Schuylkill League Boys’ Bas­ket­ball Pre­view Cap­sules

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DIVI­SION I Blue Moun­tain Head coach: Dustin Werdt ( 16th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 20- 6 over­all, 12- 2 Divi­sion I. Divi­sion I wild card. Schuylkill League run­ner- up, Dis­trict 11 Class 5A semi­fi­nal­ist

Key losses: Jakob Biever, McClay

O’Don­nell

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Drew Grace

( sr., 13.0)

Other re­turnees: Ben Bun­nick ( sr.), Ai­den Carr ( jr.), Gavin Con­way ( sr.), Ja­son Dean ( jr.), Alex Ketch ( jr.), Blake Lipko ( jr.), Nate Nab­holz ( sr.)

New­com­ers: Aaron Heffner ( jr.), Keenan Cryts ( soph.), Ryan Caulfield ( soph.)

Outlook: Ea­gles re­turn a core group of se­nior starters but lost their solid post pres­ence in the 6- foot- 7 Jakob Biever. Ex­pe­ri­enced perime­ter shoot­ers need to put up plenty of points as de­fen­sive ef­fort and ro­ta­tion are points of con­cern. Blue Moun­tain re­turns enough skill to once again con­tend for divi­sion and league cham­pi­onships as well as a dis­trict play­off run.

Jim Thorpe Head coach: Ja­son McEl­moyle ( 5th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 12- 11, 12- 2 D- I. Dis­trict 11 Class 4A quar­ter­fi­nal­ist

Key losses: Justin Maryk­was, Chris Valdez, Rudy For­man, Nick Rosa­hac, Ja­son Scott, Isa­iah Spruill

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Nate Rosa

hac ( sr., 9.8)

Other re­turnees: Zach Sear­foss ( sr.), Tyler Bu­rak ( sr.), Justin Can­nar­i­ato ( jr.)

New­com­ers: Caiden Hur­ley

( soph.), James Adames ( jr.), Adam Lauer ( jr.), Josh Davis ( sr.), Roberto San­ti­ago ( sr.), Chris Condly ( soph.), Gavin Fikentscher ( soph.), Quazier Saun­ders ( soph.)

Outlook: Olympians look to re­group af­ter los­ing four starters and five of their top six scor­ers. In­ex­pe­ri­ence is an is­sue, but Jim Thorpe will build around se­nior lead­ers Rosa­hac and Sear­foss. They will try to play up- tempo and build chem­istry as the sea­son pro­gresses, but the Olympians might find it dif­fi­cult to keep up in Divi­sion I.

Le­high­ton Head coach: Trevor Miller ( 2nd sea­son)

Last sea­son: 3- 19, 1- 13 D- I Key losses: Caine Car­pen­ter, Greg

Venuto

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Ad­di­son

How­land ( sr., 9.1)

Other re­turnees: Nader Beatty ( jr.), Evan Beers ( sr.), Devon Haydt ( soph.), Stephen Heery ( sr.), Zach Hun­sicker ( soph.), Ethan Lutz ( jr.), Alex Potts ( sr.), Ben Schatz ( jr.), Alex Schwab ( sr.), Josh Smith ( jr.), Carter Strauss ( soph.)

New­com­ers: Joel Acosta ( sr.), Zach Crum ( sr.), An­thony Ro­man ( soph.), Richard Ytur­rino ( soph.)

Outlook: De­spite earn­ing just one Schuylkill League vic­tory last sea­son, the In­di­ans re­turn a ton of tal­ent, giv­ing Coach Miller a much deeper team in his sec­ond year as head coach. Look­ing for an iden­tity, scor­ing will be an is­sue. Com­pet­ing in Divi­sion I will be tough, but the In­di­ans are ath­letic enough to stay in games.

North Schuylkill Head coach: Ty Wart­man ( 4th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 13- 10, 7- 7 D- I. Dis­trict 11 Class 4A quar­ter­fi­nal­ist

Key losses: Alonzo Guer­rero, Pete Kotzo, Lu­cas Roshan­non, Doug Weist

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Zack Stokes

( sr., 13.9)

Other re­turnees: Nate Burke ( sr.), Chance Felty ( jr.), Dar­rin Gre­gas ( sr.), Jack Kempsey ( sr.), Keith Stavin­ski ( sr.), Bryce Weikel ( jr.), Jesse White ( jr.)

New­com­ers: Jeff Fago ( soph.), Jack Flynn ( soph.), Con­ner Groody ( soph.), Darren Kroh ( jr.), An­thony Markosky ( soph.), Adam Scott ( fr.), Gavin Todd ( soph.), Tyler Wil­liams ( soph.)

Outlook: Spar­tans made great strides last sea­son, more than qua­dru­pling their 2016- 17 win to­tal. Sev­eral holes to fill this year, but they re­turn their top scorer and plenty of bench ex­pe­ri­ence. Spar­tans hope to qual­ify for dis­tricts as the Schuylkill League play­offs may be just out of their reach.

Pan­ther Val­ley Head coach: Pa­trick Cramp­sie ( 17th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 16- 10, 10- 3 D- III. Divi­sion III cham­pion, Dis­trict 11 Class AA run­ner- up, PIAA qual­i­fier

Key losses: Tris­tan Blasko, Mark Sanchez, Ron­nie Distler, Allen Perez

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Rene

Figueroa ( sr., 18.6)

Other re­turnees: Trey Turner ( sr.), Erick Mar­chorro ( jr.), Blake White ( jr.), Bran­don Stil­itino ( jr.), Bradley Buz­zard ( sr.), Bryce Krapf ( soph.), Tommy Edwards ( soph.), Carter Bret­tle ( sr.), Collin Ei­dle ( jr.),

New­com­ers: Seth Berk ( soph.), Shawn Hoben ( jr.), Aaron Miller ( sr.), Geno Turner ( fr.), Justin Ju­racka

( jr.), Car­los Rivera- Mal­don­ado ( jr.), Do­minick Can­nuli ( soph.), An­thony Fatzie ( soph.)

Outlook: Af­ter spend­ing the last two sea­sons in Divi­sion III, win­ning a divi­sion ti­tle and earn­ing a league play­off berth, the Pan­thers are back in Divi­sion I, which may prove dif­fi­cult af­ter los­ing their two tallest play­ers. Size is a con­cern, but the Pan­thers re­turn their top scorer and 3- point shooter. Coach Cramp­sie will ad­just po­si­tions and start­ing line­ups as the team looks for an iden­tity.

Pine Grove Head coach: Frank D’Agostino ( 6th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 14- 10, 7- 7 D- I, Dis­trict 1/ 11 Class 3A semi­fi­nal­ist

Key losses: Jake Leininger, Ja­son Soper, Lo­gan Lyons, Shea Mor­gan

Top re­turn­ing scorer: An­drew

Grif­fiths ( sr., 9.4)

Other re­turnees: Daw­son Ibarra ( sr.), Ryan Cul­bert ( sr.), Jor­dan Pena ( sr.)

New­com­ers: Josh Leininger ( soph.), Cody Grif­fiths ( soph.), Zak Hlavaty ( soph.), Kolby Geesey ( soph.), Cam Raud­abaugh ( sr.), Kaden Len­gle ( jr.)

Outlook: Car­di­nals re­turn four se­nior starters, so lead­er­ship and ex­pe­ri­ence are the least of their con­cerns. De­fense is solid, but putting up points could be an is­sue af­ter los­ing last sea­son’s top scorer. Car­di­nals will also miss a po­ten­tial starter in Shea Mor­gan, a sopho­more who won’t see bas­ket­ball ac­tion this year af­ter tear­ing his ACL dur­ing foot­ball sea­son.

Pottsville Head coach: Dave Mullaney ( 12th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 19- 5, 13- 1 D- I. Divi­sion I cham­pion, Schuylkill League cham­pion, Dis­trict 11 Class 5A semi­fi­nal­ist

Key losses: Ryan Kon­drack, Noah Nab­holz, Ian Ren­ninger, Eli Wood

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Ma­son

Barnes ( jr., 10.4)

Other re­turnees: JR Hah­ner ( sr.), Pat McCord ( sr.), Kevin Schenk ( jr.), Trevor Sher­akas ( sr.), Ai­den Stan­ton ( sr.), Ri­ley Stan­ton ( jr.), Zak Tobin ( sr.), Da­mon Yost ( jr.)

New­com­ers: Jonathon Bel­lared ( soph.), Nico Boris ( soph.), D’An­dre Cow­ard ( soph.), Ra­eff Dic­cello ( fr.), Nicco He­im­baugh ( soph.), John Holo­betz ( soph.), Mekhi McCuller ( soph.), Matt Salata ( jr.), Darren Yost ( fr.)

Outlook: As is the case ev­ery year, the Crim­son Tide are one of the teams to beat in Divi­sion I de­spite re­turn­ing just two starters. Rel­a­tively young but highly skilled and re­turn­ing two of their top 3- point get­ters. A ninth straight league cham­pi­onship ap­pear­ance is a real pos­si­bil­ity, but the Crim­son Tide look to go fur­ther in dis­trict play­offs. Con­sis­tency and re­bound­ing are ar­eas of con­cern.

Tamaqua Head coach: Jim Bar­ron ( 4th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 18- 8, 9- 5 D- I. Dis­trict 11 Class 4A quar­ter­fi­nal­ist

Key losses: Thad Zu­ber, Gabe Gre­goire, Casey Rother, Mitch Kurek

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Lu­cas

Gre­goire ( jr., 12.2)

Other re­turnees: Bray­den Knoblauch ( jr.), De­rian Stianche

( sr.), Michael Bonet­sky ( sr.), Wes­ley Grif­fin ( sr.), Luke Mateyak ( sr.), Devon Zehner ( sr.), Tavio Agosti ( sr.), Bar­ron Stauf­fen­berg ( jr.)

New­com­ers: Nathan Gre­giore ( fr.), Nick Bol­letino ( jr.), Aaron Gu­tier­rez ( jr.)

Outlook: Blue Raiders lost their top play­maker who led in just about ev­ery cat­e­gory, but the sup­port­ing cast is back and ready to make up for Zu­ber’s pro­duc­tiv­ity. With a bal­ance of speedy play­mak­ers around the perime­ter and big pres­ences in the post, Tamaqua looks to be one of the top teams in the league and make a bid to reach the state play­offs again.

DIVI­SION II Lour­des Head coach: James San­dri ( 3rd sea­son)

Last sea­son: 26- 5, 13- 0 D- II. Divi­sion II cham­pion, Dis­trict 4 Class A cham­pion, PIAA run­ner- up

Key losses: C. J. Re­ichard, Larry

Czepo­nis

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Thomas

Schultz ( sr., 21.4)

Other re­turnees: Ty Klem­bara

( sr.), Adam San­dri ( jr.), Gar­rett Timco ( soph.), Gabe Klem­bara ( soph.), Hunter Reed ( soph.), Ja­cob Rees ( sr.), El­liott Dob­son ( jr.)

New­com­ers: Tyler No­vak ( fr.), Chris Feu­dale ( soph.), Joey Nguyen ( soph.), Michael Keer ( fr.), Car­son Sut­sko ( fr.)

Outlook: While los­ing two se­niors who were in­te­gral to last year’s state play­off run, the Red Raiders re­turn their lead­ing scorer as they look to make an­other trip to Her­shey. Quick and able to move the ball well, they should be in line for an­other divi­sion ti­tle de­spite some in­ex­pe­ri­ence off the bench.

Min­ersville Head coach: Ja­cob Kopinetz ( 1st sea­son)

Last sea­son: 4- 18, 1- 13 D- I Key losses: Stephen Wol­lyung, Jame­son Me­lochick, C. J. Stablum

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Bryce El

linger ( sr., 15.4)

Other re­turnees: Gehrig Hossler ( sr.), Joshua Ha­lye ( sr.), Gabe Kuehn ( sr.), Do­minic Pizzico ( jr.), Carter Me­lochick ( jr.), Ja­cob Hoffman ( soph.)

New­com­ers: James Fitzpatrick

( jr.), Michael Ven­zlauskas ( jr.), Avery Rum­berger ( soph.), Dane Pi­cone ( soph.), Josh Adams ( fr.), Jared Gra­eff ( fr.), Bren­dan Lon­er­gan ( fr.), Michael Riz­zardi ( fr.)

Outlook: Min­ers will make the move from Divi­sion I to Divi­sion II with a new coach and in­ter­change­able lineup. Kopinetz in­her­its a hand­ful of im­por­tant play­ers from each class and a tal­ented in­com­ing fresh­man group. Min­ers need to play phys­i­cal bas­ket­ball and build chem­istry as the sea­son pro­gresses.

Schuylkill Haven Head coach: Fran Mur­phy ( 7th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 10- 13, 7- 6 D- II. Dis­trict 11 Class AA semi­fi­nal­ist

Key losses: Hunter Carter, Teddy Welsh, Jake Sweigert

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Albe Evans

( jr., 19.5)

Other re­turnees: Damyan Miller

( jr.), Ma­son Ulsh ( soph.), Jack Higgins ( jr.), Noah Slusser ( sr.), Ma­son Carter ( jr.), Lo­gan Ritchie ( jr.), Kyle Grif­fin ( jr.)

New­com­ers: Stephen Spol­ski ( fr.), Jack Stof­fey ( jr.), Nick Klotz ( sr.)

Outlook: Hur­ri­canes need to re­place the big men who oc­cu­pied a lot of space un­der the bas­ket last sea­son, but they re­turn their lead­ing scorer. Young but ex­pe­ri­enced team that needs to play fun­da­men­tally sound bas­ket­ball to com­pete with Lour­des in Divi­sion II.

Tri- Val­ley Head coach: Mike Masser ( 8th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 13- 12, 6- 7 D- II. Dis­trict 2/ 11 Class A semi­fi­nal­ist

Key losses: Ash­ton Buchanan,

Lo­gan Yoder

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Nick Zieg

mont ( sr., 10.0)

Other re­turnees: Matt Ace ( jr.), Chase Deeter ( jr.), Daulton Leedy

( sr.), Tyler McGrath ( jr.), Kole Ney ( jr.), Bray­den Smith ( sr.)

New­com­ers: Kade Deeter ( fr.), Psil­i­con Hat­ter ( jr.), Jonas McGrath ( fr.), An­drew Parobek ( jr.), Justin Parobek ( soph.), Brody Smith ( fr.)

Outlook: What the Bull­dogs lack in size, they make up for in speed. Three of the top four scor­ers re­turn, but de­fense is a con­cern for Coach Masser. Ex­pect the Bull­dogs to be part of some high- scor­ing games as they hope for an­other dis­trict play­off run.

Wil­liams Val­ley Head coach: Denny Kasper ( 24th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 9- 13, 5- 8 D- II Key losses: Jake Wolf­gang, Colin Weist, Nick Ulsh

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Levi En­gle

( sr., 14.2)

Other re­turnees: Bryce Herb ( soph.), Jesse En­gle ( soph.), Bo Raho ( jr.), Brady Miller ( jr.), Ma­son Evans ( soph.), Jake Her­man ( soph.)

New­com­ers: Hunter Wolf­gang ( fr.), Kaden Gal­braith ( soph.), Zack Un­derkof­fler ( soph.), Nic Joseph ( fr.), David Wen­rich ( fr.)

Outlook: Vik­ings grad­u­ated three key play­ers and re­turn only one se­nior. This young group will look to take a step for­ward from last year’s up- and­down sea­son and build a win­ning foun­da­tion for the fu­ture.

DIVI­SION III Ma­hanoy Area Head coach: Ethan Eich­horst ( 4th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 9- 13, 6- 7 D- III Key losses: Jor­dan McGee, Justin Rivera, Seth So­ri­ano, Bryce But­cav­age

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Shane Miller

( jr., 13.7)

Other re­turnees: Noah Atkins ( sr.), Josh Ramos ( soph.), Allen Feli­ciano ( jr.), Karl Mar­cel­lus ( jr.), Mar­cus Cre­spo ( sr.), Chase Maza­lusky ( jr.)

New­com­ers: Tony Mer­ch­lin­sky

( jr.), Dave Mar­cel­lus ( soph.), Aaron Bick­owski ( soph.), Dy­lan McDaniel

( jr.), Vic­tor Rosario ( sr.), Hay­den Wall ( jr.), Danny Reed ( fr.), Noah Zilker ( fr.), Sonny Napoli ( fr.)

Outlook: Golden Bears ex­pect to com­pete for a divi­sion ti­tle de­spite los­ing their point guard and other cogs in the ma­chine. Miller re­turns as the 6- foot- 4 sta­ple of the team, but build­ing around him may be chal­lenge. Lack of height around the perime­ter, but sev­eral play­ers have var­sity ex­pe­ri­ence.

Mar­ian Head coach: John Pat­ton ( 9th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 12- 10, 8- 5 D- III. Dis­trict 11 Class AA semi­fi­nal­ist

Key losses: Noah Stauf­fer, Jarred May­lath, Mike McLaugh­lin

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Tyler Fritz

( jr., 23.7)

Other re­turnees: Dante Agosti ( soph.), Nick Goff ( jr.) John Grutza ( sr.), Chris Latoff ( jr.), Keith McCall ( sr.), Chris Rit­sick ( jr.), Bran­don Sabul­sky ( sr.)

New­com­ers: Ju­lian Cerullo ( soph.), Pa­trick Cer­va­sio ( jr.), Jaryn Eroh ( jr.), Lo­gan Fritz ( fr.), Zach Hnat ( jr.), John Malarkey ( soph.), Ju­lian Rick­ert ( soph.)

Outlook: With­out a true point guard, the Colts will rely on a “com­mit­tee” to di­rect the of­fense, which was last year’s high­est scor­ing unit in the Schuylkill League ( 63.7 points per game). Mar­ian is a fun team to watch with a dy­namic trio of 3- point shoot­ers. Colts will em­pha­size de­fense and should be a force in Divi­sion III.

Nativity Head coach: Mike Wal­born ( 3rd sea­son)

Last sea­son: 14- 12, 6- 7 D- II. Dis­trict 11 Class A cham­pion, Dis­trict 2/ 11 Class A run­ner- up, PIAA qual­i­fier Key losses: Casian Flow­ers

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Raphael

Muldrow ( sr., 13.6)

Other re­turnees: Sin­cere Walker ( sr.), Quan­dre La­timer ( sr.), Nico DiNi­cola ( sr.), Mike Bi­lan­sky ( sr.), Kee­gan Brennan ( soph.), Jake Ku­per­av­age ( soph.), Ben Pat­ton ( sr.), Cooper Chiplo­nia ( soph.)

New­com­ers: Seth Feisel ( sr.), Kegan Hertz ( soph.), Mar­cel­lus Rat­cliff ( sr.)

Outlook: Hill­top­pers re­turn three play­ers who av­er­aged dou­ble dig­its last sea­son and took Nativity to a dis­trict sub­re­gional ti­tle game. The clear fa­vorite in Divi­sion III. Roster is tall, ath­letic and ex­pe­ri­enced with eight se­niors and nine play­ers listed at 6- foot- 2 or higher. An­other deep play­off run is in or­der.

Shenan­doah Val­ley Head coach: Rob Miller ( 8th sea­son)

Last sea­son: 0- 22, 0- 13 D- III Key losses: Tyler McCole, Zack

Uho­lik

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Johnny

Chin­chay ( sr., 8.7)

Other re­turnees: Evan Kosar ( sr.), Isiah McNeil ( sr.), Joseph Kar­vois ( jr.), Leo Rivera ( jr.),

New­com­ers: Avery Dom­brosky ( jr.), Shawn Vasquez ( jr.), Diego Salmeron ( jr.), Ron­alchy Gil­saint ( jr.), Miguel Rivera ( soph.), Bobby Boris ( fr.), Owen Kosar ( fr.), Luke Matta ( fr.), Nick Mikita ( fr.), Joey Veva­sis ( fr.)

Outlook: It can only get bet­ter for the Blue Devils af­ter last year’s win­less sea­son. Height is an is­sue, but the back­court has depth as Shenan­doah Val­ley looks to use a guard- ori­ented of­fense. Three starters re­turn from last year’s squad, in­clud­ing lead­ing scorer Chin­chay. Some pieces are to­gether, but it could be an­other re­build­ing year.

Weatherly Head coach: Corey Ger­hart ( 3rd sea­son)

Last sea­son: 10- 13, 5- 8 D- III. Dis­trict 2/ 11 Class A quar­ter­fi­nal­ist

Key losses: Steph Yur­chak, Gabe Miller, Zach Moon, Gary Buck, A. J. Knep­per, Johnny Arthur, Ju­lian Miller, Joel Hin­kle

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Scotty Zoscin

( soph., 12.0)

Other re­turnees: Eli­jah Derr ( jr.), Ma­son Ger­hart ( jr.), Antonio Cole­cio ( soph.), Chad Obert ( jr.)

New­com­ers: Nick Berger ( sr.), Trevor Low­man ( soph.), Ethan Broskoskie ( soph.), Dal­ton Tomp­kins ( jr.), Ben Ramirez ( soph.), Luke Derr ( soph.), Frank Wil­lis ( fr.), Ricky Ray ( fr.), Jor­dan Mitchell ( fr.), Ti­mothy Ma­guschak ( fr.), Ai­den Bo­erner ( fr.), Brady Wal­ters ( fr.)

Outlook: Wreck­ers ex­pect to start five un­der­class­men to open the sea­son. Young team that needs to learn on the fly and use its raw tal­ent prop­erly. May be a step­ping stone for more suc­cess next year, but ex­pect Weatherly to com­pete in games. Play­ing ag­gres­sive de­fense and lim­it­ing turnovers will be cru­cial.

TRI- VAL­LEY LEAGUE Up­per Dauphin Head coach: Chad Ever­hart ( 3rd sea­son)

Last sea­son: 10- 12, 6- 7 Tri- Val­ley

League East

Key losses: Masen Bel­lis, Bai­ley Dressler, Eli Smith

Top re­turn­ing scorer: Mack­lin

Ay­ers ( jr.)

Other re­turnees: Colton Gess­ner ( sr.), Aaron Trout­man ( sr.), Con­ner Reed ( sr.), Sam Ker­win ( jr.), Ma­son Grow ( jr.), Hunter Lentz ( jr.)

New­com­ers: Nate Wise ( soph.), Grant Stoner ( soph.), Eric Shultz ( sr.), Jake Ram­berger ( jr.)

Outlook: Tro­jans will look to re­place three of their top four scor­ers as they con­tend for a Tri- Val­ley League ti­tle. Tall and ath­letic and the bench goes deep, but lack of ex­pe­ri­ence is a con­cern. At 6- foot- 3, Ay­ers looks to be the an­chor of the Tro­jan post as they put the pieces to­gether around him.

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