2018-2019 BOYS BAS­KET­BALL PRE­VIEW

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - — Thomas Nash

BOY­ER­TOWN

Head coach: Mike Lud­wig, 10th sea­son Last year’s record: 2-8 Pioneer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Lib­erty Di­vi­sion; 8-14 over­all.

Play­ers to watch: Hunter Borgman, 6-3 Sr. F; Aar­ick Salata, 5-8 So. G; Chris Kiefer, 6-3 So. F.

Out­look: The 2018-2019 sea­son didn’t ex­actly go to plan for the Bears. With four re­turn­ing se­niors on the start­ing lineup, Boy­er­town looked poised to make a sub­stan­tial run back to the post­sea­son last win­ter. Yet that never panned out as the Bears fell vic­tim to a loaded PAC Lib­erty Di­vi­sion. Now a year later, with all four of those se­niors grad­u­ated, the Bears turn to their youth to pick up the pieces. Salata logged mean­ing­ful min­utes as the team’s pri­mary ball-han­dler and will be ex­pected to carry a heavy load this sea­son. “It is a young team who will need to de­velop its own iden­tity as the sea­son pro­gresses,” said Lud­wig. “There is a lot of po­ten­tial for this team to grow as the sea­son goes on. The goal for the sea­son is to chal­lenge for a play­off spot in both the PAC play­offs and Dis­trict One play.”

DANIEL BOONE

Head coach: Jim Sands, sec­ond sea­son

Last year’s record: 0-10 Berks Con­fer­ence I; 4-18 over­all.

Play­ers to watch: Chaunce John­son, 6-2 Sr. G; Jared Tra­novich, 6-1, Sr. G; Chris Surkosky, 6-1 Jr. G.

Out­look: Chal­lenges are al­ways about for the Blaz­ers, who share a con­fer­ence with peren­nial pow­ers Read­ing, Wil­son and Ex­eter. Boone has won just two league games over the past four years and hasn’t fin­ished with a win­ning record since the 2010-2011 sea­son. John­son re­turns for his se­nior sea­son af­ter av­er­ag­ing just un­der 18 points per game as does Tra­novich (7.7 ppg.), the team’s lead­ing 3-point shooter. The Blaz­ers will be look­ing to re­place Car­son Zu­ber (grad­u­a­tion) and Dy­lan Walker (trans­fer) in order to com­pete once again in a loaded con­fer­ence. “We are seek­ing the pro­gram’s first win­ning sea­son since the 2010-11 sea­son,” said Sands, “which is a great chal­lenge with our tough out of league sched­ule, and play­ing in Berks Con­fer­ence 1, where we play a tal­ented, well-coached team each and ev­ery night.”

HILL SCHOOL

Head coach: Seth Eil­berg, 17th sea­son. Last year’s record: 19-7 over­all (Mid-At­lantic Prep League run­ner-up, PAISAA cham­pi­ons)

Play­ers to watch: Caleb Dorsey, 6-8 Jr. G/F; Ryan Mof­fatt, 6-6 Sr. G/F; Xavier Mayo, 6-8 Sr. F; Gabe Dorsey, 6-5 So. G.; Daniel Nixon, 6-6 So. G.

Out­look: Eil­berg watched from afar while on sab­bat­i­cal last sea­son as in­terim head coach Phil Canosa guided the Blues to the PA In­de­pen­dent Schools Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pi­onship last sea­son. Gone from that squad are four se­nior starters, in­clud­ing All-Area Player of the Year Chase Audige (Wil­liam & Mary) while Caleb Dorsey is the only starter re­turn­ing. It may take some time to blend all of their tal­ent, but The Hill cer­tainly has the pieces to make a solid run. Dorsey and Xavier Mayo (New Jer­sey In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy com­mit) both logged mean­ing­ful min­utes last sea­son while Gabe Dorsey emerged as a 3-point shoot­ing threat as a fresh­man. New­com­ers Mof­fat (Col­gate com­mit) comes aboard while Nixon looks promis­ing as a sopho­more.

METHAC­TON

Head coach: Jeff Der­s­tine, ninth sea­son. Last year’s record: 7-3 PAC Lib­erty; 18-8 over­all (PAC champ, Dis­trict 1-6A qual­i­fier). Play­ers to watch: David Duda, 6-3 Sr. G; Mar­cus Gi­rardo, 6-1 Sr. G; Jeff Wood­ward, 6-9 Jr. C; Brett Eberly, 5-11 Jr. G. Out­look: With all but one starter re­turn­ing from last sea­son’s PAC cham­pi­onship team, the War­riors look primed for an­other run this win­ter. The sharp-shoot­ing guard Duda, who led the league in 3-point­ers made last sea­son, needs a hand in his face at all times while Wood­ward will again be a ma­jor force in the paint as he mea­sures in as the league’s big­gest. Methac­ton will need to re­place Noah Kitaw, their key de­fender from last sea­son, though Der­s­tine notes that there are plenty wait­ing in the ranks. “Hav­ing lost only one starter in Noah Kitaw, the core of this team has been play­ing to­gether for two full years,” he said. “In ad­di­tion to the re­turn­ing core, there is a tal­ented group of new­com­ers led by ju­nior Erik Timko, that will look to step on the floor and make an im­me­di­ate im­pact.”

NORRISTOWN

Head coach: Dana John­son, sec­ond sea­son

Last year’s record: 7-3 PAC Lib­erty; 18-10 over­all (PAC, Dis­trict 1-6A, PIAA6A play­off qual­i­fier).

Play­ers to watch: Mar­cus San­ford, Sr. G; Ver­non Tubbs, Sr. G; Mi­keel Allen, Sr. F.

Out­look: Norristown is com­ing off its first state play­off run since 1990 and could very well be primed to make it back to back this sea­son. The Ea­gles re­turn three se­niors from last year’s team in San­ford, Tubbs and Allen, though they’ll look to re­place cen­ter Dar­ius Hopewell.

OWEN J. ROBERTS

Head coach: Kevin Kirby, sixth sea­son.

Last year’s record: 4-6 PAC Lib­erty; 14-10 over­all (Dis­trict 1-6A play­off qual­i­fier).

Play­ers to watch:

Sa’Vaughn David­heiser, 6-1 Sr. F; Mar­cus Martin, 5-8 Sr. G; Nick Massa, 5-9 Sr. G; Ryan Say­ers, 5-11 Sr. G.

Out­look: The Wild­cats are com­ing off their most suc­cess­ful sea­son in quite a while, fin­ish­ing above .500 for the first time since 2010. Gone from that squad are steady con­trib­u­tors Daw­son Stu­art, Shy­heed May, Sean Praweckyj and Justin Bai­ley, but OJR has plenty of tal­ent wait­ing in the wings. Massa and Say­ers com­bined for 62 made 3-point­ers last sea­son and should be more im­pact­ful in a steady role while David­heiser should be a pres­ence in the paint com­ing off a strong ju­nior sea­son. “More im­por­tant than their ex­pe­ri­ence are their at­ti­tude and work ethic,” said Kirby of his se­niors. “The league is once again loaded with an in­cred­i­ble amount of ex­pe­ri­ence and tal­ent re­turn­ing, that cou­pled with the ex­cel­lent coaches in our league should make for ex­cit­ing games ev­ery night. We are hop­ing to build on our suc­cess from last year to once again be play­ing play­off games in Fe­bru­ary.”

PERKIOMEN SCHOOL

Head coach: Thomas Baudinet, third sea­son.

Last year’s record: 18-6 over­all (PAISAA semi­fi­nal­ist).

Play­ers to watch: Tautvy­das Kup­stas, 6-4 Sr. G; Con­nor O’Brien, 6-0 Sr. G; Kee­shawn Kell­man, 6-8 Sr. F; Chris Ar­cidi­a­cono, 6-4 Sr. G; Sam Cor­rao, 6-6 Jr. F; Ti­tus Wilkins, 6-4 So. G.

Out­look: At a glance, the Pan­thers ap­pear to be the best team in the area, with their loaded ros­ter hav­ing al­ready won the sea­son-open­ing West­town Tour­na­ment ear­lier this month. Ar­cidi­a­cono comes af­ter fin­ish­ing his ca­reer at Ne­shaminy with the sec­ond most points in pro­gram his­tory (1,494), fin­ish­ing only be­hind older brother Ryan Ar­cidi­a­cono (Vil­lanova, Chicago Bulls). Prince­ton Univer­sity com­mit Kell­man also ar­rives af­ter a strong ca­reer at Al­len­town Cen­tral Catholic. Those two should have no prob­lem blend­ing with key re­turn­ers Kup­stas, Cor­rao, O’Brien and Wilkins, all of whom played a strong role in help­ing Perk School get to the PAISAA semi­fi­nals. “This group has the po­ten­tial to com­pete for a PAISAA state ti­tle at the end of the year,” said Baudinet. “We have good size, bal­ance, and depth that gives us the flex­i­bil­ity to play a num­ber of dif­fer­ent line­ups. Hav­ing the ver­sa­til­ity to go big, small, put more shoot­ing or more ath­letes on the floor will be a big pos­i­tive for us.” Also worth not­ing, Perk is in the midst of a 26-game win­ning streak on their home court, where they haven’t dropped a con­test since the 2015-2016sea­son.

PERKIOMEN VAL­LEY

Head coach: Michael Poys­den, sev­enth sea­son

Last year’s record: 4-6 PAC Lib­erty; 13-12 over­all (Dis­trict 1-6A play­off qual­i­fier).

Play­ers to watch: Tyler Strechay 6-2 Sr. F; Zack Krause, 6-0 Sr. G; AJ Hansen, 5-11 Sr. G; Con­nor McShea, 6-3 Sr. F.

Out­look: Last sea­son, the Vik­ings pulled the car­pet out from PAC cham­pion Methac­ton with a sur­prise win in the first round of districts. This sea­son, an­other run at the dis­trict play­offs shouldn’t catch any­one off guard. Although they grad­u­ated four starters from last sea­son, the Vik­ings re­turn the brunt of their scor­ing — most no­tably in tal­ented wing Strechay — along with a good amount of size in­clud­ing se­niors Ian and Bryce Streeper who both should come up big this year. “The se­nior class pro­vides depth and based on their off­sea­son per­for­mance and work­outs, has high ex­pec­ta­tions that through hard work they can earn suc­cess,” said Poys­den. “We re­turn both size and ex­pe­ri­ence. They en­joy push­ing each other to im­prove and are ris­ing to the task of pro­gram lead­er­ship.”

PHOENIXVILLE

Head coach: Eric Bur­nett, fifth sea­son Last year’s record: 6-4 PAC Fron­tier; 9-14 over­all.

Play­ers to watch: Dy­lan Clark 6-0 Sr. F/C; Colton Brown, 5-10 Sr. G; KJ Quinn, 5-10 Sr. G; Steven Hamil­ton, 6-0 Jr. G; Clay Kopko, 6-0 Jr. F; Will Al­lain, 6-0 So. G.

Out­look: The Phan­toms look loaded in the back court with plenty of ex­pe­ri­enced guards re­turn­ing. Their big­gest chal­lenge, how­ever, will in the front court fol­low­ing the grad­u­a­tion of 6-6cen­ter Bren­dan Jenk­ins who led last year’s team in scor­ing. Ju­nior new­comer Joel Peck is listed as the team’s tallest at 6-4 while Clark will as­sume the role of a for­ward/cen­ter com­ing off a good ju­nior sea­son. “This is one of the most balanced teams we have had dur­ing our time at Phoenixville,” said Bur­nett. “We are very deep at the guard po­si­tion with sev­eral play­ers ca­pa­ble of hav­ing big nights. De­spite our lack of true size, we be­lieve our guards and for­wards can col­lec­tively com­pete with any team in the league.”

POPE JOHN PAUL II

Head coach: Bren­dan Stan­ton, first sea­son

Last year’s record: 4-6 PAC Fron­tier; 6-15 over­all

Play­ers to watch: Tyshyre De­Veaux-Malachi, 5-8 Sr. G; Chris White, 5-10 Sr. G; Sean Bustynow­icz, 6-2 Sr. F; Drew McKeon, 6-2 Jr. G; Justin Green, 6-4 So. F.

Out­look: Ev­ery­thing was go­ing well for PJP last sea­son be­fore the Golden Pan­thers lost 10 of their fi­nal 11 to put a damper on the year. Now, it will be a com­plete turnover for the navy and gold as Stan­ton takes over a pro­gram that looks to re­build fol­low­ing the grad­u­a­tion of 12 se­niors. De­Veaux-Malachi and White both picked up play­ing time as ju­niors and will lead a crop of new faces. “We have an ex­cit­ing mix of se­nior lead­ers and tal­ented un­der­class­men,” said Stan­ton. “For what this team lacks in var­sity ex­pe­ri­ence, they make up for with their com­pet­i­tive spirit and pos­i­tive en­ergy. When they put it all to­gether this group is ca­pa­ble of great team bas­ket­ball.”

POTTSGROVE

Head coach: Jack Flana­gan, third sea­son.

Last year’s record: 6-4 PAC Fron­tier; 12-11 over­all (Dis­trict 1-5A qual­i­fier).

Play­ers to watch: Manny Clark, 5-10 Sr. G; Khaliym Smith, 6-3 Sr. F; Justin Robin­son, 6-2 Sr. G; Cameron Mow­ery, 6-5 Sr. F.

Out­look: The Fal­cons will have some reload­ing to do this sea­son fol­low­ing the grad­u­a­tion of three of their four lead­ing scor­ers from last sea­son. Gone are big man Ja­son Hein, high­fly­ing wing Mike Ziegler and 3-point spe­cial­ist Jay­den Blakey. But there is a bright side — guards Clark and Robin­son both re­turn com­ing off strong ju­nior sea­sons and will be ex­pected to carry the load for Pottsgrove while Smith and Mow­ery should be a pres­ence in the paint. “We need to be com­mit­ted to play­ing hard, play­ing smart, and play­ing to­gether,” said Flana­gan. “The league should be very com­pet­i­tive this year with many teams hav­ing their eyes on one of those cov­eted play­off spots.”

POTTSTOWN

Head coach: Scott Pal­ladino, first sea­son

Last year’s record: 4-6 PAC Fron­tier; 6-16 over­all.

Play­ers to watch: Floyd Dashiell, 5-10 Sr. G; An­thony Brown, 6-0 Sr. G; Tre Bass, 6-1 Jr. G; Dono­van Tow­son, 6-1 Jr. F.

Out­look: Pal­ladino, spent 10 years as head coach at Pottsgrove from 20062015, takes over a Tro­jan pro­gram that looks primed to turn things around this win­ter. Pottstown re­turns three of its four lead­ing scor­ers from last sea­son in­clud­ing All-Area Hon­or­able Men­tions Brown and Dashiell along with Bass. Pal­ladino plans to bring with him a new ap­proach, one that could de­liver the Tro­jans their first win­ning cam­paign since the 20112012 sea­son. “I think we will have a lit­tle dif­fer­ent look this sea­son and have re­ally been fo­cused on play­ing like a team as op­posed to play­ing as in­di­vid­u­als in years past,” he said. “We feel we can be a very deep team and can get con­tri­bu­tions from a lot of dif­fer­ent guys on any given night. Our goals will be to com­pete for a Fi­nal Four spot, and qual­ify for the dis­trict and State play­offs.”

SPRING-FORD

Head coach: Chris Tal­ley, sixth sea­son

Last year’s record: 5-5 PAC Lib­erty; 15-11 over­all (PAC run­ner-up, Dis­trict 1-6A qual­i­fier). Play­ers to watch: Noah Baker, 6-3 Sr. F; Robert Bobeck, 6-4 Sr. C; Ryan Ha­gan, 6-0 Sr. G; Patrick Ko­valeski, 6-3 Jr. G; Tre Medearis, 6-4 Jr. F. Out­look: Per usual, the Rams will be a le­git­i­mate PAC cham­pi­onship con­tender. Baker has been a key piece for Spring-Ford since his ar­rival while Bobeck and Ha­gan proved to be plenty use­ful through­out Spring­Ford’s rally to a run­ner-up fin­ish to Methac­ton last sea­son. Ko­valeski and Medearis both picked up some qual­ity min­utes as sopho­mores last year and that ex­pe­ri­ence should go a long way. The big­gest chal­lenge will be re­plac­ing do-it-all wing Nestor Diaz, big man Austin Hokan­son and sharp­shooter Har­ri­son Pierce from last year’s squad, but Tal­ley seems plenty op­ti­mistic that his team will hit that sec­ond gear when push comes to shove. “The fo­cus is to be fun­da­men­tally sound and play­ing our best bas­ket­ball down the stretch,” he said. “We look for­ward to com­pet­ing in a tough league against teams who have high ex­pec­ta­tions.”

UP­PER ME­RION

Head coach: Ja­son Quen­zer, sixth sea­son

Last year’s record: 2-8 PAC Lib­erty; 4-18 over­all.

Play­ers to watch: Matt Choi, 6-1 Sr. G; Chris Clark, 6-3 Jr. G/F; Nick Shep­perd, 6-4 Jr. G/F; Dom Breece, 6-1 Jr. F/G; Lukas Kim, 5-10 So. G.

Out­look: The Vik­ings are com­ing off a down year and could have their work cut out for them again this win­ter with a start­ing lineup that fea­tures just one se­nior. Among the re­turn­ers are Clark, a Sec­ond Team All-PAC se­lec­tion who led the team in scor­ing last sea­son. “The op­ti­mism is high at Up­per Me­rion, de­spite com­ing off of a four­win sea­son,” said Quen­zer. “Los­ing al­ways pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to learn and it fu­els the fire. These guys get a year older and can un­der­stand the men­tal as­pect of the game more and more. We just want to keep it sim­ple and fo­cus on the mi­nor de­tails of the game that make a big dif­fer­ence.”

UP­PER PERKIOMEN

Head coach: Jared Krupp, sixth sea­son

Last year’s record: 8-2 PAC Fron­tier; 15-9 over­all (PAC play­off, Dis­trict 1-5A qual­i­fier)

Play­ers to watch: Brody Case, 6-1 Sr. F; Brett Miller, 5-7 Sr. G; Tyrese Reid, 5-7 Jr. G; Hunter Flack, 5-10 So. G; Ri­ley Decker, 6-2 So. C.

Out­look: The Tribe is com­ing off its most suc­cess­ful sea­son in re­cent mem­ory, one in which they earned a trip back to the PAC and dis­trict play­offs. Gone from that team is Ryan Ken­dra, the pro­gram’s all-time lead­ing scorer (1,416 points) along with tal­ented guard Liam Boyle and big man Will Walker. Although there are some big shoes to fill, Krupp has been preach­ing con­fi­dence and unity to his in­com­ing play­ers. “As al­ways, our goal is to com­pete and im­prove on a daily ba­sis. Our stu­dent ath­letes have em­braced this ideal,” he said. “Although we have lost a lot of key pieces from last year’s suc­cess­ful team, our stu­dent ath­letes un­der­stand that if we play to­gether as a unit and fo­cus on get­ting bet­ter ev­ery day, we will see suc­cess.”

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE

Ne­shaminy’s Chris Ar­cidi­a­cono rises up for a bas­ket dur­ing a game last sea­son against Pen­nridge. Ar­cidi­a­cono, who is sec­ond on the Red­skins’ all-time scor­ers’ list, is do­ing a fifth year at Perkiomen School this win­ter.

THOMAS NASH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE

Spring-Ford’s Noah Baker (23) splits a pair of Owen J. Roberts de­fend­ers dur­ing a game last sea­son. Baker and the Rams will look to avenge last sea­son’s run­ner-up fin­ish af­ter los­ing to Methac­ton in the PAC cham­pi­onship.

THOMAS NASH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE

Pottsgrove’s Manny Clark works to get around the de­fense of Great Val­ley’s Damien Carter dur­ing a game last sea­son.

THOMAS NASH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE

Pope John Paul II’s Tyshyre Malachi (10) drives the lane as Pottstown’s Floyd Dashiell (3) chases last sea­son.

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