Tradition Doesn't Graduate

2015-16 News

Singh named Pocono Record Player of the Year

Zach Sturniolo 
Record Sports Writer 

Posted Mar. 16, 2016 at 3:03 PM 

POCONO SUMMIT - Lance Singh was just an "OK" player last year, according to his coach.
That feeling quickly changed as the Pocono Mountain West junior stepped his game up, suddenly becoming the Panthers' all-time leading scorer and the Pocono Record's Player of the Year in boys basketball.
Singh, the leader of Pocono West's big three which includes Isaiah Wiggins and Jalen Vaughns, scored 454 points this season — the third-highest season total in school history — and averaged 17.5 points per game. He also extended his career total to 1,171 points. That total eclipses the previous record of 1,107, set by Joe Wiggins, Isaiah's older brother.
"This year, the kid really matured," PM West coach Brad Pensyl said. "He was very coachable and he was always engaged with what we were telling him to do. And I thought that part alone was one of his biggest improvements."
While the change didn't occur overnight, there was an immediately obvious difference in Singh's play this season.
"Last year and his ninth grade year, he kinda just wanted to stand outside and shoot 3's," Pensyl said. "This year, he became more of a threat offensively. He played more of a mid-range game. I thought he was very good off the dribble this year. Last year I didn't think as much, but this year I thought he was really strong off the dribble and I thought he was hard to stop."
That was Singh's goal from the start.
"My difference is shoot less 3’s and try to go to the hole, get easy baskets, get to the free-throw line and get my teammates involved a lot more," Singh said.
His adjustments paid off. He ended the season with 209 free throws made, which stands at fourth all-time in school history. His 70.6 percent free-throw percentage ranks second in school history. And in the District 11 Class AAAA quarterfinal against Stroudsburg, Singh went a perfect 15-for-15 from the stripe, which tied the school record for free throws made in one game.
"I just think he matured," Pensyl said. "I think Lance took basketball for granted, and then I think he really took it serious this year. I thought he worked really hard. I think he matured an awful lot on the court, and he just did some really good things."
One of things he did differently this year was trust the teammates around him. He may have only averaged 2.3 assists per game, but he made it evident on the court that he trusted Wiggins, Vaughns, Jeremy Pedroza, and newcomer sophomore Travis Elmore to do their jobs.
"We learned from last year that me, Isaiah, and Jalen can’t, every game, do what we gotta do and get wins," Singh said. "We know when we have to come into big games like states, championships and districts, we have to get our teammates involved and we have to have a part in it."
Pocono West began its year with its best start ever, winning its first 10 games. But that success easily got to the players' heads, potentially hurting their playoff run.
"I think that we got too big-headed," Singh said. "We thought like not so many teams would beat us. We knew we were probably going to lose at least a couple of games this year, but we thought teams in our conference weren’t going to match up to us well."
The playoffs didn't end well for Singh or his teammates. The Panthers won their first Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Mountain Division title, but they went 1-3 in their final four games, their lone win being an 84-54 victory over Stroudsburg in the district quarterfinals. They lost to William Allen in the EPC semifinals before falling to Bangor in the district semis, and with the PIAA playoffs on the line, Pocono West fell 55-51 to Emmaus in the district consolation game.
Singh has already put plenty of thought into next season.
"It was disappointing, but I feel like those games, we kind of thought we just come in and get easy wins, especially like Bangor," he said. "I need to work on my whole game."

      Panthers fall short to Emmaus, 55-51

      PM West's season ends with 55-51 loss
    Zach Sturniolo 
    Record Sports Writer 

    Posted Feb. 27, 2016 at 6:30 PM 

    ALLENTOWN - The Panthers weren't able to complete the comeback.
    This time, it cost them their season.
    Center Travis Elmore netted a career-high 17 points, but No. 3 Pocono Mountain West fell 55-51 to No. 4 Emmaus in the District 11 Class AAAA consolation game at William Allen High School on Saturday.
    The Panthers (21-6) outscored the Green Hornets 21-16 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to keep Emmaus from earning district bronze and advancing to the PIAA state tournament.
    "We had chances," PM West coach Brad Pensyl said. "We were right there. We just failed to get it done."
    Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Panthers went on an 11-2 run in a 2:44 span, led by nine points from Elmore. That cut the deficit to just 45-44 with 1:29 remaining.
    "We were playing man and we were going to try to make them run the clock," Pensyl said. "And if we had a chance to double up on the ball, I didn't want to have to foul No. 10 (Emmaus' David Kachelries). But then he got a back-door layup and then we came down and missed, so we had to foul him."
    Kachelries went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line and scored six of his 31 points in the game's final 1:22 to allow the Green Hornets some breathing room en route to a win.
    "That can go real quick," Pensyl said. "You're down one and all of a sudden you're down three. Now I gotta foul him to get the ball back because we missed a shot. Now you're backpedaling. So we don't have much choice at the end of the game like that when we gotta try to get the ball back. The only way to get the ball back is to foul him."
    For the Panthers to have gotten as close as they did was an impressive feat on its own. They trailed by 10 at the half, and Emmaus scored the first two points of the second.
    "Our kids battled back," Pensyl said. "That's what we're supposed to do. We battled back, which shows some heart. That was a good thing."
    "We had a chance to win it. Unfortunately, we're not going to the state playoffs, and I really wanted to take this team to the playoffs."
    And while the season ended on a loss, there were some other positives Pensyl could take from Saturday afternoon's game.
    "I thought we played pretty well," he said. "Probably beat them in every category statistically except for 3-points and they might have shot a little bit better from the field. But I know we out-rebounded them and had less turnovers."
    While junior Lance Singh struggled for the second consecutive game, scoring just two points, the young sophomore Elmore showed plenty of promise in just his third career start.
    All of those starts came in the district tournament. In two of the three, including Saturday's loss, Elmore ended with a double-double.
    "It's tough. I didn't chuck him into a fire - I chucked him into a volcano," Pensyl said. "I think for Travis, he grew up a little bit. I think he thought the first game he was a JV player. But I think tonight, he finally figured, 'Hey, I'm a varsity player.'
    "He's got a good future, that kid. I think he's going to be a pretty good player."
    District 11 Class AAAA Consolation Game
    No. 4 Emmaus 55, No. 3 PM West 51
    Emmaus 10 14 15 16 - 55
    PM West 11 7 12 21 - 51
    Emmaus 55
    M. Kachelries 4 2-2 12, D. Kachelries 11 8-8 31, Rapose 1 0-0 2, Widdoss 1 0-0 3, Feiertag 0 0-0 0, Polczynski 2 0-0 4, Cihocki 0 0-0 0, Scamulis 1 1-2 0. Totals: 20 11-12 55.
    PM West 51
    Vaughns 7 2-4 16, Wiggins 6 0-1 13, Singh 1 0-0 2, Nurse 0 0-0 0, Pedroza 1 1-4 3, Romney 0 0-0 0, Elmore 5 7-8 17. Totals: 20 10-17 51.
    3-pointers: EMM 4 (M. Kachelries 2, D. Kachelries, Widdoss); PMW 1 (Wiggins).
    Records: Emmaus 19-8; PM West 21-6.

Bangor knocks off PM West to reach District XI final

EAST STROUDSBURG — Soaked in sweat and smiling, Bangor coach Bron Holland emerged from the Slaters' locker room and apologized to the assembled media who were waiting.

"Sorry guys," Holland said, "we don't get a chance to celebrate too many like that."

Bangor was busy celebrating its biggest District 11 playoff victory in 28 years.

Behind senior Michael Martino's 26 points, the Colonial League champions stymied Pocono Mountain West, 57-40, on Wednesday night at East Stroudsburg South High School to quiet any and all doubters who thought the smallish Class 4A school couldn't compete against the big boys of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.

The second-seeded Slaters (25-1) advance to Saturday night's district final against No. 1 Parkland. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Allen's Milo Sewards Gymnasium.

"Because of all the ramifications of now playing for a District 11 title and clinching a berth in the state playoffs," Holland said, "this was our biggest win of the season. And that's no disrespect to the Colonial League or winning our league's championship. But as a program we needed to take that next step.

"Some people thought beating Whitehall [in the quarterfinals] was validation. That was a nice win but I thought that we needed to beat a great team and we did that tonight."

Bangor did it by neutralizing Pocono Mountain West's athleticism and quickness, and by playing excellent defense.

Martino either provided or initiated most the Slaters' offense. He scored 19 of his 26 points in the opening half as they seized control. Bangor trailed 2-0 for approximately seven seconds before sharpshooter Anthony Schiavone swished the team's first of seven 3-pointers.

The Slaters led by between six and 10 points through most of the opening 16 minutes.

Martino, who grabbed all seven of his rebounds before intermission, not only handled the Panthers' pressure 'D,' he also accounted for 61 percent of his team's first-half scoring.

"We knew they'd come out and attack us on defense and try to turn us over," said Martino, who scored 22 in his team's 53-49 win over Whitehall. "I felt good shooting in warmups and I made a few free throws early so that helped out my confidence.

"Once I started to knock a few down, everything clicked."

While Bangor's 1,000-point scorer was doing his thing on offense, the Slaters — employing several variations of a zone defense —frustrated Pocono Mountain West's two 1,000-point scorers, juniors Lance Singh and Isaiah Wiggins. Singh and Wiggins made only four field goals and scored 16 points combined.

As such, Pocono West (21-5) was never able to make a sustained run.

Coach Brad Pensyl's Panthers closed within 33-28 on Isaiah Vaughns' two free throws with 3:40 remaining in the third quarter, but Bangor used a 12-2 spurt that spanned the third and fourth periods to open a commanding 45-30 lead with 5:38 to play.

"We were never in sync," Pensyl said, "and credit Bangor's defense for that. We've had games like that this season but we picked a bad time to lay an egg. We rely on those three guys [Singh, Vaughns and Wiggins] and when they're struggling, we're in deep trouble.

"Absolutely, we were prepared for what they were doing. We just had guys who thought they weren't getting the calls and they got frustrated. And they weren't able to get over that."

Vaughns was the one Pocono West player Pensyl identified as playing a solid all-around game. A 6-foot-4 junior, Vaughns scored 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

For Bangor, Dylan Benton complemented Martino's performance with a 10-point, eight-rebound effort. Schiavone also contributed 10 points.

Holland praised his big men—– Dylan, Seth Benton, and freshman Isaiah Jones — for their work inside.

"We were worried about them crashing the offensive boards but that wasn't an issue," Holland said. "And I thought our guys showed some length and athleticism inside, blocking a couple shots and frustrating them."

Pocono West now prepares for a 1 p.m. consolation game Saturday at Allen against Emmaus.

Bangor, meanwhile, prepares for EPC champion Parkland — the overwhelming favorite to win another district title even before the tournament started. The Slaters know what they're up against.

They also know they're playing in their first district final since their coach was the team's star player in 1988.

"We're definitely not surprised to be here," Schiavone said. "We knew we could play with anyone. Just because we play in the Colonial League doesn't mean we're not a good team."

Michael Blouse is a freelance writer.



Bangor-Pocono Mountain West semifinal battle has former Slaters coach Bill Pensyl in a delightful, yet uncomfortable spot

It figures to be one of the most special, and, at the same time, worst nights of Bill Pensyl's life.

On Wednesday night at East Stroudsburg South, Pensyl will be at the scorer's table, keeping the book for his son Brad's Pocono Mountain West boys basketball team.

The Panthers' opponent in the District 11 4A semifinals will be Bangor, the team that plays its home games at Bill Pensyl Gym.

For Pensyl, the good news is that either his son's team or the program he remains most synonymous with will win and advance to Saturday's district title game.

The bad news for him, however, is that one of the two has to lose.

"I like both teams," he said. "I always want Bangor to do well, but I also love my son. What's the old saying? Blood's thicker than water? It's not a fun game for me, to be honest with you."

And yet, there should be a great sense of pride for the senior Pensyl, because both his son and Bangor coach Bron Holland are two of the 12 head coaches he mentored while coaching the Slaters for 47 years — 38 as the head coach.

"I treasure the fact that I coached 12 guys who went on to become head coaches," he said. "That's pretty good, I thought."

Current Northampton boys coach Coy Stampone and current Southern Lehigh girls coach Matt Cooper are among the many branches on the Bill Pensyl coaching tree. Frank Scagliotta, who coached at Pius X in addition to becoming one of the most prominent college basketball officials in the country, was also one of Pensyl's former players.

He roots for all of his guys, and there are many of them with kids on the current Slaters squad.

"I really like Bangor's team because for one thing, they're all Bangor kids," Pensyl said. "They haven't come in from anywhere else. They're all born and raised here and that's really nice to see. It reminds me of a couple of teams that I had where they started in elementary school together.

"I'll always want Bangor to do well … remember I gave 47 years and they'll always be close to my heart, but I could never root against my son and I hope they do well. This is the last time this could happen, because next year they'll be in different classes — West will be in 6A and Bangor will be in 5A."

Holland used to be on Brad Pensyl's staff at Pocono Mountain before the school district split into East and West schools.

"Brad also started an AAU team that Bron played on along with Billy McCaffrey from Central Catholic and some other great players," Bill Pensyl said. "They played some good competition."

As for the success of both his son and Holland, Pensyl said: "I think they both like kids and that's the most important thing when you're a coach. They also establish discipline. They're both very good disciplinarians. They work hard, certainly, and they're both well organized. You can't be a phony with kids. They can tell if you're sincere or not. And they both command respect, which is so important."

Bill Pensyl said with the influx of New York and New Jersey kids at Pocono West, his son has to keep a close eye on his players.

"I'm very proud that in all of the years I've been going up there, I've never seen one of the Pocono kids get out of control on the basketball floor, and that's because Brad won't tolerate it," Bill Pensyl said.

As for Holland, his respect for Bill Pensyl has no end.

"Coach dedicated a large part of his life to Bangor basketball, and this will always be his program as long as I am here," Holland said. "I know he takes great pride in our success. However, Brad is his son and he has given him a lot of Panther gear Coach loves wearing. I know he won't enjoy this game, regardless of the winning team, because of his vested interest in both programs.

"To me, it's not a coincidence that Pocono Mountain West and Bangor are successful, because both head coaches learned from the best. And Brad also coached several of our players' fathers at Bangor, so I am sure he's proud to see them doing so well, too."

All that said, Holland knows his team (24-1) faces a great challenge in the 21-4 Panthers.

"If they play as well as they did against Stroudsburg [in an 84-54 quarterfinal-round win] no team in the state will beat them," he said. "We haven't faced a team with their speed and tenacity on the boards since we scrimmaged St. Joe's Prep. Simulating what they do in practice will be impossible, but our kids have shown their capability to adjust to athletic, quick teams.

"As many problems as they create, I think we present some issues for them as well. We'll be prepared and we'll compete. I can guarantee we are not satisfied just reaching the semifinals."

The good news is that whoever loses will still get a chance to reach the state tournament via the consolation game, where they will meet either Parkland or Emmaus.

The Trojans (23-3) and Green Hornets (18-7) meet for the fourth time this season at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Freedom. Parkland has won the previous games by scores of 75-52 on Jan. 5, 65-53 on Feb. 1 and 44-36 on Feb. 10 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semis.

Parkland is trying to join Dieruff from 1966-69 and Whitehall from 1989-92 as the only programs to win four straight district titles in the highest classification.

Emmaus, meanwhile, is trying for just its second district overall and first since 1986.


      Panthers prevail over Mounties, 84-54

      Singh, Vaughns lead Pocono Mountain West past Stroudsburg
    Zach Sturniolo 
    Record Sports Writer 

    Posted Feb. 20, 2016 at 9:45 PM 

    BRODHEADSVILLE - The Panthers are moving onto the district semifinals in dominating fashion.
    Jalen Vaughns had 18 points and 16 rebounds, Lance Singh scored a game-high 29 points, and No. 3 Pocono Mountain West won 84-54 over No. 6 Stroudsburg in the District 11 Class AAAA boys basketball quarterfinal on Saturday night at Pleasant Valley High School.
    The Mounties were held to just five points in the first quarter, and Pocono West took them out of the game almost immediately, shutting down any offensive chance that Stroudsburg had.
    "I thought we played phenomenal defense in the first half," PM West coach Brad Pensyl said. "We made a few adjustments off things we did the last game (against Stroudsburg), but I felt we had it matched up really well."
    The Panthers (20-3) and Mounties were no strangers coming into Saturday's game. The pair met twice during the regular season and split the series. Stroudsburg won the first match 71-57, but PM West earned a 78-66 win the second time around.
    "We knew that they were a tough team," Vaughns said. "But we knew if we played the way we usually play, we'd get another W and we did."
    The combination of Vaughns' double-double, Singh's extraordinary scoring performance, and Isaiah Wiggins' solid 12-point game was a perfect display of how lethal the Panthers can be when they're running on all cylinders.
    "That's been our three-headed monster," Pensyl said.
    Singh's 29-point performance was highlighted by his perfect 15-for-15 night from the foul line. In the Panthers' 70-64 loss to Allen in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinal, Pocono West made it to the foul line just 11 times and netted seven points. In Saturday's win over Stroudsburg, the Panthers went 35-for-39 from the stripe.
    "That's our game," Pensyl said. "We're supposed to go to the foul line. That's our offense. And I'm sure, like most people, we spend a lot of time at the foul line and we spend a lot of time trying to get the ball in areas that we know we're going to go to the basket and get fouled. And that's a part of what we try to do."
    It worked against a Stroudsburg team that looked lost on Saturday.
    The Mounties beat Freedom 49-45 in the first round of districts on Wednesday night. But poor execution, sloppy defense, and a multitude of fouls eliminated any opportunity for Stroudsburg to move on.
    "They were the aggressor the whole game, bottom line," Stroudsburg coach Rich Baker said. "They were aggressive. We were passive. They played harder than us in every aspect of the game. They dominated us from the get-go. 50-50 balls? They got. Offensive rebounds? They got.
    "Having special players like Lance Singh, Isaiah Wiggins, Jalen Vaughns, they stepped up and played big tonight, and that's exactly how it works."
    Pocono Mountain West will face Bangor in the district semifinal game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Pleasant Valley High School.
    District 11 Class AAAA Quarterfinal
    No. 3 PM West 84, No. 6 Stroudsburg 54
    Stroudsburg 5 14 16 19 - 54
    PM West 18 27 19 20 - 84
    Stroudsburg 54
    Lamour 8 1-2 20, Brown 0 0-0 0, Collins 1 0-0 3, Mack 2 0-0 6, Bueno 3 2-6 10, Jackson 1 0-0 3, Wilson 1 4-4 6, Hines 0 1-2 1, Kusz 1 0-0 2, Brady 0 0-0 0, Hayden 0 0-0 0, Callender 0 0-0 0, Arriola 0 0-0 0, Wyant 1 0-0 3, Northern 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 8-14 54.
    PM West 84
    Vaughns 7 4-7 18, Wiggins 4 3-3 12, Singh 7 15-15 29, Nurse 0 0-0 0, Pedroza 2 3-4 7, Romney 0 2-2 2, Elmore 2 6-6 10, Jackson 2 2-2 6. Totals: 24 35-39 84.
    3-pointers: S 10 (Lamour 3, Mack 2, Bueno 2, Collins, Jackson, Wyant); PMW 1 (Wiggins).

Pocono Mountain West, Bangor to meet after posting District XI quarterfinal wins

By: Mike Blouse

BRODHEADSVILLE – Michael Martino’s a 1,000-point scorer at Bangor. He’s the program’s all-time assists leader. He’s won three Colonial League championships. He’s been a league all-star.

But on Saturday night, Martino accomplished something he never had as a Slater.

Bangor won its first District 11 playoff game in five years with a 53-49 triumph over Whitehall in the nightcap of a Class 4A doubleheader at Pleasant Valley High School.

Pocono Mountain West drilled Stroudsburg, 84-54, in the opener.

Coach Bron Holland’s second-seeded Slaters (24-1) and coach Brad Pensyl’s No. 3 Panthers (21-4) will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Pleasant Valley in one of two 4A semifinals. Holland and Pensyl are former Bangor stars who have coached with and against each other.

No. 1 Parkland plays No. 4 Emmaus in the other semifinal at Freedom.

Martino, the only senior in the Slaters’ starting lineup, and his Bangor buddies at long last broke through in the district quarterfinals after three consecutive one-and-dones.

They trailed only once, at 33-31, for about 10 seconds but it wasn’t until 6-foot-4 Dylan Benton used every bit of his wingspan to block a potential tying 3-pointer by Whitehall’s Logan McGinley and grabbed the rebound with nine seconds remaining that Bangor clinched the victory. Benton hit on 1 of 2 free-throws to set the final score.

“Winning a championship is always great,” said Martino, who scored a game-high 22 points and dropped five key 3-pointers.

“But now we’ve proven that year-in and year-out we’re one of the top teams in the Colonial League. To finally win a game in the district tournament, this proves that we can play with the top teams in the EPC [Eastern Pennsylvania Conference]. This was a huge win for our program.”

The Slaters led throughout the opening half and into the third quarter. Charles Hudson’s basket with 5:28 to play in the period put the seventh-seeded Zephyrs ahead by two points. Bangor never blinked, though. Martino answered almost immediately with his first of two straight 3s.

Reece Jones then swished another 3-pointer as the Slaters re-claimed a 40-34 advantage and forced Whitehall coach Jeff Jones to call a timeout.

“We knew there’d be a rough stretch,” Martino said. “This is a district game and they wanted to win as badly as we did. But we came right back and took the lead back – and that was really important.”

Bangor maintained its lead in the final quarter but the Zephyrs closed within 52-49 on a Logan McGinley 3-pointer with 59 seconds left. The Slaters struggled to close out the victory – Martino missed the front end of two 1-and-1s – but Whitehall failed to score in the final minute, thanks in part to Benton’s block.

Benton finished with 13 points for Bangor and Jones added 12. McGinley led Whitehall (13-11) with 17 points.

“Mike put us on his back tonight and did what great players do,” Holland said of Martino. “This was yet another opportunity for him to prove he’s one of the great players in Bangor’s history. He may not have been the league MVP, but he’s our MVP.”

Bangor and Whitehall met as the same seeds in the same round a season ago, with the Zephyrs pulling away late for a 50-41 win over the Slaters.

“[Friday night] we talked for the last time about needing to win a district playoff game to validate our program,” said Holland, who starred on Bangor’s last state playoff team in 1988. “We told the kids whatever happens in this game, happens. We’ve got the second-best record in the district and no matter what, we should be proud of our accomplishments.

“I wanted all our concentration to be on winning. We didn’t play a great game, but we made the plays we had to and we played with great effort.”

The Slaters will need to both play great and bring outstanding effort if they hope to advance to the district final.

In Pocono Mountain West’s 30-point win over Stroudsburg on Saturday, the trio of Lance Singh, Jalen Vaughs and Isaiah Wiggins – all juniors – combined for 57 points as the Panthers played one of their finest all-around games of the season.

“I thought we played phenomenal defense, particularly in the first half,” said Pensyl, who earned his 501st win as a coach.

Stroudsburg actually led Pocono West for about 45 seconds when D’shon Collins dropped in the opening 3-pointer. The Panthers then went on a 16-0 run to assume total control.

“Coach is always telling us to push the tempo and play defense,” said Singh, who scored a game-high 29 points and went 15 of 15 from the free-throw line. “When we do those things and we rebound the ball, I think we’ll win a lot of games. We came out right from the start doing the right things.”

Singh produced the majority of his points by getting out in transition and showing off his athleticism.

Vaughs, meanwhile, did a lot of the dirty work inside, scoring on putbacks and dominating the backboards on both ends of the court. A 6-foot-4 jumping jack, Vaughs finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Wiggins settled for a supporting role in this contest 12 points.

Pocono West was aggressive from the start and capitalized on it forcing the Mountaineers into frequent fouls. Overall, Pocono West made 35 free throws in 39 attempts.

“That’s our game,” Pensyl said. “We’re supposed to get to the foul line.”

Michael Blouse is a freelance writer.

District 11 Class 4A quarterfinals


Stroudsburg 5 14 16 19 – 54

Pocono Mt. West 18 27 19 20 – 84

Stroudsburg (54)

Hines 0 1-2 1, Bueno 3 2-6 10, Wilson 1 4-5 6, Jackson 1 0-0 3, Collins 1 0-0 3, Lamour 8 1-2 20, Brown 0 0-0 0, Hayden 0 0-0 0, Brady 0 0-0 0, Mack 2 0-0 6, Kusz 1 0-0 2, Wyant 1 0-0 3, Northern 0 0-0 0, Callender 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 8-15.

Pocono Mountain West (84)

Vaughs 7 4-7 18, Singh 7 15-15 29, Elmore 2 6-6 10, Wiggins 4 3-3 12, Pedroza 2 3-4 7, Jackson 2 2-2 6, Romney 0 2-2 2, Nurse 0 0-0 0, Nelson 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 35-39 84.

3-pointers: Stroudsburg 10 (Bueno 2, Jackson, Collins, Lamour 3, Mack 2, Wyant); Pocono Mountain West 1 (Wiggins).


Whitehall 12 13 13 11 – 49

Bangor 15 13 13 12 – 53

Whitehall (49)

Hudson 3 1-2 7, Buskirk 2 0-0 4, Esquilin 3 1-2 9, Gilbert 1 0-0 2, Martinez 2 0-0 4, McGinley 7 3-4 17, Walschburger 2 0-0 6. Totals 20 5-8 49.

Bangor (53)

  1. Jones 3 3-4 12, Martino 8 1-4 22, S. Benton 2 0-0 4, D. Benton 4 5-7 13, Schiavone 0 2-3 2, I. Jones 0 0-0 0, B. Holland 0 0-0 0, C. Holland 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 11-18 53.

3-pointers: Whitehall 4 (Esquilin 2, Walschburger 2); Bangor 8 (Jones 3, Martino 5).

Michael Blouse is a freelance writer.

Panthers no. 3 seed in the 2015-16 District XI 'AAAA' boys basketball tournament





No. 9 Liberty (12-11) at No. 8 Nazareth (13-9), 7 p.m.

No. 11 Freedom (11-11) at No. 6 Stroudsburg (14-9), 7 p.m.

No. 10 Whitehall (12-10) at No. 7 Southern Lehigh (18-6), 7 p.m.



Nazareth/Liberty winner vs. No. 1 Parkland (22-3), 7:30 p.m. at Freedom

No. 5 Emmaus (17-7) vs. No. 4 Allen (17-7), 6 p.m. at Freedom

Freedom/Stroudsburg winner vs. No. 3 Pocono Mountain West (20-4), 6 p.m. at Pleasant Valley

Whitehall/Southern Lehigh winner vs. No. 2 Bangor (23-1), 7:30 p.m. at Pleasant Valley


Feb. 24 with matchups, sites, times TBD.


Feb. 27 with matchups, sites, times TBD.

Allen, Parkland win with contrasting styles 
to advance to EPC final

Allen, Parkland win with contrasting styles

BETHLEHEM — Perhaps no two schools in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference are geographically closer to each other than Allen and Parkland.

Yet, because they're not in the same division and not everybody in the EPC plays one another, the two didn't meet in the 2015-16 regular season.

But the Canaries and Trojans will still get together after all, and there will be a lot at stake.

They'll meet at Liberty's Memorial Gym on Friday night in the second game of a girls-boys doubleheader for the EPC championship after posting victories in very different ways in Wednesday's semifinals at Liberty.

In a wide-open, racehorse-style contest, Allen outlasted Pocono Mountain West, 70-65. By comparison, the nightcap between Parkland and Emmaus was played in slow motion.

Emmaus slowed down the tempo, but ultimately couldn't slow down the Trojans, who struggled offensively but still found a way to beat the Green Hornets for the third time this season, 44-36.

Parkland, which won for the 19th straight time in improving to 21-3, will undoubtedly like the pace much better when facing the Canaries (17-6).

"It'll be an entertaining game," Trojans coach Andy Stephens said. "It's going to be fun with a great crowd because we haven't played each other this season. I'm very good friends with Doug [Snyder, the Allen coach]. I respect what he does. We're going to have to play well to win that game because Allen's a good team."

The Trojans were not at their best against Emmaus, but part of that was caused by the Green Hornets' strategy of shortening the game by controlling the tempo.

After losing twice previously to Parkland, Emmaus coach Steve Yoder felt he had to do something different and his strategy nearly worked.

"What we did tonight went against every fiber in our system," Yoder said. "We like to get up and down the floor and score in the 70s and 80s. Tonight we decided to take the air out of the ball and the kids owned it. It was a two-possession game with two minutes left. We make a couple of layups that we normally make and it's a different game."

After a first half that featured 11 lead changes, Parkland seemed to seize command by scoring the last four points of the second quarter and then grabbed a 36-26 lead in the third.

Newly named EPC MVP Kyle Stout sat a good portion of the first half with two fouls and didn't score, but he had eight points in the third period — making a pair of 3-pointers in the process — to give the Trojans some breathing room.

However, Parkland didn't score in the final stanza until Devante Cross made one of two at the line with 3:07 left.

Fortunately for the Trojans, Emmaus only scored three points in the fourth quarter to that point.

"Defense was definitely the key," said Parkland senior center Kenny Yeboah, who had 10 points, 10 rebounds and a block. "This was definitely about 'survive and advance' tonight. Emmaus came out playing slow, but we just tried to play at our pace and do what we had to do."

Stephens said that at this point of the season, Parkland, which is going for its second straight EPC crown after not winning any in the old Lehigh Valley Conference, has to be ready for anything.

"We dealt with Whitehall last year and Pocono Mountain West played us the same way in the district quarterfinals last year," Stephens said. "It's tough for the kids because they want to go out and play. We tell them not to get frustrated. We just had to go with it. Emmaus did what they thought they had to do to win, but I still thought our kids did a really good job."

Sam Iorio led Parkland with 14 points as the Trojans registered their second-lowest point total of the season (38 in a December loss to Roman Catholic remains the low).

"It's frustrating to see the same teams over and over because it's tough to beat good teams three and four times," Stephens said. "It's really true because we're the hunted. But we did such a good job defensively. They limited our points, but we limited theirs, too."

Allen actually had more points in the first half against Pocono West (38) than Emmaus had in the entire game.

The Canaries got 20 points apiece from juniors JJ Winslow and Talek Williams and a solid 14-point, 11-rebound effort from Tyrese Martin, another junior, in avenging an earlier 77-69 double-overtime loss to Pocono Mountain West.

With Williams, one of the area's leading scorers, sidelined for most of the second quarter with two personals, Winslow picked up the slack by registering 13 points and eight assists in the first half as Allen opened up a 38-31 halftime lead.

Winslow missed the December game at Pocono Mountain West because of a disciplinary issue, but made up for lost time with a stellar performance.

"JJ has been playing much better and under control," Snyder said. "He got some dribble penetration and got to the rim and made some big layups that kind of opened things up for us. He also takes the other team's best offensive player defensively and did a nice job there as well."

Allen's defense overall was solid in hounding Pocono Mountain West into a poor shooting night. Isaiah Wiggins, a first-team all-EPC selection and 1,000-point scorer, had just two points in the first half and finished with just eight — well below his seasonal average.

Lance Singh, another 1,000-point scorer for the Panthers, tried to make up for that with a dazzling 35-point display. However, despite repeated runs at Allen down the stretch, the Canaries were able to hold on thanks to stellar foul shooting.

Allen was 24-for-28 at the line overall and 14-for-16 in the fourth quarter.

"We've been a 50 percent foul-shooting team and at times we've been below that," Snyder said. "So I was real happy with our free-throw shooting tonight. We've done something different in practice and we now have a free-throw shooting ladder, and the guys actually compete against each other to go up the ladder. I think that's helped increase their focus and they shoot at the line a little better."

Meanwhile, Pocono West coach Brad Pensyl thought his team didn't give its best shot.

"We didn't shoot the ball well, which was a credit to [Allen], and we just didn't execute real well in the halfcourt," he said. "We usually get to the line more than we did tonight. The tale of the tape is that they pounded us on the boards. They chuck the ball all over the gym, but they still deserved to win. We've got to make corrections and go back to work and get ready for districts."

Panthers land 3 on EPC All-League team

Parkland senior Kyle Stout and Nazareth junior Tessa Brugler will be introduced as the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys and girls MVPs respectively on Friday night at Liberty High School.

The question is will Stout and Brugler be at Liberty to do more than just accept their awards?

Stout's Trojans and Brugler's Blue Eagles both need to win semifinal games to earn spots in Friday's championship doubleheader.

The EPC boys go first Tuesday night at Liberty.

Top-seeded and defending champion Parkland (20-2) will face No. 5 seed Emmaus (17-6) for the third time this season in the nightcap of a semifinal doubleheader that starts at 6 p.m. with No. 3 seed Allen (16-6) facing No. 2 seed Pocono Mountain West (20-3).

In previous meetings this season, the Trojans have defeated the Green Hornets by scores of 75-52 and 65-53 with the latest meeting coming on Feb. 1

Allen-Pocono Mountain West is a rematch of a double-overtime thriller won 77-69 by the Panthers at Pocono Summit on Dec. 18.

In addition to the Lafayette-bound Stout, several EPC all-star selections will be on display in the semifinals. Stout's Parkland teammates Sam Iorio and Devante Cross were first and second-team selections respectively.

Allen's Talek Williams, Emmaus' David Kachelries and Pocono West's Isaiah Wiggins were first-team selections (along with Central Catholic's Zay Jennings).

In addition to Cross, the second team featured Nazareth's Jahan Dotson, Allen's Tyrese Martin, Pocono West's Lance Singh and Freedom's Najee Cash.

The third team was filled by Pocono West's Jalen Vaughns, Liberty's Cameron Hoffman, Whitehall's Mikey Esquilin, Stroudsburg's Dyony Bueno and Emmaus' Matt Kachelries.

Cross, Iorio, Jennings, Stout and Kachelries are all repeat EPC selections.

The EPC girls tournament takes center stage at Liberty on Wednesday with a semifinal doubleheader. The 6 p.m. opener features No,. 2 seed Easton (18-4) taking on No. 3 Nazareth (16-7) followed by top-seeded Parkland (19-4) meeting No. 5 Northampton (16-7).

The Red Rovers and Blue Eagles will be meeting for the first time this season, while it will be the third clash between the Trojans and Konkrete Kids. Parkland won the previous meetings by scores of 53-49 and 49-39.

Bethlehem Catholic, the defending EPC champ, was eliminated by Nazareth 60-45 in Friday's quarterfinals.

Brugler, who averages 16 points per game, scored 16 in that victory. Joining her on the EPC all-star team's first squad are four girls who will be in action in the semifinals — Northampton's Aja Blount, Easton's Gabby Bloshuk and Liberty's Maddie Capuano and Kaylin West.

The girls second team featured Parkland's Nadine Ewald, Whitehall's Taylor George, Northampton's Victoria Keenan, Becahi's Tessa Zamolyi and Central Catholic's Neila Luma and making the third team were Pocono East's Khyasia Caldwell, Easton's Mackenzie Miers, Becahi's Jordynn Jones, Parkland's Emily Piston and Nazareth's Jessica Durnin.

Meanwhile, the Colonial League girls tournament has its semifinals Tuesday night at Catasauqua. No. 6 seed Bangor (13-10) faces No. 2 Palisades in the opener at 6 p.m. at followed by No. 1 Southern Lehigh (21-1) taking on No. 4 Northwestern (16-7).

The Colonial boys semis are set for Wednesday with No. 2 Salisbury (18-4) battling No. 3 Southern Lehigh (18-5) for the third time in the opener followed by No. 1 Bangor (21-1) taking on No. 5 Saucon Valley (14-9) in the nightcap, also their third meeting of the season.


      Pensyl's 500th win has Pocono Mountain West marching on

    Zach Sturniolo 
    Record Sports Writer 

    Posted Feb. 5, 2016 at 10:33 PM
    Updated Feb 6, 2016 at 3:50 PM 

    POCONO SUMMIT - Pocono West isn't finished yet.
    Lance Singh scored 23 points to lead the No. 2 Panthers to a 60-52 win over No. 7 Allentown Central Catholic in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball quarterfinals on Friday night.
    But the win marked a big milestone for Pocono West head coach Brad Pensyl. Friday's victory was Pensyl's 500th career win as a head coach, a feat few have ever reached.
    "It's overwhelming for me actually," Pensyl said. "From a personal standpoint, it's fantastic. It meant a lot to my family, and I know it meant a lot to all the kids that played for me and my assistant coaches."
    Junior guard Isaiah Wiggins scored 15 points for the Panthers in Friday's win, just two days after earning his 1,000th career point. Aside from moving on to the next round of the playoffs where the Panthers will play Allen, he was happy to be part of the team that earned Pensyl such a big achievement.
    "It feels great," Wiggins said. "He's a great coach and I just love playing for him. He's a great guy and it just feels good."
    Pensyl, in his 27th year as a Pocono Mountain head coach, said Friday's win had a little more meaning to it.
    "I think it has a special meaning in the fact that this was a playoff game and we had a chance to move on," he said. "Had it been during the regular season, maybe not as important. But I didn't want us not to advance from a personal standpoint. I had a lot of friends and family here, so that would've been disappointing.
    "But I feel really good about our team right now and felt they really gutted it up and they played really well tonight."
    Friday's game was a back-and-forth shootout until the second half.
    After nine lead changes alone in the second quarter, Pocono West went into halftime with a slim 26-24 lead. But the Panthers found a way around the Vikings' Zay Jennings - who led ACC with 28 points - by limiting the players around him.
    Jennings was the Vikings' only player with double-digit points, and the Panthers controlled the clock by slowing the game down throughout the second half.
    "They played very well," Pensyl said. "Jennings was phenomenal. I was trying to get them (ACC) out of that zone (defense) and play us man-to-man. But a little bit, too, I was letting our players catch their breath a little bit because we were gassed too.
    "And I thought once we spread them out, we took momentum back in the game, and we were playing the way I wanted us to play and not playing the way they wanted us to play. There's a big difference there."
    Friday's win sets up a rematch against William Allen, which defeated Liberty 69-45 in the EPC quarterfinal Friday night.
    Allen took the Panthers into double-overtime on Dec. 18. Pocono West won that game 77-69.
    "Allen's really athletic, kind of like us," Pensyl said. "They have a phenomenal player in that (Talek) Williams kid. We've got our hands full on Tuesday, so we're going to go out and obviously do our best and try to win the game to get to the (conference) finals."
    EPC Quarterfinal
    PM West 60, ACC 52
    ACC 11 13 9 19 - 52
    PM West 8 18 14 20 - 60
    ACC 52
    Dezonie 3 1-2 7, Ocasio 0 0-0 0, Vaughn 3 0-0 7, Lambert 0 0-0 0, Ellwood 2 1-2 6, Susko 0 0-0 0, Kern 1 2-2 4, Jennings 11 0-0 28. Totals: 20 4-6 52.
    PM West 60
    Vaughns 5 2-4 12, Wiggins 6 3-4 15, Singh 8 5-7 23, Pedroza 1 4-4 6, Olivieri 1 0-0 2, Romney 0 0-0 0, Elmore 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 14-19 60.
    3-pointers: ACC 8 (Jennings 6, Vaughn 2); PMW 2 (Singh 2).

BOYS BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Brad Pensyl could join 500-win club 

Brad Pensyl could join the 500-win club with win over Central Catholic

Brad Pensyl has never been afraid to talk about anything throughout his coaching career, but when it comes to potentially winning his 500th game tonight in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference quarterfinals, he admits, "I don't really want to talk about it a whole lot. I feel kind of funny about it."

With a victory over Central Catholic, a team his Panthers defeated 88-78 in December at Rockne Hall, Pensyl would join a select number of area boys basketball coaches who have won 500 times.

Only coaching legends John Donmoyer (624), Bob Wilson (551) and Bill Paulik (539) reached the 500-win plateau while coaching exclusively in the area. Ron Hassler totaled 536 wins in his 27-season career, but 47 of them came at North Penn in District One.

"When you talk about being in the same company as those guys, it's really an honor, especially in this day and age when it's tough to stay in coaching," Pensyl said. "I don't know how many guys will ever coach long enough to get a chance at 500."

Brad's father and current scorekeeper Bill Pensyl was a coaching legend himself at Bangor.

The senior Pensyl won 449 games over 38 seasons. He is tremendously proud, as is the rest of the family.

"My wife and my children are the ones making a big deal about this and my grandkids will be there, which will be nice," Brad Pensyl said. "I know my players are excited about it as well, but I don't want the focus of this game against Central Catholic to be about me getting 500. That won't be good for us."

If it doesn't come against CCHS, it will likely come soon for Pensyl, who has one of the most explosive, balanced teams in the area.

Pensyl is proud of the fact that he been a consistent winner. No team he's coached either at the original Pocono Mountain High School or at Pocono West has failed to make the District 11 tournament in 27 seasons.

"We've had 11 20-win seasons in the 14 years I've been at West," he said.

What Pensyl has been able to do is adapt to a changing environment in the Poconos. Much like in Allentown and other parts of the Lehigh Valley, the demographics have changed in Monroe County and Pensyl is dealing with a different type of kid than when he first started coaching.

"Here it's a grind every day and you have to be on your toes all the time," Pensyl said. "Don't get me wrong. I've had some great kids and some really good players. But unless you coach in a school where you really have to be on top of things all the time, it's really hard to understand. I know Doug Snyder at Allen gets it."

To keep them on the right track, Pensyl gets his kids focused on competing hard for championships. Pocono Mountain West has seven league titles since 2007 and was the last team to win a District 11 Class 4A title in 2012 before Parkland began its three-year gold rush.

"We won 14 games last year and we were disappointed in that," he said. "A lot of other places, 14 wins would be nice, but not for us. We didn't even make the league tournament last year and that stung a little bit. So we've worked really hard to turn things around. We might win the league tournament, we might not, but at least we're there."

Pensyl, 55, is strict with the kids, but says even he has had to adapt and change some of his rules.

"I've lightened up with a couple of things, and if I didn't change I couldn't be coaching here," he said. "I do get concerned for our kids. People don't know them. They don't see them a lot and I feel bad for them because most of them don't have a whole lot in their lives and a little recognition means a lot to them.

"People will ask me if we're scared to play a really tough opponent. And I tell them that my kids aren't scared of the names on the front of other people's uniforms. My kids are scared of what the next day might bring them. That's what we're dealing with in some cases."

Dave Peters, an Allen assistant and Allentown school teacher, said Pocono West kids are fortunate to have someone like Pensyl in their corner. He played for Pensyl at Pocono Mountain in the late 1990s.

"When I was there we had a great staff because Bron Holland, who has turned Bangor around, was the JV coach and J.P. Andrejko was the freshman coach and he later became my coach at King's College," Peters said. "But my coaching style is definitely influenced by what I learned from Brad. I'll often think, Coach Pensyl used to do this or Coach Pensyl used to do that.

"I admire his competitive fire and intensity. He taught me a lot about basketball and about life and from just being around him and his son Bradley, who was my best friend, I became a better person. For the kids at West, he's the father figure that many of them may not have in their lives."

Peters said Pensyl preached a foxhole mentality.

"When times are tough you need to be someone who commits to the task, who looks out for his teammate, and holds that teammate up," Peters said. "He wanted you to be a player who your teammates would want to have in a foxhole with them when things weren't going as expected."

Peters said Pensyl doesn't get the credit he deserves as a strategist or tactician.

"Yes, he lets his kids play and run like we do at Allen, but he's not a roll out the ball kind of guy," Peters said. "He demands that those kids be the best they can be and it starts in the classroom. He pushes them to excel in everything. Like Doug Snyder, Brad could draw something up on the spot. You could be down one in the district final with a couple of seconds left and he has ice water running through his veins. He'll always give his kids a chance to win."

Pensyl said he's not going to coach as long as his father.

"Four more years at the most," he said.

Yet this could be a Golden Era for the Panthers, who have two juniors who have already scored 1,000 points — Lance Singh and Isaiah Wiggins — and another junior, Jalen Vaughns, who could get there next season. Plus, the JV team is undefeated.

"We got things going on the right track here, but it's still a grind," Pensyl said. "That's why this would be nice to get tonight because it's about advancing. That's where you get your credibility and respect."

Tournament table set

The EPC tournament begins tonight. In addition to CCHS traveling to Pocono Mountain West, Emmaus visits Stroudsburg, Liberty is at Allen and Bethlehem Catholic visits top-seeded Parkland.

Of those four matchups, Becahi-Parkland is the only that hasn't taken place previously this season.

The EPC semis are Tuesday night at a site to be determined.

In the Colonial League, Catasauqua visits Southern Lehigh and Notre Dame entertains Saucon Valley on Saturday night while Bangor and Salisbury have byes into the semis, which will be held Wednesday night at a site to be announced.

In the Schuylkill League, the semis will be held Tuesday night at Pottsville's Martz Hall. Blue Mountain will play Minersville at 6 p.m. with defending league champ Pottsville likely to face Shenandoah Valley in the 7:30 nightcap.


Wiggins hits 1,000 point mark in division win over South

EAST STROUDSBURG - PM West's Isaiah Wiggins and Lance Singh both scored 16 points to lead the Panthers to a 72-58 win over ES South in EPC boys basketball Wednesday.

Needing only 8 points going into the regular season finale, Wiggins hit the 1,000 point mark for his career in the 3rd quarter.
PM West 72, ES South 58
PM West 14 22 16 20 - 72
ES South 11 11 19 17 - 58
PM West 72
Vaughns 6 3-4 15, Wiggins 5 6-13 16, Singh 6 2-2 16, Nurse 0 0-0 0, Pedroza 2 1-2 5, Oliviera 4 3-4 11, Romney 0 1-2 1, Nelson 1 0-0 2, Elmore 2 2-2 6, Jackson 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 26 18-28 72.
ES South 58
Lissimore 0 0-0 0, Lopez 3 0-0 6, Eck 1 0-0 2, Bradley 0 0-0 0, Toleno 5 0-0 14, Duncan 1 3-4 4, Burns 5 0-0 10, Kross 1 2-2 5, Fears 0 0-0 0, Davy 7 3-4 17, Webster 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 7-9 58.
3-PT Goals: PM West 2 (Singh 2), ESS 5 (Toleno 4, Kross).

West takes 2OT thriller over William Allen

Pocono Mountain West registers road win at Rockne with 88-78 victory over Central Catholic

Pocono Mountain West made first-ever visit to Rockne Hall a good one

For the first time in the school's 14-year history, Pocono Mountain West played a boys basketball game at one of the Lehigh Valley's most storied venues on Tuesday night.

And considering how well the Panthers played in their first appearance at Central Catholic's Rockne Hall, they might want to visit more often.

Pocono West placed five players in double figures and shot well both from the field and foul line in running past the host Vikings, 88-78, in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference game.

The Panthers (5-0, 3-0 EPC) trailed 39-37 at halftime but used a 13-2 run in the third quarter to seize a 53-44 advantage and never looked back in handing CCHS (4-2, 3-1) its first league loss.

"It's a real good road win because this league is so brutal," said veteran Panthers coach Brad Pensyl. "Our kids got down by a little bit, but we went out and executed in the second half. We did a lot of things well that we didn't do well last year."

Pocono West missed the eight-team EPC tournament a year ago when they were 8-8 in the league.

One of the things that hurt the Panthers a year ago was foul shooting when they made just 57.2 percent from the line, which was third worst in the league.

Against Central, the Panthers made 27 of 33 free throws and were 13 of 15 in the fourth quarter when the Vikings tried to make runs at Monroe County's premier basketball program.

"The things that hurt us last year were inexperience and lack of maturity," Pensyl said. "Our foul shooting and defense were horrendous last year, but we're spending more time on the foul shooting and we're playing better defense. We're not big and we struggle to rebound the ball at times, but we're so quick that we can get to the ball."

Pensyl said his defense did a good job of identifying shooters and applying some pressure.

The Vikings were just 4-for-26 from 3-point range and 22 of 62 from the field overall. They also had eight turnovers in the third quarter when the lead, and game, slipped away.

If it were not for a career-best 31 points from sophomore Shackylle Dezonie, CCHS would have never been within striking distance.

"Shack has worked very hard on his game and it's like anything you do in life, you get out of it what you put it into it," Central coach Dennis Csensits said. "He is putting in the time and he is becoming a heck of a basketball player."

However, Pocono West had a more well-rounded performance led by junior Isaiah Wiggins, who scored 24 points — 13 in the second half when he made 3 3-pointers.

"It was all about execution and playing as a team," Wiggins said. "When we play as a team, we can do big things. We just have to play hard every game on both ends of the floor."

Central defeated Pocono West 56-46 last year, but this was a very different type of game and the Vikings simply couldn't get enough stops.

Pensyl was pleased with his team's poise even after it lost Lance Singh to five personal fouls early in the fourth quarter.

"We got the lead and didn't let it go," Pensyl said. "This was a game we would have lost last year. We found a way to take good shots and knock down foul shots. We controlled the tempo. We're still going to struggle, and we're not great, but we're going to get better and we're winning games right now."

Certainly the Panthers caught the eye of the opposing coach.

"I am very impressed with Pocono Mountain West," Csensits said. "They have good athletes and they're so well coached. Their defensive intensity in the second half was the thing that allowed them to gain separation. They really stepped it up a notch and for any team to be a really good team, you have to have segments of a game where your defense can dictate things and theirs certainly did tonight."

Csensits also wasn't pleased with his team giving up 88 points, which is the most points any Vikings team has allowed since Reading registered 90 in a 2007-08 game.

"That's a lot of points to allow when you're playing eight-minute quarters and don't have a shot clock," Csensits said. "Not many teams are going to win when you give up that many.

"But at the same time, I was proud of our guys because they didn't quit. They stayed with the game and ultimately, we improved as a basketball team."

CCHS will try to rebound against Whitehall on Friday night and the Vikings return home to play Crestwood during the school's Wall of Fame doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.

Pocono Mountain West    19 - 18 -19 - 32 -- 88

Central Catholic             18 - 21 - 12 - 27 -- 78


Vaughs 7-9 3-3 17, Wiggins 7-13 7-8 24, Singh 5-13 0-1 11, Pedroza 1-5 9-12 11, Olivieri 6-10 5-6 17, Romney 1-2 2-2 5, Jackson 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 28-53 27-33 88.


Dezonie 9-14 13-15 31, Ocasio 1-5 1-2 3, Vaughan 2-4 4-4 9, Ellwood 3-13 2-2 9, Lambert 1-2 0-0 2, Patridge 0-0 0-0 0, Susko 1-1 0-0 2, Kern 0-2 4-4 4, Dana 0-0 0-0 0, Jennings 5-21 6-8 18. Totals 22-62 30-35 78.

Officials: Bill Cordero, Bob Huffstutler, Steve Serensits.

3-pointers: PMW (5-11) Wiggins 3, Romney, Singh. CCHS (4-26) Jennings 2, Ellwood, Vaughan.

Rebounds: PMW 36 (Vaughs, Wiggins 8). CCHS 34 (Dezonie 11).

Assists: PMW 7 (Singh 4). CCHS 8 (Jennings 4).

Turnovers: PMW 13, CCHS 14.

Fouls: PMW 23. CCHS 25.

JV: Pocono Mt. West 61-60 (Sam Vaughan 7 3s in loss for CCHS).

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