POTTSVILLE BOYS BASKETBALL

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Tide closing in on the 2014-2015 season

 

-Team dedicates offseason for individual improvement

 

 

Summer League

 

Beginning in June our freshmen, JV, and Varsity teams began competing in our summer league at Barefield.  Our summer league continues to grow and now has a total of 22 teams.   With three teams competing, we have up to 24 players in our program competing each Tuesday and Thursday evening at our Barefield Complex.  Our varsity team was able to compile a 6-6 record in a very competitive Adult league, which continues to attract the very best adult teams and players within Schuylkill and its’ surrounding counties.  Our JV-A team went undefeated through the Junior Varsity league, while our freshmen ended with a winning record.  We are excited to see our summer league continue to grow and improve each and every year!

 

Skill Development

 

We try to pride ourselves to devoting most of our offseason to skill development.  We feel this is the number one priority for us as a program each offseason.  As we get closer to the season, we will begin to focus more on our system, but the majority of our offseason workouts involve making our players better individually.  Our skill development sessions ran Monday through Thursday mornings at Barefield and focused primarily on dribbling, passing, and shooting.   These skill sessions were often led by Nick Schlitzer and Brandon Bridy, former star players for the Tide and current college players.  Nick also ran his own day camp in July in which 27 players of ours attended.  Brandon, along with Saige Spece, another former Tide player who is now playing at Bloomsburg, helped Nick with the advanced skill development camp.

 

Strength Training

 

One area we noticed we fell short as a program in comparison to the elite teams in the state last season, was in strength, quickness, and explosiveness.  Our trainer, Dan Slotterback, who is certified in strength training, has our kids training at an all-time high.  Through strength training three days a week in the summer and two days a week during the fall, we feel we are going to be ready to meet the physical and athletic demands to compete with the very best in the state this year.

 

Team Camp

 

Our Varsity and JV teams returned to the Kutztown AFBE team camp in mid-July.  Once again, the camp provided plenty of competition from teams from the Northeast and abroad.  Our Varsity Team recorded a 9-4 record and lost a close semi-final game.  Our JV’s won their division, and did so in such an impressive fashion, they were moved up to varsity competition for the playoffs.

 

Fundraising

 

Our booster club has had another successful offseason of fundraising.  In the spring, we hosted our AFBE basketball tournament for the 2nd straight year.  In early June, we ran our sticky bun fundraiser, which was used to defer some of the cost for our beach trip.  Once again, we ran our 3 on 3 tournament at Barefield, along with our golf tournament at Hidden Valley.  This year the weather cooperated and we had a great turnout for both!  Our last fundraiser before the season will be the Philadelphia University vs Kutztown University basketball game we our hosting at Martz Hall.  Given the fact we will have two of our former star players participating, we anticipate a large crowd on November 25th at Martz!

 

Beach Trip to Stone Harbor

 

The summer of 2014 marked the first year for a beach trip for our program.  We were able to take 12 of our junior and senior players on a four day, three night beach trip to Stone Harbor at the end of July.  While the kids were able to enjoy some free time at the beach, we also got some great competition at neighboring Middle Township High School. Though competing with the Middle Twp current players, as well as former players, who are now playing collegiately and professionally, our kids were exposed to a great deal of talent.

 

 

Philadelphia University Rams

vs

Kutztown University Golden Bears

November 25, 2014 at 7;00 pm

at

Martz Hall, Pottsville

 

 Pottsville Boys Basketball Game

Crimson & White Game

at 5:30 pm

Admission: $5.00 

 

ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT POTTSVILLE BOYS BASKETBALL PROGRAMS

 

See Former Tide Players: Nick Schlitzer (Philadelphia) & Brandon Bridy (Kutztown) 

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Brandon Bridy - Kutzstown University 2013

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2014 Crimson Tide Summer Trip

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2014 Barefield Tuesday & Thursday League Players

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2014 Barefield Tuesday & Thursday Champions

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Photos Coursey Of David McGown and Pottsville Republican

 

Stars come out - Blankenhorn and Mahmod grab Co-player Honors

                               

Mahanoy Area's Dylan Mahmod is a fiery performer on the basketball court and isn't afraid to let his emotions show. The senior guard also has the game to back it up.

"He is one of those guys that if you are the opposition, he is a target," Golden Bears coach Mickey Holland said. "If he is on your side, you love him."

Pottsville's Travis Blankenhorn is more quiet and reserved. Don't, however, be fooled by the junior guard's demeanor. Blankenhorn has plenty of game, too.

"He's a humble superstar," Crimson Tide coach Dave Mullaney said. "You would never guess by talking to him that he's the best at every sport."

While their leadership styles and on-court personalities are different, both Mahmod and Blankenhorn share similar traits. Both are successful, multi-sport athletes, with a burning desire for success, both individually and for their teams.

Mahmod and Blankenhorn certainly delivered this past boys' basketball season and for their performances they are 2013-14 Republican-Herald Co-Players of the Year.

Mahmod, a Republican-Herald first-teamer last year, missed the first two games of the season with a broken collarbone suffered during football but recovered to lead Mahanoy Area in scoring at 13.5 points per game, including 40 3-pointers. An all-around offensive threat with a knack for finding the open man, the 6-foot-2 Mahmod was also an excellent defender and was selected to the third team on the Associated Press' Pennsylvania All-State Boys' Basketball team in Class A.

Mahanoy Area finished the season 25-3, winning Schuylkill League Division III, overall league and District 11 Class A titles. The Golden Bears reached the second round of the PIAA playoffs, suffering a season-ending 56-52 loss to Church Farm.

Blankenhorn, a 6-2 guard, was a Republican-Herald Co-Rookie of the Year as a freshman, a first-teamer last season and built on that this past winter. With the loss of Brandon Bridy to graduation, Blankenhorn took over the role as offensive leader and became more multi-dimensional, adding post moves and the ability to get the basket to go

along with a deadly accurate outside shot. Blankenhorn finished second in the league in scoring at 18.2 points per game and drained 61 3s on the year. He added 5.7 rebounds per game, was 78-for-105 (74 percent) from the foul line and currently has 1,103 points in his career.

The Crimson Tide (24-6) were the Division I champs for the fifth consecutive year, reached the league title game for fifth straight season and played in their first District 11 Class AAA title game since 2010. Pottsville advanced to the second round of the state playoffs before losing to eventual state runner-up Susquehanna Twp. 52-45.

For the second consecutive season, Holland is Coach of the Year.

In his 33rd and final season, this season's Golden Bears became the third team he coached to both overall league and district titles in the same season, joining the 1990-91 and 1998-99 squads. The Schuylkill League title, a 45-44 victory over Pottsville on Feb. 14 at Martz Hall, was Mahanoy Area' first since 2006 and ended the Crimson Tide's four-year championship run. The Golden Bears 62-42 rout of Pius X on Feb. 28 at Martz Hall was their second consecutive district championship.

Mahanoy Area finished ranked No. 4 in the Penn-Live.com/Harrisburg Patriot-News state rankings in Class A.

Rookie of Year honors go to North Schuylkill sophomore Tevin Murray.

A 6-5 forward, Murray was one of the four new starters for the Spartans this season and steadily improved as the year progressed. A tenacious rebounder, Murray helped North Schuylkill continue its winning ways as the Spartans finished 16-7.

Mahmod takes leadership role on experienced team

Mahmod was having a great football season as the Golden Bears' quarterback (1,545 rushing, 554 passing) before he broke his collarbone Oct. 25 against Schuylkill Haven. With limited practice time during the basketball preseason - Mahmod was cleared to go full-board in practice Dec. 12 and played his first game the next night against Shenandoah Valley - he started slow offensively. But Mahmod cranked in up late in the year, averaging 17.8 points per game over final 10 games and 15.7 during the Golden Bears' six postseason games.

He scored 17 in Mahanoy Area's 49-35 league semifinal win Feb. 11 against Blue Mountain and 21 in the title game against Pottsville as the Golden Bears built a 40-25 lead with 2:26 left in the game before holding off a furious Crimson Tide comeback.

"Overall, that was probably my best game," Mahmod said.

One of Mahmod's best defensive efforts came in the district title game when he held Pius X' Eric Marbury, who came averaging 17.2 points per game, to 13.

Still, Mahmod felt he stepped up the biggest as a leader. Even with a senior-heavy team and four retuning starters, Mahmod wanted to take on more of that role that started during football as a quarterback. The Golden Bears won their first six games and finished 8-4, losing to Marian in the Eastern Conference Class A title game.

"(Teammates) Larry (McNeil) and Andy (Kuzma) definitely had a big leadership standpoint, too, but I felt me and (Tyler) Cavenas had to take control of the team," Mahmod said. "There were many times when coach told us we are going to go as far as you take us. I definitely felt like I lot of it was on my shoulders."

What Mahmod, who is headed to Susquehanna University to play basketball for coach Frank Marcinek, also has is a burning desire to win.

"You can sense there are certain kids that it is every bit as important to them, winning, as it is to you," Holland said. "It causes you to really trust them and at times listen when they have things to say. With Dylan, he and I had that kind of relationship."

Blankenhorn quietly leads Crimson Tide continued success

Blankenhorn was the lone returning starter from the 2012-13 campaign and finished as Pottsville's second leading scorer behind Bridy. While others, such as junior Eli Nabhohz (12.9) and sophomore Jordan Melochick (9.8) stepped up offensively this past winter, it Blankenhorn turn to lead the way.

"We knew we needed players to step up and I feel like we did that this year," he said.

Especially Blankenhorn.

He average five more points per game more this season compared to his sophomore year and reached double figures in 29 of Pottsville's 30 games. Blankenhorn's season high was 33 at Williamsport on Dec. 17, a key early-season, confidence boosting 53-37 Crimson Tide victory.

Blankenhorn, who has verbally committed to play baseball at the University of Kentucky, went over 1,000 points for his career Feb. 11 against Williams Valley in the league semifinals.

Blankenhorn felt he didn't need to become more of a leader this season, but Mullaney knows he did. He describes Blankenhorn as one who isn't a rah-rah type player but leads by example.

"These kids look up to him," Mullaney said. "As humble as a kid he is, he is just as competitive."

One area Blankenhorn focused on was becoming more of a complete offensive player. Known as a 3-point shooter his first two years, he became more of an inside threat and scorer off the dribble this season.

It was somewhat of an up-and-down year for the Crimson Tide. Their only championship was a division title but the program still reached new heights. Pottsville's 58-38 win over Lower Moreland in the first round of PIAA playoffs March 7 was it first start-tournament victory since 1974. The Crimson Tide also gave Susquehanna Twp., which lost in the Class AAA state finals to Neumann-Goretti, a battle in the second round.

"It was definitely a good season but we could have done better," Blankenhorn said.

Pottsville will get that chance. All five starters will return next season.

Holland finishes career in style and on top

Holland tried to keep it secret that this was going to be his last season but everybody involved in the Mahanoy Area program knew that this was likely the end.

It turned out to be a grand finale as Holland guided a squad with high expectations. It's a role that perfectly suits Holland, who finished with a career record of 614-243, getting win 600 on Jan. 10 against Lourdes.

"I always liked to be the one being chased," he said. "It means that you are good. We always felt that way. We never minded the target on our back."

The Golden Bears were as good as advertised. They led the league in scoring defense, allowing 33.8 points per game, fourth in scoring offense at 57.6 and won their games by an average margin of 27.4 points.

When Mahanoy Area did seem to lose focus, it quickly recovered.

With three of his starters also members of the football team, Holland felt there was a football hangover for the first month of the year. But a 61-41 rout of Danville in the championship game of the Cardinal Classic on Dec. 28 got them going.

After a 62-61 defeat at North Schuylkill on Jan. 31, the most points the Golden Bears allowed all season, Mahanoy Area got its defensive focus back and allowed only one team, Church Farm, to score 50 or more the rest of the year.

While his players wanted to go further, Holland was proud of was accomplished this season. The state playoff loss to Church Farm, a game that was tied at 52 with 1:21 to go before it slipped away, was the perfect example.

Church Farm lost to eventual state runner-up Math, Civics & Science 47-46 in the quarterfinals.

"Honesty, to me it was real rewarding in the fact that we were right there at the end, really," Holland said. "It was a great opportunity to play some great teams, some very good teams with some very good city kids and we looked at it, we played it and we walked away saying 'No excuse.'

"This was a special group of kids and I am super proud of them. It was great group to go out with."

Murray helps Spartans continue winning ways

North Schuylkill coach Curt Ziegmont wasn't exactly sure what he was going to get from the Spartans or Murray this season.

Murray gave Ziegmont more than he expected.

As Murray's confidence grew, so did his production. Over North Schuylkill's final 11 games, Murray averaged 15.6 points per game. His season high was 23 during the Spartan's win over Mahanoy Area he was 13-for-17 from the foul line, hitting go-ahead points from the line with 13 seconds left in the game.

But it was Murrary's rebounding ability, a combination of positioning and aggressiveness, that stood out the most. Ziegmont figured Murray ended the season with at least 12 double-doubles and averaged around 12 rebounds per game.

Murray had 18 points and 16 rebounds in the Spartans' season-ending 52-46 loss to Catasauqua in the District 11 Class AA semifinals.

"He's the best rebounder I've ever coached," Ziegmont said. "Some guys just have the knack. They always seem to find the ball or the ball always finds them."

2013-2014 Schuylkill League All-Area Boys Basketball

Travis Blankenhorn - Pottsville and Dylan Mahmod - Mahonoy Area -- Co-Players of the years

 

2013-2014 Republican Herald Boys Basketball All-Area First Team

Eli Nabholz-Pottsville-Junior- Forward 6'5"

Will Bornstein - Blue Mountain-Senior-Guard 6'1"

Jeff Yordy-Nativity-Junior-Guard 6'1"

Tyler Cavenas-Senior-Center 6'5"

Brett Kosciolek-Tamaqua-Junior-Forward 6'7"

 

2013-2014 Republican Herald All-Area Boys Basketball Second Team

Jake Szczecina-Panther Valley-Senior- Guard 6'0"

Bo Rottet-Tamaqua-Junior-Guard 6'0"

Skyler Panchari-Blue Mountain-Senior-Center 6' 4"

Larry McNeil-Mahanoy Area-Senior-Guard 6'4"

Stephen Sedesse-Williams Valley-Senior-Forward 6'2"

 

 

Honorable Mention

Jordan Melochick-Pottsville Sophmore-6'2"

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Photos Coursey Of David McGown and Pottsville Republican

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Photo Coursey Of Pottsville Republican/Dave McKeown

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"Good Luck" to our Seniors

John Toomey and Daymarr Jackson

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Travis "Money" Blankenhorn selected Crimson Tide's MVP 2014 by Pottsville Boys Basketball League

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The Basketball Banquet will be held on Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm at the Middle School Cafeteria!

"BAND OF BROTHERS"

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READING — Survive and advance.

In other words, survive by finding a way to defeat the guys standing in front of you and advance to play one more day — at some site on some day.

Well, after churning out a 52-45 victory over a stubborn Pottsville club Tuesday night at the Geigle Complex, Susquehanna Twp.’s basketball-playing Indians found a way to survive the second round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.

“Our motto right now is just survive and advance,” Susquehanna Twp. guard Gabe Mack said. “As long as you win, you play another game. You’ve just got to win.”

And, thanks to Tuesday night’s difficult yet gratifying result, Vince Rogers’ resourceful ballclub will tee it up again in Friday night’s quarterfinals at a site and time to be determined against District 3 playmate Lancaster Mennonite.

Mennonite downed No. 6 Chartiers Valley 68-64 in another second-round scrap.

Bud Mack (3) scored a game-high 22 points in Susquehanna Twp.'s 52-45 victory over Pottsville. (Mark Pynes, PennLive.com)

Nehemiah “Bud” Mack collected a game-high 22 points, while Gabe Mack pocketed all 11 of his points following the halftime break as the District 3-AAA champs (21-7) extended their winning streak to six games and moved into the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2008. That club reached the state title game.

Quintin Ward added nine points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots for the seventh-ranked Indians, who won for the 17th time in 20 games. Rogers’ outfit also picked up six points and seven boards from Joe Marshall.

Eli Nabholz, a 6-5 junior with a terrific touch from the perimeter, dropped in 21 points for Pottsville. Nabholz’s productive night included four treys.

Dave Mullaney’s gritty Crimson Tide (24-6) — all five starters are underclassmen — also picked up 15 points from Travis Blankenhorn.

Pottsville, despite falling in arrears nearly three minutes in, stayed close enough to maintain control of the tempo and remain in its comfort zone. And while that proved frustrating, the Indians managed to find a way to survive.

The Tide also crowded the paint with its man defense in an effort to make it difficult for Susquehanna Twp. to jam the ball inside and/or penetrate. That ploy also limited the Indians’ second- and third-chance opportunities, especially in the first half.

Add those tactics to a deliberate tempo and …

“We tried to push the ball in transition, but they just did enough not to allow that to happen,” Rogers admitted.

“We really thought tempo was gonna be a big part of it and we think the majority of it we were able to do that,” Mullaney said.

“I was really proud of our guys for just sticking with our game plan — even when things weren’t going and shots weren’t falling early. I just think that 3 [Bud Mack] and 4 [Gabe Mack] were just too good,” Mullaney continued.

“We did force them into some difficult shots, but they’re good enough to make them.”

Shown addressing his team, Dave Mullaney's Pottsville Crimson Tide never allowed Susquehanna Twp. to dictate tempo. (Mark Pynes, PennLive.com)

And advance.

“That’s the biggest thing right now,” Gabe Mack continued. “I kept telling them, ‘If we win by one, we win at the buzzer, as long as we win, just survive and advance.’

“I was watching [ESPN’s] ’30 for 30’ the other day, [about N.C. State winning the 1983 NCAA tournament], just kind of took that in.

“Just survive and advance, that’s the biggest thing right now.”

PIVOTAL SEQUENCE

Although Susquehanna Twp. was able to barge in front by 10 points (24-14) early in the second half on a Marshall stickback, an 11-2 Pottsville spurt had the Tide within one (26-25) when Nabholz buried a trey with 3:21 to play.

The Indians, however, never relinquished a lead they grabbed with nearly three minutes gone in the game as Jordan Millberry’s pop from the right elbow at the 2:24 mark pushed the lead back to three. Bud Mack’s fadeaway bank from the left wing moments later made it a five-point game.

“That shot by Jordan, it kept our composure there,” Gabe Mack admitted. “They didn’t go away. We were trying to pull away, but they definitely made some big shots and stayed there. As a team, we kept our composure really good.”

And when Marshall buried a 16-foot from the left baseline just before the buzzer — off Bud Mack’s penetration and kick — Rogers’ club bounced into the break between the third and fourth quarters sporting a six-point edge (34-28).

“That was huge,” Rogers said. “That was huge.”

Didn’t last.

Mullaney’s Tide kept hanging around, pulling to within one yet again (36-35) with 6:25 showing on Blankenhorn’s runner in the lane.

Pottsville even had a chance to go in front, but Blankenhorn missed a trey from the top of the key, Gabe Mack grabbed the rebound and took it to the other end, pulling up from the foul line for a deuce that gave Susquehanna needed space.

Still hanging — the Tide was down 39-37 following Nabholz’s jump hook — Mullaney’s Tide had another chance to go back in front. But Jordan Melochick’s 3-point pop from the left wing glanced off the rim and Takhi Turner latched on.

Moments later, Gabe Mack’s flash into the lane upped Township’s lead to four.

When Blankenhorn missed on Pottsville’s next possession, the Indians promptly unveiled their spread and started milking the clock.

Not only was Susquehanna able to can nine of its 12 looks at the line, but Rogers’ Indians also picked up a clutch bucket when Gabe Mack broke pressure and found the 6-6 Ward all alone for an emphatic flush.

Moments later, Susquehanna had survived — and advanced.

CLICK HERE FOR A PIAA CLASS AAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET

REVIEWING THE NUMBERS

Susquehanna Twp. shot 48.6 percent (17-for-35) from the floor, 52.6 percent (10-for-19) in the second half. … The Indians were 3-for-7 from the arc, with Bud Mack knocking down all three treys. … Rogers’ ballclub was 15-for-22 from the free-throw stripe — including 12-for-16 in the fourth quarter. …

The Indians committed just eight turnovers, one fewer than Pottsville. … Susquehanna Twp. wound up outrebounding the Crimson Tide 32-21, even though Mullaney’s club held a 16-12 edge at halftime. … Gabe Mack also dropped three of the Indians’ 10 dimes. … The Mack brothers combined for 15 of Susquehanna Twp.’s 18 points in the fourth quarter. …

Pottsville targeted 35.7 percent (15-for-42) of its field-goal attempts, but shot 52.3 percent (11-for-21) after halftime. … Mullaney’s Tide was 7-for-18 from the arc — 6-for-13 after the break — with Nabholz nailing four and Connor Hinchliffe two. …

Nabholz snared six rebounds to go with his 21 points — Nabholz was 4-for-6 from deep — while Blankenhorn and Melochick each snagged four boards. … Ty Painter dished out three of Pottsville’s 10 assists.

MORE NOTES AND NUGGETS

Turner spent much of the second half chasing Blankenhorn defensively. Rogers turned to Lawrence Holley late to provide perimeter defense on Nabholz. … Bud Mack was 9-for-12 at the free-throw line, 6-for-8 in the fourth quarter. … Susquehanna Twp. also mixed some 1-3-1 with its man looks. …

Gabe Mack was 5-for-6 at the stripe, all in the final eight minutes. … Gabe Mack and Turner also snared four boards apiece. … Bud Mack, Turner and Marshall each dished out two assists. … Hinchliffe, Melochick and Nabholz had two assists apiece for the Tide, which had helpers on 10 of its 15 field goals. …

Takhi Turner (left) spent much of the second half playing Pottsville's Travis Blankenhorn man to man. (Mark Pynes, PennLive.com)

Gabe Mack was offered a scholarship by Mansfield following Susquehanna Twp.’s 65-47 victory over Imhotep Charter in Friday’s opening round. … Ward reeled in a scholarship offer from Seton Hill earlier this week. …

Nabholz (Penn State) and Blankenhorn (Kentucky), merely juniors, already have issued verbal commitments to play baseball at the next level. Nabholz’s uncle, Chris Nabholz, pitched six seasons in the major leagues for four clubs. …

POST-GAME REACTION

(Rogers on Mullaney’s Crimson Tide) “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Pottsville, man. I knew they were gonna play hard. They’re a physical team, a strong team. [Nabholz], I knew he was pretty good, but the kid can really shoot the ball. We didn’t do a good job defending him on the perimeter. I thought we did a pretty good job, for the most part, on [Blankenhorn]. Overall, I’m happy with our team’s performance but we have to do a better job guarding the perimeter.

(Rogers on the Mack brothers) “I can’t say enough about them. They really came through, especially G in the fourth period. He might have missed one shot in the fourth period … that just shows you his senior leadership. But we needed that. I told G starting the second half, ‘I really need you to get going for me.’ He stepped up and he got the job done.”

(Rogers on grinding out a victory coming off Friday’s win over Imhotep) “This was a real playoff basketball atmosphere. You always want to get away from an opponent, but this was nip and tuck the whole game. Our kids kept their composure. They handled all the end-of-game situations the right way. And we finished. So, I’m proud of them.”

Susquehanna Twp. coach Vince Rogers issues directions to Bud Mack (3) and Gabe Mack (4) during the Indians' 52-45 win over Pottsville. (Mark Pynes, PennLive.com)

(Rogers on his club’s collective effort) “At this point, all you want to do is advance and move on. We had a lot of key contributions from different players. Look at Holley, he stepped in and [Nabholz] didn’t hit any more baskets from the perimeter on us. Jordan Millberry gave us some productive minutes.”

(Mullaney on Nabholz and Blankenhorn) “They’re two very confident kids. They’re very good players, too, but they’re very confident. A big stage isn’t gonna do anything to them. They showed up like they have all year.”

(Mullaney on the Mack brothers) “They’re very, very quality players. Actually I think our kids did a great job on them. I was very proud of our defensive effort, our positioning, effort, our beating them to spots. Sometimes they were just too good.”

(Gabe Mack on trying to break down Pottsville) “They definitely stuck to their game plan to a T. They weren’t allowing anything in the paint. We just had to be patient. We kind of just knew our run would come and it did.”

(Gabe Mack on meeting Lancaster Mennonite) “We’re gonna come in confident and I know they are, too. I know they’re a tough team, very tough team. Pretty much expect the same thing. We’re always gonna stay on the attack mode and be ready for quite a fight.”

(Bud Mack on trying to pull away from Pottsville) “In the beginning of the season, usually we would find a way and go up by 12. But tonight, it was a like a little bubble and we couldn’t get inside of it. So we were trying to find it in transition. And we got it sometimes.”

(Bud Mack on the clutch second-half shots made by Millberry and Gabe Mack) “Those were two big possessions. If [G] wouldn’t have gotten the rebound, they would have had the momentum and might have gone up — and then almost win the game. And Jordan, his shot was big. We needed that because we were only up a point and if he didn’t make that they could go down and score.”

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  Susquehanna Township eliminates Pottsville

by kevin keating (CORRESPONDENT kkeating@republicanherald.com)
Published: March 11, 2014
 
 

READING - Trailing by 10 early in the third quarter and with its season beginning to slip away, Pottsville stuck with its game plan.

In just two minutes, the Crimson Tide nearly completely erased Susquehanna Township's lead.

The go-ahead score never came for Pottsville.

Susquehanna Township's sibling duo of Gabe and Bud Mack helped the Indians close out a 52-45 victory over the Tide in the second round of the PIAA Class AAA boys' basketball state tournament Tuesday night at the Geigle Complex, ending Pottsville's successful postseason run.

The District 3 champion Tribe (21-7) advance to face Lancaster Mennonite, a 68-64 winner over Chartiers Valley, in Friday's state quarterfinals.

Pottsville (24-6) refused to fade quietly into the warming March air even after falling behind by 10 to start the second half.

The Tide played their hallmark stingy man-to-man defense, containing the Tribe throughout. Offensively, shots weren't finding their way through the twine in the early going as Pottsville hit just 4-of-22 from the field in the first half.

Something clicked early in the third quarter, though, as the Tide used an 11-2 run to pull within a point at 26-25.

"I was really proud of the way we just continued to believe in our game plan the entire time," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "First half, we had some open looks that didn't fall. We knew if we just stuck with the game plan and defensive rebounding. That was so crucial to us, and our kids did an absolutely great job. We knew some shots would fall late."

Pottsville had several open looks draw iron in the fourth quarter and harmlessly bounce into the hands of Susquehanna Township rebounders to stifle the Tide's late runs.

"I knew Pottsville was solid," Hanna coach Vince Rogers said. "Their record speaks for itself. I knew they were going to be ready.

"They were physical and strong. They battled. They battled with us. Those kids don't have anything to hang their heads down on."

Eli Nabholz delivered another huge performance for the Tide, finishing with a team-high 21 points and six rebounds. Nabholz had some success in the post, then moved outside and drained four 3-pointers to help Pottsville's comeback bid.

Defensively, Nabholz had to contend with 6-foot-6 center Quintin Ward, while the Tide's guards were busy trying to deal with both Macks on the perimeter and driving to the rim.

"Eli … he's played so big for us down the stretch," Mullaney said. "His ability to score inside and out is such a difficult guard for people. We probably don't give him enough credit on the defensive end. He does a great job on that end. He's grown so much in that regard. Obviously, his rebounding has been tremendous all year."

The Macks proved to be the difference, especially down the stretch.

Bud Mack finished with a game-high 22 points, knocking down 6-of-8 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter. Gabe Mack added 11 points, with all 11 coming in the final stanza.

"I really believe that it was (numbers) 3 and 4 (Bud and Gabe Mack)," Mullaney said. "They're great players and their ability to make tough shots. I was really proud of our defensive effort. We forced them to take shots, but they're that good. They made them."

Travis Blankenhorn added 15 points for Pottsville, which loses just one senior - reserve forward John Toomey - to graduation.

"John symbolizes everything that we want from a Pottsville basketball player," Mullaney said. "I think the best compliment that I can give him is he's just as good a teammate as I've ever been around. We will miss him a lot."

The Crimson Tide return all five starters next season. The first victory in states since 1974 are certainly steps to build on for 2014-15.

"I think tonight, obviously we're disappointed with the loss, but we definitely showed that we belong with the top teams in the state," Mullaney said. "I think our guys, with some of the teams that we played down the stretch, it's really going to carry over to the next year."

Pottsville (45) Hinchliffe 2 0-0 6, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 7 0-0 15, Toomey 0 0-0 0, Melochick 1 1-1 3, Nabholz 5 7-8 21. Totals 15 8-9 (45)

Susquehanna Township (52) Blair 1 0-0 2, Milberry 1 0-0 2, Mack 5 9-12 22, Mack 3 5-6 11, Turner 0 0-0 0, Marshall 3 0-2 6, Ward 4 1-2 9, Letterlough 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 15-22 (52)

 

Pottsville (24-6)          8    6   14   17 --- (45)

Susquehanna (21-7)  13    7   14   18  -- (52) 

3-point FG's: Hincliffe 2, Blankenhorn, Nabholz 4, B. Mack 3 

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PIAA Boys' Basketball Capsules


PIAA Boys' Basketball Capsules

CLASS AAA 3-1 Susquehanna Twp. (20-7) vs. 11-2 Pottsville (24-4)

When/where: Today, 7:30 p.m., Geigle Compex, Reading

About the Crimson Tide

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (7th season)

How got here: Beat District 1 runner-up Lower Moreland 58-38 in the first round

Team stats: Offense (54.7 ppg), defense (37.2)

Probable starters: G Travis Blankenhorn (jr., 6-foot-2, 18.3 points per game), G Ty Painter (jr., 5-8, 2.9), G-F Jordan Melochick (soph., 6-2, 10.0), G-F Connor Hinchliffe (jr., 6-1, 6.1), F Eli Nabholz (jr., 6-5, 12.6)

Key reserve: F John Toomey (sr., 6-2, 1.4)

About the Indians

Head coach: Vince Rogers (8th season)

How got here: Beat District 12 fourth-place finisher Imhotep Charter 65-47 in first round

Team stats: Offense (63.0), defense (53.3)

Probable starters: G Nehemiah "Bud" Mack (soph., 6-0, 17.5), G Gabe Mack (sr., 5-10, 10.9), F Joe Marshall (jr., 6-4, 9.1), F Quintin Ward (jr., 6-6, 8.8), F Roman Letterlough (jr., 6-5, 5.5) or G-F Takhi Turner (sr., 6-1, 6.1)

Key reserves: F Jaquan Blair (jr., 6-3, 3.5), G Jordan Millberry (sr., 5-8, 2.8), F Lawrence Holley (sr., 6-3, 2.5)

Game Notes

Marshall scored a game-high 21 points (10-for-11 from the floor) and grabbed team-high eight boards in the Indians' first-round win. Gabe Mack added 18 points, with 10 in opening quarter, including two huge 3-pointers, while Bud Mack had 16 points and was 10-for-12 at the line, including a 7-for-7 performance the fourth quarter. ... Nabholz scored a season-high 25 points, while Blankenhorn added 18 in Crimson Tide's first-round victory. ... Indians have won five straight and 16-of-19 since losing to Imhotep Charter (51-49) on Jan. 4. Avenged that loss with opening-round win. … Indians making second straight appearance in states, beating Upper Moreland (62-42) in first round in 2013 before losing to eventual state champ Imhotep Charter (57-48) in second round. ... Indians' district title was first since 2008, when they lost in state championship game to Steel-High. ... Crimson Tide's first-round victory was program's first in state playoffs since 1974. … Crimson Tide have won 8-of-10, with losses coming to Mahanoy Area in Schuylkill League championship game and Allentown Central Catholic in District 11 title game. ... Bud Mack has interest from Drexel, Norfolk State, Holy Cross, Bucknell, Boston University, Radford and Temple, while Marshall drawing attention from Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Radford, Mount St. Mary's, George Mason and Loyola (Md.). ... Tide have hit 148 3-pointers on the season, led by Blankenhorn (60) and Hinchliffe (22), while Nabholz and Melochick have 19 apiece. ... Indians are currently ranked No. 7 in latest PennLive.com state rankings. Crimson Tide are an honorable mention.

What's next: Winner faces either 3-7 Lancaster Mennonite (21-7) or 7-2 Chartiers Valley (22-4) in quarterfinals Friday at site and time to be determined.

The Crimson Tide (24-5) plays Susquehanna Township (20-7)

at the Geigle Complex in Reading on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm.

Come Out and Support the Crimson Tide 

Pottsville advances to the "Sweet Sixteen" for the first time in 40 years

Tide Rolls 58 - 38 over Lower Moreland

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

  Pottsville tames Lions to advance to 2nd round of state playoffs

by kevin keating (correspondent kkeating@republicanherald.com)
Published: March 7, 2014   

ORWIGSBURG - Eli Nabholz doesn't really concern himself with making matchups in the post "personal."

Sure, Pottsville's 6-foot-5 big man embraces the challenge of playing better around the rim than his opposing defender.

Nabholz just tries to let his opportunities come to him within the Crimson Tide's offensive sets.

That's usually a good thing, since Pottsville does its best to work the ball inside-out on the offensive end.

In Friday's PIAA Class AAA first-round playoff game, Nabholz received plenty of chances to flourish in the paint and capitalized on most of them.

Nabholz tallied a game-high 25 points, helping Pottsville to a 58-38 rout of Lower Moreland at Blue Mountain High School to advance in the state playoffs for the first time in 40 years.

"I don't know if it was any different. It's something that we stress every game, working inside-out," Nabholz said. "Today instead of passing the ball out of the post, I just had opportunities to score today.

"I try to not get personal," he continued. "I try to focus on the things we work on as a team - working inside-out, getting the ball in the post. If I have a chance to make a move, I make a move. If not, I find somebody. I wouldn't say it's personal, but I definitely take it as a challenge to be better than my opponent."

The victory puts the District 11 runner-up Crimson Tide (24-5) into Tuesday's second round against District 3 champion Susquehanna Township, a 65-47 winner over Imhotep Charter, at a site and time to be determined.

Nabholz was a major reason for Pottsville's success against District 1 runner-up Lower Moreland (16-10).

The junior connected on 9-of-13 shots from the field, scoring 14 points in the first half to give Pottsville a 33-17 lead at intermission.

"Definitely with Eli, we wanted to get him the ball as much as possible," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "But also I thought we were driving the ball, too, and that was creating open looks for us."

It certainly was.

Travis Blankenhorn amped up the scoring for Pottsville in the second quarter, knocking down a jumper and a driving layup before hitting two 3-pointers to help extend the Tide's lead from 10-8 after a quarter to double digits by the 2:44 mark of the second period.

"They didn't really have anything to answer Eli," Blankenhorn said. "He did a great job, so we kept on giving it to him.

"They were doubling down on Eli then. He was kicking it back out."

Defensively, the Tide locked down on the Lions.

Jordan Melochick and Ty Painter kept Lower Moreland point guard Danny Duffy in check, holding the 5-9 sophomore point guard to just four points.

"Overall, I was pretty happy with our defensive effort," Mullaney said. "In particular I thought Jordan Melochick did a good job on (Duffy). Their point guard is very good, averaging about 14 points and over eight assists a game. I thought Jordan really did a great job on him along with Ty Painter."

Pottsville also kept 6-5 center Phil Madden and 6-4 forward Nick Cerruti in check as well.

"I think our defense in the first half, we played fairly well," Nabholz said. "I think that got us going more offensively. It definitely helped out with the pace of the game and that kind of stuff."

The Crimson Tide used a 14-0 run that started with a free throw by Nabholz at the 1:21 mark of the second and finished with a Melochick 3-pointer with 4:43 left in the third to bury the Lions.

From there, the Tide controlled the clock to secure the program's first state playoff win since 1974.

"It's taking that next step as a program," Mullaney said. "We'd love to be recognized on a state level, and this is definitely a step in the right direction.

"This has been a great group to be around," Mullaney added. "They're all close friends, which makes it that much better. We're excited for the next challenge. We know Tuesday's going to be difficult whether it's Susquehanna Township or Imhotep - they're both very talented teams. We're going to approach it the same way and hopefully get a win on Tuesday."

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Photos By John Liddle

Pottsville (58) Hinchliffe 1 0-0 2, Painter 3 0-0 8, Blankenhorn 7 2-2 18, Toomey 0 0-0 0, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 2 0-0 5, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 9 6-8 25, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Hampford 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 8-10 (58)

 

Lower Moreland (38) Cerutti 3 2-2 9, Titus 1 0-0 2, Turelsky 0 0-0 0, Zaubroulis 5 4-4 14, Madden 2 0-0 4, Duffy 2 0-0 4, Fazio 0 0-0 0, Millian 0 0-0 0, Rhoades 0 0-0 0, Cerutti 2 1-2 5, Smelda 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 7-8 (38)

3 Point FG's: Cerutti, Painter 2, Blankenhorn 2, Melochick, Nabholz

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

The Crimson Tide will play Lower Moreland on Friday Night at Blue Mountain in the First Round of the PIAA playoffs.

 

Come out and support the Tide!

 

PIAA Boys' Basketball Capsules

CLASS AAA 11-2 Pottsville (23-4) vs. 1-2 Lower Moreland (16-9)

When/where: Tonight, 7 p.m., Blue Mountain H.S.

About the Crimson Tide

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (7th season)

How got here: Lost to Allentown Central Catholic 64-34 in District 11 championship game

Last PIAA appearance: 2011 - Lost to Neshaminy 64-45 in first round of Class AAAA playoffs

Teams stats: Offense (54.6 ppg), defense (37.2)

Probable starters: G Travis Blankenhorn (jr., 6-foot-2, 18.3 points per game), G Ty Painter (jr., 5-8, 2.7), G-F Jordan Melochick (soph., 6-2, 10.2), G-F Connor Hinchliffe (jr., 6-1, 6.3), F Eli Nabholz (jr., 6-5, 12.1)

Key reserve: F John Toomey (sr., 6-2, 1.5)

About the Lions

Head coach: Seth Baron (3rd season)

Last PIAA Appearance: 2007 - Beat Northern Lehigh 44-38, lost to Prep Charter 56-44 in Class AA playoffs.

How got here: Lost to Holy Ghost Prep 65-47 in District 1 championship game

Team stats: Offense (51.2), defense (50.0)

Probable starters: G Danny Duffey (soph., 5-8, 12.9), G Dickey Rhoades (soph., 5-9), F Phil Madden (jr., 6-5), F Nick Cerruti (sr., 6-3, 9.0), G-F Stefan Zoubroulis (sr., 6-1)

Key reserves: G Matt Cerruti (fr., 6-1, 11.0), G Nick Smolda (fr., 5-10), G Dylan Morganstein (sr., 6-1), F Jake Fazio (soph., 5-10)

Game Notes

Tide have hit 142 3-pointers this season, led by Blankenhorn (58), who has reached double figures in scoring in 26 games, including 11 straight. ... Cerruti led Lions with 11 points, while Duffy had eight in district final loss. Game was tied 12-all after the first quarter before Holy Ghost Prep went on a 25-5, second-quarter run to go up 37-17 at halftime. ... Lions reached district title game for first time since becoming a Class AAA school and are making first appearance in states in Class AAA.

What's next: Winner faces either 3-1 Susquehanna Township (19-7) or 12-4 Imhotep Charter (20-6) in second round Tuesday, March 11

 

Former Crimson Tide Player Nick Schlitzer

 

March 4, 2014

Men’s basketball lands three on All-CACC team

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Philadelphia University sophomore forwards Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Reedemer) and Derek Johnson (Conshohocken, Pa./Atlantic Christian) and junior guard Nick Schlitzer (Pottsville, Pa./Pottsville) were named to the All-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference team on Tuesday. The voting was conducted by the conference's 14 head coaches.

Alexis was named to the first team, Schlitzer was selected to the second team, and Johnson was a third team pick.

Alexis—an All-CACC third team selection as a freshman—is leading the team with 18.3 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game, 52 blocks, and a shooting percentage of 60.3 A three-time CACC player of the week, Alexis ranks second in the CACC minutes per game (37.6), field goals made (222), and field goal shooting, third in rebounding, and fifth in scoring and blocks.

In January, Alexis was tabbed for the 2013-14 Capital One Division II Academic All-District 1 Men's Basketball Team.

Schlitzer owns the CACC's best 3-point shooting percentage at 45.4 percent and is third in free throw shooting at 83.8 percent. He has knocked down a career-high 69 3-pointers, which is fourth in the conference. In CACC play, Schlitzer hit 52 3-pointers and shot 48.1 percent from behind the arc, which both rank second in the CACC.

Schlitzer is averaging 16.2 points per game, which is sixth in the CACC, and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Johnson is third on the team in scoring (15.6 points per game) and rebounding (6.2 per game). He has connected on 62 3-pointers to rank fifth in the CACC. Johnson also sits seventh in field goals made (154), ninth in scoring, and 10th in 3-point shooting (37.6 percent).

Philadelphia (23-6), the CACC southern division champion, will face USciences in the semifinal round of the CACC Tournament on Friday, March 7 at Caldwell College. Tip-off is slated for noon.

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Photos By Jacqueline Dormer-Pottsville Republican

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Photos By Jacqueline Dormer-Pottsville Republican

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Photos By Jacqueline Dormer-Pottsville Republican

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Photos By Jacqueline Dormer-Pottsville Republican

 ACC rolls past Tide in AAA final

by kevin keating (correspondent kkeating@republicanherald.com)
Published: February 28, 2014
              
 
BETHLEHEM - The fanfare and reputation that Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman towed with him into Friday's District 11 Class AAA final against Pottsville lived up to its billing.

Abdur-Rahkman played every bit like the Division I basketball player that he has the offers and potential to become.

The 6-foot-4 senior knocked down a pair of 3-pointers from the top of the key to kick start the unbeaten Vikings, who dominated the Crimson Tide on their way to a fourth straight district title with a 64-34 victory at Bethlehem Freedom's Joseph McIntyre Gym.

Abdur-Rahkman finished with a game-high 34 points, increasing his career total to 2,052 points to pass Billy McCaffrey as the Vikings' all-time leading scorer.

Both teams advance to the PIAA Class AAA state playoffs, which begin March 7. ACC (27-0) meets District 3 sixth-place West York, while Pottsville (23-5) will await the loser of today's District 1 final between Holy Ghost Prep and Lower Moreland.

Pottsville, one of the top defensive teams in the Schuylkill League, had no answer for Abdur-Rahkman, who scored from beyond the arc, inside the paint and added a two-handed flush on a breakaway following a steal in the second quarter that brought the crowd to its feet.

It wasn't a case of the Tide giving up what they could to Abdur-Rahkman and trying to lock down the rest of the Vikes.

"I wish that was the case," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "We were actually trying to ... we actually sunk and were supposed to be helping every time he caught the ball. I don't think we did a great job of that. But at times, he's that good that it doesn't matter if you're helping or not. He can play. He can score."

In reality, Abdur-Rahkman had plenty of help from his mates, especially from the perimeter, as ACC bagged 10-of-20 3-point attempts.

Zay Jennings hit three triples, Brian McCarthy added two, Ben Pratt drilled one and Abdur-Rahkman knocked down four.

Pottsville was able to limit 6-8 center Brendan Wagner to just 10 points, and 6-5 forward Jean Lee Baez left the game with an injury in the first half. However, Wagner contributed 14 rebounds as the Vikings outrebounded the Tide 35-16.

"I always think playing a team like that is going to help you moving forward," Mullaney said. "I can't think of too many positives.

"I think as far as us defending in the post, we did what we wanted to do," he continued. "You're always going to give up something against a team of that caliber. We though we'd give up some outside shooting. Unfortunately, they made everything."

Travis Blankenhorn led Pottsville offensively with 16 points, while Eli Nabholz added 10. Nabholz had the Tide's only two 3-pointers as Pottsville went 2-of-13 from beyond the arc and finished 13-of-43 from the field.

Fortunately, it's not the end of the road for Pottsville. Mullaney and his staff rallied their troops in the locker room with the intention of refocusing the Tide for next week's game, which could land at Blue Mountain's gym.

"We were just talking about that with our guys. We'll get a game at Blue Mountain next Friday," Mullaney said. "A game that, if we play our game, we could get a victory. We've just got to come back, refocus and get ready for next week."

 

Pottsville (34) Hinchliffe 0 0-2 0, Painter 1 0-0 2, Blankenhorn 7 2-2 16, Toomey 1 0-0 2, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 1 2-4 4, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 3 2-4 10, Hampford 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 6-10 (34)

 

Allentown Central Catholic (64) Baez 0 0-0 0, Maley 0 0-0 0, Vaughan 0 0-0 0, Abdul-Rahkaman 14 2-3 34, Pratt 1 0-0 3, McCarthy 2 0-0 6, Kohli 1 0-0 2, Guensch 0 0-0 0, Shephard 0 0-0 0, McKee 0 0-0 0, Stevens 0 0-0 0, Nosovitch 0 0-0 0, Wagner 5 0-0 10, Jennings 3 0-0 9. Totals 26 2-3 (64)

 

Pottsville (23-5)          7    8   10    9 --- (34)

Allentown CC (27-0)  15  16  17   16 --- (64)

 

3-point Fg's: Nabholz 2, Abdul-Rahkman 4, Pratt, McCarthy 2, Jennings 3

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Photos By Jacqueline Dormer-Pottsville Republican

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Photos By Jacqueline Dormer-Pottsville Republican

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Photos By Jacqueline Dormer-Pottsville Republican

 

CLASS 3A

•WHO: No. 2 Pottsville vs. No. 1 Central Catholic

•WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m. Friday at Freedom High School

POTTSVILLE (23-4)

•Coach: Dave Mullaney (seventh season 139-48).

•Projected starters: G Travis Blankenhorn (6-2, Jr., G) 18.4 ppg; Ty Painter (5-8, Jr., G); 2.7 ppg; Jordan Melochick (6-2, So. F); 10.4; Connor Hinchcliffe (6-1, Jr. F) 6.4 ppg; Eli Nabholz (6-5 Jr. F) 12.2.

•Key reserve: John Toomey (6-2, Sr., F) 1.4 ppg.

•About the Tide: Average 55.3 ppg, allow 36.2 ppg. … Advanced by beating Lehighton 69-33 in quarterfinals and Blue Mountain 56-42 in semis. … Nabholz (16), Blankenhorn (13) and Melochick (13) all reached double figures in district semifinal win … Have made 169 3-pointers (6.3 per game) this season, knocking down seven in district semis. Blankenhorn has 58 on the season.… Blankenhorn (15.3), Nabholz (12.4), Melochick (12.0) are all averaging in double figures during postseason. … Blankenhorn has 1,054 career points. … Won fifth consecutive Schuylkill League Division I title with 51-42 victory over Blue Mountain in tiebreaker game Feb. 8. … Reached league finals with 56-30 victory over Williams Valley in semis, but lost to Mahanoy Area 45-44 in title game, snapping four-year league championship streak. … Had 51-game division winning streak snapped with 51-33 loss to Blue Mountain on Jan. 27. … Have won five 3A districts, beating Central Catholic for the gold in both 1985 and 2010. Lost to Southern Lehigh in the 2009 finals. … Have had five straight seasons of at least 21 wins.

CENTRAL CATHOLIC (26-0)

•Coach: Dennis Csensits (second season, 50-4).

•Projected starters: Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman (6-4, Sr. G) 22.7 ppg; Jeanlee Baez (6-5, Sr., C) 13.4 ppg; Brian McCarthy (5-11, Sr. G) 5.8 ppg; Jimmy Vaughan (5-11, Sr. G) 3.6 ppg; Brendan Wagner (6-8, Sr. F/C) 8.2 ppg.

•Key reserves: Zay Jennings (5-11, So. G) 6.7 ppg; Ben Pratt (5-10, Sr. G) 2.7 ppg; Bryce Maley (5-11, Jr. G) 2.9 ppg; David Stevens (5-10, Sr. G) 3.0 ppg.

About the Vikings: Average 70.4 ppg; allow 50.7 ppg. … Won the Lehigh Valley Conference title for the first time to secure top seed and then advanced to the title game with a 80-52 win over Saucon Valley in quarters and a 81-68 win over Bethlehem Catholic in semis. … Baez, who reached the 1,000-point mark in the final game of the regular season, scored a season-high 25 points and had nine rebounds in the win over Becahi while Abdur-Rahkman added 18 points and five assists. Abdur-Rahkman became the 10th player in District 11 history to reach 2,000 points, hitting the milestone against Saucon Valley in the district quarterfinals. … He is just 33 points shy of tying Billy McCaffrey as the school's all-time leading scorer … Ranked No. 3 in the state in 3A. … In the District 11 finals for the 24th time since 1985 and own 16-7 in previous title games. A win would give program district gold for the fourth consecutive year. … Vikings also won four straight between 1992-95. … Lost to Pottsville in the 63-58 in the 2010 title game. … Lost to Pottsville in the 1984 district semifinals, but regrouped to win state title. Also lost to the Tide in the 1985 finals.

Keith Groller's prediction: It will be interesting to see how the Vikings react to a challenge since it has happened rarely this season with only three games decided by less than 10 points. The Tide's 3-point ability makes them dangerous, but Central's seniors are determined to complete a district four-peat. There's no reason to doubt them at this point. CCHS 66-58.

 

District 11 Boys' Preview Capsules

District 11 Class AAA Championship

No. 2 Pottsville (23-4) vs. No. 1 Allentown Central Catholic (26-0)

When, where: Tonight, 7 p.m., Freedom High School

About the Crimson Tide

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (7th season)

Previous district titles: Five - 2010, 1990, 1984, 1984 (Class AAA); 1942 (Class A, now Class AAAA)

How got here: Beat No. 7 Lehighton 69-33 in quarterfinals and No. 3 Blue Mountain 56-42 in semifinals

Team stats: Offense (55.3 ppg), defense (36.2)

Probable starters: G Travis Blankenhorn (jr., 6-foot-2, 18.4 points per game), G Ty Painter (jr., 5-8, 2.7), G-F Jordan Melochick (soph., 6-2, 10.4), G-F Connor Hinchliffe (jr., 6-1, 6.5), F Eli Nabholz (jr., 6-5, 12.2)

Key reserve: F John Toomey (sr., 6-2, 1.4)

About the Vikings

Head coach: Dennis Csensits (2nd season)

Previous district titles: 15 - 2013, 2012, 2011, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2001, 2000, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1989, 1986 (Class AAA)

How got here: Beat No. 8 Saucon Valley 80-52 in quarterfinals and No. 5 Bethlehem Catholic 81-68 in semifinals

Team stats: Offense (70.4 ppg), defense (50.7)

Probable starters: G Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman (sr., 6-4, 22.7), C Jeanlee Baez (sr., 6-5, 13.4), G Brian McCarthy (sr., 5-11, 5.8), G Jimmy Vaughan (sr., 5-11, 3.6), F-C Brendan Wagner (sr., 6-8, 8.2)

Key reserves: G Zay Jennings (soph., 5-11, 6.7), G Ben Pratt (sr., 5-10, 2.7), G Bryce Maley (jr., 5-11, 2.9), G David Stevens (sr., 5-10, 3.0).

Game Notes

Crimson Tide have hit 169 3-pointers (6.3 per game) this season, knocking down seven in district semis. Blankenhorn has 58 on the season. … Vikings won first Lehigh Valley Conference title in program history with 66-62 win over Parkland on Feb. 15, only the third game this season decided by 10 points or less. … Abdur-Rahkman, the Lehigh Valley Conference MVP the past two years, has received Division I offers from Richmond, Temple, Virginia Commonwealth and Penn State. He's the 10th player in District 11 boys' basketball history to reach 2,000 career points, reaching the mark in the district semifinals. He has scored in double figures in every game this season. … Baez also has over 1,000 career points. … Hawks are ranked No. 3 in state in Class AAA in most recent PennLive.com rankings. … Teams met in Class AAA final in 2010, won by Pottsville 63-58.

What's next: Winner faces sixth-place finisher out of District 3, while loser takes on District 1 runner-up in first round of PIAA playoffs Friday, March 7

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Photos Coursey Of David McKeown and Pottsville Republican

Crimson Tide Moves on to the District XI AAA Championship game against Allentown Central Catholic on Friday Night at Bethlehem Freedom High School!!

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Photos Coursey Of David McKeown and Pottsville Republican

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Photos Coursey Of David McKeown and Pottsville Republican

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Photos By John Liddle

Pottsville-Blue Mountain Highlights

 

Painter quietly making contributions for Crimson Tide


By Mike Carnahan Herald Sports Writer
 
Following Pottsville’s 56-42 victory over Blue Mountain in the District 11 Class AAA semifinal Tuesday, coach Dave Mullaney talked a little bit about the Crimson Tide getting to their first championship game since 2010.
“We had some inexperienced guys (at the start of the season) but we knew we had some pretty good athletes,” he said. “At the beginning of the year we talked about having three (Travis Blankenhorn, Eli Nabholz, Jordan Melochick) we thought who would be consistent scorers and to find some other guys and those other guys are stepping up.”
One has been Connor Hinchliffe. The other has been Ty Painter.

Painter might never be the offensive threat Blankenhorn, Nabholz, Melochick, all of whom are averaging in double figures, and, to a lesser extent, Hinchliffe have become. But Painter has certainly improved as the season has gone on.
For starters, he appears to be gaining more confidence offensively and is taking more shots than he did earlier in the year.
He scored six points Tuesday. He drove to the hoop twice early in the game, missing his first shot inside but scoring on the second. He was fouled in the process and hit the free throw for a three-point play, giving the Crimson Tide the lead for good at 4-3 5 minutes into the game. Painter added a 3-pointer early in the third quarter, one of the seven 3s Pottsville hit in the game, on a kick-out pass from underneath by Nabholz. The Crimson Tide led at that point 35-23.
“Ty can shoot the ball, we all know that,” Nabholz said. “We all have confidence in him and now he has confidence in himself that he can step up and shoot. It opens up a lot of other things for other people.”
Painter added three assists and also came up with two other key plays.
Pottsville turned the ball on its first possession on a steal by the Eagles’ Kyle Slane, who appeared to be headed in for a layup. But Painter got back on defense and blocked the attempt.
Then in the fourth quarter with Blue Mountain attempting to get back in the game with full-court pressure, Painter looked to be trapped in a double team near the half-court line. But he somehow got the ball to the other side of the court to Blankenhorn, who then drove to the hoop on scored. It gave Pottsville a 53-40 advantage with 2:34 left in the game.

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Photos Coursey Of David McKeown and Pottsville Republican

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Photos Coursey Of David McKeown and Pottsville Republican

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Photos Coursey Of David McKeown and Pottsville Republican

 

 Balance attack, early 3-pointers lift Crimson Tide past Blue Mountain

by mike carnahan (staff writer mcarnahan@republicanherald.com)
Published: February 25, 2014
 
 

MINERSVILLE - The ability to knock down 3-pointers has been a big part of Pottsville's offense this season.

That certainly has been the case when the Crimson Tide have faced rival Blue Mountain.

Tuesday was no different.

Four first-half 3-pointers helped No. 2-seeded Pottsville build an early lead it never lost in a 56-42 victory over the No. 3 Eagles in a District 11 Class AAA semifinal at Thomas Fitzpatrick Gymnasium.

Eli Nabholz paced a balanced offensive attack with a game-high 16 points for Pottsville (23-4), which advances to the district game for the first time since 2010. The Crimson Tide face undefeated Allentown Central Catholic in Friday's title game at 7 p.m. at Bethlehem Freedom

The top-seeded Vikings (26-0), who are currently No. 3 in the state in Class AAA in the most recent PennLive.com rankings, beat No. 5 Bethlehem Catholic 81-68 in Tuesday's other semifinal.

The victory also means Pottsville is headed to the PIAA Tournament for the first time since 2011, when the Tide qualified in Class AAAA after beating Pocono Mountain West in the consolation game.

"It is absolutely an amazing feeling, especially after the last two years not being able to," Nabholz said. "We're in the running to obtain two of our goals this year, which is win a district championship and make a run in the state playoffs. We are on course."

Will Bornstein had 14 points to lead the Eagles (20-6), who will take on Bethlehem Catholic (12-13) in Friday's consolation game at 4:30 p.m. at Martz Hall, with the winner heading to states.

Tuesday was the fourth meeting between the Crimson Tide and Blue Mountain this season, with Pottsville winning two of the three, including a 51-42 victory in the Schuylkill League Division I tiebreaker Feb. 8.

In its previous two wins over Blue Mountain, Pottsville hit a combined 14 3-pointers. In its lone loss to the Eagles, 51-33 on Jan. 27, it had three.

The Crimson Tide finished the night 7-for-12 (58 percent) from beyond the arc Tuesday. The 3s opened up the right of the Crimson Tide's offense as they ended up shooting 19-for-32 (59 percent) from the floor on the night, including an 11-for-13 (85 percent) performance in the second half.

What made Pottsville even more dangerous was that all five starters hit at least one 3. Connor Hinchliffe and Travis Blankenhorn had two apiece, while Ty Painter, Jordan Melochick and Nabholz each had one.

Blankenhorn and Melochick each finished with 13 points.

"I think just having five guys on the court that are comfortable shooting the ball, it just fits into our offense," Nabholz said. "If that is how the game ends up starting and gets us off and running, it is a good thing for us."

Pottsville knocked down three 3s in the first quarter, while Painter added a three-point play, to build a 13-8 lead after eight minutes. A bucket inside and a 3-pointer from Nabholz, followed by a foul-line jumper from Hinchliffe after he pumped-faked a defender into the air and moved for a more open shot, got the Crimson Tide out to a 20-10 advantage with 4:59 left in the first half.

"We don't really talk about that, but obviously we just keep preaching the same thing: We want to try and get as many inside outs as we can," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said of the first-half 3s. "We want to get the ball, post touches on drives and if that resulted in a 3, then that's great."

Nabholz scored all of his points during the second and third quarters, including a buzzer-beating tip-in off a missed shot at the first-half buzzer to make it 24-19.

Pottsville then opened the second half on an 18-4 run to go up 42-23 with 2:03 left in the third quarter.

Blue Mountain tied to crawl back in the game in the fourth, getting to within nine points twice, the final at 49-40 after two foul shots by Skyler Panchari at 3:40. But that was as close as the Eagles got. Pottsville pushed the lead back to double digits on spin move by Melochick and layup from Blankenhorn.

The Crimson Tide's defense played a big role in Tuesday's win, too. Pottsville controlled the tempo and took away the Eagles' transition game. Blue Mountain's only transition points came from Kyle Slane in the fourth quarter.

"The tempo of the game was in our favor absolutely," Mullaney said. "That is all we preach. If we can hold them down in transition, we have a good chance to win."

 

Pottsville (56) Hinchliffe 3 0-1 8, Painter 2 1-1 6, Blankenhorn 5 1-3 13, Toomey 0 0-0 0, Melochick 3 6-7 13, Nabholz 6 3-3 16. Totals 19 11-16 (56)

Blue Mountain (42) Stramara 0 0-0 0, Bornstein 5 3-4 14, Kerstetter 0 0-0 0, Harding 0 0-0 0, Slane 2 0-0 5, Grapsy 3 0-0 8, Chelius 3 0-2 6, Panchari 3 3-4 9. Totals 16 6-10 (42)

Pottsville (23-4)               13   11   20   12   (56)

Blue Mountain (20-6)          8   11    9   14   (42)

3-Point FG's: Borstein, Slane, Grapsy 2, Painter, Blankenhorn 2, Melochick, Nabholz 

 

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Photos Coursey Of David McKeown and Pottsville Republican

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-----------------------------Class AAA----------------------------

  Tues Feb 18

Fri Feb 21

Tues Feb 25

Fri Feb 28

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

 1 Allentown Central Catholic

   
     
     
 

@Allen 7:30

 1 Allentown Central Catholic 80 - 52

  

8 Saucon Valley

    
 

 8 Saucon Valley 72 - 39

   

@7:00

    

9 Northern Lehigh

    
  

@Allen 7:30

1 Allentown Central Catholic 81- 68

 
     
 

 4 Salisbury

   
     
     
 

@Allen 6:00

 5 Bethlehem Catholic 73-66

  
     
 

 5 Bethlehem Catholic

   
     
     
   

@ Freedom 7:00

 
     
 

 2 Pottsville

   
     
     
 

@ Blue Mt 7:30

 2 Pottsville 69 - 33

  

7 Lehighton

    

Wed Feb 19

 7  Lehighton 85 - 59

   

@7:00

    

10 Tamaqua

    
  

@ Minersville 7:00

 2 Pottsville 56 - 42

 
     
 

 3 Blue Mt

   
     
     
 

@ Martz Hall 7:30

 3 Blue Mt 67 - 51

  
     
 

 6 Southern Lehigh

   
     
     
     

 

5 Bethlehem Catholic

 

 

 

@ Martz Hall 4:30

  3rd place

3 Blue Mt

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Mountain, Pottsville to collide for 4th time for even higher stakes

We are down to six.

That's how many Schuylkill League boys' basketball teams are left in the District 11 playoffs after quarterfinal-round play this past weekend.

In Class AAA, No. 2-seed Pottsville (22-4) and No. 3 Blue Mountain (20-5) remain, while No. 3 North Schuylkill (16-6) and No. 5 Minersville (16-7) are still alive in Class AA, and No. 1 Mahanoy Area (22-2) and No. 3 Nativity (17-6) are left in Class A.

Now it is on to the semifinals, with both Classes AAA and A tonight, featuring Blue Mountain and Pottsville getting together for the fourth time this season at 7 o'clock at Minersville High School. The other Class AAA semifinal has No. 5 Bethlehem Catholic (12-12) taking on No. 1 Allentown Central Catholic (25-0) at 7:30 p.m. at William Allen.

In Class A, Nativity has a long bus ride to Stroudsburg High School to battle No. 3 Pius X (18-3) at 6 p.m., while No. 5 Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg (16-7) faces Mahanoy Area at 7:30 p.m. at Blue Mountain High School.

The Class AA semifinals are set Wednesday with a doubleheader at Whitehall High School. North Schuyklill takes on No. 2 Catasauqua (16-8) at 6 p.m. and Minersville battles top seed Notre Dame-Green Pond (15-9) at 7:30.

The Class AAA and A finals are scheduled Friday, while the Class AA championship game is set for Saturday. The top three finishers in Class AAA qualify for the PIAA Tournament, with the top two in Class AA going. Only the district champ in Class AA gets a state berth.

While all of the games are big for those involved, the most intriguing matchup among the local teams is Blue Mountain and Pottsville. Not only is there a trip to the championship game on the line tonight, but the winner qualifies automatically for states. The loser will need to win Friday's consolation game to get to states.

Both won big in Friday's quarterfinals. Travis Blankenhorn had 20 points as the Crimson Tide rolled past No. 7 Lehighton 69-33. Will Bornstein scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half as the Eagles pulled away for a 67-51 victory over No. 6 Southern Lehigh.

Here a look at the previous three meetings between Pottsville and Blue Mountain this season:

- Pottsville 53, Blue Mountain 36, Saturday, Jan. 4 at Martz Hall: Eli Nabholz scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half at the Crimson Tide pulled away for the win. Pottsville hit seven 3-pointers in the game.

- Blue Mountain 51, Pottsville 31, Monday, Jan. 27 at Blue Mountain: Will Bornstein scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half as the Eagles outscored the Crimson Tide 30-15 over the final 16 minutes of the game. Blue Mountain held the Crimson Tide to 3-for-19 from beyond the 3-point line in the contest.

- Pottsville 51, Blue Mountain 42, Saturday, Feb. 8 at Minersville High School: Blankenhorn had a game-high 18 points as a hot-shooting first half paced the Crimson Tide in the Division I tiebreaker contest. Pottsville shot 11-for-17 over the first 16 minutes of the game, including a 6-for-9 showing from 3-point land, to build a 28-22 halftime lead.

Two distinct patterns came out of the previous meetings: When the Crimson Tide were able to hit 3-pointers, they won. In their win, the Eagles were able to get their transition game going, especially in the second half.

With the familiarity both teams have with each other, preparation for tonight's game shouldn't be difficult. There won't be any surprises or new wrinkles to learn.

The outcome is all going to come down to execution.

"Both know each other and know what we are going to do to each other, so it should make preparation pretty easy," Blue Mountain coach Dustin Werdt said after the Eagles' semifinal win Friday. "We know what kind of defense they are going to play and we know what they are going to do. We know where they are going to try and get their points from. They know the same thing about us."

The last time the two met in the district playoffs was a Class AAA pigtail game in 2009 at Blue Mountain. The Crimson Tide won 44-39.

(Carnahan is the boys' basketball beat writer for The Republican-Herald. Read his blog at blogs.republicanherald.com/ac/

Round 4 - Pottsville plays Blue Mountain on Tuesday at Minersville at 7:00 PM

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 Crimson Tide throttle Lehighton

by kevin keating (correspondent kkeating@republicanherald.com)
Published: February 21, 2014       
 

ORWIGSBURG - Pottsville has earned a reputation as one of the best defensive teams in the Schuylkill League during head coach Dave Mullaney's seven-year tenure.

As usual, the Crimson Tide defense was clicking on all cylinders against Lehighton during Friday's District 11 Class AAA boys' basketball quarterfinal at Blue Mountain High School.

However, rhythm with which Pottsville executed its offense may have overshadowed even the best of defensive nights.

Hitting backdoor cuts, working inside-out and knocking down open jumpers, the Crimson Tide buried Lehighton 69-33 to advance to Tuesday night's semifinals.

In the semis, second-seeded Pottsville (22-4) will meet archrival Blue Mountain for the fourth time this season after the No. 3 Eagles defeated Southern Lehigh 67-51 in another quarterfinal.

How effective was the Tide's offense?

Pottsville recorded assists on 19 of its 26 field goals in the contest, shot 26-of-43 (.605) from the floor and knocked down 9-of-16 3-pointers (.563).

"That's great to hear," Mullaney said of the assists. "We've really been trying to focus on working inside-out, whether that's with a post entry or a dribble drive. I think our guys responded pretty well tonight."

Every Pottsville starter found the scoring column, with Travis Blankenhorn leading the way with a game-high 20 points.

Jordan Melochick added a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and 6-foot-5 center Eli Nabholz tallied 16 points, seven boards and four assists.

"Offensively, I felt like we were in a great groove," Blankenhorn said. "We were making our shots and it was just going well."

There was no rest on the defensive end for the Tide.

Lehighton (14-11) scored 85 points in its first-round victory over Tamaqua on Wednesday, with Jordan Knappenberger dropping 39 points and hitting nine triples.

Blankenhorn and Melochick locked down on Knappenberger and Tyler Crum, limiting the duo to just eight total points on 3-of-17 shooting. The Indians went just 13-of-43 from the floor and 4-of-16 from beyond the arc.

"(Knappenberger is) a great shooter. Crum is a great shooter, too," Mullaney said. "Melochick and Blankenhorn just did an outstanding job on them all night. They didn't get many breaks, either. They had a great defensive game, as well as the rest of our team as a whole."

Added Blankenhorn: "Defensive part, we were definitely prepared for everything they were going to do. The coaches had us well prepared and the plays that we needed to stop."

Pottsville was aided by a strong start on both ends of the floor.

The Tide got their entire starting lineup in on the action in the first quarter with Melochick, Blankenhorn and Connor Hinchliffe knocking down 3s, Nabholz scoring in the paint and Painter running the show and assisting on two buckets. A 19-5 first-quarter lead set the tone for the rest of the night.

"I think it's important against them because they'll play so many different defenses," Mullaney said. "They'll try to play different zones. I think by getting up, even when they were sagging off some of our guys, we were comfortable the entire game. I think we handled it well. I think that was due to the good early start."

Pottsville added to its lead in the second, taking a 33-17 edge into halftime, and continued to build with a few putbacks by Nabholz near the end of the third for a 52-27 lead.

Next up for the Tide is another matchup with Division I rival Blue Mountain.

"They're a very good team, very talented, well coached," Mullaney said. "We know each other so well that we take away each other's strengths. At times when it's between us, it's an ugly game. I think it'll be another tight one Tuesday."

 

Pottsville (69) Hinchliffe 2 0-0 5, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Painter 0 2-4 2, Blankenhorn 8 1-4 20, Toomey 2 0-0 4, Dunkel 1 0-0 2, Melochick 5 2-5 14, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witamn 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 6 3-4 16, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Hampford 2 0-0 6: Totals: 26 8-13 (69)

 

Lehighton (33) Rossino 3 0-1 8, Farano 6 2-6 14, Crum 1 0-0 2, Ruzika1 0-2 2, Chambers 0 1-2 1, Kapperenberger 2 0-1 6, Mele 0 0-1 0: Totals: 13 3-13 (33)

 

3-Point FG's: Rossino 2, Kapperenberg 2, Hinchliffe, Blankenhorn 3, Melochick 2, Nabholz, Hampford 2

 

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Crimson Tide Plays Lehighton

 Friday Night at Blue Mountain.

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Amazing Pottsville comeback falls just short

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Mahanoy Area captures Schuylkill League boys' crown

Dylan Mahmod turned in one of his best offensive games of the season to help Mahanoy Area build a big lead.

Then Mahmod and teammate Larry McNeil made two of the biggest defense plays of night with under 10 seconds to go.

After walking off the Martz Hall floor disappointed last year, the Golden Bears didn't want to leave it Friday night.

Mahmod poured in a game-high 21 points, and Mahanoy Area's defense came up big late to lift the Golden Bears to a thrilling 45-44 victory over Pottsville in the Schuylkill League boys' basketball championship game.

After the Crimson Tide won last year's title game over Mahanoy Area 35-21, Friday's victory by the Golden Bears (22-2) denied Pottsville (21-4) its fifth consecutive league championship.

The league title was the first for Mahanoy Area since 2006, and the program's seventh overall.

"Honestly, there is no better feeling than this," Mahmod said as he clutched the championship trophy. "Coming in here, knowing that they are four-time, back-to-back-to-back-to-back champs, it just feels amazing. We felt that everybody was against us. That's how we like it, I guess, that why we like it. We like being the underdogs."

McNeil added 11 points and three steals for Mahanoy Area, which built a 27-12 advantage midway through the third quarter, led 29-17 at the end of the third and had a 40-25 cushion with 2:26 remaining.

But Pottsville turned up the pressure defensively, started hitting shots and turned the rout into a thriller. The Crimson Tide tied the game at 44 with 11 seconds left when John Toomey spotted Eli Nabholz open underneath for a layup.

Mahmod gave the Golden Bears the lead for good, hitting the second of two foul shots in a double-bonus situation with 8.9 seconds left.

Mahanoy Area was 6-for-13 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, but finally sealed the victory with its defense.

Trailing by one point, Pottsville had a chance for victory. Blankenhorn dribbled up the court and drove to the basket, but Mahmod swatted his shot out of bounds with 3.7 seconds to go.

After a Mahanoy Area timeout, Pottsville attempted to get the ball into Blankenhorn underneath. But McNeil got his hands up to steal the ball, and then was fouled with 1.5 seconds remaining.

He missed both ends of the double bonus, but all Pottsville could get was a heave down court by Nabholz that fell short as the Bears' celebration began.

"I knew the ball was going to Blankenhorn," said McNeil, who gave credit to assistant coaches Robert Killian and Scott Hudson for scouting what was coming. "He's a great scorer and a great player. I knew the ball was going to him. I was like 'Just play defense, play my butt off for these last seconds and get this win.' They lobbed it and I was in the right spot at the right time."

After the Golden Bears were awarded their medals, the student section sang the alma mater to them. Then the players went up into stands to celebrate with the fans.

"To come out of this with a 'W,' I am on cloud nine," Mahanoy Area coach Mickey Holland said.

Mahmod scored 15 of his points over the first three quarters, including seven in a 10-0 Golden Bears' run to open the third quarter.

Mahmod opened the third with a 3-pointer from the wing, then used a pump fake to get his defender up in the air and drive in for a layup. After McNeil hit a 3 on a cross-court pass from Jason Richmond, Mahmod scored on a hard drive down the lane. He missed the foul shot to complete the three-point play, but the Golden Bears had their biggest lead of the night up to that point at 27-12 with 3:23 left in the third.

"Basically, I didn't think about it," Mahmod said. "The main thing coming in here, we weren't even thinking about offense, we just knew we had the confidence to score. We just had to play good solid defense."

Travis Blankenhorn led Pottsville with 15 points, while Jordan Melochick and Nabholz added 13 apiece. Nabholz scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter and Melochick nine as Pottsville hit 10-of-17 from floor in the fourth after going 7-for-30 over the first three.

The win was extra special for McNeil, who missed last year's championship game with a broken wrist. He returned for the Golden Bears' District 11 Class A championship run.

"It is greatest feeling," McNeil said. "To come back and play this year, playing through this and help us win this, it is just amazing." Game Summary

Pottsville (44) Hinchliffe 0 0-0 0, Painter 1 0-0 3, Blankenhorn 6 2-2 15, Toomey 0 0-0 0, Melochick 5 2-3 13, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 5 0-0 13: Totals 17 4-5 (44)

Mahanoy Area (45) Richmond, McNeil 3 4-9 11, Mahmod 7 4-8 21, Miller 1 0-0 2, Cavenas 0 1-2 1, Kuzma 3 0-0 6: Totals 16 9-19 (45)

Mahanoy (22-2)   9   8   12   16   (45)

Pottsville (21-4)   7   5    5    27   (44)

3 Point FG's: McNeil, Mahmod 3, Painter, Blankenhorn, Melochick, Nabholz 3

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Pottsville shoots for 5th straight title in rematch vs. Golden Bears

              
              

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2014:02:11 19:29:50

andy matsko/staff photo Pottsville's Travis Blankenhorn leads his team in scoring at 18.7 points per game. As a result, he will be a focal point of the Mahanoy Area defense during tonight's Schuylkill League title game.                                                                                                                               

Here we go again.

For the second time in the past five years, and just the third time since 1985, there is a rematch for the Schuylkill League boys' basketball championship.

This time, Division I champ Pottsville (21-3) is taking on Division III champ Mahanoy Area (21-2) again in tonight's title game at 7:30 at Martz Hall.

The Crimson Tide are going for their fifth consecutive league championship, winning last year over the Golden Bears 35-21. Pottsville also beat Pine Grove in both 2011 and 2012.

The other rematch championship game was in 1997, with Shamokin beating Schuylkill Haven after winning the year before.

Pottsville downed Williams Valley 56-30 in Tuesday's semifinal, while Mahanoy Area beat Blue Mountain 49-35. The Golden Bears haven't won a league title since 2006, beating Schuylkill Haven, and are the last "small school" team in the league to win a championship.

There are plenty of similarities between the teams:

- Both have played plenty of basketball during the offseason, no doubt helping both get to this point;

- Both have averaged around the same amount of points per game, with the Golden Bears at 58.2 points per game and the Crimson Tide at 55.2;

- To that end, both are balanced offensively, too, as each has three players averaging double figures in scoring;

- Both are also known for their defense. Mahanoy Area has allowed 32.7 points per game and Pottsville 35.7, ranking them first and second in the league.

For Mickey Holland, who currently has 610 career wins in his 33 years as Golden Bears' coach, he believes containing Pottsville means containing junior guard Travis Blankenhorn, who has emerged as the Crimson Tide's leading scorer. He finished the regular season second in the league in scoring behind Nativity's Jeff Yordy and enters tonight averaging 18.7 points per game, including 52 3-pointers.

"Blankenhorn is a major concern," Holland said. "He is probably overall the best player in the league. But then you have to take into consideration the other weapons they have and balance everything up."

Junior center Eli Nabholz is averaging 11.8 points per game for Pottsville, while sophomore forward Jordan Melochick is at 10.0.

Senior guard Dylan Mahmod leads the Golden Bears at 13.1 points per game, followed by senior guard Larry McNeil (11.8) and senior center Tyler Cavenas (11.0). Mahanoy Area has also hit 160 3-pointers as a team this season, with McNeil (42), Mahmod and junior point guard Jason Richmond (31) leading the way.

"I think the way they position themselves on the offensive end," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said on what concerns him the most. "They really spread you out. They obviously have Cavenas in the middle, which we have to give a lot of attention to. At the same time, while you are providing your attention in there, they have very capable 3-point shooters and that makes it really difficult."

Holland believes winning tonight is going to come down to the basics and isn't making any changes to what the Golden Bears have done all season.

"All the tweaks and stuff that you make, it makes a difference and they make a huge difference, but not as big a difference as the fundamentals you go over with your guys year in and year out," he said. "They are going to run some stuff that is going make that harder and harder to do. But if you stay solid, stay solid, stay solid, you are going to stay true to yourself and not try and go and make huge wholesale changes all over the place."

Mullaney isn't expecting a repeat of last year's title game when the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 23-9 halftime lead, forcing 14 first-half turnovers.

"It is going to be a tight game," he said. "I really believe it is going to be a close game and it might come down to more things like turnovers and rebounding.

"They are too talented. They are not going to have 21 points, I can tell you that."

A victory tonight would benefit Pottsville much more than Mahanoy Area in seeding for the District 11 playoffs. The Crimson Tide are currently No. 2 in the Class AAA behind Allentown Central Catholic (23-0) and if the Crimson Tide win tonight and the Vikings lose to Parkland in Saturday's Lehigh Valley Conference title game, Pottsville would move up to No. 1.

The Golden Bears have locked up the No. 1 seed in the Class A playoffs.

"1000"

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Travis "Money" Blankenhorn

Reaches 1000 points for his career against Williams Valley in tonight's Schuylkill League Semi-Final Playoff Game!

Congratulations Travis!!!

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Pottsville - Williams Valley Highlights

SCHUYLKILL SEMIS: Pottsville rolls past Williams Valley

Pottsville's Connor Hinchliffe wasn't exactly sure what his role was going to be this year when basketball practice started in November.

It turned out he's had a key role in the Crimson Tide's continued success this season.

He certainly did Tuesday night.

Hinchliffe, a junior, scored nine of his game-high 13 points in the first quarter, helping Pottsville build an early lead en route to a 56-30 victory over Williams Valley in a Schuylkill League boys' basketball semifinal at Martz Hall.

Hinchliffe's start helped the Division I-champ Crimson Tide (21-3) get out to 17-9 lead after the first quarter, which grew to 23-12 early in the second. Once the Crimson Tide had a double-digit advantage, they never lost it and finished the night holding the Division II-champion Vikings (18-4) to 10-for-41 (24 percent) from the floor, while forcing 16 turnovers.

"We took them out of a lot of what they wanted to do and that was probably the difference," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said.

The victory gives Pottsville the opportunity to win its fifth consecutive league title. The Crimson Tide will face Division III champion Mahanoy Area, a 49-35 winner over Blue Mountain in Tuesday's other semifinal, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Martz Hall.

The contest is a rematch of last year's championship, which Pottsville won 35-21.

Hinchliffe played for the Crimson Tide last season, but this is his first year as a starter.

"It means a lot because coming into this year, I really wasn't expecting to have that big of a role on the team," Hinchliffe said. "It feels nice to come in, have a big role on the team and now the team is in the championship for the fifth straight time."

Hinchliffe's night was part of balanced offensive attack for the Crimson Tide.

Eli Nabholz added 12 points and five rebounds for Pottsville, while Travis Blankenhorn had 10 points, eight boards and five assists.

It was also a milestone night for Blankenhorn, who went over 1,000 points for his career on drive down the lane at the 6:48 mark of the second quarter.

Jordan Melochick also had nine points for the Tide and Ty Painter tallied eight, all in the second half.

"I thought overall it was a good team effort," Mullaney said. "We didn't just rely on our 1-2-3 to score and everybody got involved. It was a good team win."

Ben Rautzahn had 10 points and six rebounds for Williams Valley, which was missing starter Brendan Miller, who broke his right hand last Thursday against Lourdes. With Jared Matter starting in Miller's place, Vikings' coach Denny Kasper came out in a 3-2 zone instead of his usual 2-3, with Stephen Sedesse playing up top.

"We thought it might make us a little stronger top to bottom," Kasper said. "The last couple of practices, we had we felt it gave us the best chance."

The zone had the desired affect of slowing the game down and it gave the Crimson Tide some trouble. But Pottsville's defense made it tough for Williams Valley to find any consistent rhythm on offense.

"The physicality ... that is the most physical team we've played all year," Kasper said.

Although Pottsville didn't have a good night from beyond the 3-point line, hitting 3-of-16, the Crimson Tide still were 20-for-43 (47 percent) overall on the evening.

Pottsville opened the game on a 9-0 run, as Hinchliffe hit a 3-pointer on the Crimson Tide's first possession. Nabholz later scored on a putback, then hit two foul shots, while Hinchliffe scored on a fast-break layup to finish off the run.

"It gave me a lot of confidence," Hinchliffe said of hitting a 3-pointer right off the bat. "It you have an open look, you should shoot it. The open the shots, you have to take them, and to hit a 3 in the beginning really put in a good start in beginning."

The Vikings battled back and cut the deficit to 11-9 after a 3-pointer by Matter at 2:01. But Hinchliffe hit a jumper from the corner, then grabbed a long rebound and went in for a layup with 56 seconds left.

Melochick finished off the quarter on a steal and layup, making it 17-9.

"They do a good job in their 2-3," Mullaney said. "They took away some of the things we were trying to get and they made us more of a perimeter-shooting team. Sometimes when you are hitting those shots, the offense looks great and when you are not, it doesn't look so good."

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Crimson Tide Defeats Williams Valley

The Crimson Tide advances to it's Fifth straight Schuylkill League Title game , tonight after a 56-30 victory over Williams Valley.  The Tide led  28-14 at half and 42-24 after the third period. The Tide had a well balanced scoring attack tonight with 7 players adding points.  Connor "The Hitman" Hinchliffe led the Tide with 13 points, followed by the "Big Easy" Eli Nabholz's 12 points. The Game was stopped early in the second quarter after Travis"Money" Blankenhorn scored his "1000" point for his career.  The Tide will face Mahanoy Area on Friday for the Schuylkill league Championship, which is a rematch of last year's Final!

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Pottsville (56) Hinchliffe 5 2-3 13, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Painter 2 3-4 8, Blankenhorn 4 2-2 10, Toomey 1 0-0 2, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 4 0-0 9, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 4 4-4 12, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Hamford 1 0-0 2: Totals: 21 11-13 (56)

Willaims Valley (30) Sedesse 1 0-0 3, Matter 2 0-0 5, Rautzahn 2 6-7 10, Radichok 2 1-2 5, Vega 0 0-0 0, Mini 0 0-0 0, Miller 3 1-1 7, Bordner 0 0-0 0, Sepulveda 0 0-0 0: Totals: 10 8-10 (30)

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The Crimson Tide play Williams Valley on Tuesday Night at 7:30 at Martz Hall in the Schuylkill League Semi-final Game.  Come out and support the Tide!

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Pottsville tops Blue Mountain for Division I boys’ crown

By Mike Carnahan, Republican-Herald Sports Writer
MINERSVILLE — The trademark man-to-man defense that Pottsville is known for got a little soft two weeks ago.
It returned this week, and the timing couldn’t be better.
The Crimson Tide held Blue Mountain to two field goals through the middle quarters, while a hot-shooting first half helped propel Pottsville to a 51-42 victory over the Eagles in a Schuylkill League Division I tiebreaker contest at Thomas Fitzpatrick Gymnasium.
“We’ve really had some hard practices with our guys over the last week and they responded well on the defensive end,” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. “We still have some work to do, but I feel we are a much better team than we were a week and a half ago.”
Travis Blankenhorn scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Crimson Tide (19-3), who won their fifth consecutive Division I championship with Saturday’s victory.
Pottsville slowly seized control of the game with 10-2 run over the final 2:48 of the first half, giving the Crimson Tide a 28-22 halftime lead.
Pottsville led by 10 midway through the third quarter before the Eagles (19-3) cut the deficit to five early in the fourth. But the Crimson Tide were able to ice what was a physical game from the foul line, hitting 10-for-16 over the final 8 minutes.
Pottsville’s defensive effort Saturday was a marked improvement from when the two teams met Jan. 27, a 51-33 Blue Mountain victory. That loss snapped Pottsville’s 51-game regular-season division winning streak and forced the tiebreaker game when the Crimson Tide won the first meeting of the season 53-36 on Jan. 4.
Saturday’s outcome sets the pairings for Tuesday’s Schuylkill League semifinals at Martz Hall, with both games a rematch of last year’s semis. Division I wild-card Blue Mountain faces Division III champ Mahanoy Area (20-2) at 6 p.m., while Division II champ Williams Valley (17-3) takes on Pottsville at 7:30 p.m.


Pottsville (51) Hinchliffe 4 2-4 12, Painter 2 0-0 5, Blankenhorn 5 5-9 18, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 4 2-5 11, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 0 5-6 5: Totals: 7 14-24 (52)
Blue Mountain (42) Stramara 0 0-0 0, Bornstein 6 2-5 14, Harding 0 0-0 0, Slane 4 2-3 13, Grapsy 0 1-3 1, Chelius 2 0-0 6, Donovan 0 0-0 0, Panchari 3 2-4 8: Totals: 15 7-15 (42)
3 Point FG's: Slane 3, Chelius 2, Hinchliffe 2, Painter 1, Blankenhorn 3, Melochick

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Crimson Tide vs Blue Mountain

 

The Crimson Tide plays Blue Mountain for the Division I Title on Saturday, Febraury 8 at 7:00 pm at Minersville High School. Come out and support the Crimson Tide! 

District XI AAA Standings  2/9/2014

RankSchoolWLT
1Allentown Central Catholic 22000.858011
2Pottsville Area 19300.744268
3Blue Mountain 19300.713118
4Salisbury Township 15700.667404
5Bethlehem Catholic 111100.628128
6Southern Lehigh 14800.615207
7Lehighton Area 13900.611946
8Saucon Valley 13900.600087
9Northern Lehigh 13900.577590
10Tamaqua Area 13900.537030
11Wilson Area 91300.467554
12Panther Valley 101200.442788
13Palisades 61600.375153
14Northwestern Lehigh 51700.352916
15Palmerton Area 31900.315539
16Jim Thorpe Area 22000.273013

Crimson Tide Rolls To Easy Win Over Jim Thorpe

The Crimson Tide rolled to a 62-22 victory over Jim Thorpe. The Tide was lead by The "Big Easy" Eli Nabholz's 21 points and Travis "Money" Blankenhorn's 17 points. The Tide jumped out to a 46-7 half time lead. The Tide then pushed it to a 57 - 18 score after three periods. The Tide's Travis" Money" Blankenhorn needs 21 points to reach the 1000 points scored for his career. Hopely, he will reach that in the one game playoff against Blue Mountain on Saturday For The Division I Title Game.

Pottsville (62) Hinchliffe 2 0-1 4, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Painter 1 0-0 3, Blankenhorn 6 5-6 17, Toomey 2 0-0 4, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 3 0-2 6, Shuman 1 0-0 2, Witman 0 0-0 0, Nabholtz 8 5-5 21, Coyle 1 0-0 3, Hampford 1 0-0 2: Totals 25 10-14 (62)

Jim Thorpe (22) Carroll 1 0-0 3, Miechiche 3 3-4 11, Micciche 2 0-0 6, McElmoyle 1 0-0 2: Totals 7 3-4 (22)

Pottsville(19 -3, 11-1)   22   24   11    5    (62)

Jim Thorpe (1-11)    2    5   11    4 (22)

3 Point FG's: Carroll, Miechiehe 2, Micciche 2, Painter, Coyle

Things to watch for on last night of Schuylkill League schedule

By Mike Carnahan, Republican-Herald Sports Writer
It’s the final night of the regular season for Schuylkill League boys’ basketball. Here are things to look for tonight:

  • The Division I title may or may not decided and comes down to two games, North Schuylkill at Blue Mountain and Pottsville at Jim Thorpe. Both Blue Mountain and Pottsville enter tonight tied for first at 10-1, both have clinched league playoff berths and have split their two games this season. If Pottsville wins and Blue Mountain loses, the Crimson Tide will win the division. It Blue Mountain wins and Pottsville loses, the Eagles will win the division. If both Blue Mountain and Pottsville win, there will a tie-breaker game between the two Saturday at Minersville at 7 p.m.

Former Crimson Tide Player Hits 1000 Points For Philadelphia University

 

Men's basketball defeats Wilmington (Del.) 75-64; Schlitzer, Christian join 1,000-point club

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia University men's basketball team's 1,000-point club welcomed two new members as junior guard Nick Schlitzer (Pottsville, Pa./Pottsville) and senior guard Nick Christian (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) reached the milestone in the Rams' 75-64 victory over Wilmington (Del.) in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) game Wednesday night in the Gallagher Center.

Philadelphia improves to 17-5 overall and 11-2 in conference play. The Rams extend their winning streak to six and have won 10 of their last 11 games. Wilmington is now 9-14 overall, 5-9 against the CACC.

Entering Wednesday night's game, Christian and Schlitzer needed nine and four points, respectively, to reach 1,000 career points. After scoring two points in the first half, Schlitzer became the program's 50th player to score 1,000 points by sinking two free throws with 15:05 left in the game. Christian made himself the 51st player to achieve the milestone in the game's final minute by hitting the first of two free throws with 28.0 seconds remaining. It is the first time in Philadelphia University history that two players got to 1,000 career points in the same game.

Schlitzer finished the contest 13 points and three rebounds. Christian racked up 10 points and a tied a career-high 15 rebounds for his first double-double of the year.

Sophomore forward Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Redeemer) and Derek Johnson (Conshocken, Pa./Atlantic Christian) tied for the team lead in points with 18 each. Alexis also grabbed 10 rebounds to complete his team-leading 10th double-double of the year.

Sophomore guard Andre Gibbs (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) added 16 points and five assists.

The Rams, who led from start to finish, quickly took control of the contest by scoring the game's first seven points. Wilmington trimmed the Philadelphia lead to three (9-6) on a Ta'Vaune Griffin basket at the 15:23 mark.

A pair of Christian free throws with 13:42 left in the half allowed Philadelphia to take a 15-6 lead. Four minutes later, Gibbs drained a 3-pointer to start a 13-2 run that push the Rams' advantage to a game-high 17 points (32-15).

Philadelphia held its double-digit lead until Shai Henry cleaned up his own miss with a rebound and put back 3:26 into to the second half to make the score 37-28. The Rams pushed back with a 10-1 run, capped by an Alexis three-point play at the 12:55 mark, to regain a 16-point lead (47-31).

The Wildcats made it a close game late with eight straight points to trim the Rams' lead from 11 to three (60-57) with 3:14 to play. Philadelphia ended the rally with six straight points to move ahead by nine with 1:43 left.

Tyaire Ponzo-Meek led Wilmington with 15 points. Griffin finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Philadelphia shot 48.1 percent (26-of-54) from the field, while Wilmington connected on 34.3 percent (24-of-70) of its attempts. The Wildcats owned a 42-39 rebounding advantage.

Philadelphia heads to Post for a CACC contest on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 3 p.m.

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Crimson Tide Pounds The Panthers

The Crimson Tide pounded Panther Valley by the score of 60-20 at Martz Hall. The Tide's well rounded night was led by Travis "Money" Blankenhorn's 15 points, followed by the "Big Easy" Eli Nabholz's 11 points.  All of the team played tonight on Senior Night, The Tide's Two Seniors are John Toomey and Damarr Jackson, who played their last Schuylkill League Regular Season game at Martz Hall. Ty Painter added two 3 pointers and scored a total of eight points in his best shooting night. The Tide at one point went on a 35 point scoring streak to put the game away. The Tide will travel to Jim Thorpe on Thursday night to close out the regular season.

Pottsville (60) Hinchliffe 3 0-0 6, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Painter 3 0-0 8, Blankenhorn 6 2-2 15, Toomey 2 0-0 4, Dunkel 1 0-0 2, Melochick 3 0-1 6, Shuman 2 1-2 6, Witman 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 3 5-6 11, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Hampford 1 0-0 2: Totals 24 8-11 (60)

Panther Valley (20) Szcercina 2 3-3 8, Stano 0 1-2 1, Hudicka 1 0-0 2, Ferryman 1 2-2 4, Vermillion 1 0-0 2, Weng 1 0-0 3: Totals 6 6-7 (20)

Pottsville (18-3, 10-1)   21   21   13   5   (60)

Panther Valley (10-11, 4-7)    7    0    6    7   (20)

3 Point FG's: Szczecina, Weng, Painter 2, Blankenhorn, Shuman 

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Plenty of intrigue on tap in final week

  

Thanks to one of my worst colds in recent memory, last week was one I would like to forget.

But it was an exciting week of boys' basketball in the Schuylkill League.

Consider:

- Blue Mountain beat Pottsville 51-33 on Monday, ending the Crimson Tide's 51-game division winning streak, as well as snapping the Eagles' 11-game losing skid against Pottsville. Blue Mountain finished the week with three more victories, giving it 12 straight. The Eagles are the hottest team in the league right now;

- Nativity junior Jeff Yordy reached 1,000 points for his career Monday after scoring 37 during a 79-49 victory over Weatherly;

- Lourdes earned its 1,000th win in program history after a 48-22 victory over Schuylkill Haven on Thursday;

- In front a playoff-type atmosphere, North Schuylkill downed Mahanoy Area 62-61 in a thriller Friday in Fountain Springs. It was just the Golden Bears' second loss of the season and the most points they have allowed all season.

The events of the past week show what was perhaps expected at the beginning of the season - such as a Pottsville-Mahanoy Area rematch for the league title - is no longer a sure thing. It's still possible the two could meet for the championship at Martz Hall, but they could also meet in the semifinals.

While all three champs have been crowned for the Schuylkill League girls - the only spot to be decided is the Division I wild card - nothing has been decided on the boys' side. And what transpired last week brings plenty of intrigue for the final week of the regular season.

Let's start in Division I.

After the Eagles' win last Monday, the potential was there for three-way tie for first for the division title among Blue Mountain, Pottsville and North Schuylkill. But the picture is much clearer now.

Blue Mountain (18-2, 10-1 D-I) and Pottsville (17-3, 9-1) have both qualified for the league playoffs. The Spartans (13-5, 7-3) were eliminated with their loss to Pottsville on Wednesday and Blue Mountain's victory over Jim Thorpe on Thursday. The Spartans and Pottsville could finish with the same division record but the Crimson Tide hold the tiebreaker with their season-series sweep.

So the question is, how will Blue Mountain and Pottsville finish?

The Crimson Tide host Panther Valley today and travel to Jim Thorpe on Thursday, while the Eagles host North Schuylkill in their league finale Thursday. If Pottsville wins both its games, and Blue Mountain downs the Spartans, the two will finish tied for first and a tiebreaker playoff will be necessary after the Crimson Tide won the earlier-season meeting Jan. 4.

If a tiebreaker game is needed, it is scheduled for Saturday, with Minersville a likely, although not certain, site.

However, if Pottsville wins both its games, and the Eagles lose Thursday, the Crimson Tide will be the division champs and Blue Mountain the wild card.

The Division II and III races are much simpler. The division leaders control their destinies and both need one more victory to clinch their spots in the league playoffs.

Williams Valley (15-2, 9-2) holds a half-game lead over Minersville (14-7, 9-3) and also won both of the regular-season meetings between the two. If the Vikings beat either Schuylkill Haven tonight or Lourdes on Thursday, they will be the division champs. If Williams Valley loses both, and Minersville beats Schuylkill Haven Thursday, the Miners will win the division.

Mahanoy Area (18-2, 11-0) holds a 1.5-game lead over Nativity (15-4, 10-2) in Division III and won the first regular-season meeting Jan. 8. The Golden Bears will win the division if they beat either Marian tonight or Nativity on Thursday. If Mahanoy Area loses both, which means the Hilltoppers win Thursday, then the two will be tied for the first and tiebreaker game will be necessary.

The Schuylkill League boys' semifinals will be at Martz Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 6 and 7:30 p.m. The Division I champ will play the division champ with the lesser league record, while the champion with the best record will play the wild card.

The championship game is Friday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m.

Lots to look forward to in districts, too

This is, of course, the final week for teams to qualify for the District 11, 4 and 3 playoffs.

As of today, eight teams from the Schuylkill League have clinched spots for the District 11 playoffs: Blue Mountain (Class AAA), Mahanoy Area (Class A), Minersville (Class AA), Nativity (Class A), North Schuylkill (Class AA), Pottsville (Class AAA), Tamaqua (Class AAA) and Williams Valley (Class AA).

There are three teams still in the running for District 11 playoff spots:

- Panther Valley (10-10) needs to beat either Pottsville today or Tamaqua on Thursday to get into the Class AAA field;

- Tri-Valley (8-11) needs to win all three of its final three games to qualify in Class A. The Bulldogs finish at Lourdes today, host Halifax on Friday and travel to Carson Long next Monday;

- Marian (8-11, 6-5 D-III) needs to beat either Mahanoy Area today or Weatherly on Thursday to finish above .500 in the division and qualify in Class A.

In District 4, Lourdes (10-9) needs one win in its final three games to get into the Class A field. After Tri-Valley today and Williams Valley on Thursday, the Red Raiders host Gillingham Charter next Monday.

In District 3, Upper Dauphin (10-10) is currently No. 8 in the Class AA power rankings. The Trojans host Lancaster Country Day on Tuesday and travel to Juniata on Thursday. The top 10 teams qualify for the playoffs.

Stats return

With my cold last week, I wasn't able to put together updated stats. But they are back this week on Page 16. The most recent District 11 rankings are on Page 16, too.

(Carnahan is the boys' basketball beat writer for the Republican-Herald. Follow the season on his blog at blogs.republicanherald.com/ac.) Power poll

Through Feb. 1

W-L Pv.

1. Blue Mountain 18-2 3

2. Pottsville 17-3 2

3. North Schuylkill 14-5 4

4. Mahanoy Area 18-2 1

5. Williams Valley 16-3 7

6. Nativity 15-4 6

7. Minersville 14-7 5

8. Tamaqua 11-8 8

9. Panther Valley 10-10 9

10. Marian 8-11 10

- Complied by Mike Carnahan

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Tide bounce back with win over Spartans

By Mike Carnahan, Republican-Herald Sports Writer
It wasn’t exactly the type of bounce-back game that Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney was expecting.
Still, a game-high 24 points from junior Travis Blankenhorn, as well as a big second quarter, were enough to lift the Crimson Tide to a 55-39 victory over North Schuylkill in a Schuylkill League Division I contest Wednesday at Martz Hall.
“We are happy that we won but we are not very good right now,” Mullaney said.

Pottsville (17-3, 9-1 D-I) was coming off a 51-33 loss to Blue Mountain on Monday, snapping its 51-game division winning streak that dated to 2010. That loss makes every game a must win for the Crimson Tide in order to force a potential one-game playoff for the division title with the Eagles and to get the opportunity to go for their fifth consecutive league title.
That was a message Mullaney was trying to get across to the Crimson Tide in his talk between the first and second quarters Wednesday. Pottsville responded and outscored the Spartans (12-5, 7-3) 14-5 in the quarter, turning a 17-14 lead into a 31-19 halftime advantage.
“We could have played a lot better than we did (in the first quarter),” Blankenhorn said. “I just felt we came together as a team. We just played our hearts out.”

   Blankenhorn grabbed 11 rebounds to complete a double-double. He also had four assists. Eli Nabholz added 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks for Pottsville, which won the earlier season meeting against the Spartans 55-44 on Janaury 8, while Ty Painter had four assists.

   Matt Manbeck had 10 points and seven rebounds to lead the Spartans, while Major Jordon added nine points and five boards. The loss, all but ended North Schuylkill's hopes for for a chance at a three way tie for the Division Title with Pottsville and Blue Mountain. The Spartans still have an outside shot at earning a tie for the division wild card, but need to win thier final two league games against Pine Grove and Blue Mountain and get some help.

   "Second quarter, we didn't get back a few times, didn't point out, didn't find our guys," Curt Ziegmont said. "They hit some shots. Offensively, we didn't make it easy on ourselves. We missed some shots inside the paint, missed our foul shots throughout the quarters.

   "I'm proud of our guys. We played our hearts out. We went after them for 32 minutes, 90 some feet, forced them into some turnovers and some spots that normal teams don't do against them."

The Spartans shot 2 for 13 from the floor in the second quarter, while Pottsville was 5 for 7.

   Connor Hinchliffe who had nine points in the game, opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer for the Tide. After Boby Grigas scored on a baseline jumper for North Schuylkill, Blankenhorn hit a 3 from the top of the circle off a pick, while Nabholz hit two foul shots to make it 25-16 at 5:05.

   Manbeck knocked down a 3 on the Spartans' next possesion, their final field goal of the half as Pottsville finished on a 6-0 run. Nabholz scored on a transition lay-up from Blankenhorn, Blankenhorn scored on another fast break lay-up off a dish from Painter.

Blankenhorn then scored on a drive with 1:10 remaining, making it 31-19. "A lot of my points come from my teammates," he said. "That definitely gets me open. I owe a lot of credit to them."

   The Spartans cut the deficit to none midway through the Third quarter, but Pottsville was able to build its lead up to 47-31 after Blankenhorn hit two key 3's later in the quarter. His first came with 1:13 remaining, and he hit a fall-awey trey just before the buzzer. "Blankenhorn is a stud," Ziegmont said. "He is a big time player who hit some big time shots."

   After shooting 12 for 37 durning Monday's loss to Blue Mountain, Pottsville hit 20 for 33 (61 percent) on Wednesday. However, the Crimson Tide also turned the ball over 18 times against the full-court pressure North Schuylkill used most of the game. 

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Division I race to watch in Schuylkill League

NOTE: In an update to the story below, if a tiebreaker game is necessary, it would be Saturday, Feb. 8, with Minersville a possible site.

By Mike Carnahan, Republican-Herald Sports Writer
Outside of a collapse, Mahanoy Area (17-1, 10-0 D-III) is well on its way to clinching the Schuylkill League Division III title, and could do so as early as Thursday if the Golden Bears beat Weatherly (3-11, 1-9) and second-place Nativity (13-4, 9-2) is upset by Shenandoah Valley (4-15, 3-8). If both win Thursday, Mahanoy Area will clinch the division with a victory over Marian (7-10, 6-5) on Monday.
Williams Valley (15-2, 9-2 D-II) holds a one-game lead over Minersville (13-6, 8-3) in Division II, but the Vikings control their own destiny. They swept the season series with the Miners and will clinch the division with a win at Schuylkill Haven (0-18, 0-10) on Monday.
That leaves Division I, which has turned into a three-team race between Blue Mountain (16-2, 9-1), Pottsville (16-3, 8-1) and North Schuylkill (12-4, 7-2). The Eagles’ 51-33 victory over the Crimson Tide on Monday turned the division in one where a tiebreaker, either for the title or wild-card, is highly likely, and a three-way tie for first is also possible.
First, lets look at the remaining league schedule for the three contenders:

Tonight
North Schuylkill at Pottsville
Thursday, Jan. 30
Blue Mountain at Jim Thorpe
Monday, Feb. 3
Pine Grove at North Schuylkill
Panther Valley at Pottsville
Thursday, Feb. 6
North Schuylkill at Blue Mountain
Pottsville at Jim Thorpe

To review, Blue Mountain and Pottsville split their league games, while the Eagles and Crimson Tide have already beaten North Schuylkill in league games this season.
What does this mean? If both Blue Mountain and Pottsville win out, their will be one-game playoff for the division title. According to league by-laws, it would be Monday, Feb. 10 at a site agreed upon by both schools.
However, if North Schuylkill beats Pottsville and Blue Mountain, as well as Pine Grove, while the Eagles and Crimson Tide win their other league games, there would be a three-way tie for first since each team split their regular-season meetings. If that’s the case, there will be two games to break the tie. League by-laws state that those games would be Saturday, Feb. 8, and Monday, Feb. 10. A coin flip will determine who gets the bye.
There could also tie for the division wild-card, too.
It is certain to be an exciting, and tense, stretch run.

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Tide Rolls past North Schuylkill

The Crimson Tide got back to it's winning ways with a 55-39 victory over the North Schuylkill Spartans. The Tide improves it's record to 17-3 for the season. The Tide were lead by Travis "Money" Blankenhorn's 24 points, followed by Eli "Big Easy" Nabholz 12 points and Connor "The Hitman" Hinchliffe 9 points with Jordon "Melo" Melochick added 8 points for a well balanced game. The Tide lead 31-19 at the half and 47-31 at the end of the third quarter. The Tide will take on Panther Valley on Monday night at Martz Hall and close out the regular season against Jim Thorpe away. If the Tide wins those two games, there will be a one game playoff against Blue Mountain for the Division 1 Title and then on to the Schuylkill League Playoffs.

Pottsville (55) Hinchliffe 3 1-2 9, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 6 7-8 24, Toomey 1 0-0 2, Melochick 4 0-0 8, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Nabholtz 5 2-2 12. Totals 19 10-12 (55)

North Schuylkill (39) Ennis 1 1-1 3, Marlow 0 0-0 0, Hillibish 0 2-2 2, Murray 1 6-10 8, Manbeck 4 1-2 10, Grigas 3 0-2 7, Damiler 0 0-0 0, Mazeika 0 0-0 0, Jordan 3 3-6 9. Totals: 12 13-23 (39)

Pottsville (17-3, 9-1)   17   14   16    8   (55)

North Schuylkill (12-6, 7-3)   14    5   12    8   (39)

3-point FG's Manbeck, Grigas, Hinchliffe 2, Blankenhorn 3 

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Pottsville - Blue Mountain

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Photo Coursey Of Pottsville Republican/Dave McKeown

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Photo Coursey Of Pottsville Republican/Dave McKeown

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Photo Coursey Of Pottsville Republican/Dave McKeown

 Blue Mountain knocks off Pottsville
by mike carnahan (staff writer mcarnahan@republicanherald.com)Published: January 27, 2014
ORWIGSBURG - For Blue Mountain boys' basketball senior starters Will Bornstein, Skyer Panchari, Kyle Slane and Shane Grapsy, this was a long time coming.It's been more than five years since the Eagles had beaten their bitter rivals. Monday, Blue Mountain not only did it, but did so in impressive fashion.Bornstein remained hot offensively, scoring 14 of his 20 points in the second half as Eagles got the tempo up their liking and rolled by Pottsville 51-33 in a Schuylkill League Division I contest.After a first-half slugfest, Blue Mountain (15-2, 9-1 D-I) was able to get out and run more in the second half. That, coupled with a solid defensive effort from the start, turned a 21-18 Eagles halftime lead into a blowout, as Blue Mountain outscored the Crimson Tide 30-15 over the final 16 minutes.When the final buzzer sounded, the Eagles' student section emptied and ran across the gymnasium floor to celebrate with the Eagles."It means a lot," said Bornstein, who has reached double figures in scoring in his last nine games. "We wanted it really bad. That's a good team and we wanted to go out there and win."The victory snapped Blue Mountain's 11-game losing streak against Pottsville (16-3, 8-1), the four-time defending division and overall Schuylkill League champ. The Eagles' last win over Pottsville before Monday was a 54-36 victory on Dec. 12, 2008.The Tide won the first meeting of the season 53-36 on Jan. 4.Blue Mountain's victory also snapped the Crimson Tide's 51-game division winning streak that dated to a loss to Jim Thorpe on Jan. 15, 2010.The victory put the Eagles into first place in the division, and if they and Pottsville both win their remaining league games, the two will play a tie-breaker game for the division title.Both still have to face third-place North Schuylkill (12-4, 7-2), a 81-33 winner over Jim Thorpe on Monday. The Tide host the Spartans on Wednesday, while Blue Mountain hosts North Schuylkill on Feb. 6."If feels great to do it in front of our home crowd," Panchari said. "That was nuts, getting the win, bleachers clearing. What more can you ask for?"Slane added eight points, six rebounds and four assists for Blue Mountain, while Grapsy contributed eight rebounds and six assists.Travis Blankenhorn led Pottsville with 20 points.Blue Mountain's win Monday started with defense. The Eagles came in allowing 39.6 points per game and Blue Mountain coach Dustin Werdt thought the Crimson Tide's guards bullied the Eagles inside during the first meeting of the season. This time around, the Eagles took that away, forcing Pottsville into more contested 3-pointers."We pressured the ball well and we contested most shots," Werdt said. "They didn't have very many clean looks. Overall, defensively the kids just played a great game."The Crimson Tide were held to 12-for-37 (32 percent) from the floor Monday, including a 3-for-19 performance from 3-point land."We wanted to defend the 3-pointer," Bornstein said. "We didn't want them to get a lot of open shots. Help defense, we wanted to help in the post because they like to post our guys up and we did."Offensively, Blue Mountain finished 17-for-27 (63 percent), including 10-for-15 (67 percent) in the second half as the Eagles got out in transition more in the half.After Blankenhorn hit two foul shots to make it 23-22 Blue Mountain at 5:57 of the third quarter, the Eagles went on a 13-4 run to finish the third quarter.Bornstein scored seven of his points in the run, hitting a short jumper, completing a three-point play on a cut inside and later grabbing a defensive rebound and taking the ball to the other end of the court to score on a layup.Panchari finished off the quarter, scoring on a fast-break layup off a pass from Grapsy, making it 36-26.The Eagles opened the fourth quarter on a 13-2 run to put the game away as Bornstein scored on a full-court, in-bounds pass from Grapsy to make it 49-28 with 2:11 left in the game.

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Photo Coursey Of Pottsville Republican/Dave McKeown

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Photo Coursey Of Pottsville Republican/Dave McKeown

Blue Mountain Tops the Crimson Tide

Blue Mountain defeat the Crimson Tide at Blue Mountain's home court by the score of 51-33. It is the Crimson Tide first loss in the Schuylkill League in over four years. The loss stop's, the Tide's streak at 68 concessive league games in a row.   Travis BlankenHorn led the Tide with 20 points, followed by Jordan Melochick's 8 points. The score was 21-18 Blue Mountain at the half, but Blue Mountain put together a 15-8 run in the Third quarter to pull away from the Tide. The Tide were off their game all night and  a well played game by Blue Mountain lead to the defeat.  Pottsville and Blue Mountain are tied atop the Division I standings, if both teams, win the rest of their games, there will be a playoff for the Division Title at a neutral site, to determined the Division Chanps, with the loser gaining the wild card spot.

Pottsville (33) Hinchliffe 1 0-0 3, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 6 6-7 20, Toomey 0 0-0 0, Melochick 4 0-0 8, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 1 0-0 2. Totals: 12 6-8 (33)

Blue Mountain (51) Bornstein 7 5-7 20, Harding 0 0-0 0, Slane 4 1-1 11, Grapsy 0 0-0 0, Chelius 1 2-3 4, Donvan 0 0-0 0, Panchari 5 6-6 16. Totals: 17 14-17 (51)

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Photo Coursey Of Pottsville Republican/Dave McKeown

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"Tide runs over the Blue Raiders"

The Crimson Tide scored a 43-24 victory over Tamaqua Blue Raiders. The victory was the Crimson Tide's 68th victory in a row over Schuylkill League teams. The Tide was led by Travis "Money" Blankenhorn's 23 points, followed by Eli "Big Easy" Nabholz 10 points and Jordan 'Melo"Melochick added 7 points. The Tide jumped out to a 29-7 half time lead, and a 40-16 spread after 3 quarters. The Tide improved to 16 - 2 for the season. The Tide will face it's biggest game of the season on Monday Night at Blue Mountain, this game is for the Division 1 lead and top playoff spot for the Schuylkill League Championships.

Pottsville (43) Hinchliffe 1 0-0 2, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 9 1-3 23, Toomey 0 1-2 1, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 3 0-0 7, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Adams 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 4 2-3 10, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Hampford 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 4-8 (43)

Tamaqua (24) Blaker 2 0-0 5, Rottet 4 0-0 8, Frantz 2 0-0 5, Macdonald 1 0-2 2, Marcin 1 0-0 2, Van Buskirk 1 0-0 2. Totals: 11 0-2 (24)

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Crimson Tide Clips the Cardinals Wings

The Crimson Tide breezed to an Easy Victory over Pine Grove with a 52 -17 win. The Tide was led by Eli "Big Easy" Nabholz with 9 points and Conor "The Hitman" Hinchliffe also with 9 points. The "Big Easy" returned after missing a couple of games for the Tide. The Tide came out quickly to a 27-7 half-time led and never looked back. Ten of Pottsville players add points to the totals. This was Pottsville 67th win in the row against Schuylkill League teams. The Tide plays Tamaqua on Thursday and then to the Big Game against Blue Mountain.

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Pottsville (52) Hinchliffe  4 0-0 9, Jackson 1 0-0 2, Painter 2 0-0 4, Blankenhorn 2 0-0 4, Toomey 2 0-0 4, Dunkel 1 1-3 3, Melochick 2 0-0 4, Shuman 3 0-0 7, Witman 3 0-0 6, Adams 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 2 5-8 9, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Hampford 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 6-11 (52)

Pine Grove  (17) Rossi 1 0-2 2, Blankenhorn 0 0-0 0, White 2 0-0 4, D'Agostino 1 1-2 3, Snedden 1 0-0 2, Weinus 1 2-2 4, Fidler 1 0-0 2. Totals: 7 3-6 (17)

3-Point FG's: Hinchliffe, Shuman

Pottsville (15-2), (7-0)    15   12   14   11   (52)

Pine Grove (3-14), (0-8)    2    5    2    8   (17) 

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Pottsville Defeats Muhlenberg

Travis Blankenhorn had a game high 27 points, including eight of his team's 15 feild goals, as The Crimson Tide claimed a non-league victory over the Muhls at Martz Hall.

Pottsville grabbed a 26-14 halftime lead, but Muhlenberg trimmed the deficit to 34-29 at the end of the third quarter. However, Pottsville held a 12-11 scoring edge in the fourth quarter to hold on for the win.

 Jordan"Melo" Melochick added 10 points for the Crimson Tide. Jalen Flynn led Muhlenberg with 20 points.

Pottsville (46) Hinchliffe 2 0-0 4, Painter 1 0-0 3, Blankenhorn 8 7-9 27, Toomey 1 0-1 2, Melochick 3 4-6 10, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Hampford 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 11-16 (46)

Muhlenberg (40) Brown 0 0-0 0, Flynn 9 0-0 20, Chantz 0 0-0 0, Benjamin 0 0-0 0, Stinson 4 0-0 8, Fidler 0 0-0 0, Richard 3 0-0 7, Rangel 1 0-0 2, Hine 1 0-0 3. Totals: 18 0-0 (40)

Pottsville (14-2)   17    9    8   12    (46)

Muhlenberg  (4-12)    7    7   15   11   (40)

3-Point Fg's: Flynn 2, Richard, Hine, Blankenhorn 4, Painter 

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Pottsville Routs Jim Thorpe 73-25

 

Travis Blankenhorn and Jordan Melochick had 16 points apiece as the Crimson Tide posted a dominating Division I win over the Olympians.

Kevin Hampford added 12 points and Connor Hinchliffe chipped in with 10 for Pottsville, which opened the game on a 21-8, first-quarter run. The Crimson Tide improves it's record to 13-2 and the 65th straight victory against Schuylkill League teams.

Pottsville (73) Hinchcliffe 4 2-3 10, Jackson 0 0-0, Painter 2 1-2 5, Blankenhorn 7 0-0 16, Toomey 1 1-2 3, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 7 2-3 16, Shuman 1 0-0 2, Witman 0 0-0 0, Adams 3 0-0 6, Coyle 1 0-0 3, Hampford 5 0-0 12. Totals: 31 6-10 73

Jim Thorpe (25)  Carroll 1 0-2 3, Micciche 1 0-0 2, Carroll 1 0-0 2, Lawarence 0 0-0 0, Micciche 5 0-0 11, Green 0 0-2 0, Mcelmoyle 0 0-0 0, Sinsky 0 0-0 0,Jefferson 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 2-8 25

Jim Thorpe (2-11), (1-5)   8   6   7   4 -- (25)

Pottsvile (13-2) (6-0)  21   17   17   18 -- (73)

3 Point FG': Micciche, Blankenhorn 2, Coyle, Hampford 2

 

 

  


 
 
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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2014:01:13 19:38:21

charlie roth/times - shamrock photo Pottsville's Jordan Melochick, right, pressures Shamokin's Ryan Sebasovich during Monday's non-league game. The Crimson Tide downed the Indians 43-38.

COAL TOWNSHIP - If Pottsville and Shamokin go on to win their respective league and district titles, they'll both look back on the Crimson Tide's 43-38 win in a non-league matchup Monday at Shamokin as a key game.

The road is likely to be a little tougher for the Indians, though.

Shamokin (10-1), which lost for the first time, will likely have to spend several weeks, if not the rest of the season, without its leading scorer and rebounder, Austin Stine, who went high for a rebound in the first two minutes of the game and landed awkwardly. Stine was taken for X-rays and, according to Shamokin coach Chris Zimmerman, may have broken bones in his wrist or wrists.

Even without Stine, the Indians and the Tide, who were playing without Eli Nabholz (concussion), battled each other tooth and nail on every possession for 32 minutes.

Shamokin, which made just 3-of-21 shots in the first half, managed to hang tough and trailed by just one point at 39-38 with 29.5 seconds left when Pottsville called timeout after a Shamokin basket. Jordan Melochick then sank four straight foul shots on two possessions, making him 9-for-9, to clinch the win for Pottsville (11-2).

Travis Blankenhorn, with 19 points and eight rebounds, was too much inside for Shamokin without Stine. Blankenhorn scored 12 of the Tide's 24 points in the first half. Melochick finished with 15.

"We've had to adapt our game a little without Eli Nabholz," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "He gives us another scorer, but we feel we have three guys who can score, especially in the halfcourt.

"I think both teams played extremely hard. This was probably our best overall defensive effort of the year, and I can't say enough about how hard Shamokin played. They're coached really well. Playing here tonight was like us playing at Blue Mountain. That's what it was like."

Shamokin understandably took some time to get going after Stine's injury. The Indians shot 1-of-10 from the field in the first quarter as Pottsville took a 12-5 lead, but Shamokin only trailed 24-17 at halftime and 31-24 after three quarters.

Pottsville went up by nine, 35-26, early in the fourth quarter, but Shamokin quickly came back with a 3-pointer. That set up a battle of wits and timeouts between the teams and coaches the rest of the way.

Dan Delbaugh and Jakob Weaver scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Indians.

"Our kids played with a lot of heart and so did theirs," Zimmerman said. "It wasn't the prettiest game to watch on both ends, but when you play as hard as both teams did, that's what's going to happen sometimes. That's the name of the game.

"Their defense is as good as anybody we play. If anybody we play plays better half-court defense, I want to know where they are."

Pottsville (43)   Hinchcliffe 1 1-3 3, Painter 1 2-3 4, Blankenhorn 7 4-4 19, Toomey 1 0-0 2, Melochick 3 9-9 15, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Hampford 0 0-1 0. Totals: 13 16-20 (43)

Shamokin (38)   Sebasovich 2 1-1 5, Weaver 3 2-2 10, Delbaugh 3 5-9 13, Stine 0 0-0 0, pappas 2 0-0 4, Dirienzo 0 0-0 0, Reiprich 1 0-0 2, Taylor 1 0-0 2, Moyer 1 0-0 2, Donahue 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 8-12 (38)

Pottsville (11-2)   12   12    7   12 -- (43)

Shamokin (10-1)   5   12    7    14 -- (38)

3Point FG's: Bankenhorn, Weaver 2, Delbaugh

 

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Photo Courtsey f Pottsville Republican & Jackie Dormer

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Photo Courtsey f Pottsville Republican & Jackie Dormer

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Photo Courtsey f Pottsville Republican & Jackie Dormer

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Photo Courtsey f Pottsville Republican & Jackie Dormer

 

                Tide Loses To Salisbury 

 

Pottsville clinched a spot in the District 11 Class AAA playoffs Friday.

Saturday, the Crimson Tide got a look at a potential district postseason opponent.

That look showed Pottsville it has some work to do if the Crimson Tide want to make a long playoff run.

Austin Uhl had a double-double, while Salisbury's quickness got the better of Pottsville in the Falcons' 56-46 non-league victory at Martz Hall.

Uhl finished the game with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Eddie Sanchez added 11 points for Salisbury (9-3), while Justin Aungst, the Falcons' leading scorer at 16.6 points per game, tallied 10.

Pottsville (11-2), which had its 10-game winning streak snapped with the loss, clinched a district berth with Friday's 66-34 rout of Panther Valley.

Salisbury beat the Crimson Tide 45-39 in last season's District 11 Class AAA consolation game. After Saturday's contest, Pottsville and Salisbury are now ranked second and third, respectively, behind Allentown Central Catholic in the Class AAA power ratings.

"I don't know if we are ready to beat a team that is that consistent, that well coached and has that talent level," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "We don't do things consistently to beat a team like that. Hopefully in another month things will be different."

Travis Blankenhorn had a game-high 20 points and Jordan Melochick scored 17 for Pottsville, which played from behind most the game.

The Falcons built an 11-point lead at the end of the first quarter at 16-5, but Pottsville battled back to go up 26-25 at halftime. Salisbury then went up 41-31 at the end of the third quarter before the Crimson Tide cut the deficit to 47-46 after a steal and layup by Blankenhorn with 3:39 left in the game.

The Falcons, however, responded.

On his team's next possession, Brendan Reichenbach hit his second 3-pointer of the game on a kick-out pass from Sanchez, making it 50-46 at 3:14. Salisbury then iced the game from the foul line, going 6-for-9 over final 1:36.

"I start five seniors and I have guys who are experienced," Salisbury coach Jason Weaver said. "We've been in these situations before and I don't think they are intimated by anybody, which is a good thing. We respect everybody, but we have seniors who are playing well together."

The Crimson Tide also learned they will likely be without center Eli Nabholz for a few games. Nabholz was knocked in the head during a foul as made a move inside early in the second quarter.

At first, it was believed Nabholz had just a bloody nose, but after the game, Mullaney said Nabholz suffered a concussion and wasn't sure how much time he'd miss.

"We going to have to find a way to play without him," Mullaney said. "That obviously had an effect on the game, too."

Pottsville couldn't overcome the Falcons quickness, especially defensively, and it lead to plenty of Salisbury baskets in the paint. The Falcons ended up shooting 20-for-35 (57 percent) from the floor, while the 56 points was just second time this season Pottsville had allowed more than 50 in a game. The other was 58 against Wilson West Lawn on Dec. 11.

"They have a lot of guys who are good at penetrating off the dribble," Mullaney said. "We didn't do a good job of keeping people in front and our help defense is nowhere where it needs to be. They opened our eyes tonight."

Offensively, the Crimson Tide shot 16-for-44 (36 percent) and turned the ball over 12 times, while the 46 points were a season low.

Still, Pottsville had its chances to pull closer late in the game. With 1:36 to go, Aungst missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but Pottsville couldn't control the rebound and the ball went of bounds. Sanchez was eventually fouled and hit both ends of his 1-and-1, making it 52-46.

Pottsville then turned the ball over on its next possession. Naveed Hadian was fouled, hit the first of a double-bonus situation, but the ball went off Pottsville on the miss after the second attempt. Hadian was fouled again and hit both ends of the double bonus to put the game away.

Weaver was glad to finally win a tight contest after losing to Emmaus 53-49 on Jan. 4. The Falcons' other two losses this season were to Blue Mountain (62-51 on Dec. 6) and Parkland (69-52 on Dec. 30).

"We knew the physicality of those guys," Weaver said. "We knew what to expect up here are far as physicality and I think my guys responded to it."


Pottsville (46)  Hinchcliffe  1 12 4, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 7 3-3 20, Toomey 0 0-0 0, Melochick 6 4-7 17, Witman 0 0-0 0,  Nabholz  2 0-0 5. Totals 16 8-12 (46)

Salisbury (56) Hadian 2 5-7 9, Sanchez 4 2-2 11, Reichenbach 3 1-2 9, Vangeli 0 2-2 2, Aungst 5 0-1 10, Uhl 6 1-3 13, Fairclaugh 1 0-0 2, Totals 21 11-17 (56)

Pottsville (11-2) (5-0)            5   21       5   15   (46)

Salisbury (9-3)                     16    9     16    15   (56)

3-Points FG's: Sanchez, Reichebach, 2, Hinchcliffe, Blankenhorn 3, Melochick

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Photo Courtsey f Pottsville Republican & Jackie Dormer

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Photo Courtsey f Pottsville Republican & Jackie Dormer

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Photo Courtsey f Pottsville Republican & Jackie Dormer

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Photo Courtsey f Pottsville Republican & Jackie Dormer

Crimson Tide Rolls To "Easy" Win over Panther Valley

The Tide rolled to a Easy 66-34 win over Panther Valley. The Tide was led by Eli "Big Easy" Nabholz with 18 points, followed by Travis "Money" Blankehorn 13 points and Connor "The Hitman" Hinchcliffe 10 points. The Tide jumped out to a first quarter lead of  19 to 8 and led at half time 38-12. The Tide poured it on in the third, outscoring the Panthers 15 to 6 to led 53-18 after three periods. The defense were once again led by Jordan "Melo" Melochick tough defense. Jordan always draws the task of defending the best player on the other team. That task, he fulfilled by limiting the Panther's star player to 4 points durning the first three quarters.The starters would play no more, leaving the fourth quarters to some well earn playing time for the rest of the team. Christian Witman turned in his best game of the year by adding 8 points for the Tide.

Pottsville (66)  Hinchcliffe  4 0-0 10, Jackon 1 0-0 2, Painter 1 0-0 2, Blankenhorn 5 1-3 13, Toomey 0 1-2 1, Dunkel 2 0-0 4, Melochick 2 1-1 5, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 4 0-0 8, Adams 1 0-0 2, Nabholz 7 3-3 18, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Hampford 1 0-0 3. Totals 27 6-9 (66)

Panther Valley (34) Dubosky  2 1-2 5, Szczecina 5 0-2 14, Keo 1 0-0 2, Kusko 1 0-0 3, Stano 1 0-0 2, Owens 1 0-0 3, Ferryman 2 0-0 5, Nase 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 1-4 (34)

Pottsville (11-1) (5-0)           19   19   15   13   (66)

Panther Valley (7-4) (1-3)     8     4     6    16   (34)

Tide Improves it's Season to 10 -1

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Photo Courtsey of Pottsville Republican & David McKeown

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Photo Courtsey of Pottsville Republican & David McKeown

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Photo Courtsey of Pottsville Republican & David McKeown

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Photo Courtsey of Pottsville Republican & David McKeown

 

Pottsville outlasts North Schuylkill in key division battle

Posted on January 9, 2014 by mcarnahan

By Mike Carnahan, Republican-Herald Sports Writer


FOUNTAIN SPRINGS — North Schuylkill figured to be the last team to give Pottsville a challenge during the first half of the Schuylkill League Division I schedule.
The Spartans did for a half. But then the Crimson Tide took control of the game and now have control of the division.
Travis Blankenhorn led a another balanced offensive attack with a game-high 16 points as Pottsville pulled away in the second half for a 54-44 victory over North Schuylkill on Wednesday.
Coming off a 53-36 win over Blue Mountain on Saturday, the Crimson Tide (10-1, 4-0 D-I) entered the game tied with the Spartans (6-3, 3-1) for the division lead. Leading 29-23 at halftime, Pottsville used a 19-9 scoring advantage in the third quarter to put the game away.
The Tide extended their lead to 18 points early in the fourth quarter en route to their ninth straight win and 47th consecutive Division I victory.
“I was really happy with the team effort,” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said.

It seemed like everybody contributed something for the Tide.

Jordan Melochick added 13 points, while Eli Nabholz netted 12 for Pottsville. The Tide were crisp and efficient on offense, working the ball around for high-percentage shots inside the paint.

The Crimson Tide finished the night 22 for 40 (55 percent) from the floor, with six players having at least two assists. John Toomey,Nabholz,Melochick, and Blankenhorn dished out three assists apiece. Nabholz also grabbed six rebounds and four blocks, while Blankenhorn collected five boards.

  “We have some smart guys and they made some nice adjustments with what North Schuylkill was doing” Mullaney said. “They are so intense defensively and so well coached, you have to do everthing 100 percent and do them the right way to have any chance of scoring.”

   Tevin Murray had a double-double for the Spartans with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Matt Manbeck and Jake Damiter added eight points apiece.

   North Schuylkill led 17-16 early in the second quarter after Manbeck scored on a putback, was fouled and converted the three point play. But, after a good offensive start, the Spartans finished the night 13-for-43 (30 percent) from the floor.

  “I was very happy with the first quarter,” North Schuylkill coach Curt Ziegmont said “Everybody knows how smothering their defense can be at times, so I was pretty pleased with that.”

   Offensive rebounding also kept North Schuylkill in the game in the first half. The Spartans grabbed seven offensive boards over the first 16 minutes, resulting in nine second-chance points.

   But North Schuylkill had just two offensive rebounds in the second half, both coming with under 1:20 left in the game when the outcome was decided.

“I just think we got worn down a little bit,” Ziegmont said. “In a game like this, the atmosphere, we can’t go as deep as we normally do every night, which I think started to wear our guys down.

   “But give credit to Pottsville, when they make you earn everything offensively and then they work you defensively by running their motion they do so well, they just wear you down.”

One player who stood out for Mullaney was Melochick, who scored Pottsville’s first six points of the second half and tallied eight in the third quarter. He got the inbounds pass from the side to start the half, drove to the hoop and scored. Melochick then scored on a cut inside and put in another two when Ty Painter outhustled a North Schuylkill player for an offensive rebound and dished to Melochick for a layup.

   Melochick finished off the third quarter by knocking down a jumper just before the buzzer, putting Pottsville up 48-32.

   “He does so much for us,” Mullaney said. “With some of the things they were doing switching on defense, I thought he made some nice reads. He’s just a smart player.”

 

Pottsville (54) – Hinchcliffe 2 0-0 6, Painter 1 0-0 3, Blankenhorn 7 0-0 16, Toomey 2 0-0 4, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 6 1-2 13, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Adams 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 5 1-2 12, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Hampford 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 2-4 54

 

North Schuylkill (44) – Carney 0 0-0 0, Marlow 0 0-0 0, Hillibish 1 0-0 3, Murray 4 3-3 11, Manbeck 3 2-3 8, McDonald 0 0-0 0, Damiter 2 3-6 8, Mazeika 2 3-3 7, Karlonis 0 0-0 0, Heaton 0 0-0 0, Jordan 3 0-0 7. Totals 15 11-15 44

Pottsville (10-1), (4-0) --        16   13   19   6 --  (54)

North Schuylkill (6-3), (3-1)   14    9    9   12 --  (44)

3-point FG’s: Hinchlife 2, Painter, Blankenhorn 2, Nabholz, Hillibish, Damiter, Jordan

 

 

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Photo Courtsey of Pottsville Republican & David McKeown

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Photo Courtsey of Pottsville Republican & David McKeown

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Crimson Tide Rolls Past North Schuylkill

The Crimson Tide defeated North Schuylkill on their home floor 54-44. The Tide rolled to a 20 point, 3rd quarter lead and then coasted to it's 64th win in a row against Schuylkill League Teams. The Tide was led by Travis "Money" Blankenhorn with 16 points, followed by Jordan "Melo" Melochick with 13 points and the "Big Easy" Eli Nabholz 12 points. The Tide led 29-23 at the half. The Tide then applied it's usual tough Defense to start the second half and pulled away from the Spartans. The Tide travels to Panther Valley, this Friday, in it's quest for its five straight league championship.

Pottsville (54) Hincliffe 2 0-0 6, Painter 1 0-0 3, Blankenhorn  7 0-0 16, Toomey 2 0-0 4, Melochick 6 1-2 13, Nabholtz 5 1-2 12, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Adams 0 0-0 , Coyle 0 0-0 0, Hampford 0 0-0 0 Totals: 23 2-4 (54)

North Schuykill (44) Hillbish 1 0-0 3, Murray 2 4-6 8, Mannbeck 3 2-3 8, Dainikes 3 - 3-4 10, Karlonis 2 3-3 7, Jordan 3 0-0 7 Totals 14 12-16  (44)

 
Team - OffenseGames PlayedPFPPG
Tamaqua1058858.8
Pottsville1058558.5
Blue Mountain846157.6
Nativity740057.1
Mahany Area950556.1
North Schuylkill844755.9
Upper Dauphin950055.6
Williams Valley842252.8
Minersville1050150.1
Panther Valley943548.3
Weatherly731945.6
Marian939844.2
Hamburg1043243.2
Jim Thorpe1042142.1
Shenandoah Valley1040640.6
Lourdes935839.8
Tri-Valley1037437.4
Pine Grove1141037.3
Schuylkill Haven824831.0
    
    
    
    
Team - DefenseGames PlayedPAPPG
Mahanoy Area929232.4
Williams Valley827834.8
Pottsville1037537.5
Minersville1038638.6
Lourdes9352