Schuylkill League Boys’ Basketball Preview Capsules
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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.