H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Tide's Blankenhorn earns player of year honors
Published: April 26, 2015
When he was a freshman, Pottsville’s
Travis Blankenhorn was a super athlete who was a pretty-good basketball player.
By the time he finished his high school
career, Blankenhorn transformed into a complete player. He also became one of the best in the Schuylkill League.
past season was no different, and for his performance, Blankenhorn is the 2014-15 Republican-Herald All-Area Boys’ Basketball
Player of the Year. It is the second straight year Blankenhorn has earned the honor after sharing it in 2013-14 with Mahanoy
Area’s Dylan Mahmod.
Blankenhorn, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, averaged 16.6 points (482 total), 6.7 rebounds and
2.4 assists per game this season for Crimson Tide. A four-year starter, he’s accurate from beyond the arc — 46
3-pointers on the year — but Blankenhorn also excelled at taking it to the basket, posting up and finishing in the paint.
He ended his career with 1,588 career points.
Blankenhorn rounded out his skills this winter by developing into a top-notch
With a talented and experienced group of players around him, Blankenhorn helped lead Pottsville to
28-1 overall record, including a 28-game winning streak. Pottsville won its sixth consecutive Schuylkill League Division I
title, fifth overall league title in the past six years, as well as a District 11 Class AAA championship, the Crimson Tide’s
first since 2010.
Blankenhorn was named third- team All-State in Class AAA, while Pottsville finished ranked No. 6
in Pennsylvania in Class AAA in the final Pennlive.com rankings. The Crimson Tide’s season ended with a 44-37 loss to
Susquehanna Township in the second round of PIAA playoffs March 10.
Blankenhorn was part of a talented group of seniors
in the league as Nativity’s Jeff Yordy (1,729), Tamaqua’s Brett Kosciolek (1,502) and Bo Rottet (1,117), Pine
Grove’s Kobe D’Agostino (1,041) and Lehighton’s Tyler Crum (1,089) also accumulated with more than 1,000
Coach of the Year honors go to Mahanoy Area’s Scott Hudson.
Hudson took over for the legendary
Mickey Holland, who retired at the end of last season after 33 years and a 614-243 career record at Mahanoy Area. Despite
five new starters, a thin bench and a move up to Class AA, the success continued.
Hudson’s Golden Bears went
22-5 and earned their fourth straight Division III title and appearance in the league playoffs. Mahanoy Area went on to claim
its third consecutive District 11 title, the previous two were in Class A. The Golden Bears’ season ended with an 82-31
loss to eventual state champ Conwell-Egan in the second round of the PIAA playoffs March 11.
The Rookie of the Year
is Shenandoah Valley’s Joel Santana.
Santana, a 5-8 sophomore point guard who transferred from Brooklyn, New York,
finished the year averaging 20.5 points per game. After a 2-8 start, the Blue Devils finished the regular season winning nine
of their final 12 games as Shenandoah Valley returned to the District 11 Class A playoffs for the first time since 2013. The
Blue Devils lost to eventual district champ Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg in the semifinals 50-46 on Feb. 24.
becomes complete player
When he was a freshman and sophomore, Blankenhorn was mostly a 3-point shooter. But last year
he became more of a threat in the paint and turned into Pottsville’s main offensive weapon, averaging 18.2 points per
The one piece that was missing from Blankenhorn’s game was excelling at the tough man-to-man defense that
Crimson Tide coach Dave Mullaney expects out of all his players. Blankenhorn became that type of player this past winter.
said he used to hide Blankenhorn on defense as an underclassman, but wasn’t afraid this past year to match him up against
anybody. The best example came against Susquehanna Township in the state playoffs. Blankenhorn guarded first team all-state
player Nehemiah Mac and held him scoreless in the first half.
His improvement on the defensive end was the result of
Blankenhorn taking on more of a leadership role.
“From a leadership perspective, completely understanding what
we are trying to do as a program,” Mullaney said. “That really led to him being a great defensive player, which,
I don’t know if I would always have considered him that through his years, but as a senior, I think defensively he just
became a great player.”
While his scoring average dipped slightly, Blankenhorn’s offensive skills never
In his eyes, Blankenhorn’s best game was at Tamaqua on Jan. 5. He scored a season-high 30 points
that night, helping the Crimson Tide to a 57-40 victory, the first of four meetings between the two teams this past season.
Raiders were Pottsville’s biggest league rival this year. But the Crimson Tide beat Tamaqua in their next three meetings,
too, including a 33-28 win the Schuylkill League title game Feb. 13, and a 50-35 victory in the district semifinals Feb. 24.
to get a big win on their home court was a big one,” Blankenhorn said of the Jan. 5 game. “That was one of the
most important ones my senior year.”
Blankenhorn’s play, along with the performance of his teammates, finally
helped bring the Crimson Tide some state-wide recognition for the program. He finished his career second on Pottsville’s
all-time scoring list behind Nick Schlitzer (1,884).
Blankenhorn is proud of the accomplishment, but knows it couldn’t
have happened without his teammates’ contributions.
“I had a lot of good players who I played with that
made some good passes and got me into good position to shoot the ball,” he said. “Like Dutch (2013 graduate Brandon
Bridy) was a good point guard, Tyler Heffner (a 2012 graduate), everyone. There was just a lot of people involved with scoring
That leads to one final area that Mullaney will always remember Blankenhorn for — his humility.
can’t imagine any other kid, and I’ve said it a million times, that is as talented as him that has conducted himself
the way he does,” Mullaney said. “I am sure he does some things in games I am sure that maybe rubs somebody the
wrong way, but what I am saying, everybody loves Travis. In practice, he doesn’t act as if he is better than anybody
else. They love him and he is like kind of an all-shucks kid.”
Hudson carries on Golden Bears’ tradition
wasn’t the first coach to replace Holland.
Mahanoy Area graduate Ty Wartman was hired last April and worked with
the Golden Bears during the summer. But when Wartman found out his wife was having twins, he resigned in August.
football underway and the basketball season fast approaching, Hudson felt an obligation to take over.
The biggest challenge
facing Hudson, who’s been with the program since he was a sophomore in Holland’s first season in 1981, was replacing
four starters from a team that went a combined 47-9 the previous two years. That included a Schuylkill League title in 2014
and back-to-back District 11 Class AA championships in 2013 and 2014.
“Nothing is ever going to be easy when you
are taking over a program that’s been winning for a long time and trying to keep the tradition up and following a guy
like coach Holland,” Hudson said.
The number of new starters became five when 2013-14 point guard Jason Richmond
injured his knee in Mahanoy Area’s first football game of the season and was lost for the year in both sports.
wanted to put his stamp on the program, but the Golden Bears’ style didn’t change much. A big point of emphasis
early was defense, and Hudson saw how good the Golden Bears could be during a Jan. 8 game at home against Nativity.
Area held a high-powered Hilltoppers’ offense that entered averaging 55.4 points per game to eight first-half points.
The Golden Bears jumped out to a 31-8 halftime advantage and went on to win 58-37.
Mahanoy Area won 11 in a row during
January, but hit a rough patch, going 2-2 to end the regular season. The Golden Bears were then blown out by Pottsville 59-31
in the league semifinals.
“We ran into a stretch at the time it wasn’t good, but looking at it now, it might
have been the best thing that might of happened to us because we sort of got off track a little bit,” Hudson said. “It
is one of those things where you are winning 11, 12 in a row and you might start taking things for granted.
we just caught fire.”
Indeed they did, with everybody contributing in three postseason wins by a total of seven
Both of the Golden Bears’ District 11 playoffs games went into overtime, a 60-57 victory over Marian in
the semifinals Feb. 24 and a 51-49 win over Minersville on Feb. 28 at Martz Hall. Brian Miller hit the go-ahead 3-pointer
in overtime against the Colts, while Mike Joseph had the go-ahead bucket against the Miners.
Mahanoy Area then beat
Wellsboro 42-40 in the first round of the state playoffs March 7, with Matt Yedsena scoring the decisive points.
was plenty of pressure during the postseason, but Hudson said he never felt pressure from the community to win. Most of the
pressure he felt came from within.
“It is more self-inflected pressure because I know the type of pressure I like
to put on myself,” Hudson said. “Just the pressure knowing that the job I think I can do and should do and just
try and keep everybody knowing their roles, accepting their roles and keeping the team playing as a team.”
also wanted to stress that his players stepped up this season, and the honor wouldn’t have been possible without their
“I consider this a team award,” Hudson said. “If they don’t do well, this isn’t
His first season as Mahanoy Area head coach will also be his last. Hudson felt he didn’t have
the time to devote to the Golden Bears’ summer program and he resigned from the position two weeks ago.
is expected to become Mahanoy Area’s new coach.
Santana leads Blue Devils’ turnaround season
the moment Shenandoah Valley coach Robbie Miller first saw Santana, he knew he had a player who could score.
who is the cousin of Shenandoah Valley sophomore Isaiah Alvarez and 2013 Shenandoah Valley graduate Justin Alvarez, did plenty
of that this past season. His season high was 38 during a 57-56 overtime victory against Weatherly on Jan. 8. He poured in
20 or more points in a game 10 times.
But it wasn’t until around mid-January that Miller convinced Santana to
start creating more shots for his teammates, and focus more on the defensive end.
Santana then grew even more as a player.
bought into the team game, cut his shots down and made shots for other people,” Miller said. “That is when he
became a great player. That’s when I started realizing how good he could be.”
An example of Santana’s
growth came in the District 11 Class A semifinals against Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg. The Blue Devils struggled in the first
half against the Spartans’ 3-2 zone and fell behind 28-13 at halftime. During the break, Santana pointed out that the
only way Shenandoah Valley could get back in the game was to start knocking down 3-pointers. In the third quarter, he started
to penetrate the zone, then throw kick-out passes to the Blue Devils’ Ian McCole and Jermaine McNeil on the wings.
Blue Devils held a 23-6 scoring advantage in the third quarter and led 46-40 with 3 minutes left in the game before a 10-0
run closed out Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg’s win.
Santana’s biggest strength is creating shots in the paint,
both for himself and his teammates.
“It is some of the best I’ve ever seen, especially for someone his size,”
Miller said. “A lot of shots that people his size take in the paint get blocked or they would miss. He would find a
way, like a magician, to get the ball up on the glass and in the hoop. Beyond that, his court vision gets overlooked a lot.
He sees a lot of open things that makes him an excellent point guard beyond the ball handling skills.”
2015 Give & Go Boys Basketball
Monday-Friday June 9 -12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
at Martz Hall. Camp is open to boys entering grades 3-10 as of September 2015. Camp fee is $80.00 and includes individual
prizes and a T-shirt. For more information and a brochure contact John Toomey at (570) 622-4304 or Dave Mullaney at (570)
269-5695 or go to our website at CTideboysbasketball.com
H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Blankenhorn, Yordy, Miller named all-state
In the process, the trio helped take their programs to new
For their performances, the three were rewarded with selections to the 2014-15 Pennsylvania
Sports Writers’ All-State Boys’ Basketball teams.
The team was released Thursday
by the Associated Press.
All three were named to the third team in their respective classes —
Blankenhorn in Class AAA, Yordy in Class A and Miller in Class AA.
It is the first all-state selection
“I was pretty excited,” Blankenhorn said when he found out by Twitter. “It
was definitely an accomplishment. It is good for Pottsville, too. Most of the players on the team were from Philadelphia and
knowing I was right up there with them is a good feeling.”
Blankenhorn, a 6-foot-2 senior
forward, finished the season averaging 16.6 points (482 total), 6.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game for the Crimson Tide.
He also hit 69 percent (80-for-116) from the foul line, 46 3-pointers and became one of Pottville’s
best defensive players.
“I was more of an all-around player than in year’s past,”
Blankenhorn’s season high was 30 points against Tamaqua on Jan.
5. He averaged 15.9 points per game during Crimson Tide’s seven postseason contests, including 28 against Valley
View in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs March 6, a 63-37 Pottsville win.
finished his career with 1,588 career points, second on the Pottsville’s boys’ all-time list behind Nick Schlitzer
The Crimson Tide went 28-1 overall this past winter, winning their sixth consecutive
Schuylkill League Division I title, fifth overall league championship in six years, and first District 11 Class AAA title
Pottsville finished the season ranked No. 6 in Pennsylvania in Class AAA in the final
Pennlive.com rankings and had a 28-game winning streak, longest in program history, snapped with a 44-37 loss to Susquehanna
Township in the second round of the PIAA playoffs March 10.
Yordy found out he made the team at
12:30 p.m. Thursday when he got a text from Panther Valley graduate Jake Szczecina. Yordy was pleasantly surprised.
“I put a hard work in and I am happy to see it pay off,” Yordy said.
has been pouring in points since he was a sophomore and earned his third consecutive overall league scoring title this past
winter, averaging 22.4 points per game. The 6-2 senior guard also hit 55 3-pointers and shot 65 percent (77-of-119) from the
foul line on the year.
Yordy scored a season-high 39 on Dec. 15 during 69-68 win over North Pocono
on Dec. 15. He also put up 30 or more points in a game three other times, including 34 against a normally stingy Mahanoy Area
defense during a 52-50 Hilltoppers’ victory Feb. 6.
Yordy also come through in the postseason,
averaging 16.7 points per game as Nativity (15-10) reached the District 11 Class A championship game and appeared in PIAA
playoffs for the first time since 2007.
“It was a good season and making states was a good
accomplishment,” Yordy said. “This is good recognition for our school, too.”
finished his career with 1,729 points and is currently second on the Hilltoppers’ all-time boys’ list behind Kevin
Points wise, Miller had the best season of the three.
guard averaged 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, two assists and 1.9 steals per game. Miller scored a season-high 41 against Lancaster
Country Day on Jan. 13 and cracked 30 or more points in a game eight times this season. He also knocked down 93 3-pointers
on the year and was 83-for-125 (66 percent) from the foul line.
Miller was named the Tri-Valley
League Player of the Year and led the Trojans (20-5) to their first overall league title since 2008.
currently has 1,115 career points.
Philadelphia schools swept on-court victories in all four of
last month’s PIAA boys’ basketball championships, and dominated again on the all-state teams.
Each of four players of the year selected calls the greater Philadelphia area home. Three of the four men chosen
as coaches of the year also front Philadelphia-based programs.
And while players from PIAA programs
were eligible to be chosen and honored by the panel, players from non-PIAA schools also were eligible for selection.
Just 12 months after claiming Class AA player of the year honors, Constitution’s Ahmad Gilbert was tagged Class
A’s top performer after averaging 17.6 points per game for Robert Moore’s Generals (24-8). Gilbert scored 28 points
and grabbed 11 rebounds as Constitution defeated Farrell 85-53 for its second straight state title.
won state gold for the third time in four years.
Joining Gilbert on the Class A first team are
his Constitution teammate Kimar Williams, Samir Doughty of Math, Civics & Sciences, Brandon Martinazzi of Bishop Carroll,
Malik Miller of Farrell and Nate Sestina of Cameron County.
Doughty is a repeat first-team selection,
while Williams and Gilbert landed first-team recognition at the Class AA level.
Moore, the Class
AA Coach of the Year following the 2013-14 season, was tagged the Class A Coach of the Year this time around.
Although Neumann-Goretti captured its second consecutive Class AAA championship with a 69-67 victory over Philadelphia
Catholic League rival Archbishop Carroll — the Saints have won five of the last six — Carroll’s Derrick
Jones was named Class AAA Player of the Year.
The 6-7 Jones, who signed in November with UNLV,
capped his run of five straight double-doubles in state tournament play by popping Neumann-Goretti with a 30 point, 18 rebound
performance. It still wasn’t enough.
Jones averaged 19.3 ppg for Paul Romanczuk’s
Patriots, finishing his career as the Radnor school’s all-time leading scorer.
on Class AAA’s first team are Milik Gantz of Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, the Neumann-Goretti duo of Quade Green and
Lamarr Kimble, Nehemiah Mack of Susquehanna Township and Daron Russell of Imhotep Charter.
and Mack were the lone first-team repeat selections.
Indiana’s Greg Lezanic, who piloted
the Little Indians to a 25-3 record and their first WPIAL championship, was named Class AAA Coach of the Year.
Roman Catholic junior lead guard Tony Carr, whose stat line (14 points,5 rebounds,6 assists) was a major reason why
the Cahillites turned back Martin Luther King 62-45 in the title game, was tagged Class AAAA’s Player of the Year.
The 6-4 Carr is uncommitted, but holds scholarship offers from George Washington, La Salle, Maryland, Penn State,
Rhode Island and Temple. He averaged 12.8 ppg for Chris McNesby’s club.
Joining Carr on
Class AAAA’s first team are Levan Alston of Haverford School, Chris Clover of St. Joseph’s Prep, Sammy Foreman
of Martin Luther King, Matty McConnell of Chartiers Valley and Jahaad Proctor of Harrisburg.
who guided the Cahillites to a 29-2 record and the Philadelphia Catholic League championship, was named Class AAAA’s
Coach of the Year.
Conwell-Egan’s Stevie Jordan, who pocketed 21 points in the Eagles’
62-51 conquest of Aliquippa in the Class AA title game, was named the Class AA Player of the Year. The 5-10 Jordan, just a
junior, averaged 16.8 ppg.
Joining Jordan on the Class AA first team are Jair Bolden of Westtown,
Nelly Cummings of Lincoln Park Charter, De’Andre Hunter of Friends Central, Stephon McGinnis of Aliquippa and Trey Staunch
of West Middlesex.
Frank Sciolla was tagged Class AA’s Coach of the Year after leading Conwell-Egan
(21-8) to its first state championship. Conwell-Egan had never won a postseason basketball game in 51 seasons, but won six
in a three-week span.
HARRISBURG — The 2014-15 Pennsylvania Sports Writers’ All-State
Boys’ Basketball teams, including each player’s school, height, class and scoring average.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tony Carr, Philadelphia Roman Catholic
COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris McNesby, Philadelphia Roman Catholic
Levan “Shawn” Alston, Haverford School, 6-4, sr, 19.4 ppg
Tony Carr, Philadelphia
Roman Catholic, 6-4, jr, 12.8 ppg
Chris Clover, St. Joseph’s Prep, 6-3, sr, 20.7 ppg
Sammy Foreman, Martin Luther King, 6-1, sr, 14.2 ppg
Matty McConnell, Chartiers Valley,
6-2, sr, 29.5 ppg
Jahaad Proctor, Harrisburg, 6-3, sr, 24.4 ppg
Cole Constantino, North Allegheny, 6-2, sr, 23.4 ppg
J.P. McCaskey, 6-4, jr, 17.8 ppg
Kason Harrell, Hempfield (D-7), 6-2, sr, 25.2 ppg
Amir Hinton, Abington, 6-4, sr, 19.8 ppg
Lamar Stevens, Haverford School, 6-7, jr, 18.3
Lonnie Walker IV, Reading, 6-4, so, 17.0 ppg
Derrick Woods, Pennsbury,
6-8, sr, 16.3 ppg
Nazeer Bostick, Philadelphia Roman Catholic,
6-3, jr, 12.5 ppg
Luke Connaghan, Archbishop Wood, 6-5, sr, 19.0 ppg
Creighton, Taylor Allderdice, 6-1, jr, 12.0 ppg
Jonny David, Mount Lebanon, 6-2, sr, 18.5 ppg
Gemil Holbrook, Philadelphia Roman Catholic, 6-4, sr, 13.9 ppg
David Krmpotich, La Salle
College, 6-7, sr, 13.7 ppg
Jahaire Wilson, York William Penn, 6-4, sr, 18.1 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR:Derrick Jones, Archbishop Carroll
COACH OF THE YEAR: Greg Lezanic, Indiana
Gantz, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, 6-4, sr, 18.3 ppg
Quade Green, Neumann-Goretti, 5-11, so, 17.8
Derrick Jones, Archbishop Carroll, 6-7, sr, 19.3 ppg
Kimble, Neumann-Goretti, 6-0, sr, 14.5 ppg
Nehemiah “Bud” Mack, Susquehanna Twp.,
6-0, jr, 14.1 ppg
Daron Russell, Imhotep Charter, 5-10, so, 16.5 ppg
Sam Allen, Lewisburg, 6-8, jr, 21.9 ppg
Tarojae Brake, Octorara,
6-2, sr, 22.5 ppg
Daylon Carter, Ambridge, 6-4, sr, 24.0 ppg
Castello, Mars, 6-5 jr, 17.8 ppg
Zane Martin, Neumann-Goretti, 6-2, jr, 16.5 ppg
Riley Stapleton, Indiana, 6-4, sr, 13.1 ppg
Blankenhorn, Pottsville, 6-2, sr, 16.6 ppg
Josh Creach, Beaver Falls, 6-6, so, 17.7 ppg
DaShon Giddings, Delaware Valley Charter, 6-4, sr, 16.5 ppg
Donovan Jeter, Beaver Falls,
6-5, so, 17.5 ppg
Dom Keyes, Steel Valley, 6-7, sr, 19.4 ppg
Morris, Erie Strong Vincent, 6-1, so, 20.1 ppg
Tim Rose, Scranton Prep, 6-0, sr, 15.2 ppg
Josh Sharkey, Archbishop Carroll, 5-10 jr, 12.4 ppg
OF THE YEAR: Stevie Jordan, Conwell-Egan
COACH OF THE YEAR:Frank Sciolla, Conwell-Egan
Jair Bolden, Westtown, 6-4, jr, 17.0 ppg
Cummings, Lincoln Park Charter, 6-0, so, 24.5 ppg
De’Andre Hunter, Friends Central, 6-7,
jr, 20.8 ppg
Stevie Jordan, Conwell-Egan, 5-10, jr, 16.8 ppg
McGinnis, Aliquippa, 5-9, sr, 17.0 ppg
Trey Staunch, West Middlesex, 6-5, sr, 23.6 ppg
Kyle Datres, Loyalsock Twp., 5-10, sr, 10.2 ppg
Davis, Bellwood-Antis, 6-3, jr, 24.7 ppg
Tim Guers, Germantown Academy, 6-3, sr, 16.4 ppg
Jason Kenny, Mid Valley, 6-2, sr, 21.4 ppg
LaPri McCray-Pace, Conwell-Egan, 6-2, jr,
Ryan Norkus, Seton-La Salle, 6-3, sr, 18.1 ppg
West Branch, 6-4, jr, 21.4 ppg
Julian Collazo, Lancaster
Mennonite, 6-0 sr, 23.2 ppg
Vinny Dalessandro, Conwell-Egan, 6-7, jr, 10.5 ppg
Austin Gilbertson, Camp Hill Trinity, 6-2, so, 17.8 ppg
Sam Lindgren, Germantown Academy,
6-6, sr, 12.6 ppg
Matthew “Mookie” Miller, Upper Dauphin, 6-1, jr, 24.1 ppg
Romano Sebastiani, Greensburg Central Catholic, 6-4, sr, 22.7 ppg
Ben Sosa, Loyalsock
Twp., 6-2, sr, 15.9 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ahmad Gilbert,
COACH OF THE YEAR:Robert Moore, Constitution
Samir Doughty, Math, Civics & Sciences, 6-4, sr, 24.5 ppg
Ahmad Gilbert, Constitution, 6-7, sr, 17.6 ppg
Brandon Martinazzi, Bishop Carroll, 5-9,
sr, 22.4 ppg
Malik Miller, Farrell, 6-3, jr, 20.0 ppg
Cameron County, 6-8, sr, 21.5 ppg
Kimar Williams, Constitution, 6-1, sr, 16.2 ppg
Chad Andrews-Fulton, Constitution, 6-7, sr, 11.0 ppg
Batts, Jeannette, 5-11, sr, 22.4 ppg
Caesar DeJesus, Goodling Impact Academy, 6-3, sr, 23.4 ppg
Dane Jackson, Cornell, 6-1, sr, 28.0 ppg
Sagaba Konate, Kennedy Catholic, 6-8, jr, 16.1
Tyerell Mann, Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg, 6-4, sr, 23.0 ppg
Rush, Monessen, 6-1, jr, 18.1 ppg
Kevin Anderson, St. John
Neumann, 6-1, so, 19.1 ppg
Michael Bryja, Portage, 6-4, sr, 20.5 ppg
Burleigh, North Penn-Mansfield, 6-2, sr, 18.3 ppg
Juwan Gooding, Goodling Impact Academy, 6-0,
sr, 23.8 ppg
R.J. Laugand, Clarion-Limestone, 5-11, sr, 17.6 ppg
Short, St. John Neumann, 6-2, sr, 18.9 ppg
Jeff Yordy, Pottsville Nativity, 6-2, sr, 22.4 ppg
2015 District XI AAA Champions
"28 - 1"
Best Winning Percentage Ever for Pottsville Boys Basketball Team
"What A Season"
To All Crimson Tide Fans,
I have had the pleasure of running, this website for the past couple of years, It has been a great honor to
be associated with the Pottsville Crimson Tide boys basketball team. The character of the young men who represent this
team, this school, and the Pottsville Area School District, is First class, on and off the court. The time and effort,
put in by these young men, into a sport that they love, is unbelievable. Their hard work, paid off in one of the finest season
ever at Pottsville. The word team is well chosen for this year's group of young men, each player on this team bonded
with each other, "Like a Band of Brothers". To all the seniors on this years team, I wish the best of luck
as they move forward with their lives. I know, I will be proud of each and everyone of these young men and I am sure, the
parents are extremely proud of each one of these young men.
Craig S.L. Shields
Congratulations To Our Seniors on a Great Season
Indians knock Crimson Tide out of Class AAA playoffs
Published: March 11, 2015
READING — As the Pottsville boys’ basketball
team somberly walked off the court Tuesday night, they got one final standing ovation from the Crimson Tide student section.
One of the best seasons in program history came to an end.
Travis Blankenhorn had a
game-high 14 points, but the Crimson Tide were done in by some cold shooting and fell to Susquehanna Township 44-37 in the
second round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs at the Geigle Complex.
It the was the second consecutive
year the Crimson Tide (28-1), the District 11 champs, were knocked out the of state playoffs by the Indians, who beat Pottsville
52-45 last year in a game also at the Geigle Complex.
This time round, the Crimson Tide’s
half-court, man-to-man defense was once again very good to, at times, great, holding down an offense that came in averaging
66.6 points per game. The tempo of the game was exactly what Pottsville wanted, too.
Crimson Tide just
weren’t consistent enough offensively, especially down the stretch in
the fourth quarter, and finished the night hitting 11-for-31 (35 percent) from the floor.
thought we got some open looks from the guys we wanted to shoot and they didn’t happen to fall,” Pottsville coach
Dave Mullaney said. “I don’t want to just lay it on that. They are a great team.
knew we were going to have to play well. I think we played OK and we executed our game plan but we needed to play a little
bit better to beat a team of that caliber.”
Dejour Williams had 12 points and Nehemiah “Bud”
Mack 11 for Susquehanna Township (22-6), the third-place finisher out of the District 3. Next up for the Indians is Imhotep
Charter, a 73-54 winner over Scranton Prep on Tuesday, in the quarterfinals Friday.
is probably one of the best defensive teams throughout the state,” Indians’ coach Vince Rogers said “They
showed that tonight. They are just so physical.
“It wasn’t easy tonight.”
All of Mack’s points came in the second half, seven in the third quarter, including on consecutive possessions
midway through the quarter that gave the Indians the lead for good.
Susquenhanna Township didn’t
exactly light it up offensively either, but was just a little bit better on the defense end. That was especially the case
in the fourth quarter, when Pottsville was held to 1-of-10 from the floor.
came up big tonight,” Rogers said. “We got critical stops and we got critical rebounds in the fourth period. Defensively,
I can’t be prouder of our kids.”
Eli Nabholz (12) and Jordan Melochick (11) also reached
double figures in scoring for Pottsville.
The Crimson Tide battled back from a second-quarter,
17-8 deficit and held their final lead of the night at 27-26 at 4:44 of the third quarter when Nabholz hit both foul shots
after he was fouled inside.
Mack sliced his way inside for a layup at 3:53, then had a steal
and layup on Pottville’s the next possession. Williams later hit one of his four 3-pointers to make it 33-27 with 2:50
left in the third.
The Crimson Tide were within 34-31 at the end of the third, but a putback
by Roman Letterlaugh and dunk by Joe Marshall made it 38-31 early in the fourth.
Tide got within four twice, the final time on a Melochick back-door layup with 1:47 left, making it 40-36. But Pottsville
missed its final six shots of the game.
It wasn’t Pottsville’s night, but it certainly
has been a season to remember.
The 28-game winning streak that was snapped Tuesday was the longest
in program history, as is the .965 winning percentage. This season’s 28 wins were three off the school record of 31-2
mark set in 1983-84.
Along the way, Pottsville won its sixth consecutive Schuylkill League Division
I title, its fifth overall league title in the past six years and first District 11 championship since 2010.
It was the final game for seniors Connor Hinchliffe, Ty Painter, Jed Dunkel, Derek Shuman, Pat Coyle, Blankenhorn
“I love going to practice and being around these guys,” Mullaney said.
“They are so close. They are all friends. They are humble. They are a once-in-a-lifetime group of seven seniors. I truly
believe that. Our coaches are well aware of that and its a combination of the talent and the character, everything. They are
“It’s sad. There are a lot of emotions in the locker room. I feel really
fortunate to coach them.”
PIAA Class AAA Second
At Geigle Complex, Reading
POTTSVILLE (37) — Hinchliffe
0 0-0 0, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 4 4-6 14, Melochick 4 2-2 11, Witman 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 3 5-6 12. Totals 11 11-14
SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP (44) — Letterlough 1 0-0 2, Marshall 2 2-3 6, Mack 3
5-6 11, Williams 4 0-0 12, Ward 3 0-1 6, Blair 2 3-4 7, Dawson 0 0-0- 0. Totals 15 10-14 44.
Potts (28-1) 8 12 11 6 — 37 Susq. (22-6) 11 8 15 10 — 44
3-point FGs: Blankenhorn 2, Melochick, Nabholz, Williams 4
Pottsville - Susquehanna - WNEP
Susquehanna Twp. outslugs Pottsville in PIAA Class AAA boys' basketball
READING -- One field goal over the last 10+ minutes was all Susquehanna Twp. allowed Tuesday night.
And that was plenty good enough for the Indians to claim
a defensive slugfest against District 11 champion Pottsville 44-37 in a PIAA Class AAA second-round contest at Reading's Geigle Complex.
Nehemiah "Bud" Mack scored all 11 of his points in the second half, and fellow guard Dejour Williams drained four 3-pointers en route to a team-high 12 points for the Indians (22-6), who snapped a 28-game winning
streak by the Crimson Tide (28-1).
Next up for Vince Rogers' club is a Friday quarterfinal date
against Philadelphia's Imhotep Charter at a site and time to be determined. Imhotep clocked Scranton Prep 77-54 Tuesday night.
Travis Blankenhorn (14), Eli Nabholz (12) and Jordan Melochick (11) shared all 37 points for Dave Mullaney's Crimson Tide, who also lost to Susquehanna Twp. in this round
Pottsville, which held
a 20-19 halftime lead, trailed by just three, 34-31, into the fourth quarter. But the Indians' smothering defense was already
Blankenhorn's coast-to-coast drive with 2:40 left in the third preceded two free
throws by Nabholz that had the Tide within two points.
But the Tide would manage just one more
field goal over the final 10 minutes. Susquehanna Twp. held Pottsville to 1-for-12 shooting in the fourth quarter, including
eight misses in eight 3-point attempts.
Plus the Indians rebounded, pulling down eight defensive
boards in the final stanza and owning a 25-20 edge overall.
Mack, who added a game-high six assists,
knocked down all four of his free throws in the final two minutes to help punch Susquehanna's ticket into the quarterfinals.
After the teams essentially traded buckets through the first
quarter, the Indians rode seven straight points from reserve Jaquan Blair to a 17-8 lead three minutes into the second quarter.
Blair helped save the Indians
in an otherwise ugly first half, scoring all seven of his points and grabbing all four of his rebounds.
But after the advantage hit nine points, the slow-it-down Crimson Tide turned up its own defensive pressure and closed
the half on a 12-2 run, including 3-balls from Blankenhorn and Melochick.
They took their largest
lead, 25-21, on a Nabholz trey early in the third quarter, but the Indians -- riding an enthusiastic Mack -- embarked on a
12-2 run of its own to seize control. Mack's drive to the dish with 3:58 left in the third gave 'Hanna a lead it would keep.
NOTES & NUMBERS
Mack scored 22 in last year's 52-45 victory over Pottsville,
one more point than Nabholz for the Tide. ...
Pottsville's loss leaves just one unbeaten team
remaining in the PIAA tournament: Aliquippa in Class AA. ...
Three of Pottsville's starters -- Nabholz (Penn State), Blankenhorn
(Kentucky) and Connor Hinchliffe (La Salle) -- are ticketed to play NCAA Division I baseball. ...
finished 47 percent (15 of 32) from the field, bettering Pottsville's 34 percent (11 of 32). The Tide attempted just six shots
in both the second and third quarters. ...
The Indians -- well, Williams -- knocked down four
triples over a team total of 10 attempts. Pottsville finished four for 16 from the arc, failing to hit any after Nabholz's
early in the third. ...
Leading rebounders for the Indians were Joe Marshall (six), Williams (five), Blair and Quintin Ward (four each). Blankenhorn led the Tide with five, one more than Melochick and Nabholz.
We'll add commentary from Rogers, Mack and Mullaney to this post later Tuesday evening.
Crimson Tide vs. Susquehanna
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Geigle Complex, Reading High School
Come out and support the Crimson
Tide in the Second Round of States!
PIAA Class AAA Second-Round Capsule
Published: March 10, 2015
Class AAA second round
3-3 Susquehanna Twp. (21-6) vs. 11-1
6 p.m. today, Geigle Complex, Reading High School
Head coach: Vince Rogers (9th season)
How got here: In
District 3 playoffs, beat East Pennsboro (69-53) and Berks Catholic (53-47), then lost to Steel-High (64-59) in semifinals,
beat Milton Hershey (49-35) in consolation game; beat 1-2 Glenn Mills (73-53) in first round of PIAA playoffs
Team stats: Offense (66.6 points per game), defense (52.8)
Probable starting lineup:
G Dejour Williams (sr., 6-0, 16.2 ppg, 54 3-pointers), G Nehemiah “Bud” Mack (jr., 6-0, 13.9, 40 3-pointers),
F Joe Marshall (sr., 6-5, 10.6), F Quintin Ward (sr., 6-6, 12.0), F Roman Letterlough (sr., 6-5, 5.5)
reserves: F Jaquan Blair (sr., 6-3, 4.5), F Matt Dawson (sr., 6-1, 1.8)
About the Crimson Tide
Head coach: Dave Mullaney (8th season)
How got here: Beat Blue Mountain (60-31), Tamaqua
(50-35) and Allentown Central Catholic (57-47) to win District 11 title, beat 3-3 Valley View (63-37) in first round of PIAA
Team stats: Offense (60.5), defense (32.5)
lineup: G Connor Hinchliffe (sr., 6-1, 4.5), G Ty Painter (sr., 5-7, 3.2), F Travis Blankenhorn (sr. 6-2, 16.7, 44 3-pointers),
G Jordan Melochick (jr., 6-2, 9.3), F Eli Nabholz (sr., 6-5, 12.4, 25 3-pointers)
G Derek Shuman (sr., 6-1, 1.0), G Christian Witman (jr., 6-1, 1.9), G Jordan Abdo (soph., 5-10, 5.7, 20 3-pointers)
Williams scored 32 points (6 3-pointers) and Mack added 22 in Indians’
first-round victory over Glen Mills. Mack dished out eight assists, while Ward finished with nine points and 11 boards. Susquehanna
Township, which led 32-31 at the half, scored the first 10 points of second half. ... Indians shared Mid-Penn Keystone Division
championship this season, but did not participate in Mid-Penn Conference tournament (lost out on tiebreaker). … Williams
returned to Indians after spending two years at Harrisburg. ... Blankenhorn scored 28 points, while Nabholz added 16 in Crimson
Tide’s first-round win over Valley View. Raced out to a 15-5 lead after the first quarter and put the game away with
a 20-5 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter. Forced 13 turnovers and held Valley View to 13-of-39 from the floor. …
Blankenhorn’s performance against Valley View was two off his season high of 30 against Williamsport on Jan. 5. …
Crimson Tide are No. 5 in Class AAA in most recent PennLive.com state rankings, while the Indians are a team to watch. ...
Rematch of a second-round game from last season, won by the Indians, 52-45, at the Geigle Complex. Crimson Tide got to within
26-25 early in the second half before the Indians pulled away. All five of the Crimson Tide’s likely starters tonight
started in that game. Mack, Ward, Marshall and Letterlough started/logged serious minutes in win for Indians, who went on
to lose in state title game to Neumann-Goretti.
What next: Winner faces 2-1 Scranton Prep vs.
12-2 Imhotep Charter winner in quarterfinals Friday, March 13, at site and time to be determined.
to Geigle Complex: Take Pa. Route 61 south for 32.7 miles, then turn left onto Spring Street. Travel 1.1 miles and make right
onto North 13th Street. School is located at 801 N. 13th Street, Reading, Pa. 19604.
by Mike Carnahan
• Susquehanna Twp. (3-3, 21-6) vs. Pottsville (11-1, 28-0), at Geigle Complex, Reading, 6 -- Here's another rematch of a 2014 second-round scrap claimed
52-45 by Susquehanna Twp., but not without a physical struggle. Arguably the toughest game Vince Rogers' Indians encountered
before they reached last year's state final. And with a number of players back for Susquehanna Twp. — Nehemiah Mack, Quintin Ward, Joe Marshall, Roman Letterlough and Jaquan Blair shared 39 points — most of Rogers' club knows what to expect. Same for Dave Mullaney's unbeaten Crimson
Tide, which returned all five starters from a defensive-minded group that will try to control tempo while using the screen
effectively at the offensive end. Pottsville's Eli Nabholz and Travis Blankenhorn, who combined for 36 points and six treys a year ago, are equally effective in the paint and on the perimeter.
Difference could be Susquehanna's Dejour Williams, who popped Glen Mills for 32 in opening round. Winner gets Scranton Prep/Imhotep Charter winner. -- The pick:
Susquehanna by 3.
PIAA BOYS' BASKETBALL: Crimson Tide advance in Class AAA with 63-37 win
Published: March 7, 2015
JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Jordan Melochick goes
up high over Valley View’s T.J. Halloran during Friday’s PIAA Class AAA game at Blue Mountain High School. Melochick
had six points as the Tide advanced with a 63-37 win.
JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn
drives to the basket over Valley View’s Alec Rodway during Friday’s PIAA Class AAA boys’ basketball first-round
game at Blue Mountain High School. Blankenhorn scored a game-high 28 points as the Crimson Tide beat the Cougars 63-37.
ORWIGSBURG — Travis Blankenhorn picked
a great time to turn in his best offensive game of the postseason.
It was just one of the many things that went right
for Pottsville in its PIAA Class AAA boys’ basketball playoff opener Friday.
Blankenhorn poured in a game-high
28 points and Eli Nabholz added 16 to back a solid defensive night in the Crimson Tide’s 63-37 victory over Valley View
at Blue Mountain High School.
Blankenhorn finished two points shy of his season-high of 30 points scored against Williamsport
on Jan. 5. The 6-foot-2 forward had 10 field goals and was 7-for-8 from the foul line.
Blankenhorn had only one 3-pointer,
instead opting to take the ball aggressively to the hoop. His night also included a trio of three-point plays, while he missed
a free throw on another that would have given him four.
“I think their kids were a little smaller,” Blankenhorn
said. “I tried to go inside and post up and see if my teammates could give me a lob pass or score a layup.”
was especially big early in the fourth quarter, when he scored the Crimson Tide’s first seven points to turn a 43-32
Pottsville lead into a 50-34 advantage and finally put the game away.
The District 11 champion Crimson Tide (28-0) remained
perfect on the season with the win and advance to the second round of states for the second consecutive year. Next up is a
rematch with Susquehanna Township (21-6), the third-place finisher out of District 3.
Susquehanna Township beat District
1 runner-up Glen Mills 73-53 in a first-round game Friday. The Indians knocked the Crimson Tide out of the state playoffs
in second round last year.
“It’s a great feeling to win a state game,” Blankenhorn said. “We
do it as a team as always and we hope to keep going.”
Nabholz scored nine of his points in the first quarter as
Pottsville opened the game on a 15-3 run and led 15-5 after one quarter. The Crimson Tide were up 30-18 at halftime and 43-32
after three frames.
“It is just doing what we always do,” Nabholz said of the Friday’s quick start.
“We move the ball, set a lot of ball screens throughout the game. We try to work a lot inside-out. It pretty much doing
what we always do.”
Alec Rodway led Valley View (15-12), the third-place finisher out of District 2, with 16 points.
Rodway scored 11 of those in the third quarter as Cougars hung around but were never able to cut the deficit to single digits.
View couldn’t overcome its slow start as it was 2-of-12 from the floor in the first quarter against Pottsville’s
tough man-to-man defense.
“We got off to a slow start and against a team like that, you are not just putting ourself
into a hole, but making it hard to battle back,” Cougars coach Mike Kurpis said. “I don’t know if it was
the big stage that got to us, or their intense, man-to-man pressure, which really takes you out of what you want to do. I
will give them the credit for that.
“They have five guys that overplay, their help defense is tremendous and they
rebound the heck out of the ball.”
The Crimson Tide forced 13 Valley View turnovers and held the Cougars to 13-of-39
(33 percent) from the floor in the game. Pottsville’s defense was especially strong in the fourth quarter, when the
Crimson Tide held Valley View to 0-of-7 from the floor.
“I was disappointed in some of the things we were doing
defensively,” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. “But to hold a team as good as Valley View to 37, you have
to be happy with that. Overall, the effort must have been there. Maybe some of the design or game-plan wasn’t great,
but our guys came through.”
Pottsville finished the night hitting 18-of-40 (45 percent). The Crimson Tide felt
they had an advantage inside and pushed the ball down low the entire game.
Nabholz scored Pottsville’s first points
of the night on a 3-pointer, while Blankenhorn followed with a 3-point play off a baseline drive. After Rodway knocked down
a 3-pointer from the wing, Nabholz scored on back-to-back layups on a cut inside and then hit two foul shots to make it 12-3
Blankenhorn hit 1-of-2 from the free-throw line after he was fouled after an offensive rebound, and then made
it 15-3, going coast-to-coast after a defensive rebound.
Pottsville led 22-9 with 4:47 left in the first half when Christian
Witman hit 1-of-2 from the line. But the Cougars got the deficit down to 30-18 after Rodway knocked down a 3 with 1:36 remaining
in the first half.
PIAA Class AAA Boys’ First Round
At Blue Mountain High School
VIEW (37) — Rodway 5 4-8 16, Homish 1 1-2 3, Gallagher 3 0-0 8, Cruz 1 1-2 3, Halloran 3 1-2 7, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Ziminskas
0 0-0 0, Peters 0 0-0 0, Bailleau 0 0-0 0, Cwalinski 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 7-14 37.
(63) — Hinchliffe 0 4-4 4, Painter 0 2-2 2, Blankenhorn 10 7-8 28, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Melochick 2 1-3 6, Shuman 0 0-0 0,
Witman 1 3-4 5, Abdo 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 4 6-7 16, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Renninger 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 23-28 63.
VV (15-12) 5 13 14 5 — 37 Pot (28-0) 15 15 13 20 — 63
3-point FGs: Rodway 2, Gallagher 2, Blankehnorn, Melochick, Nabholz 2
28 - 0
Crimson Tide Rolls over Valley View
The Crimson Tide rolled over Valley View Cougars by a score
of 63-37 tonight at Blue Mountain High School. The Crimson Tide was led by Travis "Money" Blankenhorn's game
high 28 points and Eli " Big Easy" Naholz's 16 points. The Tide will be playing Susquehanna Township on Tuesday's
night in Reading.
The Tide advances to the second round of the state's AAA
playoffs for the second time in two years. This game sets up a rematch from last year's game.
Crimson Tide plays Valley
View Cougars at 7:00, Friday Night at Blue Mountain High School in the First Round of State Playoffs!
Come out and support the Crimson Tide!!!
2015 District XI AAA Champions
2015 Schuylkill League Champions
Fast start leads Crimson Tide to Class AAA title
Published: February 28, 2015
JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Eli Nabholz goes strong
to the basket past Allentown Central Catholic’s Jack Nosovitch (5) during the Crimson Tide’s 57-47 victory Friday.
JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville's players Travis Blankenhorn,
left, Eli Nabholz, center, and Jed Dunkel, right, celebrate with teammates after defeating Allentown Central Catholic in
the District 11 Class AAA Championship Game Friday at Blue Mountain High School in Orwigsburg. Pottsville took a 57-47 triumph.
ORWIGSBURG — With
16 seconds left in the game, the Pottsville fans rose to their and filled Blue Mountain High School gymnasium with a thunderous
Then when the final buzzer went off, the Crimson Tide bench rushed the court.
It was time to celebrate another title this season.
Pottsville was expected to be here
when the year began in December. That is where the Crimson Tide were Friday night.
Nabholz scored nine of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter as top-seeded Pottsville started hot and lead from start
to finish in a 57-47 victory over No. 3 Allentown Central Catholic to win the District 11 Class AAA boys’ basketball
Travis Blankenhorn and Jordan Melochick added 11 points apiece for the Crimson Tide
(27-0), who won the Schuylkill League title two weeks ago.
Pottsville’s championship Friday
was its first district title since 2010 when the Crimson Tide downed the Vikings 63-58 at Blue Mountain.
With all five starters back from last year’s team that was hammered by Allentown Central Catholic 64-34 in
the Class AAA title game, Potts-
ville was the favorite to win it all this season.
Friday, the Crimson Tide finished it out.
“We like to say we win things for ourselves,
but we worked so hard and we finally got one,” Nabholz said. “But I mean this is for Schuylkill County. This is
for every team that we played all year, every team that was close with us. This is a awesome feeling.”
Pottsville already clinched a berth in the PIAA tournament by reaching the championship game. Next for the Crimson
Tide is the third-place finisher out of District 2, either Honesdale or Valley View, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs
Friday, March 6, at a site and time to be determined.
“Last year they gave it to us pretty
bad,” said senior Connor Hinchliffe, who added eight points Friday. “But this year, we felt confident that we
were going to win this game tonight and we did.”
Pottsville certainly played like it from
the opening tip. The start to Friday’s game was exactly what the Crimson Tide wanted, and needed, to do.
Led by Nabholz, who scored Pottsville’s first points of the game on a move inside the paint, the Crimson Tide
opened the game on a 7-0 and led 22-12 at the end of the first quarter.
It was a lead Pottsville
The Crimson Tide were up by 12 twice in the second quarter. The Vikings (17-10), who
were looking for their fifth consecutive district title, cut to the deficit to four midway through the third quarter and to
five at 50-45 with 2:53 left in the game. But Pottsville responded with a 7-0 run to put the game away.
Nabholz finished the night with nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks. He also took two charges defensively.
Blankenhorn added five rebounds and three assists, while Melochick also had three assists.
Pratt led Allentown Central Catholic with 16 points, while Zay Jennings added 14.
The first quarter
couldn’t have gone better for Pottsville as the Crimson Tide hit 8-for-13 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from 3-point
land. They also turned the ball over just once.
“I think it was key,” Nabholz said
of the start. “Coach (Dave) Mullaney has been harping on us the last couple of days in practice that we need to start
without turning the ball over, start fast and execute. Tonight, we were able to do that.
are team. We do what we practice. We move the ball, we set back-screens, we play defense. It was just doing everything right
from the start.”
After Nabholz opened the scoring, Blankenhorn chased down his own missed
3-pointer two possessions later that led to a Nabholz three-point play. Blankenhorn then followed with a reverse layup to
make it 7-0 at 6:24.
The Vikings got to within two, but Nabholz scored again inside, while Hinchliffe
hit one of his two 3-pointers on the night from the corner to get the lead back up to 12-5.
led 17-12 and finished the quarter on a 5-0 run as Blankenhorn drained a 3 from the corner and Ty Painter drove in from the
wing to make it 22-12.
“I was happy with the way we came out,” Mullaney said. “At
the same time, it probably got it into a pace that was a little too quick for us. I think in the second half the game was
a little bit more to our liking.”
The game slowed down, but Pottsville never lost the lead.
The Crimson Tide finished the night shooting 19-for-37 (51 percent) from the floor. All five Pottsville starters scored at
least five points and six of the seven players who got into the game had a least one 3-pointer.
been doing this since we were seven years old, all of us, the same group,” Hinchliffe said. “We are just working
our way all the way through. We have such a close bond. We are all great friends and it shows on the court.”
District 11 Class AAA Championship
At Blue Mountain
ALLENTOWN CENTRAL CATHOLIC (47) — Maley 1 0-0 3, Nosovitch 3 0-0 6, Pratt 7 0-0 16,
Friel 0 0-0 0, Kern 0 0-0 0, J. Vaughan 2 0-0 4, Dezonie 2 0-0 4, Jennings 4 6-8 14. Totals 19 6-8 47.
POTTSVILLE (57) — Hinchliffe 3 0-0 8, Painter 2 0-0 5, Blankenhorn 3 4-4 11, Melochick
4 2-2 11, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo 1 0-0 3, Nabholz 6 6-7 19. Totals 19 12-13 57.
(17-10) 12 14 13 8 — 47 Potts (27-0) 22 10 14 11 — 57
3-point FGs: Maley, Pratt 2, Hinchliffe 2, Painter, Blankenhorn, Melochick, Abdo, Nabholz
Pottsville ends Central's four-year run as district champs; never
looks back in 57-47 win
Pottsville ends Central's four-year run
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN — The celebration lingered for a long time on the basketball
court at Blue Mountain High School on Friday night as Pottsville players, parents, friends and fans gathered, posing for pictures.
But coach Dave Mullaney wasn't in the crowd. He had headed for the locker room down the hall.
Mullaney wanted to let his players enjoy the moment.
Seven seniors had played their final
District 11 tournament game and finally, they had gold medals around their necks.
Tide, living up to its billing as the No. 6 ranked team in the state in Class 3A, bolted to a 7-0 lead in the game's first
minute and 37 seconds and never looked back in defeating Central Catholic 57-47 in the 3A championship game before a standing-room-only
Pottsville (27-0) won its first district title since beating CCHS for the 2010 3A crown
and ended the Vikings' four-year run as district champs.
"I'm extremely proud of our guys,"
Mullaney said. "We came out shooting the ball well and that gave us some confidence that carried throughout the game."
The Tide got three 3-pointers in the first quarter when its lead stretched to 22-12, and made seven overall. Six
players connected from beyond the arc.
Central (16-10) continually tried to fight back and never
allowed the game to reach blowout status.
However, the Vikings could never make it a one-possession game.
Every time CCHS tried
to put something together, Pottsville found an answer.
"Our kids played with great energy
and the effort was there," Vikings coach Dennis Csensits said. "But we just couldn't make the one or two plays that
could get us over the top. We cut it to six a bunch of times, and got it to four and we had some chances there. We just couldn't
finish it off."
Pottsville led 32-20 with 21/2 minutes left in the first half before CCHS
closed the second quarter with a 6-0 run that put the Vikes within six at halftime.
scrambled back within 38-34 with 3:20 left in the third quarter when Jack Nosovitch scored off a Zay Jennings pass.
And two minutes later, Ben Pratt hit a 3-pointer to get it to 43-39.
Hinchcliffe closed the scoring in the third period with a 3-pointer and Central, which was trying to become the first boys
team ever to win five consecutive District 11 championships, would never get closer than five in the closing period.
A Jennings drive sliced the Tide lead to 50-45 with 2:54 left, but the Vikings would manage just one more field goal
the rest of the night.
Back-to-back layups by Travis Blankenhorn and Hinchcliffe sealed for it
for the Schuylkill League champs.
"That's a veteran team that came out of the shoot and made
shots early, even some that were pretty well contested," Csensits said. "They set the tone early and we were playing
from behind all night. But I'm still proud of our kids because we could have gone south a couple of times but didn't."
Mullaney said the defense was focused on stopping Jennings and Pratt.
While those two
combined for 30 points, they had to work hard for everything. Jennings, one of the area's top 3-point shooters, couldn't connect
from bonus range at all.
"The good start built momentum for the rest of the game," said
Jordan Melochick, who defended Jennings. "The rest of the team just tried to sink in and help defensively as much as
they could. It's all about teamwork and team chemistry. We were happy to win the Schuylkill League, but we wanted this more."
Central defeated Pottsville 64-34 in last year's title game, but the Tide regrouped to win its first PIAA game.
Now, it's the Vikings who will need to put this one behind them and try to make a run in the state tournament. Among
the positives in the defeat was that CCHS freshmen Shackylle Dezonie and Jay Vaughan played well in a pressure game in a hostile
Those two will get more experience as the Vikes play Milton, which defeated Shamokin
59-57 for the District 4 championship, on Friday night at a site to be determined. That site is expected to be much closer
to Milton than Allentown.
"We put up a fight," Nosovitch said. "We're proud of
the effort. We're just disappointed with the outcome. "
But Nosovitch acknowledged the season
"We'll use this as motivation for next week," Nosovitch said. "We don't
want to feel like this again."
Pottsville, meanwhile, will play Valley View in its state
opener. The Cougars defeated Honesdale 67-50 in District 2's third-place game.
they're very good," Csensits said of Pottsville. "We tried to speed them up and force mistakes, but they're well-balanced.
They were a tough matchup for us and they'll be tough for a lot of teams."
Come out and Support the Tide Tonight!
Crimson Tide plays Allentown Central Catholic at 8:00 pm at Blue Mountain High School for the Distrcit XI AAA Title
Coach Jake says bring Home the Championship!
District 11 Class 3A boys basketball capsule
Who's in the District 11 Class 3A boys basketball title game?
CLASS 3A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP
•Who: Central Catholic (No. 3, 16-9) vs. Pottsville (No. 1, 26-0).
•When/where: 8 tonight at Blue Mountain H.S.
•What's next: Winner will play
District 2 No. 3 (Honesdale or Valley View); loser will play District 4 champ (Shamokin or Milton) March 6 in first round
of PIAA tournament.
Csensits (third season, 69-14)
Projected starters: 5-10 Jr. G Zay Jennings 19.8
ppg; 6-0 Sr. G/F Ben Pratt 10.6 ppg; 6-1 Sr. F Jack Nosovitch 4.3 ppg; 6-4 Fr. F Shackyll Dezonie 5.2 ppg; 6-0 Sr. G/F Bryce
Maley 7.0 ppg.
Key reserves: 6-4 Fr. F Kevin Kern 2.0 ppg; 5-9 Fr. G Jay Vaughan
3.5 ppg; 6-3 Jr. F Alex Friel 2.9 ppg.
About the Vikings: Average 55.3 ppg, allow
51.8 ppg. … Advanced with a 64-50 win over No. 6 seed Saucon Valley and a 59-48 win over No. 2 Salisbury, increasing
the program's postseason win streak over Colonial League opponents to 23. … Have rebounded with two wins after losing
to Stroudsburg 69-47 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference quarterfinals. … In win over Salisbury, Jennings led a
balanced attack with 17 points — nine in the fourth quarter. Maley had a season-high 16 and Nosovitch added 11 points.
Pratt had nine points, seven rebounds and six assists. … Have won four straight district crowns and are trying to become
first boys team in District 11 history to win five consecutive championships. … Have won 10 straight district tournament
games since losing to Pottsville 63-58 in the 2010 3A final. … In the district finals for the sixth straight year and
25th time since 1985 and own a 17-7 record in title games. … Vikings also won four straight district titles from 1992-95.
… Defeated Pottsville 64-34 in last year's district final when now University of Michigan freshman Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman
scored a season-high 34.
Coach: Dave Mullaney (eighth season, 166-50)
Projected starters: 6-1 Sr. G Connor Hinchcliffe 4.4 ppg; 5-7 Sr. G Ty Painter 3.2 ppg; 6-2 Sr.
G Travis Blankenhorn 16.5 ppg; 6-2 Jr. G Jordan Melochick 9.4 ppg; 6-5 Sr. F Eli Nabholz 12.0 ppg.
reserves: 6-1 Sr. G Derek Shuman; 6-1 Jr G Christian Witman; 5-10 So. G Jordan Abdo; 6-6 Fr. F Ian Renninger.
About the Tide: Average 60.6 ppg, allow 31.8 ppg. … Advanced by beating at No. 9 Blue Mountain
60-31 and No. 4 Tamaqua 50-35 . … Blankenhorn had 20 points in Crimson Tide's semifinal win, including 14 in first
half. Melochick tied a season high with 19 in quarterfinal win over Blue Mountain, while Blankenhorn added 15 and Nabholz
10. ... Blankenhorn is averaging 17.5 points per game during district playoffs, Melochick 13.5 and Nabholz 8.5. … All
five starters played in last year's district title game and two state playoff games. … Won sixth consecutive Schuylkill
League Division I title, then beat Tamaqua 33-28 in overtime in final. … Twenty-six wins have come by an average of
28.7 points. Closest margin was 49-46 win over Berks Catholic on Jan. 28. ... Blankenhorn (University of Kentucky), Nabholz
(Penn State) and Hinchliffe (La Salle) are going to play Division I baseball in college. … Have won five district titles,
the last coming in 2010 with a 63-58 win over CCHS.
Keith Groller's prediction: CCHS 59-58, but it will take Vikings' best effort of season.
Tide reach Class AAA finals with win over Tamaqua
Published: February 25, 2015
— The Pottsville boys’ basketball team already has a Schuylkill League championship this season.
Tide will now get to play for a District 11 title, too.
Travis Blankenhorn scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the
first half as top-seeded Pottsville built an early lead and downed No. 4 Tamaqua 50-35 in a District 11 Class AAA semifinal
Tuesday at Minersville’s Thomas Fitzpatrick Gymnasium.
The Crimson Tide (26-0) will be playing for a district
championship for the second consecutive year. In the process, Pottsville, currently ranked No. 6 in Class AAA in the most
recent Pennlive.com state boys’ rankings, earned a berth in the PIAA Tournament.
“This was one of our goals
as a team, to play for a district title,” Blankenhorn said. “We are happy we are here.
“We will be
ready for anyone.”
The Crimson Tide will get another crack at third-seeded Allentown Central Catholic (16-9) in
the finals at 8 p.m. Friday at Blue Mountain High School. The Vikings beat No. 2 Salisbury 59-48 in the other semifinal.
beat the Crimson Tide 64-34 in last year’s title game, the Vikings’ fourth consecutive championship.
(20-6), meanwhile, will take on the Falcons (21-6) in the consolation game at 6 p.m. Friday at Bethlehem Freedom High School,
with the winner advancing to the state playoffs.
Tuesday was Pottsville’s fourth win over the Blue Raiders this
season, the most recent
being a 33-28, overtime victory in the Schuylkill League championship game Feb. 13.
4 wasn’t as close as Round 3, but it was hardly easy for the Crimson Tide.
Blankenhorn knocked down four of Pottsville’s
seven 3-pointers in the game to help the Crimson Tide crack the Raiders’ 2-3 zone. Pottsville opened the game on a 10-1
run and led 19-12 at halftime.
The Crimson Tide’s best offensive quarter came in the third when they knocked down
four 3s to build a 36-22 lead. Pottsville put the game away in the fourth from the foul line, hitting 12-of-14.
the Crimson Tide finished the night hitting 14-for-29 (48 percent) from the field.
“They made it difficult,”
Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said about the Raiders’ 2-3 zone. “I think our guys tried to go off the dribble,
but I just think they are really good in that zone. I think we got more short-corner touches, which was an emphasis tonight.
We thought we could expose that in a 2-3, and I think we penetrated just enough to get some open looks.”
performance was his best offensive night since he had 23 points and knocked down five 3-pointers Jan. 31 against Panther Valley.
felt pretty good,” Blankenhorn said. “Definitely my teammates driving and getting me open, a lot of the credit
goes to them.”
Bo Rottet led the Raiders with 17 points, while Brett Kosciolek added 11 points and eight rebounds.
Tamaqua had a poor-shooting first half, hitting 5-of-19 (26 percent), but were only behind 19-12 at halftime after Rottet
drained a jumper at the buzzer.
However, the Raiders also struggled from the floor in the third quarter, hitting 2-of-8.
don’t think we shot that well in the first half compared to them,” Tamaqua coach Caszy Kosciolek said. “We
got good shots, but they just didn’t go down for us.
“Pottsville is a very good basketball team and we are
proud of the fact that we played them as tough as anybody on their schedule in the last two games. That shows a lot about
the character of our kids.”
Blankenhorn scored eight of his points in the first quarter, knocking down two 3s
from the corner and scoring on a layup. A Jordan Abdo steal turned into a transition layup for Eli Nabholz with 2:06 left
in the first, giving Pottsville its early 10-1 lead.
Blankenhorn added five more points in the second period. Tamaqua
was within 13-10 at 4:03 before the Crimson Tide went on a 6-0 run to go up 19-10 with 52 seconds left in the half.
got involved offensively for Pottsville in the third quarter as five players scored, led by five by Connor Hinchliffe. The
Crimson Tide hit 6-of-10 from the floor, with five of those buckets coming off assists.
“We just ran a good offense
and got everybody involved,” Blankenhorn said. “Everybody had a good game and everybody can score on our team,
so we were just sharing the ball with whoever was open.”
District 11 Class AAA Semifinal
Minersville High School
TAMAQUA (35) — Shilko 0 0-0 0, Blaker 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, Rottet 4 8-9 17, Zuber
0 0-0 0, MacDonald 1 1-2 3, Skripko 2 0-0 4, Kosciolek 5 0-0 11, Berezwick 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 9-11 35.
POTTSVILLE (50) — Hinchliffe 2 0-0 5, Painter 0 5-6 5, Blankenhorn 6 4-5 20, Melochick 2 3-4 8, Witman 0
0-0 0, Abdo 1 3-4 5, Nabholz 3 0-1 7. Totals 14 15-20 50.
Tam (20-6) 6 6 10 13 — 35
Pot (26-0) 10 9 17 14 — 50
3-point FGs: Rottet, Kosciolek, Hinchliffe, Blankenhorn
4, Melochick, Nabholz
Crimson Tide Rolls Over Blue Mountain
Published: February 21, 2015
JIM THORPE — Blue Mountain hung tough with
Pottsville for first 12 minutes of Friday’s District 11 Class AAA boys’ basketball quarterfinal.
But the Crimson Tide’s inside game, especially Jordan Melochick, and their defense took over and turned the
game into a rout.
Melochick tied a season high with 19 points, including nine in the second quarter,
as top-seeded Pottsville closed the first half on a 13-0 run and rolled to a 60-31 victory over the ninth-seeded Eagles at
Jim Thorpe High School.
Pottsville opened the game on a 9-0 run, but Blue Mountain, which opened
the playoffs with a 52-48 win over Lehighton in the first round Tuesday, battled back in it.
Eagles got within a point twice and were down 16-14 after a jumper by Connor Kerstetter with 4:10 left in the first half.
But Blue Mountain’s hopes for an upset quickly vanished.
The Eagles (12-12) missed
their last two shot attempts from the floor in the half and turned the ball over three times. The Crimson Tide (25-0) started
to push the ball inside, hitting 7-of-9 shots in the quarter, and built a 29-14 halftime lead.
then opened the second half with a 9-0 run to go up 38-14 and put the game away.
just wasn’t clicking at first,” Melochick said. “But then once the second quarter came around, we started
“I think our defensive pressure really got our offense going.”
Next up for the Crimson Tide is their fourth meeting this season with No. 4 Tamaqua (20-5) in Tuesday’s semifinals.
The Raiders beat No. 5 North Schuylkill 39-33 in a quarterfinal-round game Friday.
most recent match-up with the Raiders was in the Schuylkill League championship game Feb. 13, a 33-28 overtime win.
Melochick had his best offensive game Friday since he had 19 at Lehighton on Jan 10. His performance included a perfect
8-for-8 showing from the floor and 3-of-4 from the foul line.
The 6-foot-2 junior forward had
two three-point plays during the second quarter. He also scored on an alley-oop pass from Connor Hinchliffe and hit 1-of-2
from the line after a drive with 4.4 seconds left in the first half to give Pottsville its 15-point halftime advantage.
Eli Nabholz also scored six points in the quarter, all in the paint, while Travis Blankenhorn had five.
“We knew we have some mismatches, with Travis, Eli and myself, so we tried to get the ball in the paint more,”
Blankenhorn finished with 15 points and five rebounds, while Eli Nabholz had 10
points and seven boards.
Brayden Lewis had 10 points to pace the Raiders, while Mark Chelius added
seven points and Kerstetter had five rebounds.
After Kerstetter’s bucket midway through
the second quarter, the Eagles didn’t score again until Lewis hit two free throws at 5:21 of the third quarter. Blue
Mountain’s next points came on Lewis’ layup at 2:37 of the third and made it 43-18.
Mountain had a decent night shooting, finishing 10-for-25 (40 percent), but turned the ball over 18 times.
“They played great defense,” Eagles coach Dustin Werdt said. “Every time you play them it is a
struggle to score. They are so big and strong, and offensively they really attacked the paint on us in the second quarter
and we really didn’t have much of an answer.”
Turnovers plagued Pottsville during
the first quarter as the Crimson Tide committed six. But Pottsville was much crisper from the second quarter on, turning it
over just five times the rest of the night.
The Crimson Tide dominated the inside, reflected by
their 25-for-45 (56 percent) shooting night. Pottsville also outrebounded Blue Mountain 27-15.
mentality tonight was we wanted to come out and defend as hard as we have all season,” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney
said. “I really think we did that. I don’t know if it is the best we’ve defended all season, but our energy
level was real high and I think we fed off of that.”
“I think that a big part of it
also (was) us getting the ball into the post. Our post touches in the first half, we scored on a very high percentage of those.”
District 11 Class AAA quarterfinals
At Jim Thorpe
BLUE MOUNTAIN (31) — NStramara 1 2-2 4, Kerstetter 2 0-0 4, Barton 0 1-2 1, Welsh 0
0-0 0, Lewis 4 2-4 10, Chelius 2 2-8 7, Albertini 1 0-0 3, Zerbe 0 2-2 2, Biever 0 0-0 0, Bobbin 0 0-0 0, Caulfield 0 0-0
0. Totals 10 9-18 31.
POTTSVILLE (60) — Hinchliffe 0 0-0 0, Painter
1 0-0 2, Blankenhorn 6 0-0 15, Melochick 8 3-4 19, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 2 2-2 6, Abdo 2 0-2 4, Nabholz 5 0-0 10, Coyle 0
0-0 0, Renninger 1 2-4 4. Totals 25 7-12 60.
Blue Mt. (12-12) 6 8 4 13 — 31
Pottsville (25-0) 9 20 16 15 — 60
3-point FGs: Chelius,
Albertini, Blankenhorn 3
Crimson Tide plays Blue Mountain on Friday
at Jim Thorpe!!!
I don't know why, we are playing in Jim Thorpe!
Can someone stop either Parkland or Pottsville in district boys basketball
BARTHOLOMEW, MORNING CALL FILE PHOTO
EPC MVP Devante Cross leads a balanced Parkland attack.
Which star will
shine the most during district boys basketball tournament?
Which team is primed to pull an upset in district boys basketball tournament?
Can a Colonial League team end Central's five-peat hopes in boys 3A?
Just like it always has been in the real estate world, the District 11 boys basketball
tournament is all about location.
No, not the location
of the games, but where your team finds itself in terms of the classification bracket.
There was considerable movement this year in terms of class.
Most notably, defending Class 2A champ Notre Dame is now in the 3A mix and defending
Class A champ Mahanoy Area is in 2A.
which has fluctuated between 3A and 4A for years, is in 3A this year.
But Bangor and Southern Lehigh, whose lone district crowns were in 3A, are now in 4A, where they will have to contend
with newly crowned Eastern Pennsylvania Conference champion Parkland.
With the exception of unbeaten Pottsville and once-defeated Parkland, consistency has been elusive throughout the
boys basketball landscape.
And considering the recent
spate of bad weather, getting consistent practice time also has been elusive. More tricky weather remains in the district
Once the games begin, here are some
of the things to look for as 31 teams go for the gold and spots in the state tournament:
You have to start with the league players of the year — Parkland's Devante Cross in the EPC and Wilson's Phil
Pierfy in the Colonial League.
They both have
been great this winter.
There may not be a star
out there of the magnitude of Central Catholic graduate and Michigan freshman Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who was a big part
of four straight Vikings district titles, but there are many other standout players who can carry their teams in big games.
Those players include Parkland's Sam Iorio and Kyle Stout, Stroudsburg's Danny Cuevas,
Southern Lehigh's Noah Kandt, Bangor's Michael Martino, Emmaus' David Kachelries, Easton's Hassan Greenfield and Whitehall's
Brett Radocha in Class 4A and Central Catholic's Zay Jennings, Tamaqua's Bo Rottet and Brett Kosciolek, Salisbury's Dasheen
Reid, Saucon Valley's Mike Kane and Pottsville's Travis Blankenhorn in 3A.
We know for certain that a Schuylkill League team will win the 2A title because the tiny four-team field features
all Schuylkill members.
The Schuylkill also has
a 50-50 shot of winning the Class A championship since Shenandoah Valley and Nativity BVM are in the mix along with talented
Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg and Lincoln Leadership Academy squads in another four-team bracket.
Best chance for a title-game rematch
Pottsville and Central Catholic rank as solid favorites to meet again for the gold.
As the No. 1 seed, the Crimson Tide is in the upper half of a bracket that features
all Schuylkill teams and all potential opponents Pottsville has already defeated.
Pottsville is 9-0 against potential foes en route to the final.
Central Catholic, meanwhile, is in the lower half of the bracket with five Colonial
League members. CCHS hasn't lost to a Colonial League team in the district tournament since then star player Bron Holland
and Bangor defeated the Vikings in the 1988 3A final.
Central could be vulnerable in Friday night's quarterfinals against Notre Dame, which is coached by Pat Boyle. Boyle was a
member of that 1988 Vikings' team.
Of course, Notre
Dame must first beat Saucon Valley for Boyle to get a crack at his alma mater.
If it happens, Boyle also would be coaching against a family member. Boyle's mother and CCHS
senior Jack Nosovitch's mother are first cousins.
compelling story lines
You have to start
with Central Catholic's quest for a fifth straight 3A title, which would be unprecedented. Unlike the past few years, the
Vikings are not favored this time as Pottsville is undefeated and state-ranked; CCHS has scuffled finding offensive consistency.
In 4A, it will be interesting to see if anyone can knock off Parkland, which will
likely be facing several familiar faces. The Trojans have met and defeated everyone in the 12-team field except Colonial League
members Bangor and Southern Lehigh.
be interesting to see if any of the season's biggest surprise teams — Palisades, Northampton and Nazareth — can
continue to surprise and survive the week.
the fun potential matchups would be Northampton against Bangor on Saturday in the quarters because Konkrete Kids coach Coy
Stampone is a proud Slaters graduate and, like Bangor coach Holland, is a disciple of the legendary Bill Pensyl.
In Class A, it'll be interesting to see if anyone can stop a powerful Notre Dame-East
Stroudsburg under the direction of the Spartans' iconic coach, Bob Mullen. This is a team that has lost only to Tamaqua and
North Schuylkill and hasn't been defeated since the second week of the season.
Lincoln Leadership is a talented team and has a chance to reach the Class A final for the
first time, but Notre Dame has beaten Lincoln twice and the second time it was 68-32.
Best chance for an upset
Both No. 10 seeds in 4A and 3A have a chance to beat the No. 7 seeds.
Why? Because they've already beaten them.
In 4A, No. 10 Northampton has defeated No. 7 Whitehall twice and in 3A, Palisades beat Wilson just a few weeks ago
to clinch a district berth,
Staying in 4A, No. 11
Nazareth already has defeated No. 3 Stroudsburg, but for that rematch to happen the Blue Eagles would first have to get by
No. 6 Liberty, which looked very good in the EPC tournament last week.
It wouldn't shock me if No. 12 Easton knocked off hard-to-figure No. 5 Emmaus, although the Green Hornets generally
play well at home.
Best chance for a
Parkland will play either
Southern Lehigh or Pocono Mountain West in its quarterfinal-round game on Saturday at Easton and the Trojans will be heavy
favorites to beat either team. The Trojans already have defeated the Panthers 80-53 this season.
Northampton's Aidan Ellwood will get his first district experience as will several rising stars at CCHS. Nazareth's
Jahan Dotson and Notre Dame's Jack Reichenbach also could make an impact.
Teams with the most to prove
Bangor has to prove it can win at the 4A level because the school is not likely to get smaller in enrollment and
the Slaters are going to have to find a way to compete with some of the EPC's elite.
The same applies to the Colonial League members at the 3A level. Pottsville and Central
Catholic are always going to be obstacles, but teams like Salisbury, Saucon Valley and Wilson have shown in spurts that they
can knock off teams from other leagues and need to do it more consistently at this time of year.
Stroudsburg, which was clearly the best team in the EPC's Mountain Division, needs
to show its dominance in Monroe Country can translate to success elsewhere.
Players with the most to prove
Liberty's Ludwin Gonzalez has been a good player all season for the Hurricanes, but struggled
in the league final against Parkland.
Cuevas didn't have the best of nights against Liberty in the EPC semis.
Wilson's Pierfy had an outstanding senior season one year after suffering a major injury. However, the truly great
players lead teams to championships and he has his last chance to lead the Warriors to a gold medal.
4A: Parkland. It's going to take a team playing exceptionally well, almost flawlessly for
32 minutes, to prevent the Trojans from earning a three-peat.
3A: Central Catholic. I know Pottsville is unbeaten and several Colonial League teams are capable
of upsets. But I have a feeling that the Vikings' best basketball is ahead of them. Dennis Csensits is a quality coach.
2A: Mahanoy Area. The Golden Bears will likely have to face a gritty Minersville team,
but they call them Golden Bears for a reason.
Dame-East Stroudsburg. It's a shame that the Spartans didn't go into the Colonial League as originally planned because we'd
know truly how good they are.
Twitter @KeithGrollerby TaboolaSponsored LinksPromoted Links
Athlete of the Week
February 17, 2015
JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Eli Nabholz came up big in overtime to help the Crimson
Tide defeat Tamaqua in last Friday’s Schuylkill League boys’ basketball final.
Name: Eli Nabholz
Pottsville Area High School
Sport: Boys’ basketball
Accomplishments: Scored 15 points in two games during Crimson Tide’s run through Schuylkill League playoffs,
a 59-31 win over Mahanoy Area in the semifinals last Wednesday and a 33-28, overtime victory over Tamaqua in the championship
game last Friday. Scored five points in overtime Friday, hitting go-ahead bucket and 3-of-4 from foul line. Also grabbed three
defensive rebounds in overtime to help Pottsville seal the win.
Family: Mary Jo (mother), John (father)
Athletes I admire:
Tom Brady, Justin Verlander
Favorite sports teams: Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots
What grade did you start playing basketball: Kindergarten
How does playing basketball
help with baseball: “Mostly in just competing. In baseball, especially as a pitcher, you start one day and then have
five days off and start again, and then you have your whole offseason where you are just working out. In basketball offseason,
we are not only getting stronger and better physically, but we are competing as well, learning how to compete a lot better
in basketball. It definitely helps to stay in shape.’’
What are one or two things
you’ve improved on this basketball season that helped you in Friday’s championship game: “I think just confidence
wise, that was my biggest improvement. I think it helps fit into the team aspect a little bit more.”
How satisfying is it to win the league title knowing that Pottsville was the favorite all season: “This one
was definitely the hardest because we were the favorite. Everybody was gunning for you and everybody had a plan to beat you.
We just had to prepare that much harder.”
Goals for the rest of the season (Crimson Tide
are No. 1 seed in District 11 Class AAA playoffs): “We are just worried about Friday night (versus tonight’s Blue
Mountain-Lehighton winner). Right now, that is the most important thing and we will let the rest take care of itself. We just
don’t want to stop playing. That is what it comes down to.”
Attend Penn State University to play baseball and study political science.
2015 Schuylkill League Champions
Pottsville - Mahanoy Area Highlights-WNEP
Crimson Tide win Schuylkill League title in thriller over Tamaqua
Published: February 14, 2015
After a year’s absence, Pottsville is back
on top of the Schuylkill League in boys’ basketball.
The way the Crimson Tide had to do
it made it all the more memorable.
Eli Nabholz scored five of his nine points in overtime as Pottsville
was finally able to put away Tamaqua for a thrilling, 33-28 victory in Friday’s league championship game at Martz Hall.
“It was stressful, but it was a lot of fun,” Nabholz said.
The Crimson Tide
(24-0) kept their undefeated season alive, but it was far from easy. Still, in what was a rare close game for Pottsville this
season, the Tide found a way to get it done in crunch time.
The championship was the fifth in
the past six years for the Crimson Tide, who lost 45-44 in last year’s championship game to Mahanoy Area.
Pottsville avenged that loss with a 59-31 rout of the Golden Bears in Wednesday’s semifinals. Now, Pottsville
went out a winner in what will be its final game this season at Martz Hall.
“It was very
exciting and very close,” Travis Blankenhorn said. “It was a good team win. We played a good team game.”
Pottsville, the Division I champ, won the
two regular-season meetings against the Raiders
by double digits, including a 53-26 blowout Jan. 27 at Martz Hall. The third go-around was far different.
A spread offense by Tamaqua (19-5), the Division I wild card, frustrated Pottsville a little bit and kept the game
close. Just when the Crimson Tide appeared to be pulling away, Tamaqua rallied in the fourth quarter and tied the game on
a 3-pointer by Russell Blaker with 1:12 remaining in regulation.
But overtime belonged to Pottsville,
Not only did the 6-foot-5 center give the Crimson Tide the lead for good on
their first possession, he was 3-for-4 from the foul line and grabbed three defensive rebounds in the extra session to help
seal the victory.
“It is just the will to win,” Nabholz said of his overtime performance.
“After last year we had a bitter taste in our mouth. I just wanted to pull my weight and make sure I did whatever I
could to help us win and so did everybody else.”
Nabholz finished the game with five rebounds
and two blocks. Blankenhorn led the Crimson Tide with 10 points.
Bo Rottet had 10 points and five
rebounds to pace the Raiders, who were playing in their first league championship game since beating Marian for the title
in 1994. He scored six of his points in the fourth quarter as Tamaqua rallied from a 20-13 deficit to force overtime.
Brett Kosciolek added eight points and four rebounds for the Raiders.
The Crimson Tide
won their previous 23 games this season by an average margin of 30.3 points per game. Their closest victory was a 49-46 win
Jan. 28 at Berks Catholic.
Friday was new territory for Pottsville, but nobody ever seemed rattled.
“I think we had confidence the whole game,” Blankenhorn said. “We knew that if we stuck together
as a team, we would be all right.”
Blankenhorn set up Nabholz on the Crimson Tide’s
first possession when he kicked out the ball to the wing after penetration. Nabholz, his foot on the 3-point line, knocked
down the jumper to make it 26-24.
After Nabholz grabbed a Tamaqua miss, he quickly got the ball
out to Blankenhorn, who ended up scoring a transition layup to make it 28-24.
The Raiders got
back to within 1 on their next possession when Kosciolek knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner.
then sealed the game from the foul line.
Ty Painter hit both ends of a 1-and-1 situation with
1:28 to go. After Nabholz rebounded another miss, he was fouled and hit the second of a double-bonus situation with 54.5 seconds
Nabholz rebounded another Raiders’ miss, was fouled again, and hit both ends of the
double-bonus to make it 33-27 with 38.6 seconds remaining.
Tamaqua missed three shots in its final
possession. Eventually, Nate MacDonald grabbed an offensive rebound, was fouled and hit the first of a 1-and-1 with 2.5 seconds
left. He missed the second and the clock ran out as the teams scrambled for the rebound.
Hall crowd of 3,215 people then erupted one last time as the Crimson Tide rushed to the center of the court to celebrate a
“It is just a blessing to come out, especially here in front of so many people,”
Nabholz said. “The crowd was great tonight both ways. Tamaqua had a great game plan. We always say we need to come out
and play our game. It took us a little bit to get into our game but we did. Hats off to Tamaqua, they played a great game.”
The victory gave Pottsville the No. 1 seed for the District 11 Class AAA playoffs and settled Tamaqua into fourth.
The Blue Raiders open district play with a quarterfinal game next Saturday against North Schuylkill, while Pottsville will
face the winner of Tuesday’s first-round game between Lehighton and Blue Mountain.
Schuylkill League Boys’ Championship
At Martz Hall
TAMAQUA (28) — Blaker 1 0-0 3, Miller 1 0-1 2, Rottet 4 1-1 10, Zuber 1 0-0 2, MacDonald 1 1-2 3, Skripko 0
0-0 0, Kosciolek 2 2-2 8. Totals 10 4-6 28.
POTTSVILLE (33) — Hinchliffe
1 0-0 2, Painter 0 2-2 2, Blankenhorn 4 3-4 11, Dunkel 0 0 0-0 0, Melochick 0 3-6 3, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo
2 0-0 6, Nabholz 2 5-6 9. Totals 9 13-18 33.
Tam (19-5) 0 7 6 11 4 — 28
Pot (24-0) 2 8 9 5 9 — 33
3-point FGs: Blaker, Rottet,
Kosciolek 2, Abdo 2
2014-15 — Potttsville
2013-14 — Mahanoy
2012-13 — Pottsville
2011-12 — Pottsville
2010-11 — Pottsville
2009-10 — Pottsville
— N. Schuylkill
2007-08 — Shamokin
2006-07 — Blue
2005-06 — Mahanoy Area
2004-05 — Mahanoy Area
2003-04 — Pottsville
2002-03 — Blue Mountain
2001-02 — Shamokin
2000-01 — Shamokin
1998-99 — Mahanoy Area
1996-97 — Shamokin
1995-96 — Shamokin
1994-95 — Pottsville
1993-94 — Tamaqua
1991-92 — Shamokin
1990-91 — Mahanoy
1989-90 — Lourdes
1988-89 — Pottsville
1987-88 — Lourdes
1986-87 — Pine Grove
— Panther Valley
1984-85 — Pottsville
1982-83 — Pottsville
1981-82 — Saint Clair
1980-81 — Pottsville
1979-80 — Pottsville
1978-79 — Mahanoy Area
1977-78 — N. Schuylkill
— N. Schuylkill
1975-76 — Tamaqua
1974-75 — Blue
1973-74 — Blue Mountain
Tamaqua's slow-down stategy nearly produces upset
Published: February 14, 2015
Caszy Kosciolek calls it his “4
to score” offense.
A spread-the-floor, patient, slow-down offensive set that makes for boring
basketball, but one that can help an underdog hang with a heavy favorite.
The Tamaqua coach utilized
the strategy in Friday’s Schuylkill League boys’ championship game against Pottsville at Martz Hall.
After a 27-point loss to Pottsville on the same floor 18 days ago, Kosciolek felt the strategy would give his Blue
Raiders the best chance to knock off the unbeaten Crimson Tide.
It nearly worked.
Tamaqua held the ball for the nearly the entire first quarter, and stayed in the “4 to score” set the
entire game. The result was a low-scoring, nail-biting, thrilling boys’ final that Pottsville pulled out 33-28 in overtime.
“Their defense is the toughest, probably on this side of the state,” Kosciolek said of Pottsville’s
man-to-man, aggressive defense. “We figured if we could spread them out, be patient, take the very best shot.
“We want to try to score, but if we can’t, we want to keep the offense moving, keep people spread and
try to make them vulnerable.
“You can’t stay enough how smart (his Blue Raiders) played
and how selfless they are in order to play a game like this.”
Tamaqua slowed the tempo from
the outset — running nearly four minutes off the clock on one possession — and the game was scoreless until Pottsville’s
Travis Blankenhorn scored on a jumper with two seconds left in the first quarter.
The teams combined
for just five shots in the first quarter, with Pottsville going 1-for-2 from the field and Tamaqua shooting 0-for-3.
The pace picked up somewhat in the second quarter, as the Crimson Tide outscored the Blue Raiders 8-7.
Instead of an up-and-down, high-scoring game that most people figured they would see, the slow-paced contest had
Pottsville leading 10-7 at halftime.
“They got us out of our game a little bit,” Pottsville
coach Dave Mullaney said. “They had a great game plan. Them slowing it down as much as they did got us out of what we
wanted to do offensively.
“You want to minimize possessions,” Mullaney continued.
“They did a great job of doing that.
“We haven’t seen a dribble spread in a
long time. There are ways to defend it. We made some adjustments trying to keep it out of the middle of the floor. In the
first half we allowed them to get it into the middle, and you can run that offense all day if you allow them to do that.”
While Tamaqua was slowing the game down offensively, the Blue Raiders were able to slow down Pottsville’s offense
just as effectively on the defensive end of the floor.
Tamaqua played a tight 2-1-2/2-3 zone that
sagged 6-foot-7 Brett Kosciolek deep into the lane, but also extended at times to prevent the Crimson Tide from making skip
passes across the zone for open 3-point shots.
Pottsville was patient against it, running its
motion offense in search of a good shot, but struggled to hit from the outside against it.
zone defense, you have to shade their shooters, and that’s what we did,” Kosciolek said. “I thought we did
a good job of finding where Blankenhorn was most of the time. It’s a game plan you use against the personnel that’s
there. We shaded shooters, and we did a good job of man principles in that zone defense in knowing where their weapons were.
“We did a nice job when the ball went into the short corner and we defended the high post.”
The combination of Tamaqua’s patient offense and its tough defense forced the game into a crawl for three-plus
quarters. Pottsville shot 0-for-4 from beyond the arc before sophomore Jordan Abdo came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers
late in the third quarter, and finished 2-for-9 from 3-point range.
“They had a good strategy
defensively, and we have good shooters out there. But we needed to be more aggressive against it,” Mullaney said. “There’s
other ways to score against a zone other than just hitting 3s. There are other things we could have gotten that we worked
on, they just did a great job in it. We weren’t hitting from the perimeter, and they could tighten it up a little more.”
Tamaqua opened up its offensive attack in the fourth quarter after falling behind 20-13 with 4:41 left, and rallied
to tie it and force overtime. Eli Nabholz tallied five of his nine points in the extra session to help Pottsville win it.
The victory gives Pottsville (24-0) the No. 1 seed in the upcoming District 11 Class AAA Tournament and sets up a
quarterfinal contest between Tamaqua and North Schuylkill.
The Tamaqua-North Schuylkill winner
could get Pottsville in the semifinals.
On a different floor, in a different environment, Tamaqua’s
slow-down strategy may not have worked. It worked to near perfection Friday.
is very good,” Kosciolek said. “We’re not into moral victories, but no one has taken this team into overtime.
I told our kids this is something for us to build on going into district play. We learned a lot about ourselves, too.”
H.S. BOYS BASKETBALL: Raiders get another shot at Crimson Tide in Schuylkill League finals
Published: February 13,
Schuylkill League Boys’
Tonight, at Martz Hall
Tamaqua (19-4, Division
I wild card)
vs. Pottsville (23-0, Division I champion), 8 p.m.
the Blue Raiders
Head coach: Caszy Kosciolek (4th season)
here: Beat Division II champ Minersville 59-53 in Wednesday’s semifinal
in title game: 1994 — Beat Marian 59-52
Previous league titles (since 1966): Two (1976,
Team statistics: Offense (58.0 points per game), defense (43.3 ppg)
starting lineup: G Russell Blaker (jr., 6-1, 8.5 points per game), G Bo Rottet (sr., 6-0, 17.3), F Nate MacDonald (sr., 6-1,
5.7), F Tyler Skripko (sr., 5-10, 3.4), F-C Brett Kosciolek (sr., 6-7, 17.2)
Key reserves: G Ben
Miller (sr., 6-1, 1.3), G Thaddaeus Zuber (fr., 5-9, 1.4), G Ernie Shilko (sr., 5-8, 1.7)
the Crimson Tide
Head coach: Dave Mullaney (8th season)
How got here:
Beat Division III champ Mahanoy Area 59-31 in semifinal
Last appearance in title game: 2014 —
Lost to Mahanoy Area 45-44
Previous league titles (since 1966): 14 — 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984,
1985, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Team statistics: Offense (62.2 points
per game), defense (31.9 ppg)
Probable starting lineup: G Connor Hinchliffe (sr., 6-1, 4.7), G
Ty Painter (sr., 5-7, 3.2), G Travis Blankenhorn (sr., 6-2, 16.7), G-F Jordan Melochick (jr., 6-2, 9.3), F-C Eli Nabholz (sr.,
Key reserves: F Jed Dunkel (sr., 6-2, 2.3), G Derek Shuman (sr., 6-1, 1.1), G Christian
Witman (jr., 6-1, 1.9), G Jordan Abdo (soph., 5-10, 6.2)
(23 in the game) and Kosciolek (18) combined for 26 second-half points as the Raiders pulled away in their semifinal win over
the Miners. Rottet scored 16 of his points in the second half and finished the night 12-for-15 from the foul line. ... Crimson
Tide were down 11-2 early in the first quarter against the Golden Bears before holding a 57-20 scoring advantage the rest
of the game. Blankenhorn led the Crimson Tide with 12 points. ... Third meeting between two this season. Crimson Tide used
a fourth-quarter run to pull away and win 57-40 on Jan. 5 and then dominated the second meeting, winning 53-26 on Jan. 27.
... Game features three 1,000-career point scorers: Blankenhorn (1,489), Kosciolek (1,430) and Rottet (1,044). Blankenhorn
and Kosciolek reached their milestones last season, Rottet did it last week. ... Crimson Tide are ranked No. 7 in Class AAA
in most recent PennLive.com rankings. Raiders are a team to watch in Class AAA. ... Crimson Tide would wrap up a No. 1 seed
for the District 11 Class AAA playoffs with win. Tamaqua would improve on its No. 4 ranking with a victory.
— Complied by Mike Carnahan
The first was a competitive game.
The second go around was a rout.
So what will the third meeting this season between Pottsville
and Tamaqua bring?
For certain, it is the most important match-up of them all. It is title time
tonight when the Crimson Tide (23-0) take on the Raiders (19-4) for the Schuylkill League boys’ championship at 7:30
p.m. at Martz Hall.
Pottsville, the Division I champ, is playing in its sixth consecutive league
title game and is looking to win its fifth championship in the past six years. The Crimson Tide beat Division III champ Mahanoy
Area 59-31 in the semifinals Wednesday, avenging last year’s title-game loss to the Golden Bears.
Tonight is new territory for Tamaqua, the Division I wild card.
The Raiders are playing
in their league final since a 59-52 victory over Marian in 1994. Tamaqua reached tonight’s championship with a 59-53
victory over Division II champ Minersville in Wednesday’s semifinals.
“They are really
excited,” Tamaqua coach Caszy Kosciolek said about getting another crack at the Crimson Tide. “It is really their
first taste of Martz Hall in the postseason. Their confidence level is as high as I’ve seen it. I think we are ready
Let’s recap the first two meetings:
Jan. 5 at Tamaqua, Pottsville 57-40: Travis Blankenhorn poured in 30 points as the Crimson Tide
took their first lead midway through the first quarter and led the rest of the way. But Tamaqua wouldn’t go quietly
and cut the deficit to 39-31 early in the fourth quarter before Pottsville finished the game on an 18-9
run. Ty Painter added 10 points for the Crimson Tide. Brett Kosciolek (14) and Bo Rottet (11) reached double figures
for the Raiders.
• Jan. 27 at Martz Hall, Pottsville 53-26:
The game was never close as the Crimson Tide led 28-11 at halftime and rolled to the win. The Raiders shot 10-for-38 (26 percent)
from the floor and turned the ball over 12 times. Blankenhorn scored all of his game-high 14 points in the first half, while
Jordan Melochick (11) and Eli Nabholz (11) also reached double figures. Rottet (12) led the Raiders.
history is any guide, tonight’s game should be closer than the scores from the regular season.
last time the Schuylkill League boys’ final featured teams that meet twice during the regular season was in 2011 and
2012 between Pottsville and Pine Grove.
After grabbing 39-27 and 62-34 victories during the regular
season, Pottsville edged the Cardinals 51-49 in the 2011 championship game that came down to the wire.
In 2012, Pottsville won 48-36 and 43-33 during the regular season and then pulled away late in the title game for
a 38-31 victory.
“It is easier because you see a lot of their plays the whole year and we
are used to playing them,” Pottsville senior Connor Hinchliffe said about playing the same team three times on one season.
“We know their players just as good as our own players. It is kind of hard because one day they can come out and shoot
fire, and the next … When we played them at home, they couldn’t hit anything and we beat them pretty good. You
just can’t take anyone lightly.”
For Tamaqua to pull off the upset against the No.
7-ranked Class AAA team in the state, Caszy Kosciolek knows the Raiders need to figure out how to have success against Pottsville’s
tough man-to-man defense.
The Crimson Tide’s defense dominated the second meeting between
the clubs, as it during Wednesday’s semifinal win over Mahanoy Area. The Golden Bears shot 12-for-41 (29 percent) and
turned the ball over 24 times.
“We have to get into the rhythm of our offense,” Coach
Kosciolek said. “We can’t allow them to take us out of our rhythm. That is going to be a critical factor.”
Crimson Tide coach Dave Mullaney believes Pottsville needs to defend well, too, especially Brett Kosciolek (17.2
points per game, 1,430 career points) and Rottet (17.3, 1,044). The Crimson Tide also need to attack, and yet be patient,
on offense, no matter what defense the Raiders show.
“They have two really, really good
players and we are going to have to defend them,” Mullaney said. “We are going to have to make sure we keep (Russell)
Blaker off the 3-point line, he’s a very good player. We are going to have to be aggressive going against what ever
defense they have. We anticipate some 3-2 zones, 2-3 zone, a little man, whatever they play, we need to be aggressive against
Pottsville - Mahanoy Area Highlights-WNEP
Schuylkill League Boys' BB: Pottsville overwhelms Mahanoy Area
Published: February 12, 2015
JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville's Connor Hinchliffe hauls
down a rebound over Mahanoy Area's Brian Miller during the semifinals of the Schuylkill League at Martz Hall in Pottsville
Wednesday, February 11, 2015.
JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville's Jordan Melochick splits
Mahanoy Area's defenders Mike Joseph (30) and Mike Wronski (22) during Wednesday’s Schuylkill League semifinals at Martz
Hall. The Tide beat the Bears 59-31.
has overwhelmed the opposition at times this season.
That was the case Wednesday night.
The Crimson Tide’s intensity on defense allowed Pottsville to overcome an early deficit and roll to a 59-31
victory over Mahanoy Area in the Schuylkill League boys’ basketball semifinals at Martz Hall.
Blankenhorn had 12 points and Jordan Abdo came off the bench to score 10 as the Crimson Tide (23-0) reached the title game
for the sixth consecutive year.
Pottsville will take on Division I wild card Tamaqua (19-4) for
the championship at 8 p.m. Friday at Martz Hall. The Raiders beat Division II champ Minersville 59-53 in Wednesday’s
It will be third meeting between the Crimson Tide and Tamaqua this season. Pottsville
won 57-40 on Jan. 5 and 53-26 on Jan. 27.
“It is always good to play at Martz Hall,”
said Pottsvile senior Connor Hinchliffe, who had eight points Wednesday. “There is nothing better than playing at Martz
Hall with everyone here and are looking forward to seeing us play.”
The Crimson Tide’s
45-44 loss to Mahanoy Area during last year’s title game denied Pottsville a fifth straight league title. Avenging that
loss provided a little extra motivation Wednesday.
“Mahanoy is a good team,” Pottsville’s
Ty Painter said. “We came in with a chip on our shoulder and we wanted to make sure we got back to the finals again.”
It was a little shaky early for the Crimson Tide as the Golden Bears (18-5) hit their first four shots to take an
11-2 lead 3:21 into the game.
The rest of the night belonged to Pottsville.
The Crimson Tide, the Division I champs, tied the game at 13 early in the second quarter, starting a 21-4 scoring
advantage in the period to give Pottsville a 32-17 halftime advantage.
Division III champion
Mahanoy Area got to within 34-22 midway through the third quarter, but the Crimson Tide put the game away with a 19-2 run
that lasted into the fourth.
A big factor was Pottsville’s man-to-man defensive intensity.
After the Golden Bears’ early lead, the Crimson Tide put the clamps on Mahanoy Area. Pottsville made it difficult
for the Golden Bears to get any kind of rhythm going in their half-court sets. Mahanoy Area rushed what shots it did get and
night 12-for-41 (29 percent) from the floor. The Golden Bears also committed 25
The defensive effort started with Painter, who was matched up on Mahanoy Area point
guard Mike Joseph.
“They have great players all around,” Painter said. “He’s
a good ball-handler. We just kept putting pressure on them, don’t let them catch the ball and keep it up defensively.”
Hinchliffe added nine rebounds and three steals on the night. He also hit some big buckets in the first half.
Hinchliffe had a 3-pointer with 23 seconds in the first quarter from the corner on a kick-out pass from Eli Nabholz
that pulled Pottsville to within 13-11.
After a reverse, baseline layup by Nabholz early in the
second quarter tied the game at 13, Hinchliffe gave the Crimson Tide the lead for good on their next possession when he scored
off a Jordan Melochick missed 3-pointer. Hinchliffe hit another 3 with 4:08 left in the first half from the top of the circle
to make it 22-13.
Hinchliffe, who came in averaging 4.5 points per game, has seen his offense
pick up the last couple of games. He 16 points combined during Crimson Tide wins over Lehighton and Jim Thorpe last week.
“I think early in the year it was just kind of a confidence issue,” Hinchliffe said. “Not many
3s were going in, but I think I just needed to get that first good game to stay confident. Now, when I get an open shot, I
feel confident I am going to knock it down.
Matt Yedsena had 10 points to pace the Golden Bears,
while Joseph added eight.
A turnaround jumper in the lane by Miller on Mahanoy Area’s opening
possession, followed by a 3-pointer by Joseph and back-to-back 3s by Miller and Yedsena gave the Golden Bears their early
11-2 led. But Mahanoy Area didn’t score again in the first quarter until a Mike Wronski layup with 45 seconds left.
Their next field goal of the game came with 1:04 remaining in the first half, making it 29-17 Pottsville.
“The first quarter, we did everything we talked about the last two days,” Mahanoy Area coach Scott Hudson
said. “ We boxed out perfectly, ran our sets, set hard screens. But they picked up their defense and sort of shut us
down a little bit at the guard position and sort of gave us some problems.
“Give them credit,
their defense picked it up.”
At Martz Hall
POTTSVILLE (59) — Hinchliffe
3 0-0 8, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 2 0-1 3, Blankenhorn 3 6-6 12, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Dunkel 2 0-0 4, Melochick 2 5-5 9, Shuman
0 0-0 0, Witman 1 0-0 2, Abdo 5 0-0 10, Nabholz 3 2-2 6, Coyle 1 0-0 3, Renninger 0 0-0 0, Schenck 1 0-0 2, O’Pake 0
0-0 0. Totals 21 13-14 59.
MAHANOY AREA (31) — Erbe 0 0-0 0, R. Derr 0
0-0 0, Yedsena 4 0-0 10, M. Derr 0 0-0 0, Styka 1 0-0 2, McGee 0 0-0 0, Wronski 2 0-0 5, Fedor 0 0-0 0, Miller 2 1-2 6, Joseph
3 0-0 8. Totals 12 1-2 31.
Pot (23-0) 11 21 14 13 — 59
Mah (18-5) 13 4 9 5 — 31
3-point FGs: Hinchliffe 2, Painter, Coyle, Yedsena
2, Wronski, Miller, Joseph 2
HERE WE GO!!!
Schuylkill League Boys' Basketball Semifinal Capsules
Published: February 11, 2015
Boys’ Basketball Semifinals
Tonight, at Martz Hall
Tamaqua (18-4, Division I wild card)
Minersville (18-3, Division II champ), 6 p.m.
Caszy Kosciolek (4th season)
Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1985): Five
Last appearance: 1995 — Lost to Pottsville in semifinals
League rankings: Offense
(3rd, 58.0 points per game), defense (3rd, 42.8 ppg)
Probable starting lineup: G Russell Blaker
(jr., 6-1, 8.6 points per game), G Bo Rottet (sr., 6-0, 17.0), F Nate MacDonald (sr., 6-1, 5.7), F Tyler Skripko (sr., 5-10,
3.5), F-C Brett Kosciolek (sr., 6-7, 17.2)
Key reserves: G Ernie Shilko (sr., 5-8, 1.7), G Ben
Miller (sr., 6-1, 1.4), G Thaddaeus Zuber (fr., 5-9, 1.2)
Head coach: Cliff Woodford (8th season)
Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances
(since 1985): Three
Last appearance: 2011 — Lost to Pine Grove 54-47 in semifinals
League rankings: Offense (6th, 53.8 ppg), defense (4th, 43.0 ppg)
Probable starting lineup:
G Colin Hashin (sr., 5-8, 6.1), G Jon McBreen (jr., 6-2, 7.4), G Chris Leshko (jr., 6-2, 12.4), F David Graham (jr., 6-0,
11.0), F Spencer Tobin (sr., 6-1, 8.8)
Key reserve: F Brian Brennan (jr., 6-2, 3.5)
Two teams met during the regular season Dec. 8 with the Raiders winning 45-33.
Rottet had 23 points in the contest, while Graham had 10 for the Miners. ... Miners enter on eight-game winning streak. That
includes a 46-45 win over North Schuylkill on Jan. 31 and a 59-58 victory over Shenandoah Valley on Saturday. Leshko had the
go-ahead bucket in both games. ... Leshko is the league’s top 3-point shooter, averaging 2.4 per game. ... Rottet went
over 1,000 points for his career last week, joining Kosciolek, who did it last season. ... Tamaqua will likely play a 2-3
zone, but will show other zone looks, too. Miners will play man-to-man. ... Both teams — Tamaqua (Class AAA) and Minersville
(Class AA) — are listed as others to watch in latest PennLive.com Pennsylvania High School Rankings.
Mahanoy Area (18-4, Division III champ)
vs. Pottsville (22-0,
Division I champ), 7:30 p.m.
About Mahanoy Area
Head coach: Scott
Hudson (1st season)
Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1985): 17 overall, 5
titles (1991, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2014)
Last appearance: 2014 — Beat Pottsville 45-44 in championship
League rankings: Offense (5th, 53.9), defense (2nd, 42.3)
starting lineup: G Matt Yedsena (jr., 6-0, 15.7), G Mike Wronski (jr., 5-9, 8.2), G Mike Joseph (soph., 5-8, 8.9), F Peter
Luddy (sr., 5-9, 2.3), F-C Brian Miller (sr., 6-3, 15.4)
Key reserves: F Marcus Styka (jr., 6-1,
Head coach: Dave Mullaney (8th season)
Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1985): 17 overall, 10 titles (1985, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2000,
2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Last appearance: 2014 — Lost to Mahanoy Area 45-44 in championship
League rankings: Offense (2nd, 62.3) defense (1st, 31.9)
starting lineup: G Connor Hinchliffe (sr., 6-1, 4.5), G Ty Painter (sr., 5-7, 3.2), G Travis Blankenhorn (sr., 6-2, 16.9),
G-F Jordan Melochick (jr., 6-2, 9.3), F-C Eli Nabholz (sr., 6-5, 12.7)
Key reserves: F Jed Dunkel
(sr., 6-2, 2.2), G Derek Shuman (sr., 6-1, 1.2), G Christian Witman (jr., 6-1, 1.9), G Jordan Abdo (soph., 5-10, 6.0)
Rematch of last year’s title game. All five of Pottsville’s likely
starters tonight started in that game. Miller played for the Golden Bears and scored two points. ... With their 59-29 win
over Jim Thorpe last Friday, Crimson Tide became first boys’ team from Schuylkill League to finish with undefeated regular
season since Mahanoy Area (2006-07). ... Golden Bears were on an 11-game winning streak before going 2-2 in their final four
regular-season games. ... Crimson Tide have simply overwhelmed their opponents this season, winning their games by an average
margin of 30.4 points per game. ... Both teams will play a man-to-man. ... Crimson Tide are ranked No. 7 in Class AAA in latest
PennLive.com rankings. Golden Bears are a team to watch in Class AA.
— Complied by Mike
Perfection is preserved.
Eli Nabholz scored 14 points, while Travis Blankenhorn
added 13 as Pottsville capped its undefeated regular season with a 50-29 Schuylkill League Division I victory over Jim Thorpe
on Friday in Martz Hall.
With the win, the Crimson Tide became the first team in program history
to accomplish that feat. Pottsville is also the first team from the Schuylkill League to end the regular season with a perfect
record since Blue Mountain in 2002-03.
Blankenhorn tallied all 13 of his points in the middle
two quarters as the Tide outscored the Olympians 28-12 in that stretch.
Shane Snisky led Jim
Thorpe with nine points, while Chris Micciche had eight.
(29) — Carroll 1 0-0 3, Elmore 0 0-2 0, Micciche 3 1-2 8, Green 0 0-0 0, Luicina 0 0-0 0, McElmoyle 2 0-0 5, S. Snisky
3 3-4 9, Everitt 1 1-2 4, Joyce 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 5-10 29.
(50) — Hinchliffe 2 1-1 6, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 1 0-0 3, Blankenhorn 6 0-0 13, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Dunkel 1 0-0 2, Melochick
0 1-2 1, Shuman 1 1-2 3, Witman 0 2-2 2, Abdo 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 6 2-2 14, Coyle 1 0-0 3, Renninger 0 1-2 1, Schenk 1 0-0 2,
O’Pake 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 8-11 50.
JT (8-14, 4-10) 6 7 5 11 — 29
Pt (22-0, 14-0) 13 13 15 9 — 50
3-point FGs: Carroll, Micciche,
McElmoyle, Everitt, Hinchliffe, Painter, Blankenhorn, Coyle
JV score: Pottsville 50-31
Perfection is preserved.
Eli Nabholz scored 14 points, while Travis Blankenhorn added 13
as Pottsville capped its undefeated regular season with a 50-29 Schuylkill League Division I victory over Jim Thorpe on Friday
in Martz Hall.
With the win, the
Crimson Tide became the first team in program history to accomplish that feat. Pottsville is also the first team from the
Schuylkill League to end the regular season with a perfect record since Blue Mountain in 2002-03.
Blankenhorn tallied all 13 of his points in the middle two quarters
as the Tide outscored the Olympians 28-12 in that stretch.
Shane Snisky led Jim Thorpe with nine points, while Chris Micciche had eight.
JIM THORPE (29) — Carroll
1 0-0 3, Elmore 0 0-2 0, Micciche 3 1-2 8, Green 0 0-0 0, Luicina 0 0-0 0, McElmoyle 2 0-0 5, S. Snisky 3 3-4 9, Everitt 1
1-2 4, Joyce 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 5-10 29.
POTTSVILLE (50) —
Hinchliffe 2 1-1 6, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 1 0-0 3, Blankenhorn 6 0-0 13, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Dunkel 1 0-0 2, Melochick 0 1-2
1, Shuman 1 1-2 3, Witman 0 2-2 2, Abdo 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 6 2-2 14, Coyle 1 0-0 3, Renninger 0 1-2 1, Schenk 1 0-0 2, O’Pake
0 0-0 0. Totals 19 8-11 50.
JT (8-14, 4-10) 6 7 5 11 — 29 Pt
(22-0, 14-0) 13 13 15 9 — 50
3-point FGs: Carroll, Micciche, McElmoyle, Everitt, Hinchliffe, Painter, Blankenhorn, Coyle
JV score: Pottsville 50-31
CRIMSON TIDE'S PERFECT SEASON 22 - 0
The Crimson Tide Completed the first perfect season in the school history tonight with
a 50-29 victory over Jim Thorpe!!!!
Pottsville (22-0): Hinchliffe 2 1-1 6, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 1 0-0 3, Blankenhorn 6 0-0 13, Thomas 0 0-0
0, Dunkel 1 0-0 2, Melochick 0 1-2 1, Shuman 1 1-2 3, Witman 0 2-2 2,Abdo 0 0-0 0, Nabholz 6 2-2 14, Coyle 1 0-0 3, Renninger
0 1-2 1, Schenck 1 0-0 2, O'Pake 0 0-0 0, Totals: 19 8-11 (50)
Jim Thorpe (): Carroll 1 0-0 3,Elmore 0 0-0 0, Micicle 3 1-2 8, Green 0 0-0 0, Luciana 0 0-0 0, Mcelmoyle 2
0-0 5, Snisky 3 3-4 9, Everitt 1 1-2 4, Joyce 0 0-0 0, T totals: 10 5-10 (29)
3 point FG'S: Carroll, Micciche, McElmoye, Everitt, Hinchliffe, Painter, Blankenhorn, Coyle
CRIMSON TIDE 22 - 0
Crimson Tide continue's it's run to the perfect regular season, The Tide plays Jim Thorpe in it's final game
at home, The Tide victory would be the First Time in School History that a team remained undefeated in the regular season!!!!
Travis Blankenhorn scored nine points and Connor Hinchilffe contributed eight during a 22-4 first-quarter
run for the Crimson Tide in a Division I rout of the Indians at Martz Hall.
Blankenhorn finished with a game-high 16 points, while Hinchliffe added 10 for Pottsville.
Jordan Knappenberger hit four 3-pointers to
pace Lehighton with 14 points.
LEHIGHTON (33) — Ruzicka 0 0-0 0, Cordova 0 0-0 0, Crum 2 0-0 4, Zwetolitz 2 0-0 6, Ortiz 1
2-3 4, Williams 0 0-0 0, Buchinsky 0 0-0 0, Chambers 0 0-0 0, Knappenberger 5 0-0 14, Greene 2 1-2 5. Totals
12 3-4 33.
(58) — Hinchliffe 4 1-1 10, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 6 1-1 16, Thomas 1 1-2 3, Dunkel 1 0-0 2, Melochick 2 3-4 8,
Shuman 1 0-0 3, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo 2 2-2 7, Nabholz 4 0-0 9, Coyle 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 8-10 58.
6-7) 4 14 8 7 — 33 Po (21-0, 13-0) 22 8 17 11 — 58
3-point FGs: Zwetolitz 2, Knappenberger 4, Hinchliffe, Blankenhorn
3, Melochick, Shuman, Abdo, Nabholz
JV score: Pottsville 51-30
Crimson Tides improves to 21 - 0 with a 58-33 victory over Lehighton!
Panther Valley 32
LANSFORD — Travis Blankenhorn scored 23 points, and Eli Nabholz added 15 as Pottsville roughed
up Panther Valley in a Division I game that clinched the divisional title for the Tide.
Jordan Melochick recorded 14 points for Pottsville, which led 40-22 at the
POTTSVILLE (79) — Hinchliffe 1 2-2 4, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 2 1-1 5, Blankenhorn 9 0-0 23, Thomas 1 4-4
7, Dunkel 0 0-4 0, Melochick 5 3-4 14, Shuman 1 0-0 2, Witman 1 0-0 2, Abdo 1 0-0 2, Nabholz 7 1-2 15, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Renninger
1 1-3 3, Schenck 0 0-0 0, O’Pake 1 0-0 2. Totals 30 12-20 79.
PANTHER VALLEY (32)
— Keo 0 0-0 0, Dubosky 4 1-2 10, Vermillion 1 0-3 2, Stanko 0 0-0 0, Micholik 2 0-0 6, Miller 1 0-0 2, Hudicka 2 0-0
5, Blasko 3 0-0 7, Morgans 0 0-0 0, Eickoff 0 0-0 0, Weng 0 0-0 0, Fisher 0 0-0 0, Mehmeti 0 0-0 0.Totals 13 1-5 32.
Pott (19-0, 12-0) 19 21 22 17 — 79 PV
(3-16, 1-11) 14 8 2 8 — 32
3-point FGs: Blankenhorn 5, Thomas, Melochick, Dubosky, Micholik 2, Hudicka, Blasko
JV score: Pottsville 59-17
Berks Catholic's late rally falls short against Pottsville
in boys basketball
Thursday January 29, 2015 12:01 AM
By Mike Drago
Dave Mullaney brought his unbeaten Pottsville basketball team
down Route 61 Tuesday because he was eager to see how it responded to getting punched in the mouth.
The Crimson Tide coach was not disappointed at seeing his guys walk away a little
bruised and swollen.
"That's the first time this year
we've been in a game like this," said Mullaney after the Tide dodged a last-second 3-point bid and survived against Berks
Catholic 49-46 in a non-league rumble between playoff-bound teams.
"The reason we put this game on the schedule is to get better at the end-of-game situations," said Mullaney.
"We haven't had a ton of close games."
(19-0) got all it wanted from the Saints (10-8), who erased most of an 11-point, third-quarter deficit with a fierce fourth-quarter
The Saints stepped up their defensive pressure
and got a pair of big steals from Isaac Lutz and a third from Pop Lacey, each resulting in layups.
Lacey's, with 2:40 remaining, cut Pottsville's lead to 45-42.
When Lacey found Tyrone Nesby on a backdoor cut 30 seconds later to again make it
a three-point game, Mullaney called timeout to discuss end-game strategy.
That's something his club, ranked No. 8 in the state in Class AAA by PennLive.com, hadn't done all season.
The Tide had won each of its games by at least 15 points; it's average winning margin
of 32.4 was second-highest in the state.
accepted the challenge of playing a top team and brought it for a full 32 minutes.
They jumped to leads of 5-0 and 12-5, Lutz sparking them with an early 3-pointer on his way
to 19 points.
The experienced Tide, with five returning
starters and three Division I baseball recruits - Travis Blankenhorn (Kentucky), Eli Nabholz (Penn State) and Connor Hinchliffe
(LaSalle) - rose to the challenge.
The 6-5 Nabholz
stuck a pair of 3-point daggers in the second quarter to lift his team to a 25-22 halftime lead, then dropped two more in
the third quarter as the Tide took command.
with 19 points, hitting 4-of-6 from beyond the arc as he continually got free on screens and switches.
The Saints fought back and made it a one-possession game; they came up short on
a couple of loose balls at the end that might've given them a chance to win it.
Instead, they saw their six-game winning streak snapped when Lutz's off-balanced 3 from well beyond the arc was off
target at the final buzzer.
"It all comes down
to the foul shots," said Saints coach Snip Esterly. "We're 9-for-18. That's the difference."
Mullaney knows a tight game in a playoff atmosphere will only help his club come
"We did not handle things as well as we would
have liked the in the fourth quarter," he said. "Credit them. We knew how talented they were, and they're even better
than we thought. I was really impressed with Isaac Lutz. He caused us all kinds of problems."
Esterly knows his team is getting close; just not close enough.
"These are the (kind of) teams we have to beat to win something," he said,
"and we're not there yet."
Drago: 610-371-5061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
READING — Pottsville faced its toughest test of the season Wednesday night.
Thanks to a big night from Eli Nabholz, the Crimson Tide’s bid for an undefeated regular season marches on.
Nabholz scored 16 of his 19 points in the middle two quarters as Pottsville held on for a 49-46 non-league victory
over Berks Catholic.
Nabholz, who knocked down four 3-pointers in the game, had eight points apiece
in second and third periods. The Crimson Tide (19-0) held a 29-15 scoring advantage in the middle quarters to take a 42-31
lead heading into the fourth.
Jordan Melochick added 14 points for Pottsville, while Travis Blankenhorn
had 13. Melochick was 4-for-4 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
Isaac Lutz had 19 points
for Berks Catholic (10-8), which cut the deficit to 47-45 late in the game. The Saints had 13 seconds on the clock for their
last possession, but Lutz missed a wild 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Pottsville finishes the regular
season at Panther Valley on Friday, hosting Lehighton on Feb. 3 and traveling to Jim Thorpe on Feb. 6.
POTTSVILLE (49) — Hinchliffe 0 0-0 0, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 6 0-3 13, Dunkel
0 0-0 0, Melochick 3 6-6 14, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo 1 0-0 3, Nabholz 6 3-3 19. Totals 16 9-12 49.
BERKS CATHOLIC (46) — Wilson 0 0-0 0, Gilbert 0 0-0 0, Suriel 0 0-0 0, Lacy 4 1-2
11, Lutz 7 4-8 19, Nesby 2 0-0 4, Reedy 1 0-0 2, Rivera 0 1-2 1, Jack 3 3-6 9. Totals 17 9-18 46.
Pot (19-0) 13 12 17 7 — 49 BC (10-8) 16 6 9 15 — 46
3-point FGs: Blankenhorn, Melochick 2, Abdo, Nabholz 4, Lacy 2, Lutz
score: Pottsville 38-23
Crimson Tide Improves to 19 - 0
Pottsville Crimson Tide earned a hard victory over Berks Catholic with a 49-46 win. The Crimson Tide
was pushed all night, Berks Catholic took a 16-13 lead after, the first quarter. The Tide rebound in the second quarter with
a 12-6 run to lead at half 25-22. The Tide then took the third quarter with a 17-9 run to end the third up 42-31. Berks Catholic
push the Tide hard in the fourth, out scoring the Tide 15-7. The Tide earned it's 19th victory, closing out the game 49-46.
Eli "Big Easy" Nabholz led the Tide with 19 points, hitting a couple of big three's, Jordan "Melo" Melochick
added 14 points and Travis "Money" Blankenhorn chipped in 13 points.
Pottsville (19-0) 13 12 17 7 (49)
Berks Catholic 16 6 9
Pottsville: Hincliffe 0 0-0 0,
Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 6 0-3 13, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 3 6-6 14, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo 1 0-0 3, Nabholtz
6 3-3 19, Totals: 16 9-12 (49)
Berks Catholic: Wilson 0 0-0
0,Giblert 0 0-0 0, Lacey 4 1-2 11, Lutz 7 4-8 19, Nesby 2 0-0 4, Reedy 1 0-0 2, Rivera 0 1-2 1, Jack 3 3-6 9, Totals:17 9-18
3 Point FG's:Lacey (2), Lutz, Blankenhorn, Melochick (2),
Abdo, Nabholz (4)
The Crimson Tide Wins it's sixth consecutive Division 1 Title with a 53-26 victory over Tamaqua
By Mike Carnahan, Republican-Herald
It’s a challenge that any basketball team will go through during the
course of the regular season: Preparing for back-to-back games.
Pottsville (18-0) faces that tonight when they travel
to Berks League and District 3 powerhouse Berks Catholic (10-7).
The Crimson Tide are coming off a big 53-26 victory
over Tamaqua on Tuesday and prepared for both games at practice Sunday since Monday’s practice was cancelled when school
was closed due to the weather.
“With the way we approach it, and some coaches would
say this is crazy, but on our Sunday practice, we took the first half and did all Berks Catholic,” Pottsville coach
Dave Mullaney said. “Then as soon as that was done, we said ‘Guys, you have to put that aside. We are all onto
to Tamaqua.’ We then went on and focused on Tamaqua. With a different group of kids we may not do that. But they are
really mature, they get it, and they responded tonight.”
Tamaqua went last in practice Sunday since it was next
game for the Crimson Tide and Mullaney wanted to make sure that carried over into Tuesday instead of looking ahead to tonight.
“When we started on Tamaqua, we wanted to be all on Tamaqua,” he said. “We figured we were
going to have two days to prepare but we only had the one.”
If Pottsville wins tonight, it could be the Crimson
Tide’s last major hurdle to an undefeated regular season. Pottsville’s remaining three games are at Panther Valley
(3-15) on Friday, at home against Lehighton (11-7) next Tuesday and at Jim Thorpe (6-12) on Feb. 6. The Crimson Tide won the
first meetings with those teams rather handily.
Berks Catholic is in the same situation
as Pottsville. The Saints also played Tuesday, beating Fleetwood 56-44 in a Berks Section II contest. The win was the sixth
straight for Berks Catholic.
The Saints will be the fourth Berks League team the Crimson Tide have faced this season.
Pottsville beat Wilson West Lawn (8-11) 48-33 in the season opener Dec. 9, Governor Mifflin (10-10) 64-40 on Dec. 12 and Muhlenberg
(3-16) 74-23 on Jan. 17.
H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Defense lifts Pottsville over Tamaqua
Published: January 28, 2015
DAVID MCKEOWN/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn, left,
looks to pass the ball around Tamaqua’s Nate MacDonald, center, and Brett Kosciolek during Tuesday’s Schuylkill
League Division I game at Martz Hall.
DAVID MCKEOWN/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville's Jordan Abdo, right, shoots over
Tamaqua's Brett Kosciolek (24) during Tuesday night’s Schuylkill League Division I boys’ basketball game at Martz
Hall. The Crimson Tide rolled to a 53-26 win.
Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney didn’t feel the Crimson Tide played championship-caliber
defense during their two games last week.
The defense certainly returned in full force Tuesday
night, putting the Crimson Tide one step closer to their sixth consecutive division title.
held Tamaqua to a season low in points, while Travis Blankenhorn scored a game-high 14 in the Crimson Tide’s 53-26 Schuylkill
League Division I victory at Martz Hall.
Pottsville (18-0, 11-0 D-I) allowed a season-high in
points, including 30 in the first half, during a 64-48 victory against Blue Mountain a week ago. The Crimson Tide then gave
up 17 during the third quarter last Saturday against North Schuylkill before pulling away in a 60-34 victory.
The defense showed up for all four quarters Tuesday.
The Raiders (15-3, 9-2) came in
averaging 61.6 points per game, but couldn’t get anything going against the Crimson Tide. Tamaqua was held to single
digits in three quarters, including four in both the first and third, as Pottsville built a 12-4 lead after the first period
and 28-11 at the half.
“Last week we didn’t come out and play our best games,”
Blankenhorn said. “We could have played better and definitely defended a lot better. I think we were more mentally
prepared today to do so. We were more prepared and more focused.”
Pottsville won the earlier-season
meeting 57-40 on Jan. 5 and moved two games ahead of the Raiders for the division lead. The Crimson Tide can clinch the division
with a victory at Panther Valley on Friday.
“Some of the things we didn’t do a very
good job of up there, as far as defending them and some of the switches we do, our kids really executed well,” Mullaney
said. “That’s a credit to them because we didn’t even have practice
They focused in what we were able to do Sunday and what we relayed to them verbally and they really executed on that end.”
Eli Nabholz and Jordan Melochick added 11 points apiece for Pottsville, while Melochick had six
rebounds, Travis Painter three assists and Blankenhorn three steals.
Bo Rottet led the Raiders
with 12 points. Brett Kosciolek had nine rebounds for Tamaqua, but was held to a season-low six points.
Despite the loss, Tamaqua still controls its own density in clinching the division wild card and spot in the Schuylkill
League playoffs. The Raiders are two games ahead of both Blue Mountain (11-7, 6-4) and North Schuylkill (13-4, 6-4) for second
place in the division.
Tuesday wasn’t the Raiders’ night as Tamaqua finished 10-for-38
(26 percent) from the floor, including a 4-for-24 (17 percent) showing in the first half. The Raiders also turned the ball
over 12 times.
For most of the night, Melochick was matched up against Rottet, while Blankenhorn
guarded Kosciolek, allowing Nabholz to provide help.
The Raiders went 4-for-14 from 3-point land,
with three of the treys coming in the fourth quarter when the game was decided.
to keep some of their players off the 3-point line,” Blankenhorn said. “They have very good skill players who
can go to the basket and shoot 3s so we had to keep a lot of focus on them. Anyone on the team can score so it was a big team
effort from the whole defensive group.”
The Crimson Tide were patient offensively against
the Raiders’ 2-3 zone, finishing 18-of-36 (50 percent) from the floor. They were also 6-for-17 from beyond the arc.
“It wasn’t an up-and-down game,” Mullaney said. “Efficiency wise I thought we played pretty
well. and when we got the lead, we had a couple of possessions in there where we ran some clock, which is a good thing.”
Blankenhorn scored all his points in the first half, including on a drive from the wing for the first points of the
game and on a 3. He also hit 2-of-3 from the line after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt at 2:39, giving Pottsville a 10-4
Melochick finished off the quarter, hitting a 7-foot baseline jumper at 1:08 to make it
A Blankenhorn baseline layup, a Jordan Abdo 3-pointer and two free throws from Blankenhorn
gave the Crimson Tide a 20-6 lead with 4:29 left in the first half. Tamaqua got to within 24-11 after Rottet hit two foul
shots at 1:58, but Nabholz gave Pottsville its 28-11 halftime lead. Painter set him up for a layup and he then scored on a
baseline jumper with 50 seconds left.
TAMAQUA (26) —
Shilko 0 0-0 0, Blaker 2 0-2 6, Miller 0 0-2 0, Rottet 4 2-2 12, Coleman 0 0-0 0, Zuber 0 0-0 0, MacDonald 0 0-0 0, Murphy
0 0-0 0, Skripko 1 0-0 2, Kosciolek 3 0-0 6, Scott 0 0-0 0, Berezwick 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 2-4 26.
POTTSVILLE (53) — Hinchliffe 2 0-0 4, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 3 6-8 14, Thomas 0 0-0
0, Dunkel 3 0-0 6, Melochick 4 1-1 11, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo 2 0-0 5, Nabholz 4 2-2 11, Renninger 0 0-0 0,
Schenk 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 9-11 53.
Tam (15-3, 9-2) 4 7 4 11 — 26
Pot (18-0, 11-0) 12 16 14 11 — 53
3-point FGs: Blaker 2,
Rottet 2, Blankenhorn 2, Melochick 2, Abdo, Nabholz
JV score: Pottsville 63-16
By Mike Carnahan, Republican-Herald Sports Writer
Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney didn’t feel the Crimson Tide played
championship-caliber defense during their two games last week.
The defense certainly returned in full force Tuesday
night, putting the Crimson Tide one step closer to their sixth consecutive division title.
Pottsville held Tamaqua to
a season low in points, while Travis Blankenhorn scored a game-high 14 in the Crimson Tide’s 53-26 Schuylkill League
Division I victory at Martz Hall.
Pottsville (18-0, 11-0 D-I) allowed a season-high in points, including 30 in the first
half, during a 64-48 victory against Blue Mountain a week ago. The Crimson Tide then gave up 17 during the third quarter last
Saturday against North Schuylkill before pulling away in a 60-34 victory.
The defense showed up for all four quarters
The Raiders (15-3, 9-2) came in averaging 61.6 points per game, but couldn’t get anything going against
the Crimson Tide. Tamaqua was held to single digits in three quarters, including four in both the first and third, as Pottsville
built a 12-4 lead after the first period and 28-11 at the half.
“Last week we didn’t come out and play our
best games,” Blankenhorn said. “We could have played better and definitely defended a lot better. I think we were
more mentally prepared today to do so. We were more prepared and more focused.”
For the rest of the
story, pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Republican-Herald.
Crimson Tide Rolls to it's Sixth
Consecutive Division 1 Title, with a 53-26 victory over Tamaqua Blue Raiders. The Crimson Tide's Defense was stifling holding
Tamaqua to 11 points at half time. The Tide open the first quarter with a 12-4 score and increased it's led to 28-11 at the
half. THe Tide outscored Tamaqua 14-4 in the third quarter. The Tide then closed out the game in the fourth for a 53-26 victory
and it's eighteen win of the year.
The Tide was led by Travis "Money" Blankenhorn's 14 points, Eli "Big Easy" Nabholz and Jordan "Melo"
Melochick each added 11 points a piece. The Tide travels, tomorrow to Berks Catholic for a non-league game.
12 16 14 11 (53)
Tamaqua (15-3) 4 7 4 11
Pottsville: Hinchliffe 2 0-0 4, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 3 6-8 14, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Dunkel
2 0-0 4, Melochick 4 1-1 11, Shuman 1 0-0 2, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo 2 0-0 5, Nabholtz 4 2-2 11, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Renninger 1 0-0
2, Schenck 0 0-0 0 Totals: 19 9-11 (53)
Tamaqua:Shilko 0 0-0 0, Blaker 2 0-0 6, Miller 0 0-0 0, Rottet 4 2-2 12, Coleman
0 0-0 0, Zuber 0 0-0 0, Macdonald 0 0-0 0, Murphy 0 0-0 0, Skripko 1 0-0 2, Kosciolek 3 0-0 6, Scott 0 0-0 0, Berezwick
0 0-0 0 Totals: 10 2-6 (26)
3-Point FG's: Blaker (2), Rottet, Blankenhorn (2), Melochick (2), Abdo, Nabholtz
H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Pottsville pulls away to down Spartans
Published: January 25, 2015
Schuylkill gave Pottsville everything it could handle Saturday evening.
But when the Crimson Tide
needed to turn it on, they showed why they’ve been the team to beat in the Schuylkill League all season and a top-10
Class AAA team in Pennsylvania.
Eli Nabholz scored 12 of his game- and season-high 25 points in
the fourth quarter as Pottsville pulled away for a 60-34 win over the Spartans in a Division I contest at Martz Hall.
The game was closer than the final indicated.
Down 32-15 at halftime, North Schuylkill
cut Pottsville’s lead to 43-32 at the end of the third.
Then Nabholz took over.
The 6-foot-5 forward scored the Crimson Tide’s next 12 points. When he knocked down two free throws after he
was fouled on a putback attempt, Pottsville led 54-34 with 2:21 left in the game.
trying to finish the game.” Nabholz said. “It was just a situation where any one of us could step up and today
in the fourth quarter it was my turn to step up.”
Led by Nabholz, the Crimson Tide (17-0,
10-0 D-I) were 7-for-12 from the field in fourth and forced the Spartans (12-4, 6-4) into six turnovers. The victory inched
the Crimson Tide closer to their sixth consecutive Division I title.
“We have a lot of experience,”
said Nabholz, whose previous season high was 19 against Governor Mifflin on Dec. 1. “The whole game we knew we weren’t
playing as well as we could have. Give North Schuylkill credit. They came out and were ready to play and we were caught a
little off guard by that. We are mature enough to know when we needed to start playing harder and step it up a little bit.”
Jordan Melochick had 14 points for Pottsville, with all of them coming in the first half to help the Crimson Tide
build their 17-point halftime advantage. Ty Painter also had four steals on the night and Travis Blankenhorn six rebounds.
Jordan Marlow had 11 points to lead North Schuylkill, while John Mercado had four assists. The Spartans’ Major
Jordan also held Blankenhorn to a season-low seven points.
Saturday’s performance was marked
improvement from the earlier-season meeting between the two Dec. 22, a 55-21 Pottsville rout. Since then, the Spartans have
won 8-of-10, with Saturday’s loss snapping a five-game winning streak.
didn’t make it easy for the Crimson Tide.
“We were doing what we normally do and we
were trying to get them out of their comfort zone and make them work a little harder offensively,” Spartans coach Curt
Ziegmont said. “It is tough to do that for 32 minutes. They are good. You have to give them a lot of credit, those kids
responded in the fourth quarter. We did some silly things. I am proud of the effort of my guys.”
The Spartans trailed 37-15 early in the second half before finishing the third quarter on a 17-5 run to get to within
42-32. Marlow had seven of his points in third as North Schuylkill started to attack the basket. Jordan finished off the
run, working his way inside for two after an offensive rebound with 37 seconds left in the quarter.
was as close as the Spartans got.
Nabholz opened the fourth with a 3-pointer, one of his four
in the game, from the top of the circle, and then completed a three-point play to make it 48-32 at 6:38. He later scored on
an inside spin move and then again in the paint. After Marlow scored the Spartans’ last points of the game, Nabholz
knocked down two foul shots for a 56-34 advantage.
“He was a beast,” Ziegmont said.
“It is very difficult to guard a 6-5 kid who can post you up and knock down 3s all night.”
While Nabholz led the way in the fourth quarter, Melochick was the Tide’s offensive spark in the first half.
He gave Pottsville the lead for good at 7-5 with a 3-pointer at 2:29 of the first quarter. Melochick then scored
nine of his points in the second period. He began the second with a three-point play off a baseline drive, and later on a
layup off an assist by Nabholz. Melochick hit two foul shots with 1:11 in the first half and finished the half by knocking
down a 10-foot baseline jumper as the buzzer sounded to give the Crimson Tide their 32-15 advantage.
a run play for me and Eli is supposed to pass it to me,” Melochick said. “The kid pushed me off so I just got
the ball and knew time was expiring so I just turned around and shot it and it went in.
just try to be aggressive and score and make plays for my teammates.”
NORTH SCHUYLKILL (34) — Carney 0 0-0 0, Marlow 5 0-0 11, Murray 2 2-4 6, Mazur 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0, Mercado
2 2-2 6, Smith 0 0-0 0, Mazeika 1 0-0 2, Jordan 3 1-2 7, Heaton 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 5-8 34.
POTTSVILLE (60) — Hinchliffe 3 0-3 6, Painter 1 0-0 2, Blankenhorn 3 0-0 7, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 5 3-3
14, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman 2 0-0 4, Abdo 1 0-0 2, Nabholz 8 5-5 25, Renninger 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 8-11 60.
NS (12-4, 6-4) 8 7 17 2 — 34 Pot (17-0, 10-0) 14 18 10 18 — 60
3-point FGs: Marlow, Blankenhorn, Melochick, Nabholz 4
The "Big Easy" leads the Crimson
Tide to victory over North Schuylkill
Eli "Big Easy"
Nabholz score a season high 25 points to lead the Tide to a 60-34 victory over North Schulkill. The Tide led 14-8 after the
first quarter. The Tide pushed the lead to 32-15 at half. North Schuylkill out scored the Tide 17-10 in the third quarter
to narrow The Tide's lead to 42-32, after three. The Tide then rolled to 18-2 fourth quarter to seal it's 17 straight Victory
of the season.
The Tide's scoring was led by Eli Nabholtz's 25 points, followed by
Jordan "Melo" Melochick's 14 points. The Tide will now face Tamaqua, this Tuesday night for the Division I
Pottsville (17-0) 14 18
10 18 (60)
North Schuylkill (14-3) 8
7 17 2 (34)
Hinchliffe 3 0-3 6, Painter 1 0-0 2, Blankenhorn 3 0-0 7, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 5 3-3 14, Shuman 0 0-0 0, Witman
2 0-0 4, Abdo 1 0-0 2, Nabholz 8 5-5 25, Renninnger 0 0-0 0, Totals: 23 8-11 (60)
Schuylkill: Carney 0 0-0 0, Marlow 5 0-0 11, Wiest 0 0-0 0, Murray 2 2-4 6, Mazur 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0, Mercado 2 2-2 6,
Smith 0 0-0 0, Mazeika 1 0-0 2, Jordan 3 1-3 7, Heaton 1 0-0 2, Totals 14 5-9 (34)
Point FG's: Marlow, Blankenhorn, Melochick, Nabholtz (4)