2011 - 2012 Schuylkill League Standings

Gearing up for the playoffs

It's a brand new season for 12 Schuylkill League boys' basketball teams.

It's playoff time.

The league will be well represented in both the District 11 and District 4 playoffs as just five of the league's 17 teams missed out on the postseason.

As a bonus, area fans will have the opportunity to see plenty of games locally as six of the opening-round or quarterfinal games are in the county, starting with No. 3 seed Pottsville (21-2) taking on No. 14 Stroudsburg (8-15) in a District 11 Class AAAA first-round game at 7 this evening at Martz Hall. Class AAA and A games are Friday, while Class AA games are Saturday. Pottsville will also play Saturday in the quarterfinals at Blue Mountain if it wins tonight.

The only playoff team not playing this week is Mahanoy Area, which earned District 11's top seed in Class A. The other District 11 top seeds are Emmaus (Class AAAA), Northern Lehigh (Class AAA) and Salisbury (Class AA). The top three teams in both Class AAAA and AAA qualify for states, while the top two in Class AA and A make it out.

The defending champs are William Allen (Class AAAA), Bethlehem Catholic (Class AAA), Salisbury (Class AA) and Marian (Class A).

Here's a look at district openers involving area teams:

(Carnahan is The Republican-Herald's boys' basketball beat writer. Follow his blog at blogs.republicanherald.com/ac/)

Power pool

Through Feb. 18

Team W-L Pv.

1. Pottsville 21-2 1

2. Pine Grove 17-7 4

3. Mahanoy Area 18-5 2

4. Shenandoah Val. 19-3 3

5. North Schuylkill 16-6 5

6. Blue Mountain 15-7 6

7. Lourdes 13-10 7

8. Minersville 15-7 8

9. Williams Valley 13-9 9

10. Marian 12-10 10

- Complied by Mike Carnahan

Division 1

W - L

Division 2

W - L

Division 3


W - L


12 - 0


8 - 5

Mahanoy Area

12 - 1

Pine Grove


8 - 4


8 - 5

Shenandoah Valley

11 - 2

North Schuylkill

8 - 4

Williams Valley

8 - 5


7 - 6

Blue Mountain

7 - 5


4 - 9


5 - 8

Panther Valley

4 - 8

Sch. Haven

1 - 12


1 - 12

Jim Thorpe

2 - 10



1 - 11


Team OffenseNumber Of GamesPointsPoints Per Game
Shenandoah Valley22133160.50
North Schuylkill22119954.50
Pine Grove21111853.24
Williams Valley22113451.55
Mahanoy Area22112351.05
Upper Dauphin22108849.45
Jim Thorpe22106948.59
Blue Mountain22106848.55
Panther Valley22102946.77
Schuylkill Haven2284138.23

Team DefenseNumber Of GamesPointsPoints Per Game
Mahanoy Area2286739.41
Blue Mountain2292642.09
North Schuylkill2295043.18
Shenandoah Valley2297844.45
Pine Grove2196846.10
Panther Valley22106448.36
Williams Valley22107548.86
Jim Thorpe22119354.23
Upper Dauphin22122255.55
Schuylkill Haven22121955.41

League playoffs teams have tough act to follow

The Schuylkill League playoffs begin tonight at Martz Hall, and the three games this week certainly have a tough act to follow when it comes to matching the excitement and drama the regular season provided.

What more could a fan ask for when two of the four league playoff spots weren't decided until the final night of the league schedule last Thursday.

Pine Grove used a 12-2, fourth-quarter run to down Panther Valley 46-39 to earn the wild-card spot after North Schuylkill beat Blue Mountain 56-34. The Cardinals had the tiebreaker over the Spartans thanks to their two earlier-season wins.

After falling behind 13-1 early in the second quarter, Lourdes stormed back to stun Minersville 59-53 in overtime to earn the Division II title, thanks to season sweeps of Williams Valley and Minersville.

That contest was one of the nine head-to-head overtime games involving league teams this season. Blue Mountain and Pine Grove went into overtime in both of their games.

There were also two that went into double-overtime - Tri-Valley over Schuylkill Haven 60-57 on Dec. 16 and Blue Mountain over Pine Grove 46-44 on Jan. 30 - as well as a triple-overtime thriller between rivals Mahanoy Area and Shenandoah Valley on Jan. 26, won 72-68 by the Golden Bears.

We'll see what the participants in tonight's semifinals - Pine Grove (16-6) and Mahanoy Area (18-4) at 6 p.m., and Pottsville (19-2) and Lourdes (13-8) at 7:30 - can do.

A closer look at tonight's league semifinal matchups

Of the two games this evening, the opener is likely to be, at least on paper, the closer contest.

The Cardinals, who lost to Pottsville 51-49 in last year's title game, feature two of the league's top offensive players in senior forward Kyler Burke (17.5 points per game, 367 total) and senior guard Larry Zimmerman (15.8 ppg, 332 total). Overall, Pine Grove had the league's third-best offense this season at 53.2 points per game.

The Golden Bears will counter with a defense that was the second-best in the league, allowing 39.4 points per game. Mahanoy Area has given up 45 or more points in a game just four times - Shenandoah Valley twice, Pius X and Salisbury.

Sophomores Tyler Cavenas (9.0 ppg) and Andrew Kuzma (5.3) have given the Golden Bears an improved presence inside. However, the focus of the offense still centers around the 3-point shooting of senior guards Neal Goodman (55 3-pointers this season), Jim Baker (39) and Mike Gaval (29).

Mahanoy Area, making its first appearance in the league playoffs since 2007, led the league in 3-point shooting, knocking down an average of 6.5 per game.

Lourdes, which is making its first appearance in the league playoffs since 2008, has a tough task ahead of it.

A lot of the Red Raiders' hopes could rest in the hands of senior guard Zach Chesney, who scored 16 of his 25 points in fourth quarter and overtime during Lourdes' division-clinching victory at Minersville.

Overall, Chesney has hit 39 3-pointers this year. If he gets hot early, it greatly improves Lourdes' chance of pulling the upset.

Still, Pottsville's defense has overwhelmed opponents at times this year. The Crimson Tide have the league's best defensive team, allowing just 33.4 points per game, and won their 12 division games by an average of 16.5 points.

Pottsville has struggled offensively at times, especially with turnovers. Still, Lourdes doesn't have a player over 6-foot and the Tide's 6-6 Shavinski Thomas (9.2 ppg.) could have a big night inside against the smaller Raiders.

2 career milestones reached last week

In case anybody missed it, two career milestones, one by a player and another by a coach, were reached last Thursday.

Minersville's Cole Weachock hit 1,000 points for his career, reaching the mark on a foul shot with 1:42 left in the fourth quarter of the Miners' loss to Lourdes. Weachock has been one of the league's hottest players, averaging 23.5 points per game over Minersville's last six games of the regular season.

Weachock was the second player in the league to reach 1,000 career points this season. Burke did it Dec. 27.

Williams Valley's Denny Kasper won his 300th career game with the Vikings' 62-54 victory at Schuylkill Haven. Kasper now has a career record of 300-149.

12 Schuylkill League teams headed to district playoffs

With its 66-49 win over Carson Long on Monday, Tri-Valley became the last team from the Schuylkill League to qualify for the district playoffs. The Bulldogs are in the District 11 Class A field.

Other District 11 qualifiers include Pottsville (Class AAAA), North Schuylkill (Class AAA), Blue Mountain (Class AAA), Pine Grove (Class AA), Shenandoah Valley (Class AA), Minersville (Class AA), Panther Valley (Class AA), Williams Valley (Class AA), Mahanoy Area (Class A) and Marian (Class A). Mahanoy Area will be the top seed in its class.

Lourdes has also qualified for the District 4 Class A playoffs.

The district playoffs begin a week from today.

(Carnahan is The Republican-Herald's boys' basketball beat writer. Follow his blog at blogs.republicanherald.com/ac)

Power poll

Through Feb. 11

Team W-L Pv.

1. Pottsville 19-2 1

2. Mahanoy Area 18-4 2

3. Shenandoah Valley 19-3 3

4. Pine Grove 16-6 6

5. North Schuylkill 16-6 4

6. Blue Mountain 15-7 5

7. Lourdes 13-8 8

8. Minersville 15-7 7

9. Williams Valley 13-9 9

10. Marian 12-10 10

- Complied by Mike Carnahan

Looking at the league at midseason

We've reached the unofficial "halfway" point of the Schuylkill League this boys' basketball season.

Sure, Division I still has a round of games to go in the first half of its schedule while all the teams in Division II-III still have three of their five crossover games to go.

Still, everybody has played at least 11 games, so now is an excellent opportunity to look at the season up to this point.

In Division I, three teams - Blue Mountain (10-2, 4-1 D-I), North Schuylkill (8-4, 3-2) and Pine Grove (8-4, 3-2) - are within 2½ games of first-place Pottsville (13-0, 6-0), with the Eagles 1½ back. Lourdes (6-5, 2-2 D-II), Minersville (7-4, 2-2) and Tri-Valley (7-4, 2-2) are all two games behind leader Williams Valley (9-3, 5-1) in Division II while Mahanoy Area (12-1, 6-0 D-III) and Shenandoah Valley (10-2, 5-1) have taken control in Division III.

Only two teams - Pottsville (Class AAAA) and Mahanoy Area (Class A) - have qualified for the District 11 playoffs. However, seven teams - Blue Mountain (Class AAA), North Schuylkill (Class AAA), Pine Grove (Class AA), Minersville (Class AA), Williams Valley (Class A), Tri-Valley (Class A) and Shenandoah Valley (Class AA) - are in excellent shape to qualify. Several others have shots, too.

What follows is a look at each team in the league so far this season. Who do you think is going to win the three divisions as well as the get the league wild card from Division I and qualify for the league playoffs? Go to my blog at http://blogs.republicanherald.com/ac/ and give us your thoughts.

Division I

Blue Mountain

Team rankings: Offense (48.7 points per game, 9th in league), defense (38.5 ppg, 3rd)

Leading scorers: Kyle Laughlin (12.3 ppg), Jake Cryts (11.6 ppg)

Review/Outlook: The Eagles, currently on an eight-game wining streak, are one of league's hottest teams. Defense has been excellent while the offense is producing enough to get victories. One win away from the district playoffs and are one of the four teams from the division in contention for a spot in the league playoffs.

Jim Thorpe

Team rankings: Offense (48.2 points per game, 12th), defense (54.6 ppg, tied 15th)

Leading scorers: Darius Clark (15.5 ppg), P.J. Johnson (9.4 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Olympians got off to a promising start but have since hit the skids, losing six in a row. Have struggled not only in scoring points, but also defensively. Quick turnaround is needed.

North Schuylkill

Team rankings: Offense (50.9 ppg, 6th), defense (40.8 ppg, 4th)

Leading scorers: Brandon McCloskey (11.2 ppg), Jake Rakowsky (9.7 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Coming off a couple of tough division losses to Pine Grove and Pottsville last week. Are likely postseason bound, but how the Spartans respond to those defeats will determine their success the rest of the way.

Panther Valley

Team rankings: Offense (46.1 ppg, 13th), defense (48.8 ppg, 11th)

Leading scorers: Nate Mathewson (10.2 ppg), Nick McArdle (8.7 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Inconsistency, especially on offense, has hurt the Panthers. Two straight wins has gotten them back into the district playoff picture but a long winning streak will be needed to get there.


Team rankings: Offense (50.6 ppg, 7th), defense (31.1 ppg, 1st)

Leading scorers: Travis Blankenhorn (12.8 ppg), Brandon Bridy (11.0 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Defense has been overwhelming at times while plenty of new faces are stepping up on the offensive end. The best team in the league right now.

Pine Grove

Team rankings: Offense (54.8 ppg, 3rd), defense (48.1 ppg, 10th)

Leading scorers: Kyler Burke (16.9 ppg), Larry Zimmerman (16.3 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Cardinals have two of the best offensive weapons in the league, with others starting to contribute. Defense has also been better lately. How well they play defensively will determine how successful Cardinals will be down the stretch and in the postseason.


Team rankings: Offense (48.6 ppg, 10th), defense (54.6 ppg, tied 15th)

Leading scorers: Brett Kosciolek (13.3 ppg), Jake Fegley (9.4 ppg)

Review/Outlook: After a 2-0 start, young Raiders have dropped 9-of-10. Optimism is still high. Some wins over the rest of the season will build momentum for the future.

Division II


Team rankings: Offense (49.5 ppg, 8th), defense (49.2 ppg, 12th)

Leading scorers: Zach Oquendo (10.4 ppg), Anthony Pennpacker (10.2 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Red Raiders have been inconsistent, losing to Schuylkill Haven but beating Williams Valley and Minersville. Have been in almost every game and must find ways to win more close ones.


Team rankings: Offense (55.1 ppg, 2nd), defense (45.8 ppg, 8th)

Leading scorers: Cole Weachock (17.0 ppg), Isaac Melochick (11.9 ppg)

Review/Outlook: After starting 5-2, Miners have been up and down the past four games. Need to be more consistent, especially defensively, if they hope to return to the league playoffs and make a run at districts.

Schuylkill Haven

Team rankings: Offense (35.5 ppg, 17th), defense (55.8 ppg, 17th)

Leading scorers: Scott Moyer (13.1 ppg), Zach Kerschner (6.5 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Outside of a double-overtime loss to Tri-Valley and win over Lourdes, Hurricanes haven't been very competitive. Struggling on both ends of the floor. Opportunities are there to pick up a few wins in the coming weeks.


Team rankings: Offense (48.4 ppg, 11th), defense (49.5 ppg, 13th)

Leading scorers: Michael Fortune (16.5 ppg), Zach Wasilus (11.5 ppg)

Review/Outlook: After a great start, Bulldogs have suffered through some blowout league losses recently and had trouble scoring points in those games. Still, there are plenty of games left to rebound from those defeats.

Williams Valley

Team rankings: Offense (52.7 ppg, 4th), defense (43.3 ppg, 7th)

Leading scorers: Colin Harrison (12.0 ppg, Owen Daniel (11.3 ppg)

Review/Outlook: A recent five-game win streak, including three consecutive in the league, has helped the Vikings grab hold of first place in the division. Have bounced back after tough 2010-11 season. Tough remaining crossover games will show how much they've improved.

Division III

Mahanoy Area

Team rankings: (51.3 ppg, 5th), defense (37.3 ppg, 2nd)

Leading scorers: Neal Goodman (12.9 ppg), Mike Gavel (9.4 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Defense has been outstanding, while Golden Bears are one of the league's most feared 3-point shooting teams. A continued improvement from their inside players will make them even better.


Team rankings: Offense (42.1, 14th), defense (42.9 ppg, 5th)

Leading scorers: Ryan Karnish (11.2 ppg), Anthony Agosti (9.1 ppg)

Review/Outlook: A two-game winning streak has given the young Colts some postseason hope, but need to go on a long winning streak. Defense has been solid. Colts will be a tough opponent for anybody the rest of the way no matter how they finish record-wise.


Team rankings: Offense (40.6 ppg, 15th), defense (46.2 ppg, 9th)

Leading scorers: Bill Birosik (11.7 ppg), Zach Gasper (8.3 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Hilltoppers have quietly kept their playoff hopes alive, thanks in part to their defense. Birosik has developed offensively the past two weeks and others need to help in that department, too.

Shenandoah Valley

Team rankings: Offense (58.3 ppg, 1st), defense (43.1 ppg, 6th)

Leading scorers: Josh Dombrosky (15.5 ppg), Marc Twardzik (12.5 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Offensively, the Blue Devils might have the best starting five in the league with three players averaging in double figures. They are handling the high expectations and are currently on a six-game winning streak.


Team rankings: Offense (38.2 ppg, 16th), defense (52.7 ppg, 14th)

Leading scorers: Brett Stallone (6.8 ppg), Josh Reiner (6.3 ppg)

Review/Outlook: Wreckers have surpassed last year's win total with all their victories coming against non-league teams. Opportunities are there to pick up a few more wins in the coming weeks.

(Carnahan is The Republican-Herald's boys' basketball beat writer)

Boys' Power Poll

Through Jan. 14

Team W-L Pv.

1. Pottsville 13-0 1

2. Mahanoy Area 12-1 2

3. Shenandoah Valley 10-2 3

4. Blue Mountain 10-2 4

5. Pine Grove 8-4 6

6. North Schuylkill 8-4 4

7. Williams Valley 9-3 9

8. Minersville 7-4 8

9. Tri-Valley 7-4 7

10. Lourdes 6-5 NR

- Compiled by Mike Carnahan s.



Pottsville Republican Preseason Poll
 1. Pine Grove (3-2)
2. Shenandoah Valley (4-1)
3. Blue Mountain (3-2)
4. Minersville (3-2)
5. Mahanoy Area (7-0)
6. North Schuylkill (4-1)
7. Pottsville Crimson Tide (6-0)
8.Marian (3-3)
9. Jim Thorpe (4-2)
10. Williams Valley (4-1)