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.
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.
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)
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.
Team rankings: Offense (50.9 ppg, 6th),
defense (40.8 ppg, 4th)
Leading scorers: Brandon McCloskey (11.2 ppg), Jake Rakowsky (9.7 ppg)
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.
Offense (46.1 ppg, 13th), defense (48.8 ppg, 11th)
Leading scorers: Nate Mathewson (10.2 ppg), Nick McArdle (8.7 ppg)
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)
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.
Team rankings: Offense (54.8 ppg, 3rd), defense (48.1 ppg, 10th)
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)
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.
Team rankings: Offense (49.5 ppg, 8th), defense (49.2
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
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.
Team rankings: Offense (35.5 ppg,
17th), defense (55.8 ppg, 17th)
Leading scorers: Scott Moyer (13.1 ppg), Zach Kerschner (6.5 ppg)
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.
rankings: Offense (48.4 ppg, 11th), defense (49.5 ppg, 13th)
Leading scorers: Michael Fortune (16.5 ppg), Zach Wasilus
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.
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.
Team rankings: (51.3 ppg,
5th), defense (37.3 ppg, 2nd)
Leading scorers: Neal Goodman (12.9 ppg), Mike Gavel (9.4 ppg)
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
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.
rankings: Offense (40.6 ppg, 15th), defense (46.2 ppg, 9th)
Leading scorers: Bill Birosik (11.7 ppg), Zach Gasper (8.3
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.
rankings: Offense (58.3 ppg, 1st), defense (43.1 ppg, 6th)
Leading scorers: Josh Dombrosky (15.5 ppg), Marc Twardzik
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.
rankings: Offense (38.2 ppg, 16th), defense (52.7 ppg, 14th)
Leading scorers: Brett Stallone (6.8 ppg), Josh Reiner
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
Mahanoy Area 12-1 2
3. Shenandoah Valley 10-2 3
4. Blue Mountain 10-2 4
5. Pine Grove 8-4 6
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
- Compiled by Mike Carnahan s.