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Coach Of the Year: Dave Mullaney

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Photos By John Liddle

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H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Tide's Melochick, Blue Devils' Santana share all-area honors
By Mike Carnahan
Published: April 23, 2016

Pottsville's Jordan Melochick and Shenandoah Valley's Joel Santana couldn't be more opposite when it comes their respective playing styles on the basketball court.

Melochick is quiet, but tough, strong and versatile. He's able to do all the little things well and play any position. His contributions sometimes go unnoticed.

Santana has those qualities, too. But he's more flashy, bringing a level of excitement with a playmaking ability that is hard to miss.

The styles are different, but for Melochick and Santana, the results are the same: Winning basketball.

For their performances this past season, Melochick and Santana are the 2015-16 Republican-Herald All-Area Boys' Basketball Co-Players of the Year.

Melochick, a 6-foot-3 senior guard-forward, led the Crimson Tide in scoring with 13.8 points per game (399 total). He added 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, knocked down 23 3-pointers and was 112-for-153 (73 percent) from the foul line.

Melochick finished his career with 1,067 points as Pottsville went 28-1 for the second consecutive year. Melochick was a four-year starter for the Crimson Tide, who were 101-14 during his career.

Santana, a 5-8 point guard, is a dynamic offensive player who can score on penetration and with outside shooting. He led the Schuylkill League in scoring at 22.5 points per game (630 total). Santana, the Republican-Herald All-Area Rookie of the Year last year, was the Blue Devils' team leader in assists at 4.1 per game, added 5.8 rebounds per game, finished second on the team in 3-pointers with 54 and was 122-for-162 (75 percent) from the foul line. He also went over the 1,000-point mark for his career and currently has 1,060.

Santana helped lead Shenandoah Valley (19-9, 10-3 Division III) to the division title and berth in the Schuylkill League playoffs, the Blue Devils' first since 1984. Shenandoah Valley, the District 11 Class A runner-up, also reached the quarterfinal round of the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 1977.

The Rookie of the Year is Lourdes freshman Thomas Schultz.

Schultz, a 6-5 forward, finished fourth in the league in scoring at 19.1 points per game (478 total). A strong inside presence, he also averaged 7.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. After an 8-14 campaign in 2014-15, the

Red Raiders finished 18-7 and reached the consolation game of the District 4 Class A playoffs, losing to Sullivan County 41-40 on Feb. 27.

Pottsville's Dave Mullaney is the Coach of the Year.

Despite having an inexperienced squad to begin the season, Mullaney guided the Crimson Tide to another 28-1 record. Pottsville won its seventh consecutive Schuylkill League Division I title and its sixth overall league title since 2010 with a 65-47 victory over Blue Mountain on Feb. 12. Pottsville followed with its second straight District 11 Class AAA championship, a 65-55 victory over the Eagles on Feb 26. The Crimson Tide beat West Scranton 43-25 in the first round of the PIAA playoffs March 4 before losing to Lower Moreland 52-47 in the second round March 8.

Quiet Melochick becomes Tide's leader

Melochick has played basketball since he was in the third grade. He went out for Pottsville's baseball team his freshman and sophomore years, but since then, it's been all basketball. Melochick isn't sure why he enjoys the game, but the way he plays, it doesn't matter.

Mullaney has always felt that Melochick had a high basketball IQ. For his first three years, Melochick played behind stars Travis Blankenhorn and Eli Nabholz. This season, however, Melochick was Pottsville's only returning starter and his offseason work focused on becoming the best all-around player possible.

"I just had to try and be the best leader I could be for everybody since I had the most experience out of everybody and just try to help them out as best as I could," he said.

Still, Melochick didn't feel any extra pressure on himself entering the year.

"I felt like my teammates would rise to the occasion and really step up for the challenge that we faced, not having that much experience," he said.

They did.

So did Melochick.

He scored around five more points per game this season than he did last year on a team that also featured two others who averaged in double figures in junior Jordan Abdo (13.1) and senior Maldeen Thomas (10.3). What stands out for Mullaney is how Melochick was able to play all five positions on both ends of the floor at a high level.

"It is probably his versatility, just being good at so many different things," Mullaney said. "He is just a winner. He makes winning plays all the time, stuff people wouldn't even notice. He does just every tiny little thing right with the basketball on both ends of the floor."

Still, Melochick put up big offensive numbers when needed. The perfect example was his 22 points during a 57-53 win over Bethlehem Catholic in the District 11 Class AAA semifinals Feb. 23. Melochick hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 9.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

He also went over 1,000 points for his career in the win. Hitting the mark was an unique accomplishment for Melochick, since he never averaged over double figures his previous three seasons.

"That fact that he was a 1,000-point scorer is almost amazing to me because he was just a reluctant scorer," Mullaney said. "I've never been around, college or high school or anything, that a kid who scored 1,000 points never took a bad shot. Usually you have those kids and you kind of let them go and you say ‘O.K., you took a bad one, it is O.K.' With him, he just never did. Completely unselfish."

Melochick also never missed a game in four years with the Crimson Tide and is proud to be able to contribute to what has become the most successful boys' basketball program in the Schuylkill League.

"It is really an honor to be able to play for Pottsville the past four years and have the coaching staff that we have, to be able to coach me for those four years, it was just amazing," he said.

Melochick's talents haven't gone unnoticed at the next level, either. He will continue his playing career as Division II Bloomsburg University after he graduates. Melochick considered Division III Susquehanna, but he wanted to play Division II since he was offered the opportunity.

"I thought it would be a good challenge for me to play at the highest level I can," he said.

Offseason work makes Santana even more dynamitic

Santana has been around basketball all his life. Both sides of his family play the sport and they would always take him to games and even let him take part.

Santana is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He brought that style of basketball with him when he moved to Shenandoah two years ago and was able to adjust to the Schuylkill League's tough, physical play.

"I put my talent and toughness together and I just play my game," Santana said.

Santana averaged 20.5 points per game last season, mostly by driving to the basket and finishing inside. That is still the strength of his game. But Santana added another dimension to his game this season: a pull-up jumper.

"In the offseason he really worked on a step-back, pull-up jumper because he knew that everybody was gearing to stop his penetration," Blue Devils coach Robbie Miller said. "I think what made him so hard to stop this year was the fact that he wasn't complacent. He wasn't just accepting how good he was the year before. He really wanted to get better."

Indeed he did. Santana felt being more consistent with the jumper made a big difference.

"I felt like coming into this season, I wanted to attack the basket," he said. "Once they (the defense) realize I am going to keep attacking, they are going to play back, I am going to pull back and hit the jump shot. I kind of knocked some down this year."

Santana reached double figures in every game but one and scored 20 or more points in a game 20 times. Santana lead the league's best offense (60.9 points per game) that also featured Jermanie McNeil (12.1 ppg.) and Ian McCole (11.0).

Santana's season high was 39 points against Nativity on Jan. 28, one of his most memorable games. The other was the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs against then undefeated and District 4 powerhouse St. John Neumann on March 4.

Coming off a disappointing 53-38 loss to Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg in the District 11 championship game, Miller wanted a signature win from his Blue Devils to erase a somewhat up-and-down regular season.

Santana delivered, scoring 33 points, including 23 in the second half, as the Blue Devils overcame a 10-point, third-quarter deficit. He went over 1,000 for his career during the game as Shenandoah Valley won its first state playoff game since March 15, 1977.

The Blue Devils went on to beat Delco Christian 62-58 in the second round March 8 before losing to Constitution 62-47 in the quarterfinals March 11.

"I am just blessed to be a part of what we did this year," Santana said.

Santana also received recognition after the season when he was named to the Class A second team on the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Sports Writers' All-State Boys' Basketball Team.

"That was a huge blessing for me," Santana said. "I felt like I really wanted first team, but I got something. Next year, I am just going to take it and get first team. I am very excited to get second team. That is a big honor for me."

Schultz makes major impact

Lourdes entered the season with the news that junior center Larry Czeponis, a two-year starter, would miss the entire year with a rare bone disease. The Red Raiders needed somebody to step up offensively and Schultz answered.

Lourdes coach Pete Long knew Schultz, who's from Mount Carmel, had the talent. But Long was surprised just how well Schultz did.

"He just plays hard the whole game," Long said. "His attitude and demeanor as a freshman, it was really awesome.

"It's a big jump from eighth grade to varsity basketball and to be honest with you, I knew coming in that he was going to be good, but I didn't think he was going to be that good. I think it was a pleasant surprise to me, my staff and his teammates."

Schultz has the ability to get to the rim and also possesses a pull-up jumper. He also handles the ball well, something that was needed as Lourdes went to full-court pressure defense this season.

Long was also impressed with how Schultz continued to produce as the season progressed. Long expected that, after the Schuylkill League coaches saw him the first time through the league schedule, it would be harder for Schultz to score. But his production never dropped off.

He reached double figures in every game except the loss to Sullivan County in the District 4 Class A consolation game.

"I thought it would be a little tougher for him to score his points, but he still did it," Long said. "And we were like ‘Man, this kid is tough.' What a good kid, too. The thing about it is, in practice, he just makes everybody better because he competes in every drill and in every sprint and is such a luxury to have as a coach."

Miller called Schultz the best freshman he's seen in the league since Pottsville's Nick Schlitzer. If his first season is any indication, he has a great career ahead of him.

New faces, same results for Tide under Mullaney

The Crimson Tide were expected to be great in 2014-15 with all five starters returning, and they were.

The only returning starter back for Pottsville this season was Melochick. Mullaney wasn't concerned with the Crimson Tide's talent, but the lack of experience and how they would react in close games.

The non-league schedule was a concern, too, as many of those games, such as Wilson West Lawn, Governor Mifflin, Williamsport and Shamokin, were on the road.

By the end of the season, it was a non-issue, making this year's undefeated regular-season even more impressive than 2014-15.

"I told our team that," Mullaney said. "I think even the way our schedule set up, a lot of our tougher, non-league games were on the road. I definitely think our schedule was set up tougher this year."

The biggest regular-season victory was a 58-52, double-overtime win over Berks Catholic at Martz Hall on Feb. 3. The Crimson Tide were in trouble several times, but found a way to win. Abdo hit the game-tying 3-pointer in regulation to force overtime, while Pottsville went 16-for-23 from the foul line over the two overtime periods to get the win.

That helped set up Pottsville's postseason run. The Crimson Tide were down by 10 early in the second quarter and eight early in the third to Shenandoah Valley in the league semifinals Feb. 11 before winning 62-45. Pottsville also battled back from a 43-37 deficit after three quarters in the District 11 semifinals against Bethlehem Catholic before winning in overtime.

This season was again a testament to the kind of program Mullaney has put together at Pottsville and the kind of players it has produced. The Crimson Tide's half-court, man-to-man defense was again the best in the Schuylkill League, allowing 36.5 points per game, while the offense (56.8 ppg) was patient, looking for the best shot no matter where, or who, it came from.

Mullaney felt the key to the season was the play of seniors Tanner Gerchak, Thomas, Melochick, Christian Witman, Patrick Schenk and Mike O'Pake. The group had to patiently wait for their opportunity this season and each of them contributed at some point during the year.

"I loved our seniors," Mullaney said. "I know that is kind of cliché to say that but there was just something about them, the unselfishness about them. They just wanted to do whatever it took to win.

"I loved how different kids stepped up in different big games. They all had their moments, and I just think they were just all about us winning and doing whatever it took to do that. There wasn't a lot of selfishness in that group at all."
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POTTSVILLE NAMED SUPER 16 BOYS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS 

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WNEP 16 Champions

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2016 WNEP 16 Final BOYS RANKINGS:

RANK

TEAM

RECORD

PREVIOUS RANK

1

Pottsville

28-1

1

2

 Scranton Prep

25-3

2

3

Abington Heights

23-3

4

4

Lewisburg

26-3

5

5

Meyers

20-7

7

6

Shamokin Area

25-3

4

7

St. John Neumann

24-1

3

8

Pocono Mountain West

21-5

8

 

Super 16 Basketball FINAL Countdown 2016

BOYS RANKINGS:

RANK TEAM RECORD PREVIOUS RANK
1 Pottsville 28-1 1
2 Scranton Prep 25-3 2
3 Abington Heights 23-3 4
4 Lewisburg 26-3 5
5 Meyers 20-7 7
6 Shamokin Area 25-3 4
7 St. John Neumann 24-1 3
8 Pocono Mountain West 21-5 8

2015 - 2016 Seniors

Most Wins in any 4 year period in School History 

101 - 14

  87.83% 

2 District XI AAA Championships

3 Schuylkill League Championships 

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Photo By John Liddle

2016 District XI AAA Champions 

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2016 Schuylkill League Champions 

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PIAA BOYS' HOOPS: Pottsville falls in 2nd round of Class AAA playoffs


LEROY BOYER

Published: March 9, 2016


READING - There's an old basketball adage that says teams "live and die" by 3-point shooting.

Pottsville's tremendous boys' basketball season was effectively killed by 3-point shooting Tuesday night.

Lower Moreland drained 3-pointers on four consecutive possessions late in the fourth quarter to defeat the Crimson Tide 52-47 in a PIAA Class AAA second-round playoff game at the Geigle Complex.

Lower Moreland (21-5), the District 1 runner-up, advances to Friday's quarterfinals to face District 12 champion and defending state champion Neumann-Goretti, a 113-71 winner over Scranton Prep.

Pottsville's season, which included the Tide's fifth Schuylkill League title in six years and second consecutive District 11 crown, comes to an end at 28-1.

"They were very good defensively, and we knew

they could shoot it," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "For the most part, we did a nice job. Late, they got loose."

Offensively, Pottsville was never able to find its rhythm shooting from the outside.

The Tide opened the game 0-for-6 from the field, falling behind 6-0 just four minutes into the game. Pottsville finished the game 15-for-40 shooting (38 percent), but was just 3-for-23 (13 percent) from 3-point range.

"Their objective coming in was to take away our post game," Mullaney said. "They wanted to go front and back of people, and they did a good job with that. It was tough for us to get paint touches that way.

"The thing that was open for us was the 3-point shot."

Lower Moreland, whose tallest player was just 6-foot-3, packed it in defensively to contain 6-3 Jordan Melochick and 6-7 Ian Renninger, leaving the Crimson Tide with wide-open looks from the outside.

Most of the time, however, Pottsville didn't hit them.

"We got open looks that we normally knock down," senior guard Tanner Gerchak said. "Tonight they just didn't fall. That happens. It sucks it has to happen 29 games into the year."

Despite their rough outside shooting, Pottsville stayed in the game behind its tough defense and its ability to drive to the basket.

A 15-2 run over an eight-minute stretch of the first half gave Pottsville a 15-8 lead, and an 18-14 advantage at intermission.

The Lions opened the second half on a 10-2 run to take a 24-20 lead midway through the third, but Pottsville countered with a 10-0 spurt to build a 30-24 advantage and led 30-26 after three.

Patrick Schenk started the spurt with a 3-pointer, Renninger had three points inside and Jordan Abdo scored on a layup and hit two free throws.

Abdo led the Tide with 15 points, while Melochick had 14 and Renninger contributed eight points and eight rebounds. Nearly all of those points came off dribble penetration or lob passes inside.

"I thought coming into this year we'd be a 3-point shooting team, and we haven't shot it great the second half of the year," Mullaney said. "We started attacking the basket, and our guys did a great job of that."

Lower Moreland, which hit 14 3-pointers in its first-round win over Milton Hershey, was held to just one trey through the first three quarters.

That changed in the fourth.

With the game tied at 35, a pair of free throws by Melochick gave Pottsville a 37-35 lead with 4:13 to go.

The next four times they had the ball, the Lions were able to get dribble penetration by guard Danny Duffy, who led all scorers with 23 points. When the Pottsville defense collapsed, Duffy kicked it out to a wide-open gunner from the outside.

"They were just a lot more aggressive getting to the lane making plays," Gerchak said. "When that happens, the defensive collapses and shots open up. They hit all of them. That's basketball sometimes."

Dicky Rhoads and Tyler Millan each hit triples before Nick Smolka buried back-to-back shots from the left corner. The final one gave Lower Moreland a 47-44 lead with 1:28 left.

The Lions then iced it from the line, hitting 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch as Pottsville struggled to hit outside shots.

"We were probably helping too much," Mullaney said. "We made a switch putting Melochick on (Duffy), and Melo pretty much shuts everybody down. I think we were helping a little more than we needed to, because I think he could have guarded him 1-on-1. That left their shooters open, and that was our downfall.

"We just lost guys here and there."

After the game, Mullaney and his players reflected on what was another magical season for the Crimson Tide.

Despite heavy graduation losses, Pottsville won Schuylkill League and District 11 Class AAA titles en route to 28 straight wins entering Tuesday.

"It was an amazing season. I couldn't be more proud. I'm just sad to see six seniors in there crying," Mullaney said.

"I couldn't be more proud of our seniors. They were amazing this year. I'm around them so much, probably 300 days a year, and they're like family to me. It's tough to see them hurting right now.

"It's going to hurt now, but the 28-1, the Schuylkill and district titles, nobody expected that out of us this year. That's a credit to them. They're great kids."

Game Summary

PIAA Class AAA Second Round

At Geigle Complex, Reading

POTTSVILLE (47) - Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Thomas 1 0-0 3, Melochick 5 4-4 14, Witman 0 0-0 0, Jo. Abdo 4 6-7 15, Schenk 2 0-0 5, Renninger 3 2-5 8, Ju. Abdo 0 2-2 2. Totals 15 14-18 47.

LOWER MORELAND (52) - Wiggins 1 0-4 2, Millan 3 3-4 11, Duffy 8 7-8 23, Fazio 1 0-0 2, Rhoads 2 0-1 6, Keys 0 0-0 0, Smolda 2 0-0 6, Gould 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 10-17 52.

Potts (28-1) 6 12 12 17 - 47 LM (23-7) 6 8 12 26 - 52

3-point FGs: Thomas, Jo. Abdo, Schenk, Millan 2, Rhoads 2, Smolda 2

Pottsville Crimson Tide  47 - Lower Moreland   52 

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Crimson Tide Plays Tonight!

Roll Tide 

Class AAA

1-2 Lower Moreland (22-6) vs. 11-1 Pottsville (28-0)

When: Today, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Geigle Complex, Reading High School

Directions: Follow PA-61 South into Reading. Turn left onto Spring Street after passing Charles Evans Cemetery. Turn right onto N. 13th St., and high school will be on the left.

About the Lions

Head coach: Seth Barron (5th season)

How got here: Beat District 3 third-place finisher Milton Hershey 67-56 in first round of PIAA playoffs

Team stats: Offense (64.7), defense (52.3)

Players to watch (Positions, statistics not available): Danny Duffy (sr., 5-10), Jake Fazio (sr., 6-1), Mike Gould (sr., 5-8), Tyler Millan (sr., 6-2), Dicky Rhoads (sr., 5-8), Nick Smolda (jr., 6-0), Cobe Wiggins (jr., 6-3)

About the Crimson Tide

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (9th season)

How got here: Beat District 2 third-place finisher West Scranton 43-25 in first round of PIAA playoffs

Team stats: Offense (57.1), defense (35.9)

Probable starting lineup: G Tanner Gerchak (sr., 5-7, 2.9), G Maldeen Thomas (sr., 6-1, 10.6 ppg, 39 3-pointers), F Jordan Melochick (sr., 6-3, 13.8 ppg), G Christian Witman (sr., 6-3, 2.9), G Jordan Abdo (jr., 5-11, 13.0, 37 3-pionters)

Key reserves: G Justin Abdo (jr., 5-11, 1.2), F Ian Renninger (soph., 6-7, 7.1), G Patrick Schenk (sr., 6-3, 5.5)

Game notes

Millan had 20 points, Smolda 19 and Rhoades 16 in Lions' first-round win over Milton Hershey. Duffy, who went over 1,000 points for his career in December and averages around 20 points per game, had eight. Lions were 14-of-26 from 3-point land in the game, with Millan and Smolda hitting five apiece and Rhoades four. ... Melochick and Thomas had 13 points apiece, while Jordan Abdo added 11 in Crimson Tide's first-round win. Defense was in control from the start, holding West Scranton to single-digit points in each quarter. ... According to Mullaney, Lions are a skilled team and one of the best outside shooting teams Crimson Tide have seen all season, with Millan and Smolda hitting around 60 3-pointers apiece during the season. Like to run, but comfortable in any style. Play man-to-man defense and will show some full-court pressure, too. ... Crimson Tide held an opponent to 40 or fewer points in a game 17 times this season. Most they allowed was 55 against Blue Mountain in District 11 championship game. ... Win Friday was Crimson Tide's third consecutive in first round of PIAA playoffs. Have been knocked out of PIAA playoffs the past two years by Susquehanna Township. ... Teams met in first round of PIAA playoffs in 2014, with Crimson Tide winning 58-38.

What's next? Winner advances to Friday's quarterfinal against winner of game between 2-1 Scranton Prep and 12-2 Neumann-Goretti.

- Complied by Mike Carnahan

 
Crimson Tide plays Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 7:30 at the Geigle Complex at Reading High School 
 
Crimson Tide verus Lower Moreland 

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Photo By John Liddle


PIAA BOYS' BB: Crimson Tide knock off West Scranton in Class AAA first round


By Mike Carnahan

Published: March 5, 2016

 

MINERSVILLE - Pottsville's Maldeen Thomas picked the perfect time to come out of a mini offensive slump.

The Crimson Tide's defense was on from the start. It added up to another first-round win for Pottsville in the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.

Thomas scored 13 points to lead a balanced attack, while the Crimson Tide's defense frustrated West Scranton for most of the night during a 43-25 victory Friday at Minersville Area High School's Thomas Fitzpatrick Gymnasium.

Jordan Melochick added 13 points and Jordan Abdo 11 for Pottsville (28-0), which won its third consecutive opening-round game in the PIAA playoffs. The Crimson Tide beat Lower Moreland (58-38) in 2014 and Valley View (63-37) last year.

The second round is where the Crimson Tide's season has ended the past two years. Next up is the District 1 runner-up Lower Moreland (20-5) on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. Lower Moreland beat Milton Hershey, the District 3 third-place finisher, 67-56 in a first-round game Friday.

For Thomas, it was his first PIAA playoff victory as a starter.

"It feels great to win a game like this, especially in the state playoffs," Thomas said. "I am just glad our team came out with a win and we will prepare for the next game."

Thomas, who came in averaging 10.5 points per game, averaged only 6.3 per game during Pottsville's District 11 championship run, including two in the Crimson Tide's 65-55 victory over Blue Mountain in the title game.

Thomas spent some extra time the past few days at the YMCA working on his shooting, and it paid off Friday.

"I came into the game thinking I was going to be more aggressive offensively, keep my pace up defensively and just play well in a big game like this," he said.

Thomas' biggest quarter was the third when he scored five points. All of his points were set up by steals, including two of his own. His first steal lead to Thomas getting fouled on a drive. He made 1-of-2.

Melochick had a steal on the Invaders' next possession. That led to a transition layup from Thomas, who was fouled on the shot. He missed the free throw, but Pottsville led 25-13 with 5:36 left in the frame. Thomas' second steal led to a layup of his own with 1:05 remaining, giving the Crimson Tide a 32-18 advantage.

Thomas' steal and layup were part of an 8-0 Pottsville run from late in the third quarter to early in the fourth that made it 38-18, effectively putting the game away.

The Crimson Tide's man-to-man defense was in control from the start. West Scranton (17-10), the third-place finisher out of District 2, had trouble finding any rhythm on offense. And on the occasions the Invaders did get shots, they weren't finishing.

The focus was to shut down West Scranton's Cole Stetzar, the Invaders' leading scorer who came in averaging 13.9 points. Pottsville's Christian Witman was matched up with Stetzar for most of the night and did the job, as Stetzar finished with just three points.

Shaun Fanning led West Scranton with nine points.

"I thought we did pretty well as a team," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said of his defense, which held an opponent to 40 points or less for the 16th time this season. "I through Christian Witman really stepped up for us. That was a team effort, but Christian was on him (Stetzar) the majority of the game and he did a great job there."

The Invaders didn't have a bad shooting night, hitting 11-for-26 (42 percent) from the floor, but did turn the ball over 17 times, including 11 in the first half. The Crimson Tide went on a 12-0 run from late in the first quarter into early the second quarter that turned a 5-5 tie into a 17-5 lead.

Game Summary

PIAA Boys' AAA First Round

At Minersville High School

WEST SCRANTON (25) - Minnick 0 0-0 0, Lipowitch 1 0-0 2, Carlton 0 0-0 0, Stetzar 1 0-0 3, Fendrick 2 0-0 4, R. Mangan 0 0-0 0, A. Mangan 0 0-0 0, Merrifield 0 0-0 0, Williams 3 1-4 7, Cuillo 0 0-0 0, Fanning 4 1-2 9, Harrington 0 0-0 0, Scardo 0 0-0 0, Medici 0 0-0 0, Hart 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 2-6 25.

POTTSVILLE (43) - Ju. Abdo 0 1-2 1, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0, Thomas 6 1-3 13, Melochick 5 2-2 13, Witman 0 1-2 1, Pellish 0 0-0 0, Jo. Abdo 3 4-5 11, Renninger 1 0-0 2, Schenk 1 0-0 2, O'Pake 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 9-14 43.

WS (17-10) 5 6 7 7 - 25 Potts (28-0) 12 8 14 9 - 43

3-point FGs: Stetzar, Melochick, Jo. Abdo

Crimson Tide Rolls to 28 - 0

With a 43-25 victory over West Scranton 

Pottsville - West Scranton

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2016 PIAA AAA State Tournament - 1st Round

Pottsville Crimson Tide verus West Scranton

Friday, March 4, 2015

7:30 PM 

Come out and support the Crimson Tide 

 

2016 District XI AAA Champions 

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Crimson Tide repeat Class AAA title


MIKE CARNAHAN

Published: February 27, 2016

 

FOUNTAIN SPRINGS - Pottsville's Tanner Gerchak quickly showed that Friday wasn't going to be an "ordinary" offensive performance for the usually quiet senior guard.

The Crimson Tide's defense was its usual self in the second quarter, helping ensure another championship celebration was in store at end of the night.

Gerchak scored a season-high 11 points and Pottsville clamped down on Blue Mountain in the second quarter en route to a 65-55 victory in the District 11 Class AAA boys' basketball championship game at North Schuylkill's Cesari-Hope Gymnasium.

The victory gives Pottsville its second straight District 11 Class AAA crown and improves the unbeaten Crimson Tide to 27-0.

Gerchak scored the Crimson Tide's first points of the night on a 3-pointer, one of the three treys he had in the game. But it was the defense in the second quarter that helped turn the tide as No. 1 Pottsville outscored the No. 3 Eagles 11-5 in the quarter to take a 21-14 halftime lead.

Blue Mountain (21-6) hung around the rest of the night, but could never overtake the Crimson Tide, who beat the Eagles for the fourth time this season.

Friday was Pottsville's second championship this year after the Crimson Tide beat the Eagles in the Schuylkill

League title game Feb. 12. It was the Tide's seventh district title overall and second consecutive championship after a 57-41 win over Allentown Central Catholic last year.

Next up for Pottsville is West Scranton, the third-place finisher out of District 2, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs Friday, March 4.

Blue Mountain also advances, and will take on District 4 champion Lewisburg next Friday.

Gerchak was one of four new starters for Pottsville this season and he couldn't have picked a better time to turn in his best offensive performance of the season Friday.

"It is almost leaving me speechless," Gerchak said. "It is just good for myself, my coaches and my teammates and school in general and really the city."

Gerchak came in averaging 2.7 points per game, with his previous season high being eight points against Jim Thorpe on Jan. 13. He hit two 3s in the first quarter Friday, drained a buzzer-beater to end the third and went 2-of-4 from the foul line in the fourth. He also had a pair of assists and ended up guarding the Eagles' Mark Chelius for most of the second half after Jordan Melochick got into foul trouble in the first half.

Gerchak's 3 from the wing at the end of the third gave Pottsville a 43-32 lead.

"At the end of a couple of practices, I stick around and fire up some half-court shots," Gerchak said. "The coaches are always like ‘It you get one of those in the game, you better make it.' When I saw Melo was struggling to get the ball, I saw it coming to me and I just put it up. I guess the practice paid off."

Melochick led the Crimson Tide with 20 points, scoring 16 in the second half, with 10 coming in the third quarter. He also had six rebounds. Senior Jordan Abdo added 10 points, while sophomore Ian Renninger compiled 10 points and eight rebounds in a balanced scoring attack for the Crimson Tide.

"It just feels great to win another one," said Melochick, who was Pottsville's only returning starter from last year's 28-1 team. "All the hard work we put in, it paid off tonight."

Aaron Albertini drained six 3-pointers and scored a team-high 20 points for the Eagles, who were in their first district title game since 2007. Chelius added 17 points and five assists, while Brayden Lewis netted 13 points.

Blue Mountain led 14-12 with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter after Albertini hit a 3-pointer from wing.

That last the Eagles' last lead of the game. It was also Blue Mountain's last points of the first half and final points for nearly nine minutes as the Eagles went 0-for-13 from the floor during that stretch.

"It seems to happen every time you play Pottsville, you go through a 5-6 minute stretch where you go without a field goal," Eagles coach Dustin Werdt said. "We were getting some looks, but they were rushed. They speed you up offensively. When you are looking to take a shot there is somebody hanging on you or somebody there defending you. Even when you are open, you are not open against them."

As Blue Mountain struggled to score, Pottsville slowly took control.

A 3-pointer from Melochick off a cross-court pass from Patrick Schenk gave the Crimson Tide the lead for good with 4:41 left in the first half. It started an 11-0 run that lasted into the second half.

A Lewis jumper off a pick at the top of the circle with 6:06 left in third quarter broke the drought and sliced Pottsville's lead to 23-16.

"We really weren't doing things consistently on the defensive end in the first quarter," Crimson Tide coach Dave Mullaney said. "There were some gambles and different things we don't want to be doing. I thought we locked in better in the second quarter and we stayed pretty consistent the rest of the game."

Pottsville built a 40-28 lead after Melochick hit two fouls shots with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter. The Eagles hung around the rest of the game, but the closest they got was 43-34 early in the fourth quarter. The Crimson Tide shot 10-of-15 from the field in the second half and were 18-of-26 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

This year's Pottsville team had the difficult task of following last year's squad. But the results for the Crimson Tide at this point in the season are same as they were last year - another perfect record heading into states.

"Living up to last year's expectations were tough," Gerchak said. "We lost a great group of guys. It is a program, that is why it is always next man up. We just wanted to leave our own mark on the program and really just hats off to coach (Mullaney)."

Added Melochick: "I think it was really big for us, because nobody thought we could do what we did last year. We just proved everyone wrong."

Game Summary

District 11 Class AAA Championship

At North Schuylkill High School

BLUE MOUNTAIN (55) - Puzzi 0 1-2 1, Kerstetter 0 0-0 0, Welsh 0 0-0 0, Lewis 6 1-1 13, Albertini 6 2-2 20, Chelius 5 6-8 17, Zerbe 0 2-3 2, Hoynoski 0 0-0 0, Biever 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 12-16 55.

POTTSVILLE (65) - Ju. Abdo 0 0-0 0, Gerchak 3 2-4 11, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Melochick 4 10-13 20, Witman 1 2-2 4, Jo. Abdo 3 4-7 10, Renninger 3 4-5 10, Schenk 2 4-7 8. Totals 17 26-38 65.

BM (21-6) 9 5 18 23 - 55 Pot (27-0) 10 11 22 22 - 65

3-point FGs: Albertini 6, Chelius, Gerchak 3, Melochick 2

 

 

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District XI AAA Championship Game

Pottsville Crimson Tide vs Blue Mountain Eagles

Friday, February 26, 2016

7:00 pm

North Schuylkill High School 

 

"Roll Tide" 

 Friday's championship preview capsules


by mike carnahan

Published: February 26, 2016


CLASS AAA

No. 3 Blue Mountain (21-5) vs. No. 1 Pottsville (26-0)

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Cesari-Hope Gymnasium, North Schuylkill High School

About the Eagles

Head coach: Dustin Werdt (13th season)

How they got here: Beat No. 6 Notre Dame-Green Pond 67-64 in overtime in quarterfinals, beat No. 2 Salisbury 66-64 in overtime in semifinals

Last appearance in district championship game: 2007 - Beat Southern Lehigh 56-47 in Class AAA

Previous district titles: Four overall - Class AAA (1996, 2003, 2007), Class B (1958)

Team statistics: Offense (60.1), defense (48.3)

Probable starting lineup: F-C Connor Kerstetter (jr., 6-2, 2.7 ppg), G-F Brayden Lewis (jr., 5-11, 10.0), G Aaron Albertini (jr., 6-2, 10.1 ppg, 44 3-pointers), G Mark Chelius (sr., 5-8, 17.3 ppg, 37 3-pointers), C Jakob Biever (soph., 6-7, 7.4)

Key reserves: G-F Christian Puzzi (sr., 6-1, 3.8), G Spencer Welsh (jr., 6-0, 2.5), G-F Mason Zerbe (jr., 6-3, 5.1)

About the Crimson Tide

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (9th season)

How they got here: Beat No. 9 Lehighton 52-31 in quarterfinals, beat No. 5 Bethlehem Catholic 57-53 in overtime in semifinals

Last appearance in district championship game: 2015 - Beat Allentown Central Catholic 57-41 in Class AAA

Previous district titles: Six overall - Class AAA (1984, 1985, 1990, 2010, 2015); Class A (1942)

Team statistics: Offense (57.3 points per game), defense (35.6)

Probable starting lineup: G Tanner Gerchak (sr., 5-7, 2.7 ppg), G Maldeen Thomas (sr., 6-1, 10.8 ppg, 39 3-pointers), F Jordan Melochick (sr., 6-3, 13.5), G Christian Witman (sr., 6-3, 2.8), G Jordan Abdo (jr., 5-11, 13.2 ppg, 36 3-pointers)

Key reserves: G Justin Abdo (jr., 5-11, 1.2 ppg), F Ian Renninger (soph., 6-7, 7.2), G Patrick Schenk (sr., 6-3, 5.5)

Game notes

Chelius had 15 points, Albertini 14 and Welsh 12 for Eagles in semifinal win over Salisbury. Zerbe hit game-tying 3-pointer with 1 second remaining in regulation off a tipped rebound by Puzzi to knot the contest at 59 and send it into overtime. Albertini gave the Eagles the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left in overtime. Eagles were down 38-30 early in second half. ... Melochick led Crimson Tide in semifinal victory with 22 points, while Jordan Abdo added 18 as they rallied from 43-37 deficit after three quarters. Melochick, who went over 1,000 points for his career in the game, hit a game-tying 3 with 9.1 seconds left. Two free throws apiece from Melochick and Thomas accounted for the Crimson Tide's points in overtime. ... Fourth meeting between the two teams this season. Crimson Tide won 60-47 on Dec. 15, 57-49 on Jan. 18 and 65-47 in Schuylkill League title game Feb. 12. League title was Crimson Tide's sixth since 2010, while Eagles' appearance in the league title game was their first since 2007. ... Both teams will play man-to-man on defense. The Eagles prefer a somewhat faster-paced tempo, while the Crimson Tide like a more deliberate tempo. ... First time teams have met head-to-head in district title game. ... Eagles are last Schuylkill League team to beat Crimson Tide during regular season after a 51-33 victory Jan. 27, 2014. ... First all-Schuylkill League district championship game in Class AAA since North Schuylkill beat Blue Mountain 58-51 in 1999.

What's next?: Both teams advance to PIAA Class AAA playoffs. Winner takes on third-place finisher from District 2 in first round, while runner-up faces District 4 champion.

 

 

Crimson Tide Marsh"Melo"'s Bethlehem Catholic

57 - 53 in Overtime 

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Jordan "Melo" Melochick 1000th point shot!

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Pottsville tops Bethlehem Catholic in OT


by leroy boyer

Published: February 24, 2016

ORWIGSBURG - Pottsville's tough non-league schedule prepared it for games like Tuesday's 57-53, overtime victory over Bethlehem Catholic in a District 11 Class AAA boys' basketball semifinal.

When the Crimson Tide faced adversity, they knew how to handle it.

When Pottsville needed a big defensive play, somebody made one.

When the Crimson Tide needed to hit a big shot, somebody stepped up and drained one.

The result? A third straight trip to the PIAA playoffs and a shot at back-to-back district titles.

Jordan Melochick scored a game-high 22 points, including the 1,000th of his career, as Pottsville rallied past the Golden Hawks in front of a packed house at Blue Mountain High School.

The victory improves the top-seeded Crimson Tide to 26-0 and sets up an all-Schuylkill League title tilt with Blue Mountain in Friday's championship game. The Eagles advanced with a 66-64 overtime win over Salisbury.

"It's an awesome feeling," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said afterward. "We knew we were going to be in this type of game tonight. We were very fortunate to be on the right side of it."

Pottsville's non-league schedule included wins over Glen Mills, Wilson West Lawn, Governor Mifflin, Williamsport, Shamokin, Salisbury and Berks Catholic, giving the Crimson Tide a taste of what it's like to play with some of the best teams in the eastern part of the state.

That experience came in handy when Bethlehem Catholic (14-10) used great play by its dynamic guard tandem of DeAndre Tillett and Micaiah Fraction to outscore Pottsville 17-9 in the third quarter and build a 43-37 lead after three frames. Tillett scored 20 of his team-high 21 points over the first three frames, while Fraction had eight of his 13.

That's when Mullaney - with a tip of the hat to assistant John Toomey - changed things up defensively and put Maldeen Thomas on Tillett.

"Maldeen has made plays for us all year," Mullaney said. "John Toomey made that switch defensively. We wanted to go with somebody different (on Tillett), and as soon as I asked he pointed to Maldeen Thomas right away. That was the absolute difference in the game. We were struggling with him.

"Maldeen just adds that little bit extra. That's not something you teach. He's just a great athlete."

Thomas responded with a game-changing play that typified Pottsville's entire defensive philosophy.

With the Tide down by six, the 6-foot-1 senior poked the ball away from Tillett at midcourt and dove onto the floor for the loose ball. As he corralled the ball and started to roll, he found Jordan Abdo alone in the frontcourt with a bounce pass that led to a three-point play.

"I knew I was doing well offensively, and I had to step up defensively," said Thomas, who made a similar steal later in the fourth quarter. "I knew I had to step up and make a big play defensively.

"I just beat (Tillett) to a spot. I knew he was a drive-first type of player and I had to beat him to a spot."

Added Mullaney: "When we were down six, we were on the brink there. He made a great play."

Abdo, who finished with 18 points, followed that sequence with a driving layup on Pottsville's next possession to slice Bethlehem Catholic's lead to 43-42, and the teams battled back and forth the rest of the way.

Abdo's 15-foot jumper, off a high screen by Melochick, tied the game at 48 with 3:02 remaining, but Fraction buried a 3-pointer to put the Golden Hawks back ahead.

Bethlehem Catholic still led 53-50 after Justin Paz hit the second of two free throws with 18.1 seconds left.

With his team needing a big shot, Melochick delivered.

Getting the ball on the left wing, Melochick squared up and calmly drained a 3-pointer to tie it with 9.1 seconds left. When Tillett missed a runner in the paint, the game headed to overtime.

"We ran wave-through and they set a player screen for me," Melochick said. "I was deep, but I was able to set myself, so that helped me a lot. I was able to get my shot on line, and that made it easier to make.

"It felt awesome. I don't know how to describe it."

It was the second standing ovation for Melochick, who scored the 1,000th point of his career on a step-back jumper as time expired in the first quarter to give Pottsville a 16-15 lead. The Tide led 28-26 at intermission.

"We ran a play for me and I got the ball isolated on the post," Melochick said of the milestone shot. "He was playing off me a little, so I gave him a little jab step, did a step back and made it. That felt good to finally get it off my chest."

Pottsville's defense dominated the four-minute extra session, as the Hawks shot 0-for-6 from the field and committed a turnover. Ian Renninger collected four of his game-high 13 rebounds in the final moments, helping Pottsville prevent any second-chance opportunities.

Melochick put Pottsville ahead with a free throw with 2:47 left, then made it 55-53 on another free throw with 53 seconds left. A pair of free throws by Thomas iced the victory with 7.5 seconds left.

When Pottsville needed a big play, Melochick was the guy who stepped up offensively.

"Jordan Melochick is a superstar," Mullaney said. "If you look at it from a coach's perspective and what he can do on the basketball floor, it's amazing. Guard 1-5, score in a variety of ways. There's no flash with him. He's just a great, great player."

Game Summary

District 11 Class AAA Semifinal

At Blue Mountain High School

BETHLEHEM CATHOLIC (53) - Fraction 4 2-2 13, Tillett 7 3-4 21, Paz 1 2-3 4, Dawson-Amaah 3 1-3 7, Posch 1 2-2 4, Spigner 0 2-2 2, Jones 1 0-1 2. Totals 17 12-17 53.

POTTSVILLE (57) - Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 8-10 8, Melochick 7 6-9 22, Witman 0 0-0 0, Jo. Abdo 7 3-5 18, Ju. Abdo 0 0-0 0, Renninger 3 0-0 6, Schenk 1 0-0 3. Totals 18 17-24 57.

BC (14-10) 15 11 17 10 0 - 53 Potts (26-0) 16 12 9 16 4 - 57

3-point FGs: Fraction 3, Tillett 4, Melochick 2, Jo. Abdo, Schenk

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Bethlehem Catholic boys can't hold off Pottsville in District 11 Class 3A semifinals 
 
 

ORWIGSBURG - Bethlehem Catholic coach Ray Barbosa felt like his team left a win get away in Tuesday evening's District 11 Class 3A semifinals at Blue Mountain High School.

Through three quarters, the Golden Hawks used their speed, quickness and DeAndre Tillett's 20 points to open a six-point advantage over undefeated No. 1 seed Pottsville. But their offense stalled in the fourth period and was non-existent in overtime.

Senior Jordan Melochick's 3-pointer with 9.1 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime and a rejuvenated Pottsville team held No. 5 Bethlehem Catholic scoreless in overtime to pull out a 57-53 triumph.

The Crimson Tide (26-0) advance to play No. 3 Blue Mountain in Friday night's championship game at a site and time to be determined.

 

"It's tough," said Barbosa, the former Allen star in his first season as a high school head coach. "You're up 3 with like 18 seconds left and you lose. We miss some free throws and that guy [Melochick] comes down and hits that big 3-pointer. We fought hard all game and I really wanted it for my guys."

Bethlehem Catholic held a lead or was tied throughout the fourth quarter. The Golden Hawks went ahead 51-48 when Micaiah Fraction drained a corner 3-pointer off a pass from Tillett with 2:32 remaining.

Pottsville closed within 51-50 on a pair of Jordan Abdo free throws with 1:49 left.

Barbosa's club then missed 3 of 5 attempts from the foul line in the final 60 seconds, including the front end of a one-and-one. Still, Becahi was ahead 53-50 after Justin Paz dropped the second of two free-throws with 18.1 to play.

That set the stage for Melochick, who scored his 1,000th career point, to swish the tying 3-pointer. He finished with a game-high 22 points in the clutch performance.

"I thought we defended him well," Barbosa said. "He's a great inside-outside player and he hit that big 3. Geez, was that a big shot."

"That's the shot we wanted," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "He's a good 3-point shooter."

In overtime, the Golden Hawks got several good shots off but nothing would stay down. They went 0-for-6 from the field. The best shot of that four-minute extra session was an open wing 3 for Tillett. It spun out.

Bethlehem Catholic played the final 2:32 of regulation and all of overtime without a field goal.

Pottsville also went without a conversion from the field in OT but the Tide connected on 4 of 8 free throws.

"Yeah, it did feel like it was in," Tillett said of his overtime 3, "but my last couple shots all did the same thing. They went in and out. That fourth quarter and overtime, I wasn't feeling it."

Tillett was feeling it for three quarters. He made four triples and consistently beat his defender off the dribble to create shots for himself or teammates.

His 3-pointer with 3:01 left in the third period gave the Golden Hawks a 41-35 lead and Kweku Dawson-Amoah's layup with 2:25 remaining put Becahi ahead 43-37 entering the final quarter.

The biggest sequence of the game, according to Mullaney, came early in the fourth when Maldeen Thomas batted the ball away from Tillett near midcourt, dove to the floor to retrieve it and passed ahead to Abdo, who turned it into a three-point play.

It seemed to spark the Crimson Tide.

"My assistant [John Toomey] suggested putting Thomas on Tillett," the Pottsville coach said, "and those two steals he forced were the difference, in my opinion. The play where he stole it and dove the floor, then passed ahead for the three points was the biggest play of the game."

Fraction finished with 13 for the Golden Hawks. Dawson-Amoah contributed seven points and 11 rebounds.

Abdo complemented Melochick's 22 points with an 18-point effort.

Pottsville now prepares to play a familiar foe for the District 11 title, while Bethlehem Catholic readies for a third-place consolation game against Salisbury, which lost to Blue Mountain 66-64 in overtime in Tuesday's semifinal at Freedom. The winner of Becahi-Salisbury will earn the district's third spot in the PIAA 3A tournament.

"We still have an opportunity to get to states," Tillett said, "and we want to take advantage of it."

"It's already time we forget about this one and keep playing," Barbosa said. "We've still got a lot to play for and we want to put together another strong effort on Friday night."

Michael Blouse is a freelance writer.

Copyright © 2016, The Morning Call
This article is related to: Basketball,
Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association,

 

 

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Melo Meter has been broken!!
Jordan Melochick scores 22 points to pass 1000 points for his career! 

Jordan "Melo" Melochick scores his 1000th point!

Crimson Tide plays Bethlehem Catholic

Tonight at Blue Mountain High School

Come Out and Support the Crimson Tide 


HS BOYS BB: Tuesday's D-11 preview capsules


by mike carnahan

Published: February 23, 2016


District 11 Boys' Basketball

Semifinal Capsules

CLASS AAA

No. 5 Bethlehem Catholic (14-9)

vs. No. 1 Pottsville (25-0)

When: Today, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Blue Mountain High School, Orwigsburg

About the Golden Hawks

Head coach: Ray Barbosa (1st season)

How they got here: Beat No. 4 Allentown Central Catholic 55-46 in Friday's quarterfinals

Probable starting lineup: G Micaiah Fraction (sr., 5-foot-7, 8.7 points per game), G DeAndre Tillett (sr., 5-8, 11.1), G Justin Paz (fr., 5-7, 10.7), F Kweku Dawson-Amoah (sr., 6-5, 13.4), F Andrew Posch (sr., 6-3, 5.6)

Key reserves: F Julian Spigner (sr., 6-3, 6.7), F Anthony Jones (soph., 6-4, 1.5).

About the Crimson Tide

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (9th season)

How they got here: Beat No. 9 Lehighton 52-31 in Friday's quarterfinals

Probable starting lineup: G Tanner Gerchak (sr., 5-7, 2.8 ppg), G Maldeen Thomas (sr., 6-1, 11.0), F Jordan Melochick (sr., 6-3, 13.2), G Christian Witman (sr., 6-3, 2.9), G Jordan Abdo (jr., 5-11, 13.0)

Key reserves: G Justin Abdo (jr., 5-11, 1.3), F Ian Renninger (soph., 6-7, 7.3), G Patrick Schenk (sr., 6-3, 5.6)

Game notes: Fraction led the Golden Hawks with 17 points in their quarterfinal victory, while Tillett added 12. ... Golden Hawks were down 33-30 entering the fourth quarter before going on a 13-0 run to take the lead for good. Fraction scored seven straight points during the run. ... Jordan Abdo had 11 points in quarterfinal-round victory, while Witman and Melochick added 10 apiece. Witman's 10 points were a career high. Crimson Tide led 11-10 after the first quarter and then held a 41-21 scoring advantage the rest of the game. ... Hawks, who were 3-19 last season, finished third in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Steel Division standings and lost to Parkland 65-51 in first round of league playoffs. ... Golden Hawks will play either an up-tempo game or run their offense out of half-court sets, depending on the opposition. ... Crimson Tide like to wear teams down with their half-court, man-to-man defense. ... Melochick, who is the only returning starter from last season, needs five points to reach 1,000 for his career.

What's next?: Winner advances to Friday's District 11 Class AAA championship game vs. the winner of No. 3 Blue Mountain and No. 2 Salisbury. Winner earns PIAA playoff berth. Loser takes on Blue Mountain-Salisbury loser Friday in consolation game. Loser can qualify for PIAA playoffs with win in Friday's consolation game.

Crimson Tide Rolls to a 52 - 31 victory over Lehighton

Improves to 25 - 0 

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Pottsville boys dump Lehighton


By Leroy Boyer

Published: February 20, 2016


MINERSVILLE - The Pottsville boys' basketball team doesn't have a player that jumps off a stat sheet.

There isn't a player averaging 20 points a game, one that's being pursued by NCAA Division I college coaches or one that's scored 1,000 career points.

Instead, the Crimson Tide do it with defense, shutting down the opponent's top scorers, creating points off turnovers and scoring in transition.

Offensively, somebody different steps up every game in what has become a balanced attack.

All of that was the case Friday in a 52-31 rout of Lehighton in a District 11 Class AAA quarterfinal at Minersville Area High School's Fitzpatrick Gymnasium.

Jordan Abdo led a trio of double-digit scorers with 11 points, Christian Witman scored a season-high 10 and the Crimson Tide forced 16 turnovers to improve to 25-0 overall.

Top-seeded Pottsville will face No. 5 Bethlehem Catholic, a 55-46 winner over Allentown Central Catholic, in Tuesday's semifinals at a site and time to be determined.

"We have a bunch of guys that can do a bunch of things," said Witman, who entered the game averaging 2.6 points per game. "We all bring what we have to the table every single night. Sometimes it's points, sometimes it's steals, sometimes it's rebounds.

"We just go out there every single play and play as hard as we can."

Abdo was the guy who stepped up in the first half, scoring six of his points in a 16-6 run that put the Crimson Tide up 25-16 at intermission.

Lehighton (14-10) grabbed a 10-9 lead late in the first quarter on a pair of free throws by Damian Mele before Pottsville went on a quick 6-0 spurt to take control. Jordan Melochick scored on a drive, Abdo hit a jumper and Maldeen Thomas converted a steal into a layup.

Pottsville forced 11 turnovers in the first half, with Thomas scoring seven of his nine points.

"I thought Maldeen Thomas played with a ton of energy tonight," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "Even when we were struggling offensively, his energy defensively creating transition points was big in the first half."

The Crimson Tide's goal in the first half was to drive to the basket and get Lehighton's two big men, Nick Chambers and Hunter Greene, in foul trouble. Chambers picked up his third foul with 6:56 left in the second quarter and finished with just four points, while Greene was saddled with his fourth foul with 5:33 left in the third quarter.

Neither fouled out, but the foul trouble limited their effectiveness. Greene led the Indians with nine points, scoring six in the first half and his other three on free throws in the fourth quarter.

"We wanted to get their bigs in foul trouble, because we knew they didn't have a great bench," Abdo said. "Every time we get a mismatch, we try to take advantage and score as many points as we can."

Pottsville opened the second half on a 15-3 run to put the game out of reach. Lehighton committed five turnovers in that span and hit just 1-of-8 shots.

Witman was the offensive catalyst, starting the run on a short jumper off a feed from Tanner Gerchak, then burying a pair of 3-pointers later in the run.

Witman's final 3-pointer gave Pottsville a 40-19 lead with 2:26 left in the third quarter, and Lehighton never got closer than 16 points the rest of the way.

"I'm usually a role player. Play good defense, get on the floor," Witman said. "Ten points is my highest scoring game all year."

Added Mullaney: "We tell our guys that if they're confident, shoot it. It's easier to do it within the flow of an offense. He's played well for us all year, distributing the ball and defensively. It's great to see him hit a couple of shots in a big game tonight."

Melochick finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for Pottsville and needs just five more points to reach 1,000 for his career. He also drew the defensive assignment on Chambers, who scored 13 and 12 points in the two Schuylkill League Division I contests between the teams earlier this season.

"Their defense is fantastic," Lehighton coach Rich Oertner said. "I don't think they're a great offensive team. I think they're a fantastic defensive team, and that's where their scoring comes from. They just wear you down."

Game Summary

District 11 Class AAA Quarterfinals

At Minersville

LEHIGHTON (31) - McDowell 2 0-0 5, Zwetolitz 2 0-1 5, Mele 1 2-3 4, Chambers 1 2-2 4, Greene 3 3-5 9, Venuto 0 1-2 1, Carpenter 1 0-1 2, Howland 0 1-2 1. Totals 10 9-16 31.

POTTSVILLE (52) - Gerchak 1 0-0 2, Thomas 4 1-4 9, Melochick 5 0-0 10, Witman 4 0-0 10, Jo. Abdo 5 1-4 11, Ju. Abdo 1 0-0 2, Renninger 2 0-0 4, Schenk 2 0-0 4, O'Pake 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0, Pellish 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 2-8 52.

Leh. (14-9) 10 6 6 9 - 31

Potts. (24-0) 11 14 15 12 - 52

3-point FGs: McDowell, Zwetolitz, Witman 2

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Crimson Tide plays Lehighton Indians

This Friday at Minersville in the First Round of District XI AAA

2016 Schuylkill League Champions 

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Crimson Tide win another Schuylkill League title


By Mike Carnahan

Published: February 13, 2016

Jordan Melochick has had the opportunity to enjoy plenty of championships during his career for the Pottsville boys' basketball team.

He got to be a part of another Friday night. This one was just a little bit more special.

Melochick, a senior playing in his final game at Martz Hall, recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds to help the Crimson Tide roll past Blue Mountain 65-47 for their second straight Schuylkill League boys' title and sixth in seven years.

Pottsville has appeared in seven consecutive league finals and has won 16 titles overall. The only loss during the recent run was a 45-44 defeat to Mahanoy Area in the 2014 title game.

Melochick, who's been a four-year starter for the Crimson Tide, has had a hand in Pottsville's last three league championships.

"This one feels a little bit better because I am a senior this year," Melochick said. "I was just trying to be a leader for everybody else and pave the way for them."

There was some drama in the semifinals Thursday after Pottsville (24-0), the Division I champs, fell behind by 10 points early in the second quarter and eight early in the third against Division III champ Shenandoah Valley. A big second half carried the Crimson Tide to a 62-45 victory.

There was no such drama Friday.

Pottsville took the lead for good at 9-8 on a putback by Ian Renninger with 1:53 remaining in the first

quarter. The Crimson Tide then went on a 17-6 run to end the first half to go up 31-18 at halftime. Pottsville increased its advantage to 46-30 at the end of the third quarter.

Melochick has quietly put together a solid career for Pottsville, playing along side players such as Travis Blankenhorn and Eli Nabholz. Melochick was the only returning starter for Pottsville this season, and has compiled the best offensive season of his career. He came into Friday's game leading the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game.

The results on the court haven't changed a bit, either. The Crimson Tide are still kings of the Schuylkill League.

"All the time we put in the offseason," Melochick said of the keys to the season. "We play together all the time and that really helped us a lot throughout the season."

Melochick was one of four Pottsville players that scored in double figures Friday. Junior Jordan Abdo had 18 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Ian Renninger came off the bench to add a season-high 17 points and seven boards. Maldeen Thomas also had 10 points and five rebounds for the Crimson Tide.

Senior Mark Chelius led the Eagles (19-5), playing in their first league championship game since 2007, with 18 points. The Division I wild card, Blue Mountain had been able to stay with Pottsville during their two regular-season meetings this season, but that wasn't the case Friday.

The Eagles finished the night 14-of-37 (38 percent) from the floor and were outmuscled on the boards as Pottsville held a 28-14 rebounding edge.

"Tonight, Pottsville took it to us," Blue Mountain coach Dustin Werdt said. "They played well, they shot the ball well, they attacked the basket. They did everything offensively you want a team to do."

The Crimson Tide were 23-of-40 (58 percent) from the floor Friday, including a 5-of-8 showing from 3-point land. All five of the 3-pointers came in the first half as Pottsville hit on 5-of-7. Thomas had two 3s in the first half for the Crimson Tide, with his second coming on a step-back shot from the corner with 2:52 left in the half that gave Pottsville a 24-15 lead.

Tanner Gerchak, Patrick Schenk and Abdo also had 3s in the first 16 minutes for the Crimson Tide. Abdo's 3 from the wing came with 1:14 remaining in the first half to put Pottsville up 30-18.

"We were pretty selective shooting them," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "It is one thing just to throw them up but if we can run some offense, get the ball moving a little bit, try to work inside out, you have a better chance that those are going to go in."

Melochick scored the Crimson Tide's first points of the second half on a drive down the lane. He later another drive down the lane at 3:24 to make it 39-23.

Pottsville built its biggest lead of the night to that point with 6:16 to go in the game after Abdo knocked two foul shots in a 1-and-1 situation, making it 52-30.

"We really had an emphasis on we really needed to get back to winning every quarter," Mullaney said. "In the past couple of weeks, we've been making runs that are good enough to get wins, but we are not winning every quarter. That is something we always prided ourselves in years past and everybody bought into that tonight. In each quarter, we were pretty consistent."

Game Summary

Schuylkill League Boys' Championship

At Martz Hall

BLUE MOUNTAIN (47) - Puzzi 1 0-0 2, Kerstetter 0 0-0 0, Welsh 0 0-0 0, Lewis 4 0-0 9, Albertini 2 2-2 7, Chelius 5 6-7 18, Zerbe 1 5-8 7, Hoynoski 0 0-1 0, Biever 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 13-18 47.

POTTSVILLE (65) - Ju. Abdo 0 0-0 0, Gerchak 1 0-0 3, Thomas 3 2-4 10, Melochick 3 5-7 11, Witman 0 0-1 0, Jo. Abdo 6 5-5 18, Renninger 8 1-3 17, Schenk 2 1-2 6. Totals 23 14-22 65.

BM (19-5) 8 10 12 17 - 47 Pot (24-0) 12 19 15 19 - 65

3-point FGs: Lewis, Albertini, Chelius 2, Gerchak, Thomas 2, Jo. Abdo, Schenk

 

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Renninger's play off bench key for Tide


By Leroy Boyer

Published: February 13, 2016

Ian Renninger's job in Friday's Schuylkill League boys' basketball championship game was simple.

Come off the bench, spell the Pottsville starters for a few minutes, play tough defense and crash the boards.

The production the Crimson Tide got out of the 6-foot-7 sophomore was well beyond their expectations.

Renninger scored a season-high 17 points, pulled down seven rebounds and recorded three blocks in Pottsville's 65-47 rout of Blue Mountain at Martz Hall.

Dominating the middle on both ends of the floor, Renninger turned the fourth quarter into the Schuylkill League Dunk Contest, throwing down three slams as Pottsville (24-0) won its second straight Schuylkill League boys' title and sixth in seven years.

"Ian we kind of look at as another starter for us, he's so talented. He plays starter's minutes," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "Tonight he was huge.

"His offensive rebounding in the first half ... that was so critical for us offensively. He also had some blocks on the other end."

Renninger, Patrick Schenk and Justin Abdo were part of a Crimson Tide bench that produced 23 points and had a big hand in Pottsville's first-half success.

All three entered the game midway through the first quarter and had an immediate impact.

Schenk, a 6-3 senior, drained a triple from the top of the key as part of a 6-0 run that gave Pottsville a quick 7-2 lead.

Abdo, a 5-11 junior and the twin brother of starter Jordan Abdo, took care of the ballhandling duties when senior guard Tanner Gerchak got into foul trouble.

"As a bench, we try to come in and do what the starters do," said Schenk, who finished with six points. "No let-off. Keep it the same all the time.

"Coach lets us shoot if we're confident. It feels great to make any type of contribution, especially in a championship game like this."

Added Mullaney: "Patrick Schenk has hit big shots for us all year. He really understands our system and has gotten better and better as a defender. We're always comfortable with him."

Renninger's initial job was to contain Blue Mountain's center, 6-7 sophomore Jakob Biever. Biever scored a pair of baskets on a layup and a hook shot as part of a 6-0 run that gave Blue Mountain an 8-7 lead with 2:19 left in the first quarter.

Renninger not only contained Biever, but the Pottsville defense didn't let him score the rest of the game.

Renninger, meanwhile, scored consecutive baskets off offensive rebounds late in the first quarter to give Pottsville a 12-8 lead after one frame, then added another recycled basket in the second quarter.

His buckets were part of a concentrated effort by Pottsville to dominate the glass, get offensive rebounds and create second-chance scoring opportunities.

Renninger's second-quarter bucket started a 14-4 run to close the first half that gave Pottsville a 31-18 halftime lead.

"The kid is a great athlete. He's got size, he can jump. He does a great job attacking the rim for offensive boards," Blue Mountain coach Dustin Werdt said of Renninger.

"A lot of their offensive rebounds came because we got beat off the dribble and we had to help with our big guy, and (Renninger) crashed. Give him credit. He did a great job."

Jordan Abdo (18 points) and Jordan Melochick (11 points, 12 rebounds) took over the game in the second half for Pottsville, helping the Crimson Tide extend their lead to 52-30 early in the fourth.

That's when Renninger stole the limelight and excited a paid crowd of 2,626.

His first dunk came off a feed from Melochick with 4:50 left. He followed that with a layup, then added two more dunks off perfect passes from Gerchak and Jordan Abdo.

All three slams fired up a boisterous Pottsville student section that was right above the Tide's basket and put an exclamation point on another Schuylkill League championship.

"It just comes. I don't really try for it, it just happens," Renninger said of his dunks. "I'm not going to lie ... it's pretty cool dunking in front of all these people. It was awesome."

 

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Pottsville - Blue Mountain Highlights


Schuylkill League Boys' Basketball Championship Preview Capsule


H.S. BOYS BASKETBALL: Schuylkill League Championship Preview Capsule

Published: February 12, 2016

 


Schuylkill League Boys' Basketball Championship Preview Capsule

Blue Mountain (19-4) vs. Pottsville (23-0)

When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Martz Hall, Pottsville

Tickets: $5 for adults, $3 for students/senior citizens in advance at competing schools. All tickets $5 at door

 

About Blue Mountain

Head coach: Dustin Werdt (13th season)

Previous league championship game appearances (since 1985): Two overall, two titles (2003, 2007)

Last appearance in league championship game: 2007 - Beat Mahanoy Area 48-46

Team statistics: Offense (62.8 points per game), defense (46.2)

Probable starting lineup: G Mark Chelius (sr., 5-8, 16.6 ppg), G Aaron Albertini (jr., 6-2, 10.4), G-F Brayden Lewis (jr., 5-11, 10.1), F-C Connor Kerstetter (jr., 6-2, 2.9), C Jakob Biever (soph., 6-7, 8.0)

Key reserves: G-F Christian Puzzi (sr., 6-1, 4.1), G Spencer Welsh (jr., 6-0, 2.2), G-F Mason Zerbe (jr., 6-3, 4.3)

 

About Pottsville

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (9th season)

Previous Schuylkill League championship game (since 1985): 13 overall, 11 titles (1985, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015)

Last appearance in league title game: 2015 - Beat Tamaqua 33-28 in overtime in title game

Team statistics: Offense (59.8 points per game), defense (34.6)

Probable starting lineup: G Tanner Gerchak (jr., 5-11, 2.9 ppg), G Maldeen Thomas (sr., 6-1, 11.1), F Jordan Melochick (sr., 6-3, 13.4), G Christian Witman (sr., 6-3, 2.7), G Jordan Abdo (jr., 5-11, 12.9)

Key reserves: F Ian Renninger (soph., 6-7, 6.9), G Patrick Schenk (sr., 6-3, 5.7), G Justin Abdo (jr., 5-11, 1.3)

 

Game notes

Third meeting between the two Division I rivals this season. The Crimson Tide won first match-up 60-47 at Blue Mountain on Dec. 15 and the second 57-49 at Martz Hall on Jan. 18. ... Jordan Abdo had scored 34 points during the Crimson Tide's two wins over the Eagles this season, while Melochick has 30, including 21 in the second meeting. ... Chelius has 23 points in the Eagles' two meetings with Pottsville, including 20 in the Jan. 18 contest. ... The Eagles are only one of six teams this season to score 45 or more points in a game against the Crimson Tide. ... The Eagles were the last Schuylkill League Division I team to beat the Crimson Tide, winning 51-33 on Jan. 27, 2014, at Blue Mountain. Since then, the Crimson Tide have gone 59-4 overall, including the postseason. ... Crimson Tide went undefeated during the regular season for the second consecutive year, winning 47 straight regular-season games since loss to Eagles in 2014. ... Thomas leads the Tide in 3-pointers with 37, while Jordan Abdo had 34. ... Albertini has 42 3-pointers for the Eagles, with Chelius hitting 33. ... This will be the first time the Crimson Tide and Eagles have met in a league championship game, according to available records that date to 1985.

- Compiled by Mike Carnahan

Pottsville - Shenandoah Highlights


H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Crimson Tide down Shenandoan Valley to reach Schuylkill League finals


By Mike Carnahan

Published: February 12, 2016

With 1:56 to go Thursday night, two "It's all over" chants broke out from the Pottsville student section at Martz Hall.

The Crimson Tide were in the process of finishing off their 19th double-digit victory of the season. It was quite a turnaround from where the night started.

Jordan Abdo had a big second half on both ends of the floor, finishing with a game-high 19 points, as Pottsville overcame Shenandoah Valley 62-45 in the Schuylkill League boys' basketball semifinals.

The Blue Devils (16-7), the Division III champs, had upset on their minds when they led 23-13 early in the second quarter and 38-30 early in the second half.

That's when Pottsville's defense showed up.

The Crimson Tide (23-0), the Division I champs, held Shenandoah Valley to nine second-half points. Pottsville took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter and finished the game on a 19-2 run to reach the league title game for the seventh straight year.

The Crimson Tide will look to win their sixth title since 2010 at 7:30 tonight against a familiar opponent in Blue Mountain (19-4). The Eagles, the Division I wild card, beat Division II champ Minersville 63-55 in Thursday's other semifinal.

"We weren't worried at all,"Abdo said about the halftime deficit. "We are not used to being down, but we weren't worried about it. We just kept doing our thing and kept grinding it out until we got a victory."

The Crimson Tide have been involved in plenty of blowout wins this season, but have faced their share of adversity, too. The most recent was Feb. 3 against Berks Catholic when Pottsville trailed 37-33 with 1:53 left in the game. But the Crimson Tide battled back as Abdo tied the game on a 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, and Pottsville went on to win 58-52 in double overtime.

"That was an important win for us," Abdo said. "That helped us get a feel for what the playoffs are going to be like and know every game is going to be close. It is not going to be a blowout anymore."

That experience paid off Thursday.

In his first season as a starter, Abdo was one of the heroes for the Crimson Tide on Thursday.

Abdo scored 15 points in the second half, including eight in the fourth quarter. The junior guard had only one field goal over the final eight minutes, but was 5-of-7 from the foul line as he drove to the basket,

drawing fouls to put him on the line. Abdo's two foul shots after a drive with 7:39 left in the game gave Pottsville the lead for good at 45-43.

"We figured they were starting to play man-to-man on us so we could go to the basket more, draw some fouls and get some easy buckets," Abdo said.

Abdo also came through on the defensive end.

Shenandoah Valley's Joel Santana, the Schuylkill League's leading scorer who came in averaging 22.2 points per game, scored 12 points over the first 10 minutes of the game before he went to the bench with his third personal foul with 5:40 left in the first half.

Santana, who finished the night with 17 points, returned for second half with Abdo matched up on the talented junior guard. Santana scored only five second half points, shooting 2-of-8 from the floor in the final 16 minutes.

Jordan Melochick was originally supposed to guard Santana for most of the night, but when he got into foul trouble in first half, Abdo ended up with the responsibility.

Overall, Shenandoah Valley shot just 3-of-15 from floor in the second half, including an 0-of-7 showing from 3-point land.

The Blue Devils were held scoreless for a 6-minute, 20-second stretch of the second half.

"I think Jordan Abdo did a really nice job on Santana," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "We just chased guys off the 3-point line much better. That was the difference in the game."

Maldeen Thomas also had a big second half for Pottsville, scoring 10 of his 15 points to go along with five rebounds. Melochick added 11 points and six boards.

If the Blue Devils had any hopes for upset, they needed to get off to good start. That's what happened.

Shenandoah Valley was 8-of-14 shooting in the first quarter, including two 3-pointers apiece from Jermaine McNeil and Santana, while Ian McCole, who finished the game with 11 points, added another. A drive by Santana down the lane early in the second quarter gave Shenandoah Valley a 23-13 lead.

"We abandoned our dribble hand-off offense because we figured they would be ready for that," Shenandoah Valley head coach Robbie Miller said. "We wanted to swing the ball around the perimeter and look for back cuts for open layups. When we did go dribble hand-off we stepped back and knocked down a lot of big 3s. We found some openings we saw on the film and our kids did a great job of making it happen."

The Blue Devils also led 38-30 on a slash down the lane by Santana at 7:24 of the third quarter.

That's when Pottsville began its comeback, going on a 13-5 run to tie the game at 43 after three frames.

Game Summary

Schuylkill League Semifinal

At Martz Hall

SHENANDOAH VALLEY (45) - Raisner 0 0-0 0, McNeil 3 0-0 9, Santana 7 1-2 17, I. McCole 4 0-0 11, Alvarez 2 0-0 4, Creasy 0 0-0 0, Chagolla 1 0-0 2, Michalik 0 0-0 0, Cabrera 0 0-0 0, Allegretta 0 0-0 0, White 0 2-2 2, Uholik 0 0-0 0, Kosar 0 0-0 0, McCole 0 0-0 0, T. McCole 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 3-4 45.

POTTSVILLE (62) - Ju. Abdo 0 0-1 0, Gerchak 1 0-0 3, Thomas 7 0-0 15, Melochick 4 3-4 11, Witman 3 1-1 7, Jo. Abdo 5 7-10 19, Renninger 3 1-4 7, Schenck 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 12-20 62.

SV (16-7) 21 15 7 2 - 45 Pot (23-0) 13 17 13 19 - 62

3-point FGs: McNeil 3, Santana 2, I. McCole 3, Gerchak, Thomas, Jo. Abdo

 

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Pottsville Beats Shenandoah Valley 62 - 45 to move to 23 - 0.
The Crimson Tide will Play Blue Mountain in the Schuylkill League Finals 

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Crimson Tide plays Thursday Night at 7:30 at Martz Hall

 

Schuylkill League Boys’ Basketball Semifinals Preview Capsules

Thursday, February 11, at Martz Hall

Blue Mountain (18-4, Division I wild card)

vs. Minersville (19-3, Division II champs), 6 p.m.

About Blue Mountain

Head coach: Dustin Werdt (13th season)

Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1985): Five overall, two titles (2003, 2007)

Last appearance: 2014 — Lost to Mahanoy Area 49-35 in semifinals

League rankings: Offense (2nd, 60.0 points per game), defense (4th, 45.8 ppg)

Probable starting lineup: G Mark Chelius (sr., 5-8, 16.4 ppg), G Aaron Albertini (jr., 6-2, 10.3), G-F Brayden Lewis (jr., 5-11, 10.2), F-C Connor Kerstetter (jr., 6-2, 2.8), C Jakob Biever (soph., 6-7, 8.0)

Key reserves: G-F Christian Puzzi (sr., 6-1, 4.3), G Spencer Welsh (jr., 6-0, 2.3), G-F Mason Zerbe (jr., 6-3, 4.1)

About Minersville

Head coach: Cliff Woodford (9th season)

Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1985): Four

Last appearance: 2015 — Lost to Tamaqua 59-53 in semifinals

League rankings: Offense (4th, 58.2), defense (2nd, 43.3)

Probable starting lineup: G Jon McBreen (sr., 6-3, 8.0 ppg), G Chris Leshko (sr., 6-3, 15.1), G Adam Stoppie (sr., 6-0, 4.9), G Shane Hoffman (jr., 5-10, 6.3), G David Graham (sr., 6-0, 12.9)

Key reserves: F Aaron Snyder (jr., 6-0, 2.7), G Keidre Taylor (soph., 5-10, 1.8), G Lucas Rinaldo (jr., 5-10 2.2)

Shenandoah Valley (16-6, Division III champ)

vs. Pottsville (22-0, Division I champ), 7:30 p.m.

About Shenandoah Valley

Head coach: Robbie Miller (6th season)

Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1985): None

League rankings: Offense (1st, 61.2), defense (11th, 51.0)

Probable starting lineup: G Joel Santana (jr., 5-10, 22.2 ppg), G Jermaine McNeil (jr., 6-1, 12.5), F Ian McCole (sr., 6-1, 11.1), F Isaiah Alvarez (jr., 6-2, 3.3), F Josh White (sr., 6-3, 4.1)

Key reserves: G Ricardo Chagolla (sr., 5-11, 5.0), F Bobby Ryan (jr., 6-1, 1.1)

About Pottsville

Head coach: Dave Mullaney (9th season)

Previous Schuylkill League playoff appearances (since 1979): 18 overall, 15 titles (1980, 1981, 1983, 1984,1985, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015)

Last appearance: 2015 — Beat Tamaqua 33-28 in overtime in title game

League rankings: Offense (6th, 57.0), defense (1st, 34.1)

Probable starting lineup: G Tanner Gerchak (jr., 5-11, 2.9 ppg), G Maldeen Thomas (sr., 6-1, 10.9), F Jordan Melochick (sr., 6-3, 13.5), G Christian Witman (sr., 6-3, 2.5), G Jordan Abdo (jr., 5-11, 12.6)

Key reserves: F Ian Renninger (soph., 6-7, 7.0), G Patrick Schenk (sr., 6-3, 5.9), G Justin Abdo (jr., 5-11, 1.4)

— Compiled by Mike Carnahan

Crimson Tide Rolls to Second Perfect Regular Season in a Row

22 - 0 

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It was a new season with almost an entirely new starting lineup. And yet the results are the same for the Pottsville boys' basketball team.

The Crimson Tide are perfect again.

Maldeen Thomas scored 15 points as Pottsville got off to a strong start and finished with an undefeated regular season for the second straight year after a 54-27 victory over Jim Thorpe in a Schuylkill League Division I contest Friday night at Martz Hall.

The win was the 47 consecutive regular-season victory for the Crimson Tide, as well as their 31st straight win in the division. Pottsville's last regular-season loss was to Blue Mountain on Jan. 27, 2014. Since then, the Crimson Tide have gone 60-2 overall. The only two were losses were to Susquenhanna Township in the second round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs in 2014 and 2015.

Thomas scored seven of his points in the first quarter Friday as Pottsville got out to a 15-1 lead after the first eight minutes. Ian Renninger added 12 points on the night for the Crimson Tide, while Jordan Abdo had eight.

Chris Micciche scored eight points to pace the Olympians, who wrap up the regular season at Marian this afternoon and then are off until the start of the District 11 Class AAA playoffs.

Pottsville, the Division I champ, takes on Division III champ Shenandoah Valley in the Schuylkill League semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Martz Hall. Division I wild card Blue Mountain faces Division II champ Minersville in the opener at 6.

 

JIM THORPE (27) - Carroll 2 0-0 6, Elmore 0 3-4 3, Micciche 4 0-1 8, Jefferson 0 0-0 0, Green 3 0-0 6, Lauer 1 0-0 2, Twardzik 0 0-0 0, Joyce 0 0-0 0, McElmoyle 0 0-0 0, Rosachac 1 0-0 2. Totals 11 3-5 27.

POTTSVILLE (54) - Ju. Abdo 1 0-0 2, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0, Thomas 6 1-3 15, Melochick 2 0-0 5, Witman 1 0-0 2, Pellish 1 0-0 2, Jo. Abdo 4 0-2 8, Renninger 6 0-3 12, Schenk 2 0-2 6, O'Pake 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 1-10 54.

JT (12-10, 8-7) 1 8 4 14 - 27 Pot (23-0, 15-0) 15 14 16 9 - 54

3-point FGs: Carroll 2, Thomas 2, Melochick, Schenk 2

JV score: Pottsville 56-25

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Senior Night 2016

Most Successful Four Years in School History!

95 - 13 - Record *** and still counting. 

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 Schuylkill League hoops playoffs set

SUNDAY, FEB. 7

Division I girls' tiebreaker, at Minersville

Blue Mountain vs. Pottsville, 2 p.m. (if needed)

TUESDAY, FEB. 9

Schuylkill Boys' Basketball semifinals

At Martz Hall, Pottsville

Blue Mountain vs. Minersville, 6 p.m.

Shenandoah Valley vs. Pottsville, 7:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 10

Schuylkill Girls' Basketball semifinals

At Martz Hall, Pottsville

Wild Card vs. Minersville, 6 p.m.

Marian vs. Division I champion, 7:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, FEB. 12

At Martz Hall, Pottsville

Schuylkill Girls' Basketball championship

Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

Schuylkill Boys' Basketball championship

Semifinal winners, 7:30 p.m.

WOW! WOW! 

Crimson Tide Wins 58-52 in Double overtime over Berks Catholic to improve to 21 - 0 

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The Pottsville boys' basketball team is one win away from its second consecutive undefeated regular season.

Jordan Abdo hit a 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to tie the game, while the Crimson Tide had a strong showing from the foul line over two overtime periods to get past Berks Catholic 58-52 in a non-league, double-overtime thriller Wednesday at Martz Hall.

Abdo, whose trey with 33.3 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 38, finished the night with 16 points. Jordan Melochick had a game-high for the Crimson Tide with 18.

Pottsville shot 16-for-23 from the foul line in the overtime periods, with eight of those free throws coming from Melochick.

Maldeen Thomas added 12 points for the Crimson Tide. Two foul shots from Thomas late in the second overtime gave Pottsville the lead for good at 54-52. He added another with 19 seconds remaining to make it 56-52.

Isaac Lutz paced the Saints, who were leading 37-33 with 1:53 left in regulation, with 14 points, while Luis Garcia added 10. Garcia's game-tying shot as time expired in the first overtime knocked the game at 46 and sent the contest to double overtime. The loss snapped Berks Catholic's 11-game winning streak.

The Crimson Tide have now won 46 consecutive regular-season games. Pottsville look to complete another perfect regular season Friday when it hosts Jim Thorpe.

 

BERKS CATHOLIC (52) -Nein 1 0-0 3, Lutz 5 3-7 14, Wilson 1 2-2 4, Twyman 0 0-0 0, Nesby 3 0-0 7, Garcia 4 2-2 10, Calloway 3 1-3 7, Rivera 1 0-2 2, Jack 2 0-0 5. Totals 20 8-16 52.

POTTSVILLE (58) - Ju. Abdo 0 0-0 0, Gerchak 0 1-2 1, Thomas 3 4-7 12, Melochick 5 8-11 18, Witman 1 0-2 2, Jo. Abdo 4 6-9 16, Renninger 2 0-0 4, Schenk 2 0-0 5. Totals 17 19-31 58.

BC (14-7) 7 13 12 6 9 5 - 52 Pott (21-0) 15 2 12 9 9 11 - 58

3-point FGs: Nein, Lutz, Nesby, Jack, Thomas 2, Jo. Abdo 2, Schenk

JV score: Berks Catholic 31-26

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POTTSVILLE CRIMSON TIDE HIGHLIGHTS

Crimson Tide moves to 20 - 0 

Pottsville 53

Lehighton 36

LEHIGHTON - Jordan Abdo netted 11 of his game-high 18 points in the second half as the Crimson Tide erased a halftime deficit to post their 45th consecutive regular-season win, defeating the Indians in a Division I contest.

Abdo made all six of his attempted free throws in the second half, tallying nine points in the decisive fourth quarter as Pottsville outscored Lehighton 19-7 in the final frame. Jordan Melochick added 10 points and Maldeen Thomas contributed nine for the Tide.

Nick Chambers paced Lehighton with 12 points.

POTTSVILLE (53) - Ju. Abdo 0 2-4 2, Gerchak 2 0-0 5, Thomas 3 2-2 9, Melochick 3 4-5 10, Witman 0 0-0 0, Jo. Abdo 5 6-6 18, Renninger 1 1-2 3, Schenk 2 0-0 6. Totals 16 15-19 53.

LEHIGHTON (36) - Troxell 0 0-0 0, McDowell 4 0-1 9, Zwetolitz 1 0-0 3, Mele 3 0-0 7, Howland 0 0-0 0, Chambers 4 4-6 12, Green 2 0-0 5. Totals 14 4-7 36.

Po (20-0, 13-0) 12 12 10 19 - 53 Le (12-9, 5-8) 13 12 4 7 - 36

3-point FGs: Gerchak, Thomas, Jo. Abdo 2, Schenk 2, McDowell, Zwetolitz, Mele, Greene

JV score: Pottsville 42-20

Crimson Tide Prepares For Lehighton - WNEP16

Crimson Tide Rolls over Tamaqua Blue Raiders 67 - 40 to Go 19 - 0 

Pottsville clinches 7th straight Division I title


From Staff Reports

Published: January 31, 2016

 

TAMAQUA - A day after an impressive win over one of the best teams in the Colonial League, the Pottsville boys' basketball team wrapped up another Schuylkill League division title Saturday afternoon.

Jordan Melochick scored 17 points as the Crimson Tide rolled past Tamaqua 67-40 to clinch their seventh consecutive Division I championship.

Ian Renninger and Patrick Schenk added 15 points apiece for the Pottsville, which knocked down nine 3-pointers in the game. The Crimson Tide, who beat Salisbury 47-27 in a non-league contest Friday, jumped out to a 40-22 lead Saturday..

Thad Zuber finished with a game-high 23 points for the Blue Raiders.

 

POTTSVILLE (67) - Ju. Abdo 1 0-0 2, Gerchak 3 0-0 7, Wood 0 0-0 0, Thomas 3 0-0 8, Melochick 6 2-4 17, Witman 0 1-2 1, Pellish 1 0-0 2, Jo. Abdo 0 0-0 0, Renninger 7 1-3 15, Schenk 6 0-0 15, O'Pake 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 4-9 67.

TAMAQUA (40) - Blaker 0 0-0 0, Wassell 1 0-0 2, Kurek 0 0-0 0, Zuber 8 4-4 23, Scott 1 0-1 2, Wargula 0 0-0 0, Rother 0 0-0 0, Murphy 0 0-0 0, Rivera 0 0-0 0, Davidson 1 0-0 2, Gregoire 4 1-3 9, Bates 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 5-8 40.

Pott (19-0, 12-0) 20 20 16 11 - 67 Tam (6-14, 4-8) 13 9 10 8 - 40

3-point FGs: Gerchak, Thomas 2, Melochick 3, Schenk 3, Zuber 3

JV score: Pottsville 43-28

Crimson Tide Moves to 18-0 with a 47-27 victory of Salisbury Falcons 

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Pottsville stifles Salisbury


by leroy boyer

Published: January 30, 2016

Non-league games in late January usually don't mean too much to basketball teams prepping for the postseason.

For Pottsville, however, Friday's tussle with the best team in the Colonial League, Salisbury, gave the Crimson Tide a chance to gauge itself against a possible district playoff opponent.

A stifling defensive effort proved Pottsville is right where it wants to be in its quest to repeat as District 11 Class AAA champ.

Jordan Melochick and Maldeen Thomas each scored 12 points and Pottsville held Salisbury to 23 percent shooting in a convincing 47-27 victory at Martz Hall.

The victory keeps Pottsville unbeaten at 18-0 and extends the Crimson Tide's regular-season win streak to 43 straight games.

"We can play with anybody in the district," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "We're really happy with the way our kids played.

"We still didn't shoot the way we wanted to shoot, especially from the free-throw line, but everything else I thought our kids did really well tonight."

What Pottsville does well is play defense, and the Crimson Tide put on a display over the final three quarters.

After the two teams battled through a pretty even first quarter, Pottsville held Salisbury to 6-for-27 shooting (22 percent) over the final 24 minutes and forced 17 turnovers.

The Tide's defense was extremely dominant for a 9-minute, 20-second stretch that covered the latter part of the second quarter and most of the third quarter.

Salisbury (17-3) was held without a field goal during that stretch, opening the second half 0-for-6 from the field with seven turnovers.

Pottsville went on a 12-1 run in that time period, expanding a 22-17 lead to 34-18 late in the third quarter. Salisbury didn't get closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

"It was a lesson in defensive intensity," Salisbury coach Jason Weaver said. "How Pottsville played on defense showed us we have to work so much harder on defense.

"It was a credit to them for their defensive effort. We couldn't get open, we couldn't run an offense, we tried everything in our repertoire to run an offense. We just struggled to get open."

Offensively, Pottsville got a balanced effort, with Thomas scoring nine of his points in the first half and Melochick scoring nine of his points in the second half.

Jordan Abdo, a regular starter who came off the bench Friday due to an injury, tallied seven of his nine points in the first half, while Ian Renninger also scored nine points.

Pottsville shot 18-for-39 (46 percent) from the field and committed just 11 turnovers.

"We have a lot of guys that can put the ball in the basket," Mullaney said. "I was really pleased with the way we ran our offense tonight. The 47 (points) didn't show it, but I thought we did some nice things.

"We had a couple of missed opportunities here and there, but we just dug in defensively and didn't give up anything easy. They had to work for everything. They had a couple of drives and kicks that hurt us, but I thought our kids played hard all night."

Melochick was the key in the second half as Pottsville outscored Salisbury 20-9. The senior forward scored most of his points on drives to the basket.

"They had a bigger kid on me, so I was just trying to be aggressive, get in the lane and make plays for myself and my teammates," Melochick said. "Try to get in the lane, get the defense to collapse, then kick it out to make threes."

Pottsville wasn't flawless, as a 7-for-18 effort from the foul line raised red flags. The Crimson Tide also gave up six offensive rebounds in the first quarter that allowed the Falcons to stay close.

What Friday's win does, however, is give confidence to a team that lacks postseason experience. Only Melochick saw extensive time in the Tide's run to the second round of the state playoffs the past two seasons.

Pottsville entered the night ranked first in the District 11 Class AAA power ratings, while Salisbury was second. ACC, Blue Mountain, Notre Dame-Green Pond, Saucon Valley, North Schuylkill, Jim Thorpe and Lehighton have also clinched berths in a loaded Class AAA district field, with Bethlehem Catholic and Northwestern Lehigh on the bubble.

The Falcons are in position to earn a first-round bye in the Colonial League playoffs, while Bangor, Notre Dame and Saucon Valley are also in title contention.

"It was a big win for us," Melochick said. "It helps our confidence to beat a team like this."

Game Summary

SALISBURY (27) - Weber 2 0-0 4, Cooperman 2 0-0 5, Reichenbach 1 4-6 7, Belletiere 1 0-0 2, Jones 2 0-0 6, Costello 1 0-0 2, Slutsky 0 1-2 1, Frankenfield 0 0-0 0, Adams 0 0-0 0, Galantini 0 0-0 0, S. Snyder 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 5-8 27.

POTTSVILLE (47) - Gerchak 0 0-1 0, Thomas 5 1-2 12, Melochick 5 1-6 12, Witman 0 1-2 1, Renninger 4 1-1 9, Ju. Abdo 0 1-2 1, Jo. Abdo 3 2-4 9, Schenk 1 0-0 3, O'Pake 0 0-0 0, Pellish 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 7-18 47.

Salis (17-3) 10 8 2 7 - 27 Potts (18-0) 13 14 7 13 - 47

3-point FGs: Cooperman, Reichenbach, Jones 2, Thomas, Melochick, Jo. Abdo, Schenk

JV score: Pottsville 41-38

 

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Pottsville Dunks Panther Valley 
54 - 20 
Moves To 17 - 0 

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Pottsville 54

Panther Valley 20

Maldeen Thomas scored eight points of his 11 points in the first quarter as the Crimson Tide clinched a seventh straight Schuylkill League playoff berth with a rout of the Panthers in a Division I game at Martz Hall.

Jordan Melochick (10) and Ian Renninger (10) combined for 14 of Pottsville’s 20 points in the second quarter.

PANTHER VALLEY (20) — Figueroa 2 0-0 5, Stanko 0 3-6 3, Micholik 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 2-4 2, Hudicka 2 4-4 10, Fisher 0 0-0 0, Blasko 0 0-0 0, Emmert 0 0-0 0. Totals 4 9-14 20.

POTTSVILLE (54) — Ju. Abdo 1 0-0 2, Gerchak 1 0-0 2, Wood 1 0-2 2, Thomas 4 0-0 11, Melochick 4 1-1 10, Witman 2 0-0 4, Pellish 1 0-0 2, Renninger 5 0-1 10, Schenk 3 2-2 9, O’Pake 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 3-6 54.

PV (5-13, 2-9) 5 6 4 5 — 20 Po (17-0, 11-0) 14 20 9 11 — 54

3-point FGs: Figueroa, Hudicka 2, Thomas 3, Melochick, Schenk

JV score: Pottsville 65-30

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Crimson Tide Holds off North Schuylkill  57 - 47 to move to 16 - 0

              

Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2016:01:20 19:35:45

ANDY MATSKO/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Jordan Abdo, left, scoops up a shot as North Schuylkill’s Tevin Murray defends during Wednesday’s game. Abdo scored 15 points to help the Crimson Tide post a 57-47 victory.

In a game decided in the final quarter, Pottsville faced one of its toughest challengers yet in North Schuylkill.

After seeing its lead shrink to two points, the Crimson Tide relied on Jordan Abdo’s seven points in the fourth period to hold off the Spartans 57-47 in a Schuylkill League Division I contest Wednesday at Martz Hall.

Abdo finished with 15 points, while Jordan Melochick led Pottsville with 18. The Tide shot 11-for-18 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to outscore the Spartans 17-9.

Maldeen Thomas added 13 points for Pottsville, which remains undefeated.

Tevin Murray led North Schuylkill with 15 points, including seven in a 20-13 third quarter, and Bobby Grigas netted 11 points.

The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was bumped up due to the threat of a possible winter storm this weekend.

NORTH SCHUYLKILL (47) — Weist 2 0-0 4, Murray 5 5-6 15, Mazur 1 0-0 3, Wood 3 0-0 9, Smith 1 1-2 4, Grigas 4 1-2 11, Jordan 0 1-4 1. Totals 16 8-14 47.

POTTSVILLE (57) — Ju. Abdo 1 0-0 3, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Thomas 3 7-8 13, Melochick 4 9-11 18, Witman 1 0-0 2, Jo. Abdo 4 6-8 15, Renninger 3 0-1 6, Schenk 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 22-28 57.

NS (8-7, 4-5) 5 13 20 9 — 47 Pott (16-0, 10-0) 11 16 13 17 — 57

3-point FGs: Mazur, Wood 3, Smith, Grigas 2, Ju. Abdo, Melochick, Jo. Abdo

JV score: Pottsville 49-23 

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Crimson Tide Schenks's Blue Mountain 57-49

Moves to 15-0 

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H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Crimson Tide pull away late to down Blue Mountain



Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2016:01:18 19:58:12

JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Maldeen Thomas drives along the baseline as Blue Mountain’s Mark Chelius defends during Monday’s Schuylkill League Division I game.

Photo: JACQUELINE DORMER, License: N/A, Created: 2016:01:18 19:52:10

JACQUELINE DORMER/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville's Jordan Abdo controls the ball during their game against Blue Mountain during the Schuylkill League Division I boys' basketball game at Martz Hall in Pottsville on Monday evening, January 18, 2016.                                                           

Pottsville’s perfect season and division lead were in serious jeopardy Monday night.

But the Crimson Tide saved their best for last and the result was another win.

Senior Jordan Melochick scored eight of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead bucket, as Pottsville pulled away late and downed Blue Mountain 57-49 in a Schuylkill League Division I contest at Martz Hall.

Monday’s win moved the Crimson Tide (15-0, 9-0 D-I) another step closer to their seventh consecutive division title and another spot in the Schuylkill League playoffs. Pottsville now has a two-game lead over the Eagles (12-4, 7-2 D-I) in the division.

The Crimson Tide, who entered the top 10 in the City of Basketball Love State Basketball Rankings for the first time this season Monday at No. 8, saw their regular-season winning streak reach 39 games with Monday’s victory. It was also Pottsville’s 26th straight division win.

“It is always tough against Blue Mountain,” Melochick said. “It always feels good to come out with a win against them. It is always big.”

The Crimson Tide won the season’s first meeting 60-47 on Dec. 15. The Eagles rallied from a 30-17, third-quarter deficit and cut it to four in

the fourth quarter before the Crimson Tide finished on an 11-2 run.

Blue Mountain trailed 40-30 entering the fourth Monday and tied the game twice, the final time at 42 with 3:03 remaining when Mark Chelius hit two free throws after he was fouled on a drive.

The Eagles called a timeout, and Pottsville ran a set play for Melochick. He got a pass down low from Ian Renninger, and shot with his right hand. The ball hit the backboard and rolled around before finally going in to give the Crimson Tide the lead for good with 2:38 left in the game.

“We ran a play for me and I just sealed him (the defender) and we got an easy bucket out of it,” Melochick said.

Melochick’s score started a game-ending 15-7 run for Pottsville. The field goal was only one for Melochick in the fourth quarter, as he went 6-for-6 from the foul line down the stretch. After going 2-for-14 from the free-throw line over the first three quarters, the Crimson Tide were a perfect 10-for-10 in the fourth.

“That’s a play we run to try and get him the ball in the post,” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said of Melochick’s go-ahead bucket. “They did a nice job of taking away from the wing, but were able to get a high-low out of it. We made a nice play there.

“We didn’t execute for a lot of the game, but there were some times down the stretch we were able to execute.”

Jordan Abdo finished with 16 points for Pottsville, while Patrick Schenck came off the bench to add 14 points. Melochick also grabbed eight rebounds.

The Crimson Tide were 18-of-44 (41 percent) from the field Monday, including a 9-of-17 (53 percent) performance from 3-point land.

Abdo and Schenck had four 3s apiece. Three of Schenck’s treys came in the second half, with his final 3 following Melochick’s go-ahead bucket that gave Pottsville’s a 47-42 advantage with 1:52 remaining.

“This kid has put in so much time, I am just so proud of him and so happy for him because I think he won us this game tonight,” Mullaney said. “He has put as much time in as anybody who has come through our program.”

Chelius lead the Eagles with 20 points, while Brayden Lewis added 12 points and five rebounds.

Blue Mountain led by seven at 21-14 midway through the second quarter after a 3-pointer from the wing by Aaron Albertini. The Eagles’ last lead came when Lewis hit a foul-line jumper with 5:02 left in the third quarter, making it 29-28.

The Eagles slowly crawled back in the game to tie it twice in fourth quarter.

A pair of free throws by Lewis tied it at 40 with 3:46 remaining. After Melochick hit two foul shots after he was fouled on a back-down move in the paint, Chelius tied it one final time at 42 with 3:46 remaining.

“We were very fortunate to come away with a win,” Mullaney said. “We did not do the things we were focused on trying to do. We have no attention to detail right now. These guys have usually responded in the past and I hope they will again.”

Game Summary

BLUE MOUNTAIN (49) — Puzzi 0 0-0 0, Kerstetter 0 0-0 0, Welsh 1 0-0 3, Lewis 4 4-4 12, Albertini 2 0-0 6, Chelius 5 9-11 20, Zerbe 0 0-0 0, Hoynoski 0 0-0 0, Biever 3 2-2 8. Totals 15 15-17 49.

POTTSVILLE (57) — Ju. Abdo 1 0-0 2, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Melochick 6 8-11 21, Witman 0 0-0 0, Jo. Abdo 5 2-2 16, Renninger 2 0-9 4, Schenck 4 2-2 14. Totals 18 12-24 57.

BM (12-4, 7-2) 13 12 5 19 — 19 Pot (15-0, 9-0) 12 11 17 17 — 57

3-point FGs: Welsh, Albertini 2, Chelius, Melochick, Jo. Abdo 4, Schenck 4

JV score: Blue Mountain 43-41


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Crimson Tide Marsh "Melo" s Pine Grove 

Pottsville 55

Pine Grove 13

PINE GROVE - Jordan Melochick scored 24 points, including 13 in a 32-7 first half, as Pottsville steamrolled Pine Grove in Division I action.

Jordan Abdo added 11 points and Patrick Schenk had 10 for the undefeated Crimson Tide.

 

POTTSVILLE (55) - Ju. Abdo 0 0-0 0, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0, Melochick 10 2-3 24, Witman 0 0-0 0, Pellish 1 0-0 2, Jo. Abdo 5 0-0 11, Renninger 3 0-0 6, Schenk 4 0-0 10, O'Pake 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 2-3 55.

PINE GROVE (13) - Ibarra 0 1-4 1, Kreiser 0 0-0 0, Pena 0 0-0 0. A. Griffiths 1 0-0 2, Leininger 2 0-0 4, Bertasavage 0 0-0 0, C. Griffiths 0 0-0 0, Omlor 0 0-0 0, Rutledge 1 0-0 2, Snedden 1 2-2 4. Totals 5 3-6 13.

Pt (14-0, 8-0) 15 17 17 6 - 55 PG (2-14, 0-8) 2 5 4 2 - 13

3-point FGs: Melochick 2, Jo. Abdo, Schenk 2

JV score: Pottsville 60-21

Crimson Tide rolls to 13 - 0
 
 Pottsville 59

Jim Thorpe 31

JIM THORPE - Jordan Abdo bagged three 3-pointers and scored 17 points as the Crimson Tide pulled away for a Division I rout of the Olympians to remain unbeaten.

Jordan Melochick added 17 points, while Ian Renninger contributed 10 for Pottsville.

Chris Micciche finished with nine points to pace Jim Thorpe.

POTTSVILLE (59) - Ju. Abdo 1 0-0 2, Gerchak 3 1-2 8, Wood 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Melochick 5 7-8 17, Witman 0 0-0 0, Pellish 0 0-0 0, Jo. Abdo 6 2-3 17, Renninger 4 2-4 10, Schenk 2 0-0 5, O'Pake 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 12-17 59.

JIM THORPE (31) - Carroll 0 1-2 1, Elmore 2 2-2 6, Micciche 3 2-2 9, Jefferson 0 0-0 0, Green 4 0-0 8, Lauer 1 0-0 2, Twardzik 0 0-0 0, Joyce 0 0-0 0, McElmoyle 1 0-0 3, Rosahac 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 5-6 31.

Pott (13-0, 7-0) 13 14 15 17 - 59 JT (8-6, 4-3) 11 4 9 7 - 31

3-point FGs: Jo. Abdo 3, Gerchak, Schenk, Micciche, McElmoyle


H.S. BOYS BASKETBALL: Crimson Tide down Shamokin to remain undefeated


By Mike Carnahan

Published: January 12, 2016

    COAL TOWNSHIP - Pottsville's bid for a second consecutive undefeated regular season took another step forward Monday evening.

Muldeen Thomas had a game-high 18 points to pace three Pottsville players in double figures, while the defense turned in another stellar effort in a 52-38 non-league victory over previously undefeated Shamokin.

Jordan Melochick added 12 points and Jordan Abdo had 10 as the Crimson Tide (12-0) won their 37th consecutive regular-season contest. There is still plenty of basketball remaining, starting at Jim Thorpe tonight, that will complete the first half of Pottsville's Schuylkill League Division I schedule. The Crimson Tide still have another go-round through the division, plus a date with currently undefeated Salisbury (12-0) on Jan. 30 at Martz Hall.

For now, the Crimson Tide were able to enjoy one of their biggest wins of the season.

"I think it a huge win for our program." Thomas said. "It was just a hard-fought game from both teams and I am glad we came out with a victory.

"It is definitely the biggest win of the season for me. It is just a huge win."

Monday's game was a matchup of two former Schuylkill League Division I rivals who are currently both others to watch in Class AAA in the latest City of Basketball Love State Rankings. Although it was hardly easy, it wasn't really all that close of a game, either.

Pottsville's defense led the way again. Shamokin (12-1) came in

averaging 62.7 points per game, but didn't come close to hitting that Monday. The Indians' previous low mark was 48 in their season opener against Hershey on Dec. 4.

Shamokin was 15-of-50 (30 percent) from the floor Monday, and was held to five points in both the first and third quarters. It was the ninth time this season Pottsville held an opponent to 40 or fewer points in a game.

"We played well tonight," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. We have not been playing nearly that well, but I thought our kids responded tonight.

"I don't want to single one guy out because Shamokin's guards are so talented. You are putting 3-4 kids out there at a time who can all shoot the 3 and all go off the dribble and all make plays. It was a collective effort on the defensive end."

Offensively, the Crimson Tide were efficient and patient against Shamokin's changing defensive looks, shooting 18-of-34 (53 percent) from the field.

Thomas, who added five rebounds, did most of his damage in the first half with 12 points. He had the game's opening points on a reverse, baseline layup and added a jumper in the lane and 3-pointer from the corner as Pottsville built a 12-2 advantage after Thomas' trey.

Thomas added another layup and 3-pointer in the second quarter. His 3-pointer in the quarter was part of a key 12-6 run to end the first half for Pottsville. Shamokin attacked the offensive glass in the second quarter and turned two offensive rebounds into 3-pointers by Jakob Weaver and Ryan Sebasovich, who led Shamokin with 14 points, that pulled the Indians to within 17-15 with 3:15 remaining in the half.

But Pottsville's run built the advantage back to 29-21 as Melochick scored the final six consecutive points on a hook shot, a shot inside and a fall-away baseline jumper with 3 seconds remaining.

Abdo opened the season half on a 3-pointer from the wing, while Melochick scored inside off a dump-down pass from Thomas. It gave Pottsville its largest lead of the game at 34-21.

"Pottsville knew what we wanted to do and on top of it they are about as fundamentally sound defensively as you could be," Shamokin coach Chris Zimmerman said. "We were going to have to work on offense and we knew we were going to have to make some tough shots at times. But what was disappointing was that when we got some easy shots, we missed them. And when you play a team that defends like they do, you can't miss them because you don't know if you are going to be another open one."

Game Summary

POTTSVILLE (52) - Ju. Abdo 1 0-0 3, Gerchak 1 0-0 2, Wood 0 0-0 0, Thomas 6 4-4 18, Melochick 5 2-5 12, Witman 2 0-0 4, Jo. Abdo 2 5-7 10, Renninger 0 0-0 0, Schenck 1 0-0 3. Totals 18 11-16 52.

SHAMOKIN (38) - Sebasovich 6 0-0 14, DiRienzo 2 0-0 5, Jones 0 0-0 0, Reprich 2 1-2 6, Weaver 3 2-5 9, Donahue 2 0-1 4, Campbell 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 3-8 38.

Pot (12-0) 12 17 9 14 - 52 Sham (12-1) 5 16 5 12 - 38

3-point FGs: Ju. Abdo, Thomas 2, Jo. Abdo, Schenck, Sebasovich 2, DiRienzo, Reprich, Weaver

JV score: Pottsville 50-29


Indians hit with 1st loss


Pottsville pushes past Shamokin 52- 38 during battle of the unbeatens


BY CHUCK SOUDERS
THE NEWS-ITEM
chuck_ s@newsitem.com

Published: 1/12/2016 7:55 AM 


COAL TOWNSHIP - When undefeated teams meet in any sport, it's a good bet the one that plays better defense will win.

That was Pottsville Monday night, when the Crimson Tide took Shamokin out of its game with a stifling defensive effort on the way to a 52-38 win over the Indians in a non-league game. The Crimson Tide improved to 12-0 overall, and the Indians dropped their first game after opening the season with 12 straight wins.

Pottsville held the Indians to five points in the first quarter, repeated that effort in the third quarter and used its bigger size and heft inside to shoot almost 53 percent from the floor (18-34) against a defense which was pretty harassing in its own right. By comparison, Shamokin shot less than 30 percent (15-51), including 5-21 from 3-point range).


"I thought we defended very well tonight," said Pottsville coach David Mullaney. "They (Shamokin) are a very talented and well-coached team and I have all the respect in the world for them and their coaches. We played well tonight, and we hadn't been playing anywhere near that well the past couple games. I don't think I can point to any one guy who really played well; we got strong games collectively from three or four guys."

Shamokin came out making just 2 of 10 shots in the first quarter and the Indians seemed to press the rest of the game. They cut the lead to 42-34 early in the fourth quarter but never got closer.

"They're so fundamentally sound," Shamokin coach Chris Zimmerman said. "They know us and we know them. They do a real good job of taking you out of your comfort zone, and when that happens, then you start pressing a little bit."

Even so, had the Indians banged in a couple of buckets at certain points, either from outside or in, the game likely would have gone much closer to the wire.

"We missed, I think, four or five layups in the first half," Zimmerman said. "Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. I think we did a good job of competing. But we started to get frustrated. They were a lot tougher than we were. Physically we kind of expected that, but I thought they were mentally tougher too."

Mullaney said part of his team's strategy was to take away Shamokin's back door offense.

"When you have four guards who can all shoot and pass like they do, part of their game plan, I'm sure, was to back door us off our defense out front, and for the most part, we took that away," he said. "They rely a lot on switching screens and we worked really hard on that in practice. We had two of our best practices of the year getting ready for this game."

Seniors Muldeen Thomas and Jordan Melochick led the Crimson Tide. Thomas scored 18 points with six rebounds, hitting 6 of 9 shots, and Melochick had 12 points, four rebounds and three steals, and hit 5 of 8 shots. Jordan Abdo added 10 points and six rebounds, and every player but the last one in the game had at least one assist.

Ryan Sebasovich scored 14 points to pace Shamokin but the other seven players shot a combined 9 for 34 from the floor.

POTTSVILLE (52) - Gerchak 1 0-0 2,
Thomas 6 4-4 18, Melochick 5 2-5 12,
Witman 2 0-0 4, Jo. Abdo 2 5-7 9,
Schenk 1 0-0 3, Renninger 0 0-0 0, Ju.
Abdo 1 0-0 3, Wood 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 11-
16 52.
SHAMOKIN (38) - Sebasovich 6 0-
0 14, DiRienzo 2 0-0 5, Reiprich 2 1-2 6,
Weaver 3 2-4 9, Donahue 2 0-1 4, Taylor
0 0-0 0, Jones 0 0-0 0, Campbell 0 0-0 0.
Totals 15 3-7 38.
Pottsville (12-0)...12 17 9 14 -
52
Shamokin (12-1)... 516 5 12 -
38
3-point FGs: Pottsville (5) - Thomas
2, Jo. Abdo, Schenk, Ju. Abdo; Shamokin (5) - Sebasovich 2, DiRienzo,
Reiprich, Weaver.
JV score: Pottsville

 

Roll Tide-Click on link for Highlights of Pottsville-Shamokin Game

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Crimson Tide continues it's Winning Ways moves to 11 - 0
 
 
Pottsville 54

Lehighton 45

Maldeen Thomas and Jordan Abdo scored 15 points apiece as Pottsville used a 16-4 first period to down Lehighton a in Division I contest.

Jordan Melochick added 11 points, including six in the first quarter for the undefeated Crimson Tide.

Nick Chambers led the Indians with 13 points, while Damian Mele pitched in 11.

Pottsville clinched a berth in the District 11 Class AAA playoffs with the win.

 

LEHIGHTON (45) - Troxell 1 0-0 3, Schaeffer 0 0-0 0, McDowell 3 0-0 8, Zwetolitz 2 2-2 8, Mele 5 0-0 11, Howland 0 0-0 0, Chambers 4 5-7 13, Greene 1 0-3 2. Totals 16 7-12 45.

POTTSVILLE (54) - Ju. Abdo 0 0-0 0, Gerchak 0 1-2 1, Wood 0 0-0 0, Thomas 5 3-7 15, Melochick 5 1-2 11, Witman 2 0-2 4, Jo. Abdo 4 7-10 15, Renninger 2 0-0 4, Schenk 2 0-0 4 Totals 20 12-23 54.

Leh (8-4, 3-3) 4 8 12 21 - 45 Pott (11-0, 6-0) 16 7 11 20 - 54

3-point FGs: Troxell, McDowell 2, Zwetolitz 2, Mele, Thomas 2

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Crimson Tide improves to 10 - 0 

Pottsville 64

Panther Valley 35

LANSFORD — Jordan Abdo’s 14 points paced a balanced effort by the Crimson Tide in a decisive Division I victory over the Panthers.

Maldeen Thomas finished with 13 points, Jordan Melochick tallied 12 and Tanner Gerchak notched nine for Pottsville, which remained unbeaten.

Anthony Micholik knocked down five 3-pointers to lead Panther Valley with 15 points.

POTTSVILLE (64) — Ju. Abdo 0 0-0 0, Gerchak 4 0-0 9, Wood 1 0-0 2, Thomas 4 2-2 13, Melochick 4 4-4 12, Witman 1 0-0 2, Pellish 0 0-0 0, Jo. Abdo 6 0-0 14, Renninger 2 2-3 6, Schenk 2 1-1 6, O’Pake 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 9-10 64.

PANTHER VALLEY (35) — Figueroa 0 0-0 0, Rodriguez 0 0-0 0, Stanko 0 0-0 0, Micholik 5 0-0 15, Miller 1 0-0 2, Hudicka 2 0-0 5, Mehmeti 0 0-0 0, Fisher 1 0-0 3, Blasko 4 0-1 8, Perez 0 0-0 0, Emmert 0 0-0 0, Morgans 0 2-4 2. Totals 13 2-5 35.

Pott (10-0, 5-0) 17 17 18 12 — 64 PV (2-9, 0-5) 3 10 12 10 — 35

3-point FGs: Gerchak, Thomas 3, Jo. Abdo 2, Schenk, Micholik 5, Hudicka, Fisher

JV score: Pottsville 48-24

 


H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Crimson Tide still team to beat after season's 1st month


By Mike Carnahan

Published: January 5, 2016

It's hard to believe that the 2015-16 high school boys' basketball season is a little more than a month old. A little over a month from today, the regular season will be over and thoughts will focus on the Schuylkill League and district playoffs.

Three teams - Nativity, Tamaqua and Pine Grove - have 12 of their 22 regular-season games in. Two others - Jim Thorpe and Schuylkill Haven - are at the halfway point, while the majority of the rest have at least nine games in.

So what do we know about the Schuylkill League at this point, and what can we expect the rest of the regular season?

For starters, Pottsville (9-0) is still the team to beat, both in Division I and in the league.

The Crimson Tide are coming off a 52-31 rout at Williamsport on Saturday and enter tonight's contest at Panther Valley with 34 consecutive regular-season victories, as well as a 21-game Division I winning streak.

Perhaps Pottsville isn't as high-powered offensively as it was last season, but the 58.2 points per game the Crimson Tide are averaging are only 4.1 less than the 62.3 from 2014-15. Pottsville's attack is more balanced, with Jordan Abdo (12.8 ppg), Jordan Melochick (12.3) and Maldeen Thomas (11.4) all averaging in double figures.

What never seems to change - and this season is no different - is Pottsville's ability to play defense. The Crimson Tide are once again tops in the league, allowing 32.2 points per game, 9.5 ahead of second-ranked Lourdes (41.7). Only Blue Mountain (47) has scored more that 45 points in a game against Pottsville so far. In their last four games, the Crimson Tide have given up 40 points or less.

Eight of their nine wins have been by double digits, including Division I victories over Pine Grove (57-9) on Dec. 10, Blue Mountain (60-47) on Dec. 15, North Schuylkill (64-40) on Dec. 18 and Tamaqua (67-20) on Dec. 22.

There is still plenty of basketball left. Pottsville hosts Lehighton (8-2, 3-1 D-I) on Friday and travels to much-improved Jim Thorpe (7-4, 3-1) on Jan. 12 to finish the first half its division schedule. Blue Mountain (7-4, 3-1) on Jan. 18 and North Schuylkill (6-3, 2-2) on Jan. 23 await early in the first part of the second half. Both games are at Martz Hall.

Another big question is, can Pottsville complete a perfect regular season again? Three tough ones are left, including a pair of currently undefeated teams in Shamokin (11-0) on the road next Monday and Salisbury (8-0) at Martz Hall on Jan. 30. Pottsville also hosts Berks Catholic (3-6) on Feb. 3.

Even if nobody can beat the Crimson Tide, there is going to be plenty of exciting races to watch in the coming month, starting with the Division I wild card, where Blue Mountain, Jim Thorpe, Lehighton and North Schuylkill are in the running for a spot in the league playoffs.

In Division II, Minersville (7-2, 3-0), No. 8 in Class AA in the latest state rankings, and Lourdes (8-1, 3-0) have emerged as the top two teams. Both are two games ahead of Williams Valley (6-4, 2-2). The Miners' losses were to Jim Thorpe (Dec. 16) and Shamokin (Dec. 29), while Shamokin handed the Red Raiders their only defeat Dec. 28.

Not only does Lourdes have the second-best defense in the league, but it also has the second-ranked offense at 61.7 points per game, paced by freshman Thomas Schultz (19.8) and sophomore CJ Reichard (15.3).

Minersville senior Chris Leshko, last year's top individual 3-point shooter, leads the league again this season at 3.0 per game and is averaging 14.6 points per game. Senior David Graham also is averaging 11.8 per game for the Miners.

Fans won't have to wait much longer to see who the best is in Division II when Lourdes travels to Minersville tonight.

In Division III, Shenandoah Valley (6-2, 3-0) holds a one-game advantage over Mahanoy Area (6-4, 2-1). The Blue Devils' Joel Santana (22.7) leads the league in scoring, while Shenandoah Valley (65.2) has the league's top offense. Both of the Blue Devils' loses were to North Schuylkill.

The Golden Bears' Matt Yedsena (21.5) is second in the league in scoring, but Mahanoy Area has struggled at times. The Golden Bears had lost three in row before beating Pine Grove and Mount Carmel last week. Mahanoy Area is also allowing 50.8 points per game defensively, somewhat high for a program that has always prided itself on defense.

Shenandoah Valley won the first meeting 69-61 in overtime Dec. 22. The rematch is Feb. 1 at Shenandoah.

Marian (5-5, 2-2) is in the Division III race, too. The Colts are 1½ games out of first and have won four straight after starting 1-5.

Postseason talk

It's never too early to start looking at the district playoffs and see who's in the best position to get in.

Currently 11 teams in the league have .500 or better records, while two others are right at .500. To qualify for the District 11 playoffs, teams need to finish .500 or better either overall or in their league.

Pottsville will likely be the area's first team to qualify for the District 11 postseason. The Crimson Tide need just two more wins to get into the Class AAA field.

For the remaining 12 teams from the league that are at .500 or better, I've listed below their current record first, followed by how each needs to do the rest of the season to finish with at least an overall .500 mark.

Obviously, some teams are in better shape than others.

District 11 Class AAA - Blue Mountain (7-3, 4-8), Jim Thorpe (7-4, 4-7), Lehighton (8-2, 3-9), North Schuylkill (6-3, 5-8); District 11 Class AA - Minersville (7-2, 4-9), Williams Valley (6-4, 5-7), Schuylkill Haven (6-5, 5-6), Mahanoy Area (6-4, 5-7), Marian (5-5, 6-6); District 11 Class A - Shenandoah Valley (6-2, 5-9), Nativity (6-6, 5-5); District 4 Class A - Lourdes (8-1, 3-10).

(Carnahan is the boys' basketball beat writer for The Republican-

Herald. Follow him on Twitter

@mdcarnahan71)

Power poll

Through Jan. 2

Team Rec Pvs

1. Pottsville 9-0 1

2. Blue Mountain 7-3 4

3. Minersville 7-2 3

4. Lourdes 8-1 7

5. North Schuylkill 6-3 6

6. Shenandoah Valley 6-2 5

7. Lehighton 8-2 9

8. Mahanoy Area 6-4 2

9. Jim Thorpe 7-4 NR

10. Upper Dauphin 6-3 10

- Complied by Mike Carnahan

 

9 - 0 

Pottsville rout Williamsport to stay unbeaten

Published: January 3, 2016


WILLIAMSPORT - Pottsville may not have the scoring talent it has had in previous seasons.

But the Crimson Tide still play lock-down defense.

That defense was on full display Saturday night as Pottsville stayed unbeaten with a 52-31 rout of Williamsport in a non-league game.

The Crimson Tide forced 23 turnovers and held Williamsport to just four first-quarter points and two in the third quarter to build a 36-18 advantage after three frames.

Jordan Abdo scored a game-high 17 points, netting eight in Pottsville's 16-4, first-quarter run. Jordan Melochick added 16 points and Maldeen Thomas tallied 11 points as Pottsville iced the game with a 15-of-18 effort from the foul line.

Abdo and Ian Renninger combined to shoot 8-for-8 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, with Renninger scoring six of his eight total points in the final frame.

Stanley Scott led the Millionaires with 11 points.

 

POTTSVILLE (52) - Ju. Abdo 0 0-0 0, Gerchak 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-1 0, Thomas 5 0-1 11, Melochick 5 6-6 16, Witman 0 0-0 0, Jo. Abdo 6 5-6 17, Renninger 2 4-4 8, Schenk 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 15-18 52.

WILLIAMSPORT (31) - Reeves 1 1-2 3, Gosley 2 3-7 7, Scott 3 5-8 11, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Peterson 2 0-0 4, Hankins 1 0-0 2, Potts 0 1-4 1, Carson 0 0-0 0, Ali 1 1-4 3. Totals 10 11-25 31.

Potts (9-0) 16 8 12 16 - 52 Will (7-3) 4 10 2 15 - 31

3-point FGs: Thomas

JV score: Williamsport 56-47

Crimson Tide Stuffs The Green Wave 

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

 

H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Crimson Tide down Nativity at Battle of the Hills


Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:12:30 19:39:02               
                                                          

Nativity put up a fight during the annual Pottsville Lions Holiday City Classic Tournament “Battle of the Hills” on Wednesday night.

But in the end, Pottsville’s 3-point shooting, depth, and, of course, its defense, proved to be the difference.

Maldeen Thomas had a solid night on both ends of the floor with a game-high 17 points and seven steals as the Crimson Tide wore down the Hilltoppers during a 66-25 victory at Martz Hall.

The Crimson Tide (8-0) took control with a 19-9 scoring advantage in the second quarter that gave them a 32-17 lead at the half. Pottsville put the game away for

good in the fourth, outscoring the Hilltoppers 23-0. Thomas hit three 3-pointers in the quarter, as the Crimson Tide hit five overall in the fourth and finished 11-of-24 (46 percent) from beyond the arc in the game.

Jordan Abdo and Ian Renninger finished with 12 points apiece for Pottsville, with Renninger grabbing seven rebounds and Abdo six.

Derek James and Price Szeliga had 12 points apiece for the Hilltoppers (6-5), who were playing their third game in as many nights for the second time this season.

Wednesday was Pottsville’s first game since a 67-20 victory over Tamaqua on Dec. 22. The Crimson Tide’s performance drew mixed reviews from coach Dave Mullaney.

“I thought we did some good things,” Mullaney said. “I am frustrated with a lot of little things that we seem to think aren’t real important that are.”

He was happy with Pottsville’s defense. The Crimson Tide were able to keep James, who came in averaging around 23 points a game this season, in check. Christian Witman and Jordan Melochick shared the duties of guarding James on Wednesday.

Nativity ended up shooting 9-of-30 (30 percent) from the field and turned the ball over 25 times as Pottsville held an opponent to less than 30 points for the third time this season and the sixth it allowed less than 40.

On the down side, Mullaney said Pottsville could have done a better job attacking Nativity’s 2-3 zone. He wasn’t pleased with the 14 turnovers, either.

Still, the Crimson Tide took control in the second quarter as they opened the period on a 19-4 run to turn a 13-8 lead into a 32-12 advantage.

“The intensity level on both ends,” Mullany said of the difference during the second quarter. “Really getting up in passing lanes, being aggressive against a zone and really trying to penetrate gaps and make plays. Our guys during that span did a better job of that.”

Renninger, a sophomore, provided one of the highlights of the quarter — and the night — with a two-handed jam off a Witman steal that brought the loudest roar of the evening from the Martz Hall crowd. Renninger’s dunk rattled the backboard as he hung on the rim for a moment before ending up on his back.

He then came down and took a charge on Nativity’s next possession, one of the Hilltoppers’ nine turnovers in the quarter.

“I like a dunk as much as the next guy,” Mullaney said. “I think the greatest thing about it he was more excited with the charge than the dunk. I thought that was a good sign.”

Nativity was coming off a 74-44 loss to ELCO in the championship game of the Cardinal Classic on Tuesday after the Hilltoppers trailed by two at the half. Their only lead of the night Wednesday came on a three-point play by Szeliga that made it 6-5 with 5:25 left in the first quarter.

Still, Pottsville wasn’t able to put the Hilltoppers away for good until its big fourth quarter.

“I thought we played well, especially after coming off three nights in a row,” Nativity coach Kevin Kennedy said. “This our 11th game and five of those games have been against Triple-A schools. Complaining? No, because I would rather lose to a Triple-A school than beat a weak school.”

Game Summary

Battle of the Hills

At Martz Hall

NATIVITY (25) — James 4 2-3 12, Szeliga 5 1-1 12, Rushannon 0 0-0 0, Evans 0 0-0 0, Adams 0 0-2 0, Winter 0 0-0 0, Hunyara 0 0-0 0, Shatlasky 0 0-0 0, Nelson 0 0-0 0, White 0 1-2 1. Totals 9 4-8 25.

POTTSVILLE (66) — Gerchak 1 0-0 2, Wood 0 0-0 0, Thomas 6 1-2 17, Melochick 1 4-6 7, Witman 3 0-0 8, Pellish 0 0-0 0, Jo. Abdo 4 2-2 12, Renninger 6 0-0 12, Schenk 2 0-0 6, O’Pake 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 7-10 66.

Nat (6-5) 8 9 8 0 — 25 Pot (8-0) 13 19 11 23 — 66

3-point FGs: James 2, Szeliga, Thomas 4, Melochick, Witman 2, Jo. Abdo 2, Schenk 2

JV score: Pottsville 56-9

Nativity2015/20151230-_MG_5117.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

Nativity2015/20151230-_MG_5117.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

Nativity2015/20151230-_MG_5117.jpg
Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

Crimson Tide Runs over the Blue Raiders

 

Maldeen Thomas and Patrick Schenk paced a quartet of double-digit scorers with 13 points apiece as the Crimson Tide rolled to a Division I win over the Blue Raiders at Martz Hall.

Jordan Abdo scored all 10 of his points in the first half as Pottsville built a 42-8 lead by intermission. Jordan Melochick added 11 points for the unbeaten Tide, who drained 10 3-pointers.

Thad Zuber led Tamaqua with 13 points.

TAMAQUA (20) — Blaker 0 0-0 0, Wassel 0 0-0 0, Kurek 0 3-4 3, Zuber 5 3-4 13, Scott 0 0-0 0, Barr 0 0-0 0, Wargula 0 0-0 0, Murphy 1 0-0 2, Davidson 0 0-0 0, Gregoire 1 0-2 2, Berezwick 0 0-0 0, Bates 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 6-10 20.

POTTSVILLE (67) — Gerchak 2 0-0 6, Wood 1 0-0 2, Thomas 5 0-0 13, Melochick 5 0-0 11, Witman 1 0-0 2, Pellish 2 0-0 4, Jo. Abdo 4 0-0 10, Renninger 2 2-2 6, Schenk 5 1-1 13, O’Pake 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 3-3 67.

Tam (1-7, 1-3) 4 4 2 10 — 20 Pot (7-0, 4-0) 15 27 12 13 — 67

3-point FGs: Gerchak 2, Thomas 3, Melochick, Jo. Abdo 2, Schenk 2

JV score: Pottsville 58-36

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

Crimson Tide Rolls to 7 -0 
 
The Crimson Tide improved it's record to 7 and 0 with a 67-20 victory over Tamaqua Blue Raiders.  The Tide rolled to a 15 to 4, first quarter lead with Maldeen Thomas leading the way with 5 points, The Tide continued to increase its lead to 42-8 at half time. With Jordan Abdo hitting for 8 points in the period follow up by Patrick Schenk 7 points.  The Tide then closed out the third quarter with a 54-10 lead, led by Patrick Schenk's 6 points. The Tide then closed out the game for a 67-20 victory.
 
The Tide is now a top of the Schuylkill League Division I bracket with a 4-0 record. The Tide will play it's next game against Nativity on December 30 at Martz Hall. 

Tam2015/20151222-_MG_4921.jpg
Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

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Photos By John Liddle

 

Crimson Tide Rolls Pass The Spartans

from staff reports
Published: December 19, 2015


FOUNTAIN SPRINGS — Two Division I powers squared off on the court Friday night, but it was the undefeated squad that came away victorious.

Maldeen Thomas scored 17 points, including 11 in the first quarter, to lead Pottsville to a 64-40 win over North Schuylkill.

Jordan Abdo added 12 points and Jordan Melochick had 11 for the Crimson Tide, who used a 33-19 first half to pull away from the Spartans.

Jonathan Smith led North Schuylkill with 16 points, including eight in the second quarter, while Bobby Grigas pitched in nine.

POTTSVILLE (64) — Gerchak 0 1-2 1, Wood 0 1-2 1, Thomas 6 2-5 17, Melochick 3 4-6 11, Witman 2 0-0 4, Pellish 1 0-0 2, Jo. Abdo 4 3-4 12, Renninger 4 1-4 9, Schenk 3 0-0 7, O’Pake 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 12-23 64.

NORTH SCHUYLKILL (40) — Stokes 0 0-0 0, Bolinsky 1 0-0 3, Weist 1 0-0 3, McCabe 0 0-0 0, Mazur 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0, Smith 8 0-2 16, Grigas 2 5-7 9, Kotzo 1 0-0 3, Roshoe 0 0-0 0, Jordan 2 0-2 6. Totals 15 5-11 40.

Pott (6-0, 3-0) 16 17 9 22 — 64 NS (4-2, 1-2) 11 8 8 13 — 40

3-point FGs: Thomas 3, Melochick, Jo. Abdo, Schenk, Bolinsky, Weist, Kotzo, Jordan 2

 

H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Crimson Tide get past Blue Mountain

By Mike Carnahan
Published: December 16, 2015

              


Photo: Andy Matsko, License: N/A, Created: 2015:12:15 19:17:21

ANDY MATSKO/STAFF PHOTO Pottsville’s Jordan Melochick, right, goes up for a shot around Blue Mountain’s Connor Kerstetter during Tuesday’s Division I game.

ORWIGSBURG — The faces are new, but the results for the Pottsville boys’ basketball team are still the same.

The Crimson Tide just keep on winning.

Defense helped Pottsville build a big third-quarter lead, while Jordan Abdo scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the second half as the Crimson Tide held on to down Blue Mountain 60-47 in a Schuylkill League Division I contest Tuesday.

Pottsville (5-0, 2-0 D-I) led 30-17 early in the third quarter and were up 19 at 43-24 with 1:18 left in the period. But the Eagles (3-2, 1-1) rallied and cut the deficit to four with 2:13 left in the game.

The Tide, however, settled down and finished the game on an 11-2 run to pull away. The victory was the 30th consecutive regular-season win for Pottsville, while its regular-season league winning streak stretched to 17. The Crimson Tide’s last regular-season loss was at Blue Mountain, 51-33, on Jan. 27, 2014.

“It was very important for our team to come out here in a hostile atmosphere and just getting a great win for our season and a great team win,” Adbo said.

Indeed, a victory over Blue Mountain is always huge, and Tuesday’s could give a young Tide team a confidence boost. Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney was concerned with how the Crimson Tide would react on the road in a tough environment.

They passed Tuesday.

“Anytime you come to Blue Mountain and get a win, it is such a big win for us,” Mullaney said. “They always test us here. This is one of our toughest games of the season. After being down 14-7 (in the first quarter), I was really happy with the composure our guys had.

“In the second half they made another run and I just felt Jordan Abdo made plays. The moment is never too big for him. He is always confident and he showed that.”

Abdo is one of the four new starters for Pottsville this season and had one of his best offensive games of the season Tuesday and added three rebounds and three steals.

Abdo was especially big at a critical point late in the game.

Blue Mountain had cut the Crimson Tide’s advantage to 49-45 after a steal and layup by Mark Chelius with 2:1