game. Next for the Crimson Tide is the third-place finisher out of District 2, either Honesdale or Valley View, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs Friday, March 6, at a site and time to be determined.

“Last year they gave it to us pretty bad,” said senior Connor Hinchliffe, who added eight points Friday. “But this year, we felt confident that we were going to win this game tonight and we did.”

Pottsville certainly played like it from the opening tip. The start to Friday’s game was exactly what the Crimson Tide wanted, and needed, to do.

Led by Nabholz, who scored Pottsville’s first points of the game on a move inside the paint, the Crimson Tide opened the game on a 7-0 and led 22-12 at the end of the first quarter.

It was a lead Pottsville never lost.

The Crimson Tide were up by 12 twice in the second quarter. The Vikings (17-10), who were looking for their fifth consecutive district title, cut to the deficit to four midway through the third quarter and to five at 50-45 with 2:53 left in the game. But Pottsville responded with a 7-0 run to put the game away.

Nabholz finished the night with nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks. He also took two charges defensively.

Blankenhorn added five rebounds and three assists, while Melochick also had three assists.

Ben Pratt led Allentown Central Catholic with 16 points, while Zay Jennings added 14.

The first quarter couldn’t have gone better for Pottsville as the Crimson Tide hit 8-for-13 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from 3-point land. They also turned the ball over just once.

“I think it was key,” Nabholz said of the start. “Coach (Dave) Mullaney has been harping on us the last couple of days in practice that we need to start without turning the ball over, start fast and execute. Tonight, we were able to do that.

“We are team. We do what we practice. We move the ball, we set back-screens, we play defense. It was just doing everything right from the start.”

After Nabholz opened the scoring, Blankenhorn chased down his own missed 3-pointer two possessions later that led to a Nabholz three-point play. Blankenhorn then followed with a reverse layup to make it 7-0 at 6:24.

The Vikings got to within two, but Nabholz scored again inside, while Hinchliffe hit one of his two 3-pointers on the night from the corner to get the lead back up to 12-5.

Pottsville led 17-12 and finished the quarter on a 5-0 run as Blankenhorn drained a 3 from the corner and Ty Painter drove in from the wing to make it 22-12.

“I was happy with the way we came out,” Mullaney said. “At the same time, it probably got it into a pace that was a little too quick for us. I think in the second half the game was a little bit more to our liking.”

The game slowed down, but Pottsville never lost the lead. The Crimson Tide finished the night shooting 19-for-37 (51 percent) from the floor. All five Pottsville starters scored at least five points and six of the seven players who got into the game had a least one 3-pointer.

“We’ve been doing this since we were seven years old, all of us, the same group,” Hinchliffe said. “We are just working our way all the way through. We have such a close bond. We are all great friends and it shows on the court.”

Game Summary

District 11 Class AAA Championship

At Blue Mountain H.S.

ALLENTOWN CENTRAL CATHOLIC (47) — Maley 1 0-0 3, Nosovitch 3 0-0 6, Pratt 7 0-0 16, Friel 0 0-0 0, Kern 0 0-0 0, J. Vaughan 2 0-0 4, Dezonie 2 0-0 4, Jennings 4 6-8 14. Totals 19 6-8 47.

POTTSVILLE (57) — Hinchliffe 3 0-0 8, Painter 2 0-0 5, Blankenhorn 3 4-4 11, Melochick 4 2-2 11, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo 1 0-0 3, Nabholz 6 6-7 19. Totals 19 12-13 57.

ACC (17-10) 12 14 13 8 — 47 Potts (27-0) 22 10 14 11 — 57

3-point FGs: Maley, Pratt 2, Hinchliffe 2, Painter, Blankenhorn, Melochick, Abdo, Nabholz


ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

 

Pottsville ends Central's four-year run as district champs; never looks back in 57-47 win

Pottsville ends Central's four-year run

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN — The celebration lingered for a long time on the basketball court at Blue Mountain High School on Friday night as Pottsville players, parents, friends and fans gathered, posing for pictures.

But coach Dave Mullaney wasn't in the crowd. He had headed for the locker room down the hall.

Mullaney wanted to let his players enjoy the moment.

Seven seniors had played their final District 11 tournament game and finally, they had gold medals around their necks.

The Crimson Tide, living up to its billing as the No. 6 ranked team in the state in Class 3A, bolted to a 7-0 lead in the game's first minute and 37 seconds and never looked back in defeating Central Catholic 57-47 in the 3A championship game before a standing-room-only crowd.

Pottsville (27-0) won its first district title since beating CCHS for the 2010 3A crown and ended the Vikings' four-year run as district champs.

"I'm extremely proud of our guys," Mullaney said. "We came out shooting the ball well and that gave us some confidence that carried throughout the game."

The Tide got three 3-pointers in the first quarter when its lead stretched to 22-12, and made seven overall. Six players connected from beyond the arc.

Central (16-10) continually tried to fight back and never allowed the game to reach blowout status.          

However, the Vikings could never make it a one-possession game.

Every time CCHS tried to put something together, Pottsville found an answer.

"Our kids played with great energy and the effort was there," Vikings coach Dennis Csensits said. "But we just couldn't make the one or two plays that could get us over the top. We cut it to six a bunch of times, and got it to four and we had some chances there. We just couldn't finish it off."

Pottsville led 32-20 with 21/2 minutes left in the first half before CCHS closed the second quarter with a 6-0 run that put the Vikes within six at halftime.

The Vikings scrambled back within 38-34 with 3:20 left in the third quarter when Jack Nosovitch scored off a Zay Jennings pass.

And two minutes later, Ben Pratt hit a 3-pointer to get it to 43-39.

However, Connor Hinchcliffe closed the scoring in the third period with a 3-pointer and Central, which was trying to become the first boys team ever to win five consecutive District 11 championships, would never get closer than five in the closing period.

A Jennings drive sliced the Tide lead to 50-45 with 2:54 left, but the Vikings would manage just one more field goal the rest of the night.

Back-to-back layups by Travis Blankenhorn and Hinchcliffe sealed for it for the Schuylkill League champs.

"That's a veteran team that came out of the shoot and made shots early, even some that were pretty well contested," Csensits said. "They set the tone early and we were playing from behind all night. But I'm still proud of our kids because we could have gone south a couple of times but didn't."

Mullaney said the defense was focused on stopping Jennings and Pratt.

While those two combined for 30 points, they had to work hard for everything. Jennings, one of the area's top 3-point shooters, couldn't connect from bonus range at all.

"The good start built momentum for the rest of the game," said Jordan Melochick, who defended Jennings. "The rest of the team just tried to sink in and help defensively as much as they could. It's all about teamwork and team chemistry. We were happy to win the Schuylkill League, but we wanted this more."

Central defeated Pottsville 64-34 in last year's title game, but the Tide regrouped to win its first PIAA game.

Now, it's the Vikings who will need to put this one behind them and try to make a run in the state tournament. Among the positives in the defeat was that CCHS freshmen Shackylle Dezonie and Jay Vaughan played well in a pressure game in a hostile environment.

Those two will get more experience as the Vikes play Milton, which defeated Shamokin 59-57 for the District 4 championship, on Friday night at a site to be determined. That site is expected to be much closer to Milton than Allentown.

"We put up a fight," Nosovitch said. "We're proud of the effort. We're just disappointed with the outcome. "

But Nosovitch acknowledged the season isn't over.

"We'll use this as motivation for next week," Nosovitch said. "We don't want to feel like this again."

Pottsville, meanwhile, will play Valley View in its state opener. The Cougars defeated Honesdale 67-50 in District 2's third-place game.

"They're good, they're very good," Csensits said of Pottsville. "We tried to speed them up and force mistakes, but they're well-balanced. They were a tough matchup for us and they'll be tough for a lot of teams."

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

ACCII/_MG_4062.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

"ROLL TIDE"

 

Come out and Support the Tide Tonight!

Crimson Tide plays Allentown Central Catholic at 8:00 pm at Blue Mountain High School for the Distrcit XI AAA Title 

Tamaqua15/_MG_3892.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Coach Jake says bring Home the Championship!

 

District 11 Class 3A boys basketball capsule

Who's in the District 11 Class 3A boys basketball title game?

DISTRICT 11 CLASS 3A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP

•Who: Central Catholic (No. 3, 16-9) vs. Pottsville (No. 1, 26-0).

•When/where: 8 tonight at Blue Mountain H.S.

•What's next: Winner will play District 2 No. 3 (Honesdale or Valley View); loser will play District 4 champ (Shamokin or Milton) March 6 in first round of PIAA tournament.

CENTRAL CATHOLIC

Coach: Dennis Csensits (third season, 69-14)

Projected starters: 5-10 Jr. G Zay Jennings 19.8 ppg; 6-0 Sr. G/F Ben Pratt 10.6 ppg; 6-1 Sr. F Jack Nosovitch 4.3 ppg; 6-4 Fr. F Shackyll Dezonie 5.2 ppg; 6-0 Sr. G/F Bryce Maley 7.0 ppg.

Key reserves: 6-4 Fr. F Kevin Kern 2.0 ppg; 5-9 Fr. G Jay Vaughan 3.5 ppg; 6-3 Jr. F Alex Friel 2.9 ppg.

About the Vikings: Average 55.3 ppg, allow 51.8 ppg. … Advanced with a 64-50 win over No. 6 seed Saucon Valley and a 59-48 win over No. 2 Salisbury, increasing the program's postseason win streak over Colonial League opponents to 23. … Have rebounded with two wins after losing to Stroudsburg 69-47 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference quarterfinals. … In win over Salisbury, Jennings led a balanced attack with 17 points — nine in the fourth quarter. Maley had a season-high 16 and Nosovitch added 11 points. Pratt had nine points, seven rebounds and six assists. … Have won four straight district crowns and are trying to become first boys team in District 11 history to win five consecutive championships. … Have won 10 straight district tournament games since losing to Pottsville 63-58 in the 2010 3A final. … In the district finals for the sixth straight year and 25th time since 1985 and own a 17-7 record in title games. … Vikings also won four straight district titles from 1992-95. … Defeated Pottsville 64-34 in last year's district final when now University of Michigan freshman Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored a season-high 34.          

POTTSVILLE

Coach: Dave Mullaney (eighth season, 166-50)

Projected starters: 6-1 Sr. G Connor Hinchcliffe 4.4 ppg; 5-7 Sr. G Ty Painter 3.2 ppg; 6-2 Sr. G Travis Blankenhorn 16.5 ppg; 6-2 Jr. G Jordan Melochick 9.4 ppg; 6-5 Sr. F Eli Nabholz 12.0 ppg.

Key reserves: 6-1 Sr. G Derek Shuman; 6-1 Jr G Christian Witman; 5-10 So. G Jordan Abdo; 6-6 Fr. F Ian Renninger.

About the Tide: Average 60.6 ppg, allow 31.8 ppg. … Advanced by beating at No. 9 Blue Mountain 60-31 and No. 4 Tamaqua 50-35 . … Blankenhorn had 20 points in Crimson Tide's semifinal win, including 14 in first half. Melochick tied a season high with 19 in quarterfinal win over Blue Mountain, while Blankenhorn added 15 and Nabholz 10. ... Blankenhorn is averaging 17.5 points per game during district playoffs, Melochick 13.5 and Nabholz 8.5. … All five starters played in last year's district title game and two state playoff games. … Won sixth consecutive Schuylkill League Division I title, then beat Tamaqua 33-28 in overtime in final. … Twenty-six wins have come by an average of 28.7 points. Closest margin was 49-46 win over Berks Catholic on Jan. 28. ... Blankenhorn (University of Kentucky), Nabholz (Penn State) and Hinchliffe (La Salle) are going to play Division I baseball in college. … Have won five district titles, the last coming in 2010 with a 63-58 win over CCHS.

Keith Groller's prediction: CCHS 59-58, but it will take Vikings' best effort of season.

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

 

 Tide reach Class AAA finals with win over Tamaqua

By Mike Carnahan
Published: February 25, 2015

MINERSVILLE — The Pottsville boys’ basketball team already has a Schuylkill League championship this season.

The Crimson Tide will now get to play for a District 11 title, too.

Travis Blankenhorn scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first half as top-seeded Pottsville built an early lead and downed No. 4 Tamaqua 50-35 in a District 11 Class AAA semifinal Tuesday at Minersville’s Thomas Fitzpatrick Gymnasium.

The Crimson Tide (26-0) will be playing for a district championship for the second consecutive year. In the process, Pottsville, currently ranked No. 6 in Class AAA in the most recent Pennlive.com state boys’ rankings, earned a berth in the PIAA Tournament.

“This was one of our goals as a team, to play for a district title,” Blankenhorn said. “We are happy we are here.

“We will be ready for anyone.”

The Crimson Tide will get another crack at third-seeded Allentown Central Catholic (16-9) in the finals at 8 p.m. Friday at Blue Mountain High School. The Vikings beat No. 2 Salisbury 59-48 in the other semifinal.

ACC beat the Crimson Tide 64-34 in last year’s title game, the Vikings’ fourth consecutive championship.

Tamaqua (20-6), meanwhile, will take on the Falcons (21-6) in the consolation game at 6 p.m. Friday at Bethlehem Freedom High School, with the winner advancing to the state playoffs.

Tuesday was Pottsville’s fourth win over the Blue Raiders this season, the most recent

being a 33-28, overtime victory in the Schuylkill League championship game Feb. 13.

Round 4 wasn’t as close as Round 3, but it was hardly easy for the Crimson Tide.

Blankenhorn knocked down four of Pottsville’s seven 3-pointers in the game to help the Crimson Tide crack the Raiders’ 2-3 zone. Pottsville opened the game on a 10-1 run and led 19-12 at halftime.

The Crimson Tide’s best offensive quarter came in the third when they knocked down four 3s to build a 36-22 lead. Pottsville put the game away in the fourth from the foul line, hitting 12-of-14.

Overall, the Crimson Tide finished the night hitting 14-for-29 (48 percent) from the field.

“They made it difficult,” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said about the Raiders’ 2-3 zone. “I think our guys tried to go off the dribble, but I just think they are really good in that zone. I think we got more short-corner touches, which was an emphasis tonight. We thought we could expose that in a 2-3, and I think we penetrated just enough to get some open looks.”

Blankenhorn’s performance was his best offensive night since he had 23 points and knocked down five 3-pointers Jan. 31 against Panther Valley.

“Warm-ups felt pretty good,” Blankenhorn said. “Definitely my teammates driving and getting me open, a lot of the credit goes to them.”

Bo Rottet led the Raiders with 17 points, while Brett Kosciolek added 11 points and eight rebounds. Tamaqua had a poor-shooting first half, hitting 5-of-19 (26 percent), but were only behind 19-12 at halftime after Rottet drained a jumper at the buzzer.

However, the Raiders also struggled from the floor in the third quarter, hitting 2-of-8.

“I don’t think we shot that well in the first half compared to them,” Tamaqua coach Caszy Kosciolek said. “We got good shots, but they just didn’t go down for us.

“Pottsville is a very good basketball team and we are proud of the fact that we played them as tough as anybody on their schedule in the last two games. That shows a lot about the character of our kids.”

Blankenhorn scored eight of his points in the first quarter, knocking down two 3s from the corner and scoring on a layup. A Jordan Abdo steal turned into a transition layup for Eli Nabholz with 2:06 left in the first, giving Pottsville its early 10-1 lead.

Blankenhorn added five more points in the second period. Tamaqua was within 13-10 at 4:03 before the Crimson Tide went on a 6-0 run to go up 19-10 with 52 seconds left in the half.

Everybody got involved offensively for Pottsville in the third quarter as five players scored, led by five by Connor Hinchliffe. The Crimson Tide hit 6-of-10 from the floor, with five of those buckets coming off assists.

“We just ran a good offense and got everybody involved,” Blankenhorn said. “Everybody had a good game and everybody can score on our team, so we were just sharing the ball with whoever was open.”

Game Summary

District 11 Class AAA Semifinal

At Minersville High School

TAMAQUA (35) — Shilko 0 0-0 0, Blaker 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, Rottet 4 8-9 17, Zuber 0 0-0 0, MacDonald 1 1-2 3, Skripko 2 0-0 4, Kosciolek 5 0-0 11, Berezwick 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 9-11 35.

POTTSVILLE (50) — Hinchliffe 2 0-0 5, Painter 0 5-6 5, Blankenhorn 6 4-5 20, Melochick 2 3-4 8, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo 1 3-4 5, Nabholz 3 0-1 7. Totals 14 15-20 50.

Tam (20-6) 6 6 10 13 — 35 Pot (26-0) 10 9 17 14 — 50

3-point FGs: Rottet, Kosciolek, Hinchliffe, Blankenhorn 4, Melochick, Nabholz

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

TamII15/_MG_3982.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

Crimson Tide Rolls Over Blue Mountain

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

 
                                                         

JIM THORPE — Blue Mountain hung tough with Pottsville for first 12 minutes of Friday’s District 11 Class AAA boys’ basketball quarterfinal.

But the Crimson Tide’s inside game, especially Jordan Melochick, and their defense took over and turned the game into a rout.

Melochick tied a season high with 19 points, including nine in the second quarter, as top-seeded Pottsville closed the first half on a 13-0 run and rolled to a 60-31 victory over the ninth-seeded Eagles at Jim Thorpe High School.

Pottsville opened the game on a 9-0 run, but Blue Mountain, which opened the playoffs with a 52-48 win over Lehighton in the first round Tuesday, battled back in it.

The Eagles got within a point twice and were down 16-14 after a jumper by Connor Kerstetter with 4:10 left in the first half.

But Blue Mountain’s hopes for an upset quickly vanished.

The Eagles (12-12) missed their last two shot attempts from the floor in the half and turned the ball over three times. The Crimson Tide (25-0) started to push the ball inside, hitting 7-of-9 shots in the quarter, and built a 29-14 halftime lead.

Pottsville then opened the second half with a 9-0 run to go up 38-14 and put the game away.

“Our offense just wasn’t clicking at first,” Melochick said. “But then once the second quarter came around, we started clicking.

“I think our defensive pressure really got our offense going.”

Next up for the Crimson Tide is their fourth meeting this season with No. 4 Tamaqua (20-5) in Tuesday’s semifinals. The Raiders beat No. 5 North Schuylkill 39-33 in a quarterfinal-round game Friday.

Pottsville’s most recent match-up with the Raiders was in the Schuylkill League championship game Feb. 13, a 33-28 overtime win.

Melochick had his best offensive game Friday since he had 19 at Lehighton on Jan 10. His performance included a perfect 8-for-8 showing from the floor and 3-of-4 from the foul line.

The 6-foot-2 junior forward had two three-point plays during the second quarter. He also scored on an alley-oop pass from Connor Hinchliffe and hit 1-of-2 from the line after a drive with 4.4 seconds left in the first half to give Pottsville its 15-point halftime advantage.

Eli Nabholz also scored six points in the quarter, all in the paint, while Travis Blankenhorn had five.

“We knew we have some mismatches, with Travis, Eli and myself, so we tried to get the ball in the paint more,” Melochick said.

Blankenhorn finished with 15 points and five rebounds, while Eli Nabholz had 10 points and seven boards.

Brayden Lewis had 10 points to pace the Raiders, while Mark Chelius added seven points and Kerstetter had five rebounds.

After Kerstetter’s bucket midway through the second quarter, the Eagles didn’t score again until Lewis hit two free throws at 5:21 of the third quarter. Blue Mountain’s next points came on Lewis’ layup at 2:37 of the third and made it 43-18.

Blue Mountain had a decent night shooting, finishing 10-for-25 (40 percent), but turned the ball over 18 times.

“They played great defense,” Eagles coach Dustin Werdt said. “Every time you play them it is a struggle to score. They are so big and strong, and offensively they really attacked the paint on us in the second quarter and we really didn’t have much of an answer.”

Turnovers plagued Pottsville during the first quarter as the Crimson Tide committed six. But Pottsville was much crisper from the second quarter on, turning it over just five times the rest of the night.

The Crimson Tide dominated the inside, reflected by their 25-for-45 (56 percent) shooting night. Pottsville also outrebounded Blue Mountain 27-15.

“Our mentality tonight was we wanted to come out and defend as hard as we have all season,” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. “I really think we did that. I don’t know if it is the best we’ve defended all season, but our energy level was real high and I think we fed off of that.”

“I think that a big part of it also (was) us getting the ball into the post. Our post touches in the first half, we scored on a very high percentage of those.”

Game Summary

District 11 Class AAA quarterfinals

At Jim Thorpe H.S.

BLUE MOUNTAIN (31) — NStramara 1 2-2 4, Kerstetter 2 0-0 4, Barton 0 1-2 1, Welsh 0 0-0 0, Lewis 4 2-4 10, Chelius 2 2-8 7, Albertini 1 0-0 3, Zerbe 0 2-2 2, Biever 0 0-0 0, Bobbin 0 0-0 0, Caulfield 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 9-18 31.

POTTSVILLE (60) — Hinchliffe 0 0-0 0, Painter 1 0-0 2, Blankenhorn 6 0-0 15, Melochick 8 3-4 19, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 2 2-2 6, Abdo 2 0-2 4, Nabholz 5 0-0 10, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Renninger 1 2-4 4. Totals 25 7-12 60.

Blue Mt. (12-12) 6 8 4 13 — 31 Pottsville (25-0) 9 20 16 15 — 60

3-point FGs: Chelius, Albertini, Blankenhorn 3


BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

BMII15/_MG_0952.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Crimson Tide plays Blue Mountain on Friday at Jim Thorpe!!!

I don't know why, we are playing in Jim Thorpe! 

 

Can someone stop either Parkland or Pottsville in district boys basketball tournaments?

Can someone stop either Parkland or Pottsville in district boys basketball tournaments?

Keith Groller

The Morning Callkgroller@mcall.com@KeithGroller

 

APRIL BARTHOLOMEW, MORNING CALL FILE PHOTO

EPC MVP Devante Cross leads a balanced Parkland attack.

 

Which star will shine the most during district boys basketball tournament?

Which team is primed to pull an upset in district boys basketball tournament?

Can a Colonial League team end Central's five-peat hopes in boys 3A?

Just like it always has been in the real estate world, the District 11 boys basketball tournament is all about location.

No, not the location of the games, but where your team finds itself in terms of the classification bracket.

There was considerable movement this year in terms of class.

Most notably, defending Class 2A champ Notre Dame is now in the 3A mix and defending Class A champ Mahanoy Area is in 2A.

Pottsville, which has fluctuated between 3A and 4A for years, is in 3A this year.

But Bangor and Southern Lehigh, whose lone district crowns were in 3A, are now in 4A, where they will have to contend with newly crowned Eastern Pennsylvania Conference champion Parkland.

With the exception of unbeaten Pottsville and once-defeated Parkland, consistency has been elusive throughout the boys basketball landscape.

And considering the recent spate of bad weather, getting consistent practice time also has been elusive. More tricky weather remains in the district forecast.

Once the games begin, here are some of the things to look for as 31 teams go for the gold and spots in the state tournament:

Best players

You have to start with the league players of the year — Parkland's Devante Cross in the EPC and Wilson's Phil Pierfy in the Colonial League.

They both have been great this winter.

There may not be a star out there of the magnitude of Central Catholic graduate and Michigan freshman Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who was a big part of four straight Vikings district titles, but there are many other standout players who can carry their teams in big games.

Those players include Parkland's Sam Iorio and Kyle Stout, Stroudsburg's Danny Cuevas, Southern Lehigh's Noah Kandt, Bangor's Michael Martino, Emmaus' David Kachelries, Easton's Hassan Greenfield and Whitehall's Brett Radocha in Class 4A and Central Catholic's Zay Jennings, Tamaqua's Bo Rottet and Brett Kosciolek, Salisbury's Dasheen Reid, Saucon Valley's Mike Kane and Pottsville's Travis Blankenhorn in 3A.

Schuylkill expressway

We know for certain that a Schuylkill League team will win the 2A title because the tiny four-team field features all Schuylkill members.

The Schuylkill also has a 50-50 shot of winning the Class A championship since Shenandoah Valley and Nativity BVM are in the mix along with talented Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg and Lincoln Leadership Academy squads in another four-team bracket.

Best chance for a title-game rematch

Pottsville and Central Catholic rank as solid favorites to meet again for the gold.

As the No. 1 seed, the Crimson Tide is in the upper half of a bracket that features all Schuylkill teams and all potential opponents Pottsville has already defeated.

Pottsville is 9-0 against potential foes en route to the final.

Central Catholic, meanwhile, is in the lower half of the bracket with five Colonial League members. CCHS hasn't lost to a Colonial League team in the district tournament since then star player Bron Holland and Bangor defeated the Vikings in the 1988 3A final.

Ironically, Central could be vulnerable in Friday night's quarterfinals against Notre Dame, which is coached by Pat Boyle. Boyle was a member of that 1988 Vikings' team.

Of course, Notre Dame must first beat Saucon Valley for Boyle to get a crack at his alma mater.

If it happens, Boyle also would be coaching against a family member. Boyle's mother and CCHS senior Jack Nosovitch's mother are first cousins.

Most compelling story lines

You have to start with Central Catholic's quest for a fifth straight 3A title, which would be unprecedented. Unlike the past few years, the Vikings are not favored this time as Pottsville is undefeated and state-ranked; CCHS has scuffled finding offensive consistency.

In 4A, it will be interesting to see if anyone can knock off Parkland, which will likely be facing several familiar faces. The Trojans have met and defeated everyone in the 12-team field except Colonial League members Bangor and Southern Lehigh.

It also be interesting to see if any of the season's biggest surprise teams — Palisades, Northampton and Nazareth — can continue to surprise and survive the week.

One of the fun potential matchups would be Northampton against Bangor on Saturday in the quarters because Konkrete Kids coach Coy Stampone is a proud Slaters graduate and, like Bangor coach Holland, is a disciple of the legendary Bill Pensyl.

In Class A, it'll be interesting to see if anyone can stop a powerful Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg under the direction of the Spartans' iconic coach, Bob Mullen. This is a team that has lost only to Tamaqua and North Schuylkill and hasn't been defeated since the second week of the season.

Lincoln Leadership is a talented team and has a chance to reach the Class A final for the first time, but Notre Dame has beaten Lincoln twice and the second time it was 68-32.

Best chance for an upset

Both No. 10 seeds in 4A and 3A have a chance to beat the No. 7 seeds.

Why? Because they've already beaten them.

In 4A, No. 10 Northampton has defeated No. 7 Whitehall twice and in 3A, Palisades beat Wilson just a few weeks ago to clinch a district berth,

Staying in 4A, No. 11 Nazareth already has defeated No. 3 Stroudsburg, but for that rematch to happen the Blue Eagles would first have to get by No. 6 Liberty, which looked very good in the EPC tournament last week.

It wouldn't shock me if No. 12 Easton knocked off hard-to-figure No. 5 Emmaus, although the Green Hornets generally play well at home.

Best chance for a blowout

Parkland will play either Southern Lehigh or Pocono Mountain West in its quarterfinal-round game on Saturday at Easton and the Trojans will be heavy favorites to beat either team. The Trojans already have defeated the Panthers 80-53 this season.

Freshman flashes

Northampton's Aidan Ellwood will get his first district experience as will several rising stars at CCHS. Nazareth's Jahan Dotson and Notre Dame's Jack Reichenbach also could make an impact.

Teams with the most to prove

Bangor has to prove it can win at the 4A level because the school is not likely to get smaller in enrollment and the Slaters are going to have to find a way to compete with some of the EPC's elite.

The same applies to the Colonial League members at the 3A level. Pottsville and Central Catholic are always going to be obstacles, but teams like Salisbury, Saucon Valley and Wilson have shown in spurts that they can knock off teams from other leagues and need to do it more consistently at this time of year.

Stroudsburg, which was clearly the best team in the EPC's Mountain Division, needs to show its dominance in Monroe Country can translate to success elsewhere.

Players with the most to prove

Liberty's Ludwin Gonzalez has been a good player all season for the Hurricanes, but struggled in the league final against Parkland.

Also, Stroudsburg's Cuevas didn't have the best of nights against Liberty in the EPC semis.

Wilson's Pierfy had an outstanding senior season one year after suffering a major injury. However, the truly great players lead teams to championships and he has his last chance to lead the Warriors to a gold medal.

The picks

4A: Parkland. It's going to take a team playing exceptionally well, almost flawlessly for 32 minutes, to prevent the Trojans from earning a three-peat.

3A: Central Catholic. I know Pottsville is unbeaten and several Colonial League teams are capable of upsets. But I have a feeling that the Vikings' best basketball is ahead of them. Dennis Csensits is a quality coach.

2A: Mahanoy Area. The Golden Bears will likely have to face a gritty Minersville team, but they call them Golden Bears for a reason.

A: Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg. It's a shame that the Spartans didn't go into the Colonial League as originally planned because we'd know truly how good they are.

kgroller@mcall.com

Twitter @KeithGrollerby TaboolaSponsored LinksPromoted Links

 

 

 

Athlete of the Week


              

Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2015:01:03 15:21:44 Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2015:01:24 20:02:56                             

 

                              

JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Eli Nabholz came up big in overtime to help the Crimson Tide defeat Tamaqua in last Friday’s Schuylkill League boys’ basketball final.

Name: Eli Nabholz

High school: Pottsville Area High School

Grade: Senior

Sport: Boys’ basketball

Accomplishments: Scored 15 points in two games during Crimson Tide’s run through Schuylkill League playoffs, a 59-31 win over Mahanoy Area in the semifinals last Wednesday and a 33-28, overtime victory over Tamaqua in the championship game last Friday. Scored five points in overtime Friday, hitting go-ahead bucket and 3-of-4 from foul line. Also grabbed three defensive rebounds in overtime to help Pottsville seal the win.

Age: 17

Hometown: Pottsville

Family: Mary Jo (mother), John (father)

Athletes I admire: Tom Brady, Justin Verlander

Favorite sports teams: Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots

What grade did you start playing basketball: Kindergarten

How does playing basketball help with baseball: “Mostly in just competing. In baseball, especially as a pitcher, you start one day and then have five days off and start again, and then you have your whole offseason where you are just working out. In basketball offseason, we are not only getting stronger and better physically, but we are competing as well, learning how to compete a lot better in basketball. It definitely helps to stay in shape.’’

What are one or two things you’ve improved on this basketball season that helped you in Friday’s championship game: “I think just confidence wise, that was my biggest improvement. I think it helps fit into the team aspect a little bit more.”

How satisfying is it to win the league title knowing that Pottsville was the favorite all season: “This one was definitely the hardest because we were the favorite. Everybody was gunning for you and everybody had a plan to beat you. We just had to prepare that much harder.”

Goals for the rest of the season (Crimson Tide are No. 1 seed in District 11 Class AAA playoffs): “We are just worried about Friday night (versus tonight’s Blue Mountain-Lehighton winner). Right now, that is the most important thing and we will let the rest take care of itself. We just don’t want to stop playing. That is what it comes down to.”

Post-graduation plans: Attend Penn State University to play baseball and study political science.

 

 

2015 Schuylkill League Champions

24-0 

Tamaqua15/_MG_3892.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_3892.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

WNEP Highlights

Pottsville - Mahanoy Area Highlights-WNEP

  Crimson Tide win Schuylkill League title in thriller over Tamaqua

By Mike Carnahan
Published: February 14, 2015

Article Tools                                                           

After a year’s absence, Pottsville is back on top of the Schuylkill League in boys’ basketball.

The way the Crimson Tide had to do it made it all the more memorable.

Eli Nabholz scored five of his nine points in overtime as Pottsville was finally able to put away Tamaqua for a thrilling, 33-28 victory in Friday’s league championship game at Martz Hall.

“It was stressful, but it was a lot of fun,” Nabholz said.

The Crimson Tide (24-0) kept their undefeated season alive, but it was far from easy. Still, in what was a rare close game for Pottsville this season, the Tide found a way to get it done in crunch time.

The championship was the fifth in the past six years for the Crimson Tide, who lost 45-44 in last year’s championship game to Mahanoy Area.

Pottsville avenged that loss with a 59-31 rout of the Golden Bears in Wednesday’s semifinals. Now, Pottsville went out a winner in what will be its final game this season at Martz Hall.

“It was very exciting and very close,” Travis Blankenhorn said. “It was a good team win. We played a good team game.”

Pottsville, the Division I champ, won the

two regular-season meetings against the Raiders by double digits, including a 53-26 blowout Jan. 27 at Martz Hall. The third go-around was far different.

A spread offense by Tamaqua (19-5), the Division I wild card, frustrated Pottsville a little bit and kept the game close. Just when the Crimson Tide appeared to be pulling away, Tamaqua rallied in the fourth quarter and tied the game on a 3-pointer by Russell Blaker with 1:12 remaining in regulation.

But overtime belonged to Pottsville, especially Nabholz.

Not only did the 6-foot-5 center give the Crimson Tide the lead for good on their first possession, he was 3-for-4 from the foul line and grabbed three defensive rebounds in the extra session to help seal the victory.

“It is just the will to win,” Nabholz said of his overtime performance. “After last year we had a bitter taste in our mouth. I just wanted to pull my weight and make sure I did whatever I could to help us win and so did everybody else.”

Nabholz finished the game with five rebounds and two blocks. Blankenhorn led the Crimson Tide with 10 points.

Bo Rottet had 10 points and five rebounds to pace the Raiders, who were playing in their first league championship game since beating Marian for the title in 1994. He scored six of his points in the fourth quarter as Tamaqua rallied from a 20-13 deficit to force overtime.

Brett Kosciolek added eight points and four rebounds for the Raiders.

The Crimson Tide won their previous 23 games this season by an average margin of 30.3 points per game. Their closest victory was a 49-46 win Jan. 28 at Berks Catholic.

Friday was new territory for Pottsville, but nobody ever seemed rattled.

“I think we had confidence the whole game,” Blankenhorn said. “We knew that if we stuck together as a team, we would be all right.”

Blankenhorn set up Nabholz on the Crimson Tide’s first possession when he kicked out the ball to the wing after penetration. Nabholz, his foot on the 3-point line, knocked down the jumper to make it 26-24.

After Nabholz grabbed a Tamaqua miss, he quickly got the ball out to Blankenhorn, who ended up scoring a transition layup to make it 28-24.

The Raiders got back to within 1 on their next possession when Kosciolek knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner.

Pottsville then sealed the game from the foul line.

Ty Painter hit both ends of a 1-and-1 situation with 1:28 to go. After Nabholz rebounded another miss, he was fouled and hit the second of a double-bonus situation with 54.5 seconds left.

Nabholz rebounded another Raiders’ miss, was fouled again, and hit both ends of the double-bonus to make it 33-27 with 38.6 seconds remaining.

Tamaqua missed three shots in its final possession. Eventually, Nate MacDonald grabbed an offensive rebound, was fouled and hit the first of a 1-and-1 with 2.5 seconds left. He missed the second and the clock ran out as the teams scrambled for the rebound.

The Martz Hall crowd of 3,215 people then erupted one last time as the Crimson Tide rushed to the center of the court to celebrate a championship.

“It is just a blessing to come out, especially here in front of so many people,” Nabholz said. “The crowd was great tonight both ways. Tamaqua had a great game plan. We always say we need to come out and play our game. It took us a little bit to get into our game but we did. Hats off to Tamaqua, they played a great game.”

The victory gave Pottsville the No. 1 seed for the District 11 Class AAA playoffs and settled Tamaqua into fourth. The Blue Raiders open district play with a quarterfinal game next Saturday against North Schuylkill, while Pottsville will face the winner of Tuesday’s first-round game between Lehighton and Blue Mountain.

Game Summary

Schuylkill League Boys’ Championship

At Martz Hall

TAMAQUA (28) — Blaker 1 0-0 3, Miller 1 0-1 2, Rottet 4 1-1 10, Zuber 1 0-0 2, MacDonald 1 1-2 3, Skripko 0 0-0 0, Kosciolek 2 2-2 8. Totals 10 4-6 28.

POTTSVILLE (33) — Hinchliffe 1 0-0 2, Painter 0 2-2 2, Blankenhorn 4 3-4 11, Dunkel 0 0 0-0 0, Melochick 0 3-6 3, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo 2 0-0 6, Nabholz 2 5-6 9. Totals 9 13-18 33.

Tam (19-5) 0 7 6 11 4 — 28 Pot (24-0) 2 8 9 5 9 — 33

3-point FGs: Blaker, Rottet, Kosciolek 2, Abdo 2

2014-15 — Potttsville

2013-14 — Mahanoy Area

2012-13 — Pottsville

2011-12 — Pottsville

2010-11 — Pottsville

2009-10 — Pottsville

2008-09 — N. Schuylkill

2007-08 — Shamokin

2006-07 — Blue Mountain

2005-06 — Mahanoy Area

2004-05 — Mahanoy Area

2003-04 — Pottsville

2002-03 — Blue Mountain

2001-02 — Shamokin

2000-01 — Shamokin

1999-2000 — Pottsville

1998-99 — Mahanoy Area

1997-98 — Shamokin

1996-97 — Shamokin

1995-96 — Shamokin

1994-95 — Pottsville

1993-94 — Tamaqua

1992-93 — Pottsville

1991-92 — Shamokin

1990-91 — Mahanoy Area

1989-90 — Lourdes

1988-89 — Pottsville

1987-88 — Lourdes

1986-87 — Pine Grove

1985-86 — Panther Valley

1984-85 — Pottsville

1983-84 — Pottsville

1982-83 — Pottsville

1981-82 — Saint Clair

1980-81 — Pottsville

1979-80 — Pottsville

1978-79 — Mahanoy Area

1977-78 — N. Schuylkill

1976-77 — N. Schuylkill

1975-76 — Tamaqua

1974-75 — Blue Mountain

1973-74 — Blue Mountain

Tamaqua15/_MG_3892.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_3892.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_3892.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_3892.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_3892.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_3892.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0704.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0704.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0704.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0704.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0704.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0704.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0704.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0704.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0704.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0704.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0639.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0639.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0639.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0639.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Tamaqua15/_MG_0639.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

 

 Tamaqua's slow-down stategy nearly produces upset

By Leroy Boyer
Published: February 14, 2015
              
                

Caszy Kosciolek calls it his “4 to score” offense.

A spread-the-floor, patient, slow-down offensive set that makes for boring basketball, but one that can help an underdog hang with a heavy favorite.

The Tamaqua coach utilized the strategy in Friday’s Schuylkill League boys’ championship game against Pottsville at Martz Hall.

After a 27-point loss to Pottsville on the same floor 18 days ago, Kosciolek felt the strategy would give his Blue Raiders the best chance to knock off the unbeaten Crimson Tide.

It nearly worked.

Tamaqua held the ball for the nearly the entire first quarter, and stayed in the “4 to score” set the entire game. The result was a low-scoring, nail-biting, thrilling boys’ final that Pottsville pulled out 33-28 in overtime.

“Their defense is the toughest, probably on this side of the state,” Kosciolek said of Pottsville’s man-to-man, aggressive defense. “We figured if we could spread them out, be patient, take the very best shot.

“We want to try to score, but if we can’t, we want to keep the offense moving, keep people spread and try to make them vulnerable.

“You can’t stay enough how smart (his Blue Raiders) played and how selfless they are in order to play a game like this.”

Tamaqua slowed the tempo from the outset — running nearly four minutes off the clock on one possession — and the game was scoreless until Pottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn scored on a jumper with two seconds left in the first quarter.

The teams combined for just five shots in the first quarter, with Pottsville going 1-for-2 from the field and Tamaqua shooting 0-for-3.

The pace picked up somewhat in the second quarter, as the Crimson Tide outscored the Blue Raiders 8-7.

Instead of an up-and-down, high-scoring game that most people figured they would see, the slow-paced contest had Pottsville leading 10-7 at halftime.

“They got us out of our game a little bit,” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. “They had a great game plan. Them slowing it down as much as they did got us out of what we wanted to do offensively.

“You want to minimize possessions,” Mullaney continued. “They did a great job of doing that.

“We haven’t seen a dribble spread in a long time. There are ways to defend it. We made some adjustments trying to keep it out of the middle of the floor. In the first half we allowed them to get it into the middle, and you can run that offense all day if you allow them to do that.”

While Tamaqua was slowing the game down offensively, the Blue Raiders were able to slow down Pottsville’s offense just as effectively on the defensive end of the floor.

Tamaqua played a tight 2-1-2/2-3 zone that sagged 6-foot-7 Brett Kosciolek deep into the lane, but also extended at times to prevent the Crimson Tide from making skip passes across the zone for open 3-point shots.

Pottsville was patient against it, running its motion offense in search of a good shot, but struggled to hit from the outside against it.

“Any zone defense, you have to shade their shooters, and that’s what we did,” Kosciolek said. “I thought we did a good job of finding where Blankenhorn was most of the time. It’s a game plan you use against the personnel that’s there. We shaded shooters, and we did a good job of man principles in that zone defense in knowing where their weapons were.

“We did a nice job when the ball went into the short corner and we defended the high post.”

The combination of Tamaqua’s patient offense and its tough defense forced the game into a crawl for three-plus quarters. Pottsville shot 0-for-4 from beyond the arc before sophomore Jordan Abdo came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers late in the third quarter, and finished 2-for-9 from 3-point range.

“They had a good strategy defensively, and we have good shooters out there. But we needed to be more aggressive against it,” Mullaney said. “There’s other ways to score against a zone other than just hitting 3s. There are other things we could have gotten that we worked on, they just did a great job in it. We weren’t hitting from the perimeter, and they could tighten it up a little more.”

Tamaqua opened up its offensive attack in the fourth quarter after falling behind 20-13 with 4:41 left, and rallied to tie it and force overtime. Eli Nabholz tallied five of his nine points in the extra session to help Pottsville win it.

The victory gives Pottsville (24-0) the No. 1 seed in the upcoming District 11 Class AAA Tournament and sets up a quarterfinal contest between Tamaqua and North Schuylkill.

The Tamaqua-North Schuylkill winner could get Pottsville in the semifinals.

On a different floor, in a different environment, Tamaqua’s slow-down strategy may not have worked. It worked to near perfection Friday.

“(Pottsville) is very good,” Kosciolek said. “We’re not into moral victories, but no one has taken this team into overtime. I told our kids this is something for us to build on going into district play. We learned a lot about ourselves, too.”

 

H.S. BOYS BASKETBALL: Raiders get another shot at Crimson Tide in Schuylkill League finals


           

Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2015:02:11 19:41:40 PR13BOYSPREVIEW_1_WEB                             

 

                                                          

Schuylkill League Boys’ Basketball Championship

Tonight, at Martz Hall

Tamaqua (19-4, Division I wild card)

vs. Pottsville (23-0, Division I champion), 8 p.m.

About the Blue Raiders

Head coach: Caszy Kosciolek (4th season)

How got here: Beat Division II champ Minersville 59-53 in Wednesday’s semifinal

Last appearance in title game: 1994 — Beat Marian 59-52

Previous league titles (since 1966): Two (1976, 1994)

Team statistics: Offense (58.0 points per game), defense (43.3 ppg)

Probable starting lineup: G Russell Blaker (jr., 6-1, 8.5 points per game), G Bo Rottet (sr., 6-0, 17.3), F Nate MacDonald (sr., 6-1, 5.7), F Tyler Skripko (sr., 5-10, 3.4), F-C Brett Kosciolek (sr., 6-7, 17.2)

Key reserves: G Ben Miller (sr., 6-1, 1.3), G Thaddaeus Zuber (fr., 5-9, 1.4), G Ernie Shilko (sr., 5-8, 1.7)

About the Crimson Tide

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (8th season)

How got here: Beat Division III champ Mahanoy Area 59-31 in semifinal

Last appearance in title game: 2014 — Lost to Mahanoy Area 45-44

Previous league titles (since 1966): 14 — 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Team statistics: Offense (62.2 points per game), defense (31.9 ppg)

Probable starting lineup: G Connor Hinchliffe (sr., 6-1, 4.7), G Ty Painter (sr., 5-7, 3.2), G Travis Blankenhorn (sr., 6-2, 16.7), G-F Jordan Melochick (jr., 6-2, 9.3), F-C Eli Nabholz (sr., 6-5, 12.4)

Key reserves: F Jed Dunkel (sr., 6-2, 2.3), G Derek Shuman (sr., 6-1, 1.1), G Christian Witman (jr., 6-1, 1.9), G Jordan Abdo (soph., 5-10, 6.2)

Game notes

Rottet (23 in the game) and Kosciolek (18) combined for 26 second-half points as the Raiders pulled away in their semifinal win over the Miners. Rottet scored 16 of his points in the second half and finished the night 12-for-15 from the foul line. ... Crimson Tide were down 11-2 early in the first quarter against the Golden Bears before holding a 57-20 scoring advantage the rest of the game. Blankenhorn led the Crimson Tide with 12 points. ... Third meeting between two this season. Crimson Tide used a fourth-quarter run to pull away and win 57-40 on Jan. 5 and then dominated the second meeting, winning 53-26 on Jan. 27. ... Game features three 1,000-career point scorers: Blankenhorn (1,489), Kosciolek (1,430) and Rottet (1,044). Blankenhorn and Kosciolek reached their milestones last season, Rottet did it last week. ... Crimson Tide are ranked No. 7 in Class AAA in most recent PennLive.com rankings. Raiders are a team to watch in Class AAA. ... Crimson Tide would wrap up a No. 1 seed for the District 11 Class AAA playoffs with win. Tamaqua would improve on its No. 4 ranking with a victory.

— Complied by Mike Carnahan

The first was a competitive game.

The second go around was a rout.

So what will the third meeting this season between Pottsville and Tamaqua bring?

For certain, it is the most important match-up of them all. It is title time tonight when the Crimson Tide (23-0) take on the Raiders (19-4) for the Schuylkill League boys’ championship at 7:30 p.m. at Martz Hall.

Pottsville, the Division I champ, is playing in its sixth consecutive league title game and is looking to win its fifth championship in the past six years. The Crimson Tide beat Division III champ Mahanoy Area 59-31 in the semifinals Wednesday, avenging last year’s title-game loss to the Golden Bears.

Tonight is new territory for Tamaqua, the Division I wild card.

The Raiders are playing in their league final since a 59-52 victory over Marian in 1994. Tamaqua reached tonight’s championship with a 59-53 victory over Division II champ Minersville in Wednesday’s semifinals.

“They are really excited,” Tamaqua coach Caszy Kosciolek said about getting another crack at the Crimson Tide. “It is really their first taste of Martz Hall in the postseason. Their confidence level is as high as I’ve seen it. I think we are ready to go.”

Let’s recap the first two meetings:

Jan. 5 at Tamaqua, Pottsville 57-40: Travis Blankenhorn poured in 30 points as the Crimson Tide took their first lead midway through the first quarter and led the rest of the way. But Tamaqua wouldn’t go quietly and cut the deficit to 39-31 early in the fourth quarter before Pottsville finished the game on an 18-9

run. Ty Painter added 10 points for the Crimson Tide. Brett Kosciolek (14) and Bo Rottet (11) reached double figures for the Raiders.

Jan. 27 at Martz Hall, Pottsville 53-26: The game was never close as the Crimson Tide led 28-11 at halftime and rolled to the win. The Raiders shot 10-for-38 (26 percent) from the floor and turned the ball over 12 times. Blankenhorn scored all of his game-high 14 points in the first half, while Jordan Melochick (11) and Eli Nabholz (11) also reached double figures. Rottet (12) led the Raiders.

If history is any guide, tonight’s game should be closer than the scores from the regular season.

The last time the Schuylkill League boys’ final featured teams that meet twice during the regular season was in 2011 and 2012 between Pottsville and Pine Grove.

After grabbing 39-27 and 62-34 victories during the regular season, Pottsville edged the Cardinals 51-49 in the 2011 championship game that came down to the wire.

In 2012, Pottsville won 48-36 and 43-33 during the regular season and then pulled away late in the title game for a 38-31 victory.

“It is easier because you see a lot of their plays the whole year and we are used to playing them,” Pottsville senior Connor Hinchliffe said about playing the same team three times on one season. “We know their players just as good as our own players. It is kind of hard because one day they can come out and shoot fire, and the next … When we played them at home, they couldn’t hit anything and we beat them pretty good. You just can’t take anyone lightly.”

For Tamaqua to pull off the upset against the No. 7-ranked Class AAA team in the state, Caszy Kosciolek knows the Raiders need to figure out how to have success against Pottsville’s tough man-to-man defense.

The Crimson Tide’s defense dominated the second meeting between the clubs, as it during Wednesday’s semifinal win over Mahanoy Area. The Golden Bears shot 12-for-41 (29 percent) and turned the ball over 24 times.

“We have to get into the rhythm of our offense,” Coach Kosciolek said. “We can’t allow them to take us out of our rhythm. That is going to be a critical factor.”

Crimson Tide coach Dave Mullaney believes Pottsville needs to defend well, too, especially Brett Kosciolek (17.2 points per game, 1,430 career points) and Rottet (17.3, 1,044). The Crimson Tide also need to attack, and yet be patient, on offense, no matter what defense the Raiders show.

“They have two really, really good players and we are going to have to defend them,” Mullaney said. “We are going to have to make sure we keep (Russell) Blaker off the 3-point line, he’s a very good player. We are going to have to be aggressive going against what ever defense they have. We anticipate some 3-2 zones, 2-3 zone, a little man, whatever they play, we need to be aggressive against them.”


Pottsville - Mahanoy Area Highlights-WNEP

 

Schuylkill League Boys' BB: Pottsville overwhelms Mahanoy Area

by mike carnahan
Published: February 12, 2015

              

Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2015:02:11 19:52:55

JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville's Connor Hinchliffe hauls down a rebound over Mahanoy Area's Brian Miller during the semifinals of the Schuylkill League at Martz Hall in Pottsville Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2015:02:11 19:48:59

JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville's Jordan Melochick splits Mahanoy Area's defenders Mike Joseph (30) and Mike Wronski (22) during Wednesday’s Schuylkill League semifinals at Martz Hall. The Tide beat the Bears 59-31.                                                          

Pottsville’s defense has overwhelmed the opposition at times this season.

That was the case Wednesday night.

The Crimson Tide’s intensity on defense allowed Pottsville to overcome an early deficit and roll to a 59-31 victory over Mahanoy Area in the Schuylkill League boys’ basketball semifinals at Martz Hall.

Travis Blankenhorn had 12 points and Jordan Abdo came off the bench to score 10 as the Crimson Tide (23-0) reached the title game for the sixth consecutive year.

Pottsville will take on Division I wild card Tamaqua (19-4) for the championship at 8 p.m. Friday at Martz Hall. The Raiders beat Division II champ Minersville 59-53 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.

It will be third meeting between the Crimson Tide and Tamaqua this season. Pottsville won 57-40 on Jan. 5 and 53-26 on Jan. 27.

“It is always good to play at Martz Hall,” said Pottsvile senior Connor Hinchliffe, who had eight points Wednesday. “There is nothing better than playing at Martz Hall with everyone here and are looking forward to seeing us play.”

The Crimson Tide’s 45-44 loss to Mahanoy Area during last year’s title game denied Pottsville a fifth straight league title. Avenging that loss provided a little extra motivation Wednesday.

“Mahanoy is a good team,” Pottsville’s Ty Painter said. “We came in with a chip on our shoulder and we wanted to make sure we got back to the finals again.”

It was a little shaky early for the Crimson Tide as the Golden Bears (18-5) hit their first four shots to take an 11-2 lead 3:21 into the game.

The rest of the night belonged to Pottsville.

The Crimson Tide, the Division I champs, tied the game at 13 early in the second quarter, starting a 21-4 scoring advantage in the period to give Pottsville a 32-17 halftime advantage.

Division III champion Mahanoy Area got to within 34-22 midway through the third quarter, but the Crimson Tide put the game away with a 19-2 run that lasted into the fourth.

A big factor was Pottsville’s man-to-man defensive intensity.

After the Golden Bears’ early lead, the Crimson Tide put the clamps on Mahanoy Area. Pottsville made it difficult for the Golden Bears to get any kind of rhythm going in their half-court sets. Mahanoy Area rushed what shots it did get and finished the

night 12-for-41 (29 percent) from the floor. The Golden Bears also committed 25 turnovers.

The defensive effort started with Painter, who was matched up on Mahanoy Area point guard Mike Joseph.

“They have great players all around,” Painter said. “He’s a good ball-handler. We just kept putting pressure on them, don’t let them catch the ball and keep it up defensively.”

Hinchliffe added nine rebounds and three steals on the night. He also hit some big buckets in the first half.

Hinchliffe had a 3-pointer with 23 seconds in the first quarter from the corner on a kick-out pass from Eli Nabholz that pulled Pottsville to within 13-11.

After a reverse, baseline layup by Nabholz early in the second quarter tied the game at 13, Hinchliffe gave the Crimson Tide the lead for good on their next possession when he scored off a Jordan Melochick missed 3-pointer. Hinchliffe hit another 3 with 4:08 left in the first half from the top of the circle to make it 22-13.

Hinchliffe, who came in averaging 4.5 points per game, has seen his offense pick up the last couple of games. He 16 points combined during Crimson Tide wins over Lehighton and Jim Thorpe last week.

“I think early in the year it was just kind of a confidence issue,” Hinchliffe said. “Not many 3s were going in, but I think I just needed to get that first good game to stay confident. Now, when I get an open shot, I feel confident I am going to knock it down.

Matt Yedsena had 10 points to pace the Golden Bears, while Joseph added eight.

A turnaround jumper in the lane by Miller on Mahanoy Area’s opening possession, followed by a 3-pointer by Joseph and back-to-back 3s by Miller and Yedsena gave the Golden Bears their early 11-2 led. But Mahanoy Area didn’t score again in the first quarter until a Mike Wronski layup with 45 seconds left.

Their next field goal of the game came with 1:04 remaining in the first half, making it 29-17 Pottsville.

“The first quarter, we did everything we talked about the last two days,” Mahanoy Area coach Scott Hudson said. “ We boxed out perfectly, ran our sets, set hard screens. But they picked up their defense and sort of shut us down a little bit at the guard position and sort of gave us some problems.

“Give them credit, their defense picked it up.”

Game Summary

Schuylkill League Boys’ Semifinal

At Martz Hall

POTTSVILLE (59) — Hinchliffe 3 0-0 8, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 2 0-1 3, Blankenhorn 3 6-6 12, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Dunkel 2 0-0 4, Melochick 2 5-5 9, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 1 0-0 2, Abdo 5 0-0 10, Nabholz 3 2-2 6, Coyle 1 0-0 3, Renninger 0 0-0 0, Schenck 1 0-0 2, O’Pake 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 13-14 59.

MAHANOY AREA (31) — Erbe 0 0-0 0, R. Derr 0 0-0 0, Yedsena 4 0-0 10, M. Derr 0 0-0 0, Styka 1 0-0 2, McGee 0 0-0 0, Wronski 2 0-0 5, Fedor 0 0-0 0, Miller 2 1-2 6, Joseph 3 0-0 8. Totals 12 1-2 31.

Pot (23-0) 11 21 14 13 — 59 Mah (18-5) 13 4 9 5 — 31

3-point FGs: Hinchliffe 2, Painter, Coyle, Yedsena 2, Wronski, Miller, Joseph 2

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

Mahanoy15/_MG_3879.jpg

HERE WE GO!!!

 

Schuylkill League Boys' Basketball Semifinal Capsules

By Mike Carnahan
Published: February 11, 2015


Schuylkill League

Boys’ Basketball Semifinals

Tonight, at Martz Hall

Tamaqua (18-4, Division I wild card)

vs. Minersville (18-3, Division II champ), 6 p.m.

About Tamaqua

Head coach: Caszy Kosciolek (4th season)

Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1985): Five

Last appearance: 1995 — Lost to Pottsville in semifinals

League rankings: Offense (3rd, 58.0 points per game), defense (3rd, 42.8 ppg)

Probable starting lineup: G Russell Blaker (jr., 6-1, 8.6 points per game), G Bo Rottet (sr., 6-0, 17.0), F Nate MacDonald (sr., 6-1, 5.7), F Tyler Skripko (sr., 5-10, 3.5), F-C Brett Kosciolek (sr., 6-7, 17.2)

Key reserves: G Ernie Shilko (sr., 5-8, 1.7), G Ben Miller (sr., 6-1, 1.4), G Thaddaeus Zuber (fr., 5-9, 1.2)

About Minersville

Head coach: Cliff Woodford (8th season)

Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1985): Three

Last appearance: 2011 — Lost to Pine Grove 54-47 in semifinals

League rankings: Offense (6th, 53.8 ppg), defense (4th, 43.0 ppg)

Probable starting lineup: G Colin Hashin (sr., 5-8, 6.1), G Jon McBreen (jr., 6-2, 7.4), G Chris Leshko (jr., 6-2, 12.4), F David Graham (jr., 6-0, 11.0), F Spencer Tobin (sr., 6-1, 8.8)

Key reserve: F Brian Brennan (jr., 6-2, 3.5)

Game notes

Two teams met during the regular season Dec. 8 with the Raiders winning 45-33. Rottet had 23 points in the contest, while Graham had 10 for the Miners. ... Miners enter on eight-game winning streak. That includes a 46-45 win over North Schuylkill on Jan. 31 and a 59-58 victory over Shenandoah Valley on Saturday. Leshko had the go-ahead bucket in both games. ... Leshko is the league’s top 3-point shooter, averaging 2.4 per game. ... Rottet went over 1,000 points for his career last week, joining Kosciolek, who did it last season. ... Tamaqua will likely play a 2-3 zone, but will show other zone looks, too. Miners will play man-to-man. ... Both teams — Tamaqua (Class AAA) and Minersville (Class AA) — are listed as others to watch in latest PennLive.com Pennsylvania High School Rankings.

Mahanoy Area (18-4, Division III champ)

vs. Pottsville (22-0, Division I champ), 7:30 p.m.

About Mahanoy Area

Head coach: Scott Hudson (1st season)

Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1985): 17 overall, 5 titles (1991, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2014)

Last appearance: 2014 — Beat Pottsville 45-44 in championship game

League rankings: Offense (5th, 53.9), defense (2nd, 42.3)

Probable starting lineup: G Matt Yedsena (jr., 6-0, 15.7), G Mike Wronski (jr., 5-9, 8.2), G Mike Joseph (soph., 5-8, 8.9), F Peter Luddy (sr., 5-9, 2.3), F-C Brian Miller (sr., 6-3, 15.4)

Key reserves: F Marcus Styka (jr., 6-1, 2.4)

About Pottsville

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (8th season)

Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1985): 17 overall, 10 titles (1985, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)

Last appearance: 2014 — Lost to Mahanoy Area 45-44 in championship game

League rankings: Offense (2nd, 62.3) defense (1st, 31.9)

Probable starting lineup: G Connor Hinchliffe (sr., 6-1, 4.5), G Ty Painter (sr., 5-7, 3.2), G Travis Blankenhorn (sr., 6-2, 16.9), G-F Jordan Melochick (jr., 6-2, 9.3), F-C Eli Nabholz (sr., 6-5, 12.7)

Key reserves: F Jed Dunkel (sr., 6-2, 2.2), G Derek Shuman (sr., 6-1, 1.2), G Christian Witman (jr., 6-1, 1.9), G Jordan Abdo (soph., 5-10, 6.0)

Game notes

Rematch of last year’s title game. All five of Pottsville’s likely starters tonight started in that game. Miller played for the Golden Bears and scored two points. ... With their 59-29 win over Jim Thorpe last Friday, Crimson Tide became first boys’ team from Schuylkill League to finish with undefeated regular season since Mahanoy Area (2006-07). ... Golden Bears were on an 11-game winning streak before going 2-2 in their final four regular-season games. ... Crimson Tide have simply overwhelmed their opponents this season, winning their games by an average margin of 30.4 points per game. ... Both teams will play a man-to-man. ... Crimson Tide are ranked No. 7 in Class AAA in latest PennLive.com rankings. Golden Bears are a team to watch in Class AA.

— Complied by Mike Carnahan

UNDEFEATED!!!!!!

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

 

Perfection is preserved.

Eli Nabholz scored 14 points, while Travis Blankenhorn added 13 as Pottsville capped its undefeated regular season with a 50-29 Schuylkill League Division I victory over Jim Thorpe on Friday in Martz Hall.

With the win, the Crimson Tide became the first team in program history to accomplish that feat. Pottsville is also the first team from the Schuylkill League to end the regular season with a perfect record since Blue Mountain in 2002-03.

Blankenhorn tallied all 13 of his points in the middle two quarters as the Tide outscored the Olympians 28-12 in that stretch.

Shane Snisky led Jim Thorpe with nine points, while Chris Micciche had eight.

JIM THORPE (29) — Carroll 1 0-0 3, Elmore 0 0-2 0, Micciche 3 1-2 8, Green 0 0-0 0, Luicina 0 0-0 0, McElmoyle 2 0-0 5, S. Snisky 3 3-4 9, Everitt 1 1-2 4, Joyce 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 5-10 29.

POTTSVILLE (50) — Hinchliffe 2 1-1 6, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 1 0-0 3, Blankenhorn 6 0-0 13, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Dunkel 1 0-0 2, Melochick 0 1-2 1, Shuman 1 1-2 3, Witman 0 2-2 2, Abdo 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 6 2-2 14, Coyle 1 0-0 3, Renninger 0 1-2 1, Schenk 1 0-0 2, O’Pake 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 8-11 50.

JT (8-14, 4-10) 6 7 5 11 — 29 Pt (22-0, 14-0) 13 13 15 9 — 50

3-point FGs: Carroll, Micciche, McElmoyle, Everitt, Hinchliffe, Painter, Blankenhorn, Coyle

JV score: Pottsville 50-31

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

Thorpe15/_MG_3860.jpg