Tide roll past Blue Mountain
Published: December 19, 2014
It is early, but four games into the regular season,
Pottsville has been as good as advertised.
One the Crimson Tide’s biggest rivals couldn’t
slow them down Thursday.
Eli Nabholz had a game-high 17 points and Travis Blankenhorn added 12,
while the defense helped start a late first-half run that lifted Pottsville to 65-29 victory over Blue Mountain in a Schuylkill
League Division I contest at Martz Hall.
Thursday’s win was the fourth double-digit victory
in four games for Pottsville (4-0, 2-0 D-I) this season. The 36-point margin of victory over the Eagles was the largest for
the Crimson Tide, surpassing Monday’s 61-26 win over Pine Grove.
“We played well,”
Nabholz said. “We played well against Governor Mifflin (a 64-40 victory last Friday). Last game against Pine Grove we
might have taken a little step back, there was not as much intensity. We put a lot of it together today and we definitely
got better today.”
Blankenhorn and Connor Hinchliffe had eight rebounds apiece for Pottsville,
while Nabholz added six boards and three blocks. Ty Painter and Jordan Melochick each had three assists.
Mark Chelius, the only returning starter this season for Blue Mountain (2-4, 1-1), had 12 points. The Eagles were
coming off a 72-55 win over North Schuylkill on Monday.
A Pottsville-Blue Mountain matchup has
provided plenty of drama through the years. This wasn’t one of those nights. The Crimson Tide are deep and experienced
with five seniors in their starting lineup. The Eagles are young, starting one senior, two juniors and two sophomores.
It turned out to be a rough night offensively for Blue Mountain. The Eagles shot 10-for-34 (29 percent) from the
floor and turned the ball over 17 times.
“We played Pottsville,” Blue Mountain coach
Dustin Werdt said. “I don’t think you are going to see too many teams come out of here having a good offensive
night. I think we helped them a little bit with some turnovers and we gave them some easy buckets. They defend well. They
are strong and quick and get out into the passing lanes.”
The game was close early as Pottsville
led 10-7 after the first quarter. The Crimson Tide threatened to pull away early in the second quarter, opening with an 8-0
run to go up 18-7 with 3:35 left in the first half. Nabholz finished off the run, scoring on a putback.
Blue Mountain stuck around, cutting cut the deficit to 18-13 with 1:57 remaining on a 3-pointer by Dean Stramara
and three-point play by Chelius off a baseline drive.
Then the Crimson Tide took over for good,
putting together a 22-4 run that lasted into the second half.
The defense helped spark it.
Blankenhorn started the run with a pull-up jumper. Hinchliffe then had back-to-back steals, converting both for layups,
making it 24-13 with 24 seconds left in the first half.
Hinchliffe got into the passing lane on
both steals, the type of defense Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney felt was lacking at times last season.
“He got out into the passing lanes and that changed the game,” he said. “It is coming. This group,
the problem is we do have the capability of scoring some points, but we want to make sure we are doing it on both ends. Slowly
but surely we are coming along.”
Blankenhorn finished off the half by hitting a 3-pointer
off a screen from the top of the circle with 2 seconds left to make it 27-13.
Nabholz scored eight
of his points during the third quarter as Pottsville build a 42-17 advantage with 3:32 to go after Jordan Abdo knocked down
a 3 from the corner.
The Crimson Tide led 50-25 after three quarters.
finished the night 25-for-51 (49 percent) from the floor, including a 7-of-22 (31 percent) showing from 3-point land. Everybody
seemed to get involved Thursday.
“We know where everybody is going to be and the offense
started to flow tonight,” Nabholz said. “It was just working together as a team, running the motion offense. We
got so many guys open tonight. I just happened to open a couple of times.”
BLUE MOUNTAIN (29) — Puzzi 0 0-0 0, Stramara 2 1-2 6, Kerstetter 0 0-0 0, Barton 0 0-0 0, Welsh 0 1-2 1, Lewis
2 0-0 4, Donovan 0 0-0 0, Chelius 4 2-2 12, Albertini 2 0-0 6, Granito 0 0-0 0, Zerbe 0 0-0 0, Biever 0 0-0 0. Totals
10 4-6 29.
POTTSVILLE (65) — Hinchliffe 3 0-0 6, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter
2 0-0 5, Blankenhorn 5 1-2 12, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 2 3-3 7, Shuman 2 0-0 5, Witman 1 1-1 3, Abdo 1 2-2
5, Nabholz 7 1-1 17, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Renninger 0 0-0 0, Schenk 1 0-0 3. Totals 25 8-9 65.
BM (2-4, 1-1) 7 6 12 4 — 29 Pot (4-0, 2-0) 10 17 23 15 — 65
3-point FGs: Stramara, Chelius 2, Albertini 2, Painter, Blankenhorn, Shuman, Abdo, Nabholz 2,
JV score: Pottsville 50-28
Crimson Tide Soars Past The Eagles
The "Big Easy", Eli Nabholz led the Tide with 17 points, Travis "Money"
Blankehorn added 12 points and Jordan "Melo" Melochick chipped in 7 points, as the Tide with a well balanace attack
soared pass Blue Mountain 65-29 at Martz Hall. The Crimson Tide improved their record to 4 and 0. The Tide will take their
show on the road, Saturday against the Salisbury Falcons,
10 17 23 12 (65)
7 6 12 4 (29)
Hinchliffe 3 0-0 6, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 2 0-0 5, Blankenhorn 5 1-2 12, Thomas 1 0-0 2,
Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 2 3-3 7, Shuman 1 0-0 3, Witman 2 1-1 5, Abdo 1 3-3 5, Nabholz 7 1-1 17, Coyle 0 0-0 0, Renninger
0 0-0 0, Schenck 1 0-0 3, Totals: 25 8-9 (65)
Puzzi 0 0-0 0, Strammara 2 1-2 6, Kerstetter 0 0-0 0, Barton 0 0-2 0, Welsh 0 1-2 1, Lewis
2 0-0 4, Donovan 0 0-0 0, Chelius 4 2-2 12, Albertini 2 0-0 6, Granto 0 0-0 0, Zerbe 0 0-0 0, Biever 0 0-0 0 Totals:
10 4-8 (29)
Pottsville clips The Cardinals
Pine Grove 26
Travis Blankenhorn and Jordan Abdo each scored 13 points as Pottsville dumped Pine Grove in a Division I game.
Nine of Blankenhorn’s 13 points came in a 21-5 third period for the Tide.
Grove’s Kobe D’Agostino led all scorers with 18 points, going 10-for-10 from the foul line.
PINE GROVE (26) — Rossi 0 0-0 0, Snedden 1 0-1 3, Soper 0 0-0 0, Kaufman 0 0-0
0, Kreiser 0 0-0 0, Leininger 0 1-2 1, D’Agostino 3 10-10 18, Weinus 0 0-2 0, Griffiths 0 0-0 0, Fick 0 2-4 2, Omlor
0 0-2 0, Mars 0 2-2 2. Totals 4 15-23 26.
POTTSVILLE (61) — Hinchliffe
2 0-0 4, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 0 0-0 0, Blankenhorn 6 0-3 13, Thomas 0 3-3 3, Dunkel 2 1-1 5, Melochick 2 0-0 4, Shuman
0 0-0 0, Witman 1 1-3 3, Abdo 4 4-4 13, Nabholz 2 3-4 8, Corral 2 0-0 4, Renninger 1 0-0 2, Schenk 0 0-0 0, O’Pake 1
0-0 2. Totals 23 12-19 61.
PG (1-3, 0-1) 5 4 5 12 — 26
Pott. (3-0, 1-0) 13 7 21 20 — 61
3-point FGs: Snedden,
D’Agostino 2, Blankenhorn, Abdo, Nabholz
JV score: Pottsville 65-9
Tide look to roll again
December 11, 2014
The best way to describe
the 2014-15 Schuylkill League boys’ basketball season is uncertainty and plenty of change.
is the case at Mahanoy Area. For the first time since 1981, Mickey Holland will not lead the Golden Bears
as head coach. The job now belongs to Scott Hudson, who was a sophomore at Mahanoy Area during Holland’s
first season 33 years ago and has been involved with the program in some capacity ever since.
there is the new addition to the league in Lehighton and how much of an impact the Indians will make in the Division I race.
There is also the question of who will emerge as the front runners for the Division II and III titles. Both races
are wide open this season and will bring plenty of intrigue as the year moves on.
There are, however,
no such uncertainties and changes at Pottsville. The Crimson Tide’s expectations are always high, and this season is
The Tide are loaded again, and the expectations may be turned up a little bit more.
Not only is Pottsville coming off a 24-6 campaign, but all five starters — seniors Travis Blankenhorn,
Eli Nabholz, Ty Painter and Connor Hinchliffe, along with junior Jordan
Melochick — are back.
Last season, the Crimson Tide’s drive for a fifth consecutive
overall league title ended with a 45-44 loss to Mahanoy Area in the championship game. But 2013-14 could hardly be considered
Pottsville won its fifth straight division title by beating Blue Mountain 51-42 in
a tiebreaker contest Feb. 8. The Crimson Tide also reached their first District 11 Class AAA title game since 2010 and then
won their first PIAA playoff game since 1974 with a 58-38 victory over Lower Moreland on March 7. Pottsville proceeded to
give eventual state runner-up Susquehanna Township a fight in the second round before losing 52-45 on March 11.
Blankenhorn, a 6-foot-2 guard, stepped into more of a leadership role and responded with the best season of his career,
averaging 18.2 points per game, including 61 3-pointers. He was The Republican-Herald Co-Player of the Year with Mahanoy Area’s
Dylan Mahmod. Blankenhorn also hit 1,000 points for his career during a 56-30 victory over Williams Valley
in the league semifinals Feb. 11.
Nabholz (12.0 ppg), a 6-5 forward, had the best season of his
high school career, too, becoming a threat both in and out of the paint. Melochick (9.8 ppg) nearly averaged double figures
in scoring, while Connor Hinchliffe (6.1 ppg., 24 3s) was second on the team in 3-pointers and Ty Painter (2.8) became more
confident offensively as the season went along.
What could make the Crimson Tide even scarier
is that there is depth this season, so much so that last year’s starting five could be different this season.
To that end, coach Dave Mullaney wants Pottsville to be more aggressive on both ends of the floor.
He wants the Tide’s man-to-man defense to be even tighter, and his motion offense to run crisper sets.
He knows there is a lot of work to do.
“We are nowhere where we want to be,”
he said. “I really want to see us offensive rebound better than we have in the past. I want to see us play defense like
we have in the past as well. Last year I don’t think we were a great defensive team. And just continue to build confidence.
The talent is there, it is just the job of the coaching staff to kind of put it all together and reach our potential.”
Blankenhorn knows this season could be special, too. Now the Crimson Tide have to go out and get it done.
“We still have to go out and play the game,” he said. “Nothing is guaranteed. We have to keep focused,
keep getting better and take nothing for granted.”
Pottsville and the rest of Division I
have to deal with Lehighton as it enters from the now defunct Mountain Valley Conference.
Indians (14-11, 7-7 MVC) might be new to the league, but are familiar with a few of the teams they will play. Lehighton lost
to Pottsville in the District 11 Class AAA quarterfinals the past two years, and also have played Tamaqua, Jim Thorpe, Panther
Valley and Marian in non-league games in the recent years.
Two of the Indians’ leading scorers
return in senior guard Jordan Knappenberger (13.7) and junior forward Tyler Crum (13.0).
The rest of Lehighton’s starters will be new.
“It is different basketball in the Schuylkill
League compared to where we came from,” Indians coach Rich Oertner said. “The Mountain Valley,
the kids were more athletic, but their basketball IQ wasn’t there. I think the basketball IQ in the Schuylkill League
is pretty high. The kids and the coaches are fundamentally sound. We were usually the smarter team, but now some of the better
teams are smarter than we are. That will be a change.”
Lehighton’s first league game
is Monday at home against Panther Valley.
Here are some other items to look for this winter:
• In addition to Blankenhorn, Nativity’s Jeff Yordy (1,191) and Tamaqua’s Brett
Kosciolek (1,034) are returning as 1,000-point scorers in the league this season.
In addition to Hudson, Jim Thorpe’s Jason McElmoyle and Gillingham Charter’s Pete Sanfilippo
are also new head coaches.
• The postseason classifications have changed for some
schools for the new PIAA two-year cycle.
Class AAA includes Blue Mountain, Jim Thorpe, Lehighton,
North Schuylkill, Pottsville and Tamaqua; Mahanoy Area, Marian, Minersville, Panther Valley, Pine Grove, Schuylkill Haven
and Williams Valley are Class AA; and Nativity, Shenandoah Valley, Tri-Valley, Weatherly and Gillingham Charter are Class
A. Upper Dauphin is still Class AA and Hamburg stays Class AAA in District 3, while Lourdes remains in Class A in District
Here’s a breakdown of the division races:
Lehighton should be in contention for the division title. So, who else might challenge Pottsville?
A good place to start is Tamaqua.
In addition to Kosciolek, senior Bo Rottet
(15.0 ppg, team-leading 346 points, 50 3-pointers) has developed into one of the best point guards in the league. Also returning
is junior guard Russell Blaker (5.3 ppg, 24 3s), who averaged 10.7 points per game over Tamaqua’s final
The Raiders have gone 27-20 the past two seasons, qualifying for the District 11
Class AAA playoffs twice. They have plenty of offensive firepower, but the keys to taking the next step and competing for
a league title will be defense and rebounding.
If those areas improve, this could be the year
the Raiders qualify for the league playoffs for the first time since 1995.
Blue Mountain and North
Schuylkill are always in the mix and this winter will be no different. Both have starters to replace, but if recent history
is any guide, they should be just fine.
That is especially true for the Eagles, who have just
one starter back in junior guard Mark Chelius (6.9 ppg). Three other letterwinners return in senior Dean
Stramara, junior Ian Donovan and sophomore Connor Kerstetter. The three combined
to score 86 points last season.
Blue Mountain was in the same position at the start of 2012-13
and ended up going a combined 39-13 over the following two seasons, qualifying for the league playoffs twice.
Two starters are back for the Spartans, including 6-5 forward Tevin Murray (12.5 ppg), The Republican-Herald
Rookie of the Year. Also returning is sophomore guard Major Jordan (6.6 ppg).
Spartans needed to replace four starters at the beginning of last year and finished 16-7. North Schuylkill nearly played for
the District 11 Class AA title, but were done in by a bad fourth quarter during a 52-46 loss to Catasauqua in the semifinals.
Head coach: Dustin Werdt (12th season)
Last year: 21-7 overall, 11-1 D-I. Division wild-card, District 11 Class AAA third-place finisher, PIAA qualifier
Returnees: Dean Stramara (sr., G), Nico Granito (sr., F), Mark Chelius (jr., G), Ian Donovan (jr., G), Christian
Puzzi (jr., F), Connor Kerstetter (soph., F-C), Aaron Albertini (soph., G), Brayden Lewis (soph., F),
Jack Barton (sr., F), Spencer Welsh (soph., G), Mason Zerbe (soph., G-F), Jakob Biever (fr., C)
The Eagles took a major graduation hit, losing four starters. The guards are versatile, with some who can hit from the perimeter,
while others are slashers. The youth is a concern and Werdt is looking for the Eagles to commit to playing defense on every
possession. Division playoff contender.
Head coach: Jason McElmoyle (1st season)
Last year: 2-20, 1-11 D-I
Returnees: David Everitt (sr., F), Shane Snisky (sr., F), Brett Luicina (sr., G), Jordan McElmoyle (jr., G), Rayan
Green (jr., F), Christopher Micciche (soph., G), Brendan Carroll (soph., G)
Newcomers: Jalil Veney
(sr., G), Abraham Johnson (sr., F), Alec Lauer (jr., F), Rocco Twardzick (jr., F), Owen Snisky (soph., G), Matthew Elmore
Outlook: The Olympians will be one of the more experienced teams in the division with
four starters back. They have some size, too. McElmoyle likes the chemistry they are developing. How much of an impact the
Olympians could make in the division remains to be seen.
Head coach: Rich Oertner (4th at Lehighton, 14th overall)
Last year: 14-11, 7-7 Mountain
Valley Conference. MVC semifinalist, District 11 Class AAA quarterfinalist
Returnees: Jordan Knappenberger
(sr., G), Tyler Crum (jr., F),
Newcomers: Tom Ruzicka (sr., G), Tyler Williams (sr., F), Nick
Chambers (jr., C), Tanner Zwetoliz (jr., G-F-C), Ben Cordova (jr., C), Hunter Green (jr., F), Nick Skrincosky (soph., F)
Outlook: The Indians have their two leading scorers back with team speed a strength. The goal is to qualify for districts.
Oertner believes doing that depends on how well the football players adapt to basketball. Division playoff contender.
Head coach: Curt Ziegmont (12th season)
Last year: 16-7, 8-4 D-I. District 11 Class AA semifinalist
Returnees: Ryan Hillbish
(sr., G), Jordan Marlow (jr., G), Tevin Murray (jr., F), Major Jordan (soph., G-F),
Justin Heaton (sr., F), John Mercado (sr., G), Chris Karlonis (sr., F), Conor Carney (sr., G), Ryan Mazeika (sr., F), Alex
Mazur (jr., G),
Outlook: The Spartans have two of the better younger players in the league in
Murray and Jordan and the task is to find three new starters to built around them. Ziegmont likes the athleticism and depth
as the Spartans seek to find their identity. They should be in the division mix, too.
Head coach: Patrick Crampsie (13th season)
year: 10-12, 4-7 D-I
Returnees: Chad Dubosky (sr., F), Cee Keo (sr., G), Ethan Vermillion (sr.,
F), Charles Nase (jr., F), Anthony Miholick (soph., G), Matt Hudicka (jr.)
Newcomers: Nate Miller
(jr.), Sam Stanko (jr.), Tristian Blasko (fr., F)
Outlook: The Panther lost two of their leading
scorers to graduation and the new faces must take over the offensive load. There is more athleticism and length than in previous
years and that should help improve the defense.
Head coach: Frank D’Agostino (2nd season)
Last year: 4-18, 1-11 D-I
Returnees: Kobe D’Agostino (sr., G), Mark Weinus (sr., F), Luke Rossi (sr., F),
Austin Fick (sr., F-C), Brett Mars (sr., F), Kyle Fidler (jr., F), David Snedden (soph., G), Jake Leininger (fr., G-F), Collin
Griffiths (soph., G-F),
Outlook: D’Agostino has progressed into one of the best guards in
the league as the Cardinals look to develop players to build around him. They have a good mix of strength and athleticism
as well as some shooters to hit from the perimeter. The program is still rebuilding. Goals are to make districts and have
a signature win against a quality opponent.
Head coach: Dave Mullaney (8th season)
Last year: 24-6, 11-1 D-I. Division I champion,
Schuylkill League runner-up, District 11 Class AAA runner-up, PIAA Class AAA second round
Travis Blankenhorn (sr., G), Eli Nabholz (sr., F), Ty Painter (sr., G), Connor Hinchliffe (sr., G), Derek Shuman (sr., G),
Jed Dunkel (jr., F), Jordan Melochick (jr., G), Christian Witman (jr., G)
Newcomers: Pat Coyle
(sr., G), Muldeen Thomas (jr., G), Pat Schenk (jr., G), Tanner Gerchak (jr., G), Jordan Abdo (soph., G), Ian Renninger (fr.,
Outlook: The expectations are always high for the Crimson Tide and this season is no different.
All five starters return and the newcomers are pushing them for playing time, so there is plenty of depth to back the talent
already in place. Division I and overall league favorite.
Head coach: Caszy Kosciolek (4th season)
Last year: 13-10, 6-6 D-I. District 11 Class
Returnees: Brett Kosciolek (sr., G-F), Bo Rottet (sr., G), Tyler Skripko (sr., F),
Russell Blaker (jr., G), Ben Miller (sr., G), Nate MacDonald (sr., F)
Newcomer: Thaddaeus Zuber
Outlook: The Raiders have plenty of offensive punch. In order to take the next step and
compete for a division title, the defense has to improve. If that happens, the Raiders could find themselves in the running
for a spot in the league playoffs.
This is a wide-open
division, with at least four teams having a shot depending how things shake out.
Cody Miller (9.0) and junior forward Nick Rodichok (10.3) are back for Williams Valley,
the two-time defending division champs. The Vikings don’t have much experience after that, and how quickly the newcomers
come around could be the key to the Vikings winning another division title.
Lourdes has the most
starters returning with four. However, the Red Raiders are still young with just three seniors and only one, Luke
Holleran (4.8 ppg), expected to see any significant playing time.
Lourdes returns its
leading scorer in 6-5 sophomore center Larry Czeponis (10.7 ppg), junior forward Jordan Fobia
(9.2 ppg) and sophomore guard Kenny Pawelizyk (6.6 ppg). The guards are quick and Red Raiders may press more
to take advantage of that.
The two starters returning for Minersville are point guard Collin
Hashin (6.8 ppg) and forward Spencer Tobin (7.8 ppg), both seniors. Two of the new starters, juniors
Jon McBreen (5.7 ppg) and Chris Leshko (5.0 ppg), saw plenty of playing time last year.
Tri-Valley came up a win short of qualifying for districts last season and return its leading scorer in junior forward
Jaden Buchanan (9.5 ppg). Juniors Bryce Yearsley (4.0 ppg) and Bryce McNally
(1.7 ppg) both started on and off last year.
The Bulldogs likely won’t be a high-scoring
team, so their success could come down to how well they play defense.
Head coach: Pete Long (13th season)
Last year: 12-12,
3-10 D-II. District 4 Class AA qualifier
Returnees: Luke Holleran (sr., F), Jordan Fobia (jr.,
G), Michael Padula (soph., G), Larry Czeponis (soph., C), Kenny Pawelizyk (soph., G), Coby Feese (soph., F)
Newcomers: Billy Allen (sr., F), Vinnie Bucanelli (jr., G)
Outlook: The Red Raiders are
young and will be led by a strong sophomore class. Quick guards could lead to more pressure defense. Should be improved and
will be in the division-title hunt.
Head coach: Cliff Woodford (8th season)
Last year: 16-8, 10-3. District 11 Class AA semifinalist
Returnees: Spencer Tobin (sr., F), Collin Hashin (sr., G), Jon McBreen (jr., G), Chris Leshko (jr., G), Dylan Stephen
Newcomers: Storm Fekette (sr., G), Zach Brown (sr., G), Tom Moran (sr., C), Dave Graham
(jr., F), Brian Brennan (jr., F), Adam Stoppie (jr., F), Justin Fedornak (jr., C), Israel Martinez (jr., F),
Outlook: The Miners lost their two leading scorers to graduation, but have experience returning. The outside shooting
should improve, while a quicker lineup should mean more of the man-to-man defense that Woodford wants to play. Without much
height, the key to a successful season could come down to rebounding. A division title contender.
Head coach: Fran Murphy (3rd season)
year: 0-22, 0-13 D-II
Returnees: Zavier Webb (sr., F), Danny Blugis (sr., G), Mike Ulsh (sr.,
F), Brad Fryer (sr., C), J.T. Hughes (jr., G), Austin Charles (jr., F-C), Ethan Conage (jr., G)
Outlook: The Hurricanes have only one place to go that is up. They’re working hard
to improve and have another year of experience, with Blugis and Webb three-year starters. There isn’t much size, so
rebounding will be important. The goals are be competitive in every game and grab a more few wins.
Head coach: Mike Masser (4th season)
10-12, 6-7 D-II
Returnees: Jericho Zemencik (sr., C), Jaden Buchanan (jr., G-F), Bryce McNally
(jr., G), Bryce Yearsley (jr., G), Dan Opozda (jr., F)
Newcomers: Justin Ziegmont (soph., G),
Ashton Buchanan (fr., G), Logan Yoder (fr., F)
Outlook: The Bulldogs lost three starters to graduation
and have only one senior starting. The guards are more experienced and that should help cut down on the turnovers that have
hurt in recent years. The key to the season could be how well the Bulldogs play defense. Should be in the division title mix.
Head coach: Denny Kasper (20th season)
Last year: 19-5, 11-2 D-II. Division II champ, District 11 Class AA qualifier
Cody Miller (sr., G), Nick Rodichok (jr., F)
Newcomers: Peppe Mini (jr., G), Siul Sepulveda (jr.,
G), Garrett Zimmerman (jr., F), Landon Bordner (jr., C)
Outlook: Two solid scorers return for
the Vikings, who lost four key players to graduation, including three starters. Kasper likes the work ethic and attitude.
The concerns are the lack of experience and playing consistently as a team. Some new faces will have to step up for the recent
success to continue. If that happens, the Vikings will be in the division race, too.
Mahanoy Area went out in style last season during Holland’s final year.
The Golden Bears won their first overall league title since 2006. They also won their second consecutive District
11 Class A title and reached the second round of the PIAA playoffs.
Not only is Hudson new, so
is the entire starting lineup.
The only starter expected to return was senior point guard Jason
Richmond (5.8 ppg), but he tore his ACL early during football season and likely won’t play at all this winter.
Two of the new starters are senior forward Brian Miller (5.9 ppg) and junior guard-forward Matt
Yedsena (4.0 ppg). Miller has had some spot starts in the past, while Yedsena’s playing time increased as last
season went along.
Hudson is stressing fundamentals, and like Holland, defense and patience on
Marian is the deepest team in the division and will use it to its full advantage. Among
the key people returning are senior forwards Mike Vercusky (8.0 ppg), Nick Wesner (3.0)
and Chris Weber along with senior guard Matt Karnish (2.8) and sophomore guard Ethan
Nativity is coming off its best season since 2007. Other than Yordy,
however, the only other returning starters are senior Dominic Piccioni (3.2 ppg) and senior guard-forward
Cullen Hoppel (4.7 ppg). Piccioni took over for Hoppel when he went down with serious concussion suffered
against Tri-Valley on Jan. 10. Hoppel has fully recovered and will be back in the lineup.
Hilltoppers want to run an up-tempo offense. They aren’t very deep, however, and their starters will see a ton of minutes.
Head coach: Scott Hudson (1st season)
Last year: 25-3, 13-0 D-III. Division III champion, Schuylkill League champion, District 11 Class A champion, PIAA
Class A second round
Returnees: Brian Miller (sr., F-C), Jason Richmond (sr., G, injured) Matt
Yedsena (jr., G-F)
Newcomers: Peter Luddy (sr., F), Cody Price (sr., F), Mike Wronski (jr., G),
Marcus Styka (jr., F), Mike Joseph (soph., G), Randy Derr (soph., F)
Outlook: Not only is Hudson
replacing a legend, he also has to replace all five starters. This group of players has had success at the junior varsity
level and if that translates to the varsity level, the Golden Bears will be in the division-title hunt again.
Head coach: John Patton (5th season)
Last year: 9-14, 7-6 D-III. District 11 Class A quarterfinalist
Returnees: Mike Vercusky
(sr., F), Matt Karnish (sr., G), Chris Weber (sr., F), Nick Wesner (sr., F), Ethan Kuczynski (soph., G)
Newcomers: Chris Carmona (sr., F), Adam Cortes (jr., G), Aaron DeAngelo (jr., F), Hunter Puza (jr., G), John Woitko
(jr., G), Ryan Karchner (soph., G-F), Brandon Mohammed (soph., F), Ian Myers (soph., F), Kyle Plesh (soph., F)
Outlook: The Colts have a ton of depth with 16 players on the varsity roster. All 16 could play. They don’t
have a go-to scorer yet and plan on mixing and matching lineups each game. The record should improve. Division title contender.
Head coach: Kevin Kennedy (3rd season)
Last year: 17-7, 10-3 D-III. District 11 Class A semifinalist
Returnees: Jeff Yordy (sr.,
G), Dominic Piccioni (sr., G), Cullen Hoppel (sr., G-F), Sean Greco (sr., F), Travis Hunyara (jr., F-C)
Newcomers: Ayden Adams (jr., G-F), Eric Nelson (jr., C), Simon Petzel (jr., G), Andrew Belding (jr., F)
Outlook: Yordy will lead the Hilltoppers, and the challenge will finding new faces to step into the starting lineup
and contribute. Defense and rebounding will be a key, while the lack of depth might be a concern. Should be in the division
coach: Robbie Miller (5th season)
Last year: 5-17, 4-9 D-III
Ian McCole (jr., G-F), Noah Allegretta (soph., G)
Newcomers: Josh White (jr., F), Julio Cabrera
(jr., F), Ricardo Chagolla-Rojas (jr.), Joel Santana (soph., G), Isaiah Alvarez (soph., F), Bobby Ryan (soph.), Matt Creasy
(soph.), Jermaine McNeil (soph.), Noah Raisner (soph.)
Outlook: The Blue Devils are deep and athletic
at the guard position. They put a ton of work in during the offseason and Miller believes it is starting to show. Should be
improved, but how many more wins it leads to remains to be seen.
Head coach: Ron Cann (8th season)
Last year: 5-17, 1-12 D-III
Luke Reiner (sr., G), Brett Kelly (sr., G), Nick Miller (sr., G), Luke Figas (jr., G), Dillon Bizarre (jr., C)
Newcomers: Gary Buck (jr., F), Zach Moon (fr., G), Zach Peiser (soph., C)
Wreckers return two double-digit scorers in Reiner (11.0 ppg, 30 3-pointers) and Figas (10.3). There is experience among the
starters, but there isn’t off the bench. The first five will see plenty of minutes. Could make some noise in the division.
The Trojans finished third
in the league last season and reached the District 3 Class A quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.
Upper Dauphin didn’t have much trouble scoring points (56.8 ppg last year) and will be led this season by junior
guard Matthew Miller, the Trojans’ second-leading scorer at 13.4 points per game, including a team-leading
Also back are seniors Joseph Trently (5.3 ppg, 33 3-pointers),
Dakotah Wiest and Ted Calnon, along with junior Alex Uhler (5.9 ppg).
Head coach: Anthony Weaver (5th season)
Last year: 13-11, 9-7 TVL. District 3 Class AA quarterfinalist
Returnees: Joseph Trently
(sr., G), Dakotah Wiest (sr., C), Ted Calnon (sr., G), Matthew Miller (jr., G), Alex Uhler (jr., F), Jordan Gessner (jr.,
Newcomers: Maxwell Snyder (jr., G), Kolby Bond (jr., G), Drake Lenker (jr., G), Travis Deitrich
(jr., G), Calen Reigner (jr., F), Andrew Norris (jr., F)
Outlook: The Trojans should be able to
put the ball in the hoop, with experienced offensive threats back. There is plenty of depth, too. Size is lacking, so rebounding
will be a key. A return trip to the district playoffs is a strong possibility.
The Hawks lost two of their most productive offensive players to graduation and
will look to three returnees — seniors Dan Fink (1.8 ppg) and Nick Schlottman (6.7)
and junior Logan Adams (22 points) — to pick up the slack.
some size inside in 6-6 Jared Lesher (22 points) and 6-7 Quinn Nabozny, and their development
could lead to an improvement for an offense that averaged 38.4 points per game last season.
defense (61.1 points allowed per game), must improve, too.
Berks Catholic, which lost in the league
championship game last season to Wilson 43-41, is one of the Section II favorites again. Conrad Weiser and Fleetwood should
be in the mix, too.
coach: Ryan McGinley (2nd season)
Last year: 3-19, 0-10 Berks II
Dan Fink (sr., G), Nick Schlottman (sr., G-F), Logan Adams (jr., G)
Newcomers: Jared Lesher (jr.,
F), Lucas Hauck (jr., F), Quinn Nabozny (soph., F)
Outlook: McGinley continues his quest to rebuild
the Hawks’ program. New scorers need to step up, while the team needs to continue to improve in all facets of the game.
If that happens, the Hawks could be more competitive and earn a few more victories.
The Wolf Pack, who will once again play their home games at the Simon
Kramer Institute in New Philadelphia, are in their third season as a program and still searching for their first victory.
Not only does Gillingham Charter have a new head coach, the Wolf Pack are also playing a 21-game regular-season schedule.
They have also doubled the number of players from seven last year to 14 this winter.
program is still fairly new and a good many of the players are still gaining experience, it was rough most nights last season.
Guard-forward Storm Hutchinson is the only senior, while juniors Isaiah Thompson, Nate
Woodling, Blake Broadhurst and Lake Miller each bring two years of varsity experience.
Pete Sanfilippo (1st season)
Last year: 0-11
Returnees: Storm Hutchinson
(sr., G-F), Isaiah Thompson (jr., G), Nate Woodling (jr., F), Blake Broadhurst (jr., G), Lake Miller (jr., F)
Newcomers: Damy Cintron (jr., G), Enoch Holbert (fr., F), Jetsiel Rivera (fr., F), Jadiel Rivera (fr., G)
Outlook: The Wolf Pack are a young team with only one senior, but do have experience returning. The program has more
players than its ever had and will play a full schedule of games. The hope is to continue to become more competitive, see
the program continue to grow and finally get a win.
*Pottsville 11-1 24-6
#Blue Mountain 11-1 21-7
North Schuylkill 8-4 16-7
Tamaqua 6-6 13-10
Jim Thorpe 1-11 2-20
Pine Grove 1-11 4-18
*Williams Valley 11-2 19-5
Tri-Valley 6-7 10-12
Lourdes 3-10 12-12
Schuylkill Haven 0-13 0-22
*Mahanoy Area 13-0
Nativity 10-3 17-7
Marian 7-6 9-14
Valley 4-9 5-17
Weatherly 1-12 5-17
Division I tiebreaker
Pottsville 51, Blue Mountain 42
Mahanoy Area 49, Blue Mountain 35
Pottsville 56, Williams
Mahanoy Area 45, Pottsville 44
Mahanoy Area (District 11 Class A)
Class AAA — Blue Mountain, Pottsville (reached second round); Class A —
Mahanoy Area (reached second round)
All games start at 7:30 p.m.
Governor Mifflin 40
scored 19 points, knocking down five 3-pointers on the night, as the Crimson Tide rolled past the Mustangs in a non-league
game at Martz Hall.
Nabholz had eight of his points in the first quarter as Pottsville raced
out to an 18-3 lead. Travis Blankenhorn scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half for the Crimson Tide.
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN (40) — Obid 5 1-2 12, Tisdale 0 0-0 0, Sczepkowski 0 0-0 0, Buchanan
1 0-0 3, Peters 2 5-6 11, Hoff 2 0-1 4, Rodriguez 2 0-2 4, Willet 1 0-2 2, Bortz 0 0-0 0, Smith 1 0-0 2, Strausser 0 0-0 0,
Klahr 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 6-13 40.
POTTSVILLE (63) — Hinchliffe 0
0-0 0, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 2 2-2 7, Blankenhorn 6 4-7 16, Thomas 1 2-2 4, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Melochick 2 3-6 8, Shuman 1
0-0 3, Witman 0 0-0 0, Abdo 2 0-0 6, Nabholz 6 2-2 19, Coyle 0 0-1 0, Renninger 0 0-0 0, Schenk 0 0-0 0, O’Pake 0 0-0
0. Totals 20 13-20 63.
GM (1-3) 3 8 15 14 — 40
Potts. (2-0) 18 14 15 16 — 63
3-point FGs: Obid, Buchanan,
Peters 2, Painter, Melochick, Shuman, Abdo 2, Nabholz 5
JV score: Pottsville 55-22
Scorbitz -Martz Hall App
Crimson Tide Opens up with Victory
Tide opened up the season with a 48-33 victory over the Wilson Bulldogs. Travis Blankenhorn led the Tide with 12 points,
followed by Eli Nabholz 11 points. The Tide played a tough defense holding Wilson to 33 points. The Tide will be playing Governor
Mifflin this Friday at home.
Hinchliffe 2 0-0 4, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Painter 1 2-2 4, Blankenhorn
4 2-3 12, Dunkel 1 0-2 2, Melochick 0 1-2 1, Shuman 1 0-0 3, Witman 1 1-5 3, Abdo 2 0-0 6, Nabholz 4 3-4 11, Coyle 0
0-0 0, Renninger 1 0-0 2, Schenk 0 0-0 0, Totals 17 9-18 (48)
McElroy 4 1-3 11, Deboath 2 0-0 4, Jackson 0 4-6 4,
Rapplleye 0 0-0 0, Sload 1 4-7 6, Jollah 0 0-2 0, Lubas 1 5-6 7, Hollenbach 0 0-2 0, Awurumibe 0 0-0 0, Marlon 0 1-2 1, Totals
8 15-28 (33)
Pottsville (1-0) 9 15
13 11 (48)
Wilson (0-1) 5 8 6
3-Pointers: McElroy (2),
Blankenhorn (2), Abdo (2), Shuman (1)
"Here We Go"
Tide opens up against Wilson Bulldogs
2014 - 2015 Season
2014 - 2015 Crimson Tide Team
Crimson Tide ranks 8th in the state
1. Archbishop Carroll(12, 23-5) — previous
ranking: 5 — Packing D-I recruits Derrick Jones and Ernest Aflakpui into the same frontcourt for the third year in a
row, Paul Romanczuk’s Patriots won’t have another chance to reel in a state title with that tandem in Carroll
uniforms — unless they get it done this season. Just a sophomore, David Beatty’s emergence could be the key to
developing more space for Jones and Aflakpui to operate in the paint.
27-4) — previous ranking: 1 — Although Carl Arrigale’s 14-man Neumann-Goretti roster features 11
guards, fortunately he’s got three really, really good ones returning from a Saints squad that last March claimed its
fourth state title in five seasons by topping Susquehanna Twp. in overtime. All-stater Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble (St.
Joseph’s) should get plenty of looks with Ja’Quan Newton off to Miami (Fla.), but Quade Green and Vaughn Covington
are mighty good, too.
3. Susquehanna Twp.(3, 23-8) — previous ranking: 2 —
With four starters returning from last season’s state finalists — including all-state guard Nehemiah “Bud”
Mack — Vince Rogers’ Indians already were looking forward to tipping off the 2014-15 season. Once Dejour Williams
returned following two seasons at Harrisburg to rejoin Mack, Joe Marshall, Quintin Ward and Roman Letterlough in the Susquehanna
lineup, expectations quickly grew even bigger. Yet another rugged schedule of games will test the Indians on a nightly basis.
Indiana(7, 20-3) — previous ranking: NR — Packing plenty of size — the Stapletons,
Riley and Dylan, Blake Shields, Kevin Jack and Jacob Zilinskas are 6-3 or taller — the Indians are heavy favorites to
capture the WPIAL’s Section 3 crown. And with Chris McConnell manning the backcourt — he’s the nephew of
former Penn State All-American Suzie McConnell and the cousin of former Class AAA player of the year T.J. McConnell —
Indiana can get opponents in a number of ways.
5. Uniontown (7, 22-3) — previous ranking: HM
— While the Red Raiders had a sparkling 2013-14 campaign derailed in the second round of states by Farrell, Rob Kezmarsky’s
club has more than enough firepower to make another lengthy run. Start with versatile 6-7 forward Joe Campbell, an inside-outside
threat who can finish from all over the floor. Jeremy Perkins, Deandre Winfrey and Lyric Ellis will provide balance for a
really athletic Uniontown club.
6. Imhotep Charter(12, 20-7) — previous ranking:
HM — Andre Noble’s Panthers may have bowed out of last year’s Class AAA state playoffs prematurely —
Imhotep was eliminated by Susquehanna Twp. in the opening round — but the chances of that happening again are mighty,
mighty slim. Especially since Devin Liggeons (Wagner) and lightning-quick guards Jaekwon Carlyle and Daron Russell likely
will take turns having the ball in their hands.
7. Mars(7, 15-10) — previous
ranking: HM — Although flush with sophomores last season, Rob Carmody still found a way to guide his youthful group
of Planets into the state playoffs. While Carmody’s club was eliminated by Central Valley in the opening round, just
having that experience should be a plus going forward. Especially for 6-5 hammer John Castello, who last season averaged a
double-double (16.8 ppg, 15.6 rpg). Freshman Robby Carmody may be ready to pitch in, too.
Pottsville(11, 24-6) — previous ranking: HM — Since Dave Mullaney’s Crimson Tide returns all five starters
from a hard-working club that gave Susquehanna Twp. all sorts of problems in a state second-rounder, opposing coaches may
be checking into Martz Hall to check out Pottsville. Forwards Travis Blankenhorn, Eli Nabholz and Jordan Melochick averaged
in double figures a season ago.
9. Scranton Prep(2, 21-3) — previous
ranking: HM — While the Cavaliers didn’t qualify for the state playoffs, enthusiasm is running high since Andrew
Kettel’s club returned the backcourt tandem of Tim Rose (Binghamton) and Bobby Casey. Both averaged 14-plus points per
outing. They’ll get tested often, too, since Prep has juiced up its schedule by adding Parkland, Georgetown Prep and
10. Beaver Falls (7, 20-8) — previous ranking: 8 (AA) — Just two seasons
removed from winning a PIAA Class AA title, Doug Biega’s Tigers now find themselves chasing Class AAA gold. Can it happen?
Sure. Particularly since Beaver Falls returns speedy guard Javon Turner and sophomore bigs Donovan Jeter (6-5) and Josh Creach
(6-6). Another youngster, freshman Torian Leak, also is expected to start.
OTHERS TO WATCH: Allentown
Central Catholic (11) 29-1, Ambridge (7) 17-7, Berks Catholic (3) 24-6, Bishop McDevitt (3) 27-3, Cathedral Prep (10) 15-8,
Del-Val Charter (12) 19-8, GAR Memorial (2) 21-7, Greater Johnstown (6) 12-11, Hampton (7) 24-5, Holy Ghost Prep (1) 23-7,
Huntingdon (6) 15-9, Lewisburg (4) 23-4, Manheim Central (3) 24-5, New Castle (7) 31-0, Philly Electrical (12) 19-12, Somerset
(5) 16-9, Steel Valley (7) 15-5, Strong Vincent (10) 17-9.
BOYS' BB: High-scoring trio
December 5, 014
Nativity’s Jeff Yordy was mentored by his father
Mike, a star at Saint Clair in the late 1980s.
Tamaqua’s Brett Kosciolek has fond memories of playing HORSE with
his aunt Anne Marie Kosciolek, one of the best female players in Pennsylvania at Marian in the 1970s.
When he was in
junior high, Pottsville’s Travis Blankenhorn used to watch former Pottsville standout Nick Schlitzer display his skills
for the Crimson Tide.
Yordy, Kosciolek and Blankenhorn were introduced to basketball at an early age and the game has
remained a part of each for their entire lives. It likely always will.
The Schuylkill League is known for its defense,
but the three have excelled offensively as Yordy (25.0 points per game), Kosciolek (18.8 ppg) and Blankenhorn (16.5 ppg) finished
1-2-3 in the league in scoring average last season.
The three are back for their senior seasons, bringing with them
a special feat in a defensive-oriented league: All three are returning 1,000-point scorers. Yordy has 1,191 career points,
Blankenhorn 1,106 and Kosciolek 1,034.
The three hit the century mark last season.
Yordy was first, reaching his
milestone Jan. 27, 2014, with a 37-point performance on Lawton’s Hill against Weatherly, a 79-48 Hilltoppers’
victory. Kosciolek was next, hitting the mark Feb. 6, 2014, scoring 22 points in a 59-40 victory at Panther Valley. Blankenhorn
followed, scoring 10 on Feb. 12, 2014, a 56-30 victory over Williams Valley in the Schuylkill League semifinals at Martz Hall.
three are multi-sport athletes, and what makes them even more unique is that baseball, not basketball, is their main sport.
Both Blankenhorn (University of Kentucky) and Kosciolek (Rider) have signed NCAA Division I letters of intent to play baseball
when they graduate. Yordy is still deciding between Elizabethtown College and Lebanon Valley.
Still, they have fit basketball
into their busy athletic careers, and their offensive skills have evolved since they were freshmen. Most important-
the three have also been committed to helping their programs win.
Here’s a look at the high school careers of
Yordy, Kosciolek and Blankenhorn and their paths to 1,000 career points and beyond.
Yordy follows in his father’s
One could say Jeff Yordy was destined to play basketball. Mike Yordy finished with 1,154 career points at
Saint Clair from 1985-89, and was also a part of the Saints’ last high school boys’ team after the school closed
following his senior year.
“I’ve had a hoop in my living room since I was able to walk,” Jeff Yordy
said. “There are pictures of me shooting and stuff.
“My dad loved it and he wanted me to get into it as
young as I could.”
Reaching 1,000 career points wasn’t on Yordy’s mind when he was a freshman and
he never kept track of his career numbers. It wasn’t until his junior year that he realized the milestone could be reached.
was also the league’s leading scorer as a sophomore, averaging 17.8 pointer per game. He poured in 596 points last year.
Yordy first started out, he was mostly a perimeter player. But during his sophomore and junior years, he’s worked on
scoring off the dribble and driving to the basket more.
“My sophomore year I knew I was going to play a lot more
than my freshman year, so that is what I wanted to work on,” Yordy said. “So I worked on that and got pretty good
at it. And last year I kept getting better.”
The Hilltoppers have also become a winning program during Yordy’s
time at Nativity, going 29-19 the past two seasons. Last year the Hilltoppers had their best season in seven years, going
16-7 overall and reaching the District 11 Class A semifinals for the first time since 2007.
Of the three, Yordy is the
only one that takes part in any extensive organized basketball over the summer in a league in Tamaqua, while playing American
Legion baseball for Schuylkill Valley.
Yordy played golf for Nativity his sophomore and junior years. This past fall,
went out for football for the first time in high school and was a standout receiver for the Hilltoppers, leading the area
with 51 catches for 1,045 yards and 17 touchdowns.
One area Yordy feels he needs to improve upon is his 67 percent career
foul-shooting average. He is the only experienced scorer returning for Nativity and is working on being able to distribute
the basketball more to his teammates.
Kosciolek key part of Tamaqua’s revival
Basketball was in Brett Kosciolek’s
His father Caszy, who is in his fourth season as the Blue Raiders’ head coach, also played the sport.
Brett figures he picked up a ball when he was 2 years old, shooting baskets at a Little Tykes hoop. He also remembers playing
HORSE with his aunt Ann Marie (Kosciolek) Clausius, who scored 2,164 career points at Marian from 1972-76. She was also Pennsylvania’s
first female to score 2,000 career points in 1976.
The game has stuck with him.
“It is a competitive sport,”
he said on why he has stuck with it. “It is fun. I like to challenge myself.”
Kosciolek has been a starter
since he was a freshman and had an immediate impact for the Raiders. Getting to 1,000 career points was always a goal of his.
was in the back of my mind,” he said. “I knew it was possible. I knew it was going to be challenging, but I did
Kosciolek’s best season was his sophomore year when he scored 390 points, a 16.3 average per
game. He scored 320 last season (18.8 per game) and would have had more but missed six games with a concussion.
used to play on travel basketball teams when he was young, but due to baseball he doesn’t play much organized basketball
in the offseason and over the summer anymore. He is also used to playing sports year-round and was a member of the Tamaqua
football team his freshman and sophomore years.
“I just fit it in,” Kosciolek said of basketball. “We’ve
gone from season to season my whole life, pretty much.”
Kosciolek also helped turned the Raiders into a winning
program as Tamaqua has gone 27-20 the past two seasons.
At 6-foot-7, Kosciolek has the ability to hit 3-pointers but
also score in the paint. He was more of a perimeter player as a freshman and has developed more of an inside game as he’s
That has been a big focus of his work offensively this preseason. Kosciolek is working on his defense, too.
He, and rest of the Raiders, know defense is something that has to improve if Tamaqua wants to contend for a Division I title
this season and make a run in the District 11 Class AAA playoffs.
“Right now we have the talent to score but if
we hold our opponents, we know we can go decently far,” he said.
Blankenhorn helps Tide continue winning ways
Yordy and Kosciolek, Blankenhorn doesn’t remember when he first picked up a basketball and has been playing the sport
competitively since the Biddy leagues. He grew up watching Schlitzer play for the Crimson Tide and just missed playing along
side of him by one year.
“I didn’t get a chance to play with him, but it would have been pretty cool if
I did,” Blankenhorn said.
Reaching 1,000 points for his career was always a goal in Blankenhorn’s mind when
was a freshman.
“It is kind of like a milestone in your varsity career, making 1,000 points,” he said. “That
is what a lot of people talk about. Winning was most important, but making 1,000 points while doing that and helping the team,
that is always good.”
Blankenhorn played a complimentary role alongside Brandon Bridy his first two seasons, averaging
11 points per game as a freshman and 13.7 as a sophomore. When Bridy graduated following the 2012-13 season, Blankenhorn stepped
up and put up the best offensive numbers of his career last year, scoring 545 points. He was The Republican-Herald Co-Player
of the Year with Mahanoy Area’s Dylan Mahmod.
Pottsville went 24-6 in 2013-14, winning its fifth consecutive Division
I title and reaching the league championship game for the fifth consecutive year. The Crimson Tide also made it to their first
District 11 Class AAA title game since 2010 and won their first PIAA playoff game since 1974.
Blankenhorn was mostly
a 3-point shooter as a freshman, but added more dimension to his offensive game by learning to score in the post and drive
“When I was a freshman I didn’t get a lot of post touches or anything, so I definitely worked
on a lot of those moves,” Blankenhorn said. “I felt like my dribbling got better so I could drive more. I felt
my game got better as time went on because when I was a freshman, I was primary just a shooter.”
focus this preseason is working on his ball-handling skills.
“I could be a lot better,” he said.
most of his high-school career, Blankenhorn was a standout in football, too, playing wide receiver, defensive back, punter
and kick returner for the Crimson Tide. However, he didn’t go out for football this past fall. Blankenhorn competed
in numerous showcase baseball tournaments this past summer in the hopes of getting drafted in the Major League Baseball Amateur
Draft next June.
He isn’t home much over the summer, so Blankenhorn doesn’t have much of an opportunity
to pick up a basketball. Still, the game will always be a part of him even as he turns his attention to baseball for good
when he graduates.
“I just love to do it,” Blankenhorn said. “Even when I get older playing baseball,
if I am playing baseball when I get older, I am still going to want to play around, shoot around with a basketball with my
Jeff Yordy, Nativity
Date reached 1,000 career points: Jan. 27, 2014,
Career point total: 1,191
Career point average: 17.8 in 67 games
Date reached 1,000 career points: Feb. 6, 2014, vs. Panther Valley
Career point total: 1,034
point average: 16.4 in 63 games
Date reached 1,000 career points:
Feb. 12, 2014, vs. Williams Valley
Career point total: 1,106
Career point average: 14.5 in 76 games
Philadelphia University - Kutztown University
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Kutztown downs Philadelphia U. at Martz Hall
Published: November 26, 2014
If the Crimson Tide Invitational becomes
an annual event at Martz Hall, it couldn’t have gotten off to a better, or more exciting, start.
Pocono Mountain West graduate Tynell Fortune scored a game-high 19 points, while Kutztown hit 9-of-12 from the foul
line in the second overtime during the Golden Bears’ thrilling 75-72 non-conference victory over Philadelphia University
in front of 1,124 fans Tuesday.
The contest was the final of three college basketball games at
Martz Hall this past week, starting with a Penn State Hazleton-Penn State Schuylkill men’s and women’s doubleheader
last Thursday. Tuesday’s contest was supposed to be headlined by a head-to-head meeting between Pottsville graduates
Nick Schlitzer (Philadelphia) and Brandon Bridy (Kutztown).
However, it never happened.
Schlitzer, a senior who graduated from Pottsville in 2011 as the Crimson Tide’s all-time leading scorer with
1,884 points, had a double-double for Philadelphia (2-3) with game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. Bridy, a sophomore and
2013 Pottsville grad, spent Tuesday as he has the entire season — watching from the bench with a torn labrum in his
Tuesday was the first time Schlitzer played at Martz Hall since the Crimson Tide
beat Pine Grove 51-49 for the Schuylkill League championship Feb. 18, 2011. He got the loudest ovation of the night during
pre-game introductions. A few fans even stood up.
“It was amazing,” Schlitzer said.
“To see so many familiar faces in the crowd, I just appreciate people coming back and seeing me play. It means a lot
to me. I wish we could have gotten the win.”
Despite not playing, Bridy was also introduced
to his hometown crowd before the game.
“It was great,” he said. “The fans, I
love this building. I played here for four years. It is great to come back and see how much support you get when you go away
and still come back and people following you.”
Bridy injured his shoulder about four weeks
ago in practice while going for a rebound. He had surgery last Friday and is looking to be 100 percent in six months.
He will be red-shirted this season.
The injury itself is unusual since Bridy, whose last
high school game at Martz Hall was a 35-21 Pottsville win over Mahanoy Area in the Schuylkill
title game Feb. 15, 2013, never missed a game throughout his high school career with an injury.
is going to be a tough challenge to overcome,” Bridy said. “Every day I just have to keep working at it and think
positive. It was strange being back in my home court and not playing against one of my best friends.”
Still, Bridy and the rest of the Golden Bears got enjoy a much-needed win.
came in off a 63-60 loss to West Chester on Saturday. The Golden Bears’ only win prior to Tuesday was a 71-62 victory
Manfield last Wednesday.
“It is a huge win for us,” Bridy said. “It hopefully
gets us on a good winning streak.”
Derek Johnson added 19 points for the Rams, while Peter
Alexis had 15.
Howard Sellars finished with 17 points for Kutztown, while Josh Johnson and Austin
Beidelman added 13 apiece. Johhson also grabbed 11 board and had four dunks.
a complete offensive player during his playing days for the Crimson Tide and displayed those same skills Tuesday. He wanted
to play well, and for the most part, did, finishing the night 8-for-18 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the foul line.
“It was just more of an excitement,” Schlitzer said. “You get to play in your old gym. You get
a little jitters, but it is just more excitement.”
Schlitzer, the Rams’s leader in
scoring (22.2 points per game) and minutes per game (38.5) coming in, scored Philadelphia’s first two points of the
game, hitting two foul shots after he was fouled on a spin move in the lane. He hit a corner jumper later in the half, and
then hit three foul shots with 5 minutes left in the half after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.
scored 15 of his points in the second half, including several key one late.
by Schlitzer, a back-down move inside and layup off a cut inside, gave Philadelphia a 55-53 advantage with 3:39 remaining
in regulation. Schlitzer also knocked down consecutive buckets in the first overtime, scoring on a drive and then with 40.8
seconds left, on a fall-away jump from the corner. He appeared to be trapped at first but made himself some space and hit
That gave the Rams a 63-60 lead.
However, Kutztown battled
back one last time and tied the game when Sellars drained a 3 from the top of the circle with 20 seconds remaining. Schlitzer
took the last shot for the Rams, but his shot in traffic from just outside the foul line with 2 seconds to go hit the rim.
The game was tied one last time at 69 with 1:47 to go, but Fortune gave Kutztown the lead for good, hitting two foul
shots after he was fouled on a drive. The Rams’ Kaison Randolph made it a one-point game on a 3 with 4 seconds left
before Fortune hit both ends of a double bonus to make it 75-72. 3-point try from Johnson in the corner bounced away and the
Bears held on for the win.
“We had a lot of chances down the stretch, including myself”
Schlitzer said. “We just weren’t able to come through. It is frustrating but we have to move on.”
Crimson Tide Invitational
At Martz Hall
PHILADELPHIA UNIVERSITY (72) — Alexis 7-11 1-3 15, Johnson 6-15 5-5 19, Huggins 1-2 0-0 2, Gibbs 3-9 2-2 9,
Schlitzer 8-18 5-5 22, DiCicco 1-5 0-2 2, Randolph 1-1 0-0 3, Long 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-61 13-17 72.
KUTZTOWN (75) — Johnson 6-12 1-2 11, Selby 1-2 1-2 5, Beidelman 5-9 2-2 13, Fortune 6-15
5-7 19, Brooks 2-5 0-0 4, Ridgeway 1-3 0-0 2, Sellars 6-9 1-2 17, Sherman 0-0 0-0 0, Dietrich 0-0 0-0 0, Peal 2-8 0-0 4. Totals
29-63 10-15 75.
Philly U. (2-3) 26 31 6 9 — 72
Kutztown (2-3) 27 30 6 12 — 75
3-point FGs: Johnson 2, Gibbs, Schlitzer,
Randolph, Beidelman, Fortune 2, Sellars 4
Men’s basketball falls to Kutztown in double OT, 75-72
Nov 25, 2014
POTTSVILLE, Pa. –
In his return to Martz Hall, senior guard Nick Schlitzer
(Pottsville, Pa./Pottsville) recorded 22 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for the Philadelphia University men's basketball
team in a 75-72 double overtime loss to Kutztown Tuesday night.
Schlitzer, who last played in Martz Hall in
2011 as a member of the Pottsville Crimson Tide, played all 50 minutes in Tuesday's game, shot 8-of-18 from the field and
dished out three assists for the Rams (2-3).
Junior forward Derek Johnson (Conshohocken, Pa./Atlantic Christian) contributed 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 50 minutes
of action. Junior forward Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Redeemer) added 15 points, five rebounds and three blocks.
Philadelphia owned a 51-44 lead
after Johnson recorded a steal and fastbreak slam dunk with 8:30 left in regulation. Kutztown (2-3) responded with a 9-2 run
over a 4:28 span to knot the score at 53 on an Austin Beidelman jumper.
Schlitzer made a layup 20 seconds later to put
the Rams back in front and junior guard Andre Gibbs (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) pushed the lead to 57-53 with two successful free throws with 2:42 remaining.
Josh Johnson scored
the final four points of regulation, including a dunk with 29 seconds on the clock, to tie the score at 57 and send the game
After falling behind 60-57, Philadelphia went on a 6-0 run, capped off by four straight points from Schlitzer,
to move ahead 63-60 with 39 seconds to play. Coming out of a timeout, the Golden Bears' Howard Sellars drained a 3-pointer
with 20 seconds remaining to make it a 63-63 affair.
Schlitzer's game-winning 3-point attempt with two seconds on the
clock missed the mark and the game went to double overtime.
The second extra session started the same way the first
one did with Kutztown getting out to a quick lead (67-63). Alexis tied the score at 69 at the 1:59 mark with a layup.
would go 4-for-6 from the free throw line over the next 1:31 to reestablish a four-point lead (73-69). On Philadelphia's next
trip down the floor, Kaison Randolph (Trenton, N.J./Pennington Prep) buried a 3-pointer with six seconds left to close the gap to 73-72 and give the Rams life.
seconds later, Tynell Fortune sank two free throws to push the Golden Bear advantage to 75-72. Philadelphia had one last attempt
with 2.1 seconds remaining, but Johnson's game-tying 3-point attempt was no good.
Fortune led the Golden Bears with
19 points in 37 minutes. Sellars finished up with 17 points.
Philadelphia heads to West Chester for a non-conference
game on Saturday, Nov. 29 at 3 p.m.
Crimson Tide Players Named to National Honor Society
CRIMSON TIDE BASKETBALL PLAYERS SCORE
OFF THE COURT
Four members of this years Crimson Tide Basketball team have
been named to The National Honor Society. Derek Shuman, Connor Hinchliffe, Eli Nabholz and Ty Painter, all Seniors players
who also excelled in the classroom. Congratulations to our players for a great job!
Tide closing in on the 2014-2015 season
-Team dedicates offseason for individual improvement
Beginning in June our freshmen, JV, and Varsity teams began competing in our summer
league at Barefield. Our summer league continues to grow and now has a total of 22 teams.
With three teams competing, we have up to 24 players in our program competing each Tuesday and Thursday evening at
our Barefield Complex. Our varsity team was able to compile a 6-6 record in a very competitive Adult league,
which continues to attract the very best adult teams and players within Schuylkill and its’ surrounding counties.
Our JV-A team went undefeated through the Junior Varsity league, while our freshmen ended with a winning record.
We are excited to see our summer league continue to grow and improve each and every year!
We try to pride ourselves to devoting most of our offseason to skill development. We
feel this is the number one priority for us as a program each offseason. As we get closer to the season,
we will begin to focus more on our system, but the majority of our offseason workouts involve making our players better individually.
Our skill development sessions ran Monday through Thursday mornings at Barefield and focused primarily on dribbling,
passing, and shooting. These skill sessions were often led by Nick Schlitzer and Brandon Bridy, former
star players for the Tide and current college players. Nick also ran his own day camp in July in which
27 players of ours attended. Brandon, along with Saige Spece, another former Tide player who is now playing
at Bloomsburg, helped Nick with the advanced skill development camp.
One area we noticed
we fell short as a program in comparison to the elite teams in the state last season, was in strength, quickness, and explosiveness.
Our trainer, Dan Slotterback, who is certified in strength training, has our kids training at an all-time high.
Through strength training three days a week in the summer and two days a week during the fall, we feel we are going
to be ready to meet the physical and athletic demands to compete with the very best in the state this year.
Our Varsity and JV teams returned to the Kutztown AFBE team camp in mid-July. Once
again, the camp provided plenty of competition from teams from the Northeast and abroad. Our Varsity Team
recorded a 9-4 record and lost a close semi-final game. Our JV’s won their division, and did so in
such an impressive fashion, they were moved up to varsity competition for the playoffs.
Our booster club has had another successful offseason of fundraising. In
the spring, we hosted our AFBE basketball tournament for the 2nd straight
year. In early June, we ran our sticky bun fundraiser, which was used to defer some of the cost for our
beach trip. Once again, we ran our 3 on 3 tournament at Barefield, along with our golf tournament at Hidden
Valley. This year the weather cooperated and we had a great turnout for both! Our last
fundraiser before the season will be the Philadelphia University vs Kutztown University basketball game we our hosting at
Martz Hall. Given the fact we will have two of our former star players participating, we anticipate a large
crowd on November 25th at Martz!
Beach Trip to Stone Harbor
The summer of 2014 marked the first year for a beach trip for our program. We were
able to take 12 of our junior and senior players on a four day, three night beach trip to Stone Harbor at the end of July.
While the kids were able to enjoy some free time at the beach, we also got some great competition at neighboring Middle
Township High School. Though competing with the Middle Twp current players, as well as former players, who are now playing
collegiately and professionally, our kids were exposed to a great deal of talent.
Kutztown University Golden Bears
2014 at 7;00 pm
Martz Hall, Pottsville
Boys Basketball Game
Crimson & White Game
at 5:30 pm
PROCEEDS BENEFIT POTTSVILLE BOYS BASKETBALL PROGRAMS
See Former Tide Players: Nick Schlitzer (Philadelphia) & Brandon Bridy (Kutztown)
|Brandon Bridy - Kutzstown University 2013
Crimson Tide Boys Basketball
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