Tradition Doesn't Graduate

2016-17 News

Pocono Mountain West claims Super 16 Trophy



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For the first time since opening in 2002, Pocono Mountain West has a new head basketball coach.

Luckily for the Panther community, the new guy isn’t new at all.

Longtime assistant coach Rich Williams was hired as Pocono West’s head coach on Wednesday night at the Pocono Mountain School District board meeting. Williams was one of four new hires for the district. Josh Haines was named the head coach of Pocono East’s wrestling program along with Mike Hollar, who joins Haines as a varsity assistant. Jill Lichty was also named the new head coach of the Cardinals’ girls volleyball team.

Williams joined then-coach Brad Pensyl’s staff when Pocono West first opened 15 years ago. He was also coached by Pensyl as a player from 1993-95. Williams credits for Pensyl for shaping his life, and now for the chance to take over Pensyl’s program.

“It’s humbling, but at the same time, I’m excited,” Williams said Thursday. “It’s such a special opportunity to get to be the head coach of a program with such great culture and so many championships and so many wins.

“I’ve learned from Coach Pensyl how to do things the right way, and I think that will make all the difference for me.”

Pensyl’s success as a head coach in PMSD is well-known, backed largely by two District 11 championships, 524 victories, and 28 consecutive seasons in the district tournament. Williams, a Henryville resident, has played a large role in that success as an assistant. Stepping in as a head coach, Williams cites his passion for the game and his connections to his players off the court as factors that can lead to continued success.

Pensyl, who announced his resignation from basketball in March, believes Williams has what it takes to continue the Panthers’ winning ways.

“I feel relieved in some ways, and I feel really, really good that it’s one of my guys taking over ...,” Pensyl said. “I’m really glad Richie’s taking over. We need a West guy to coach these kids, and Richie’s going to be a really good basketball coach.

“He’s already a good basketball coach, so I think he’s going to do a fantastic job with this basketball program.”
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Jalen Vaughns earns second-team all-state honors

Sam Iorio, Parkland's splendid 6-foot-6 senior swingman and one of The Morning Call's boys basketball players of the year, has been named first-team All-State in Class 6A by the Associated Press. This, after averaging 25 points per game for the Trojans in his final season.

Joining him as all-state selections from the Lehigh Valley are David Kachelries of Emmaus, Tyrese Martin of Allen and Jalen Vaughns of Pocono Mountain West on the 6A second team; Talek Williams of Allen on the 6A third team; Ryan Young of Bethlehem Catholic on the 4A third team; Brandon Mohammed of Marian Catholic on the 2A third team; and Ramfis Rodriguez of Lincoln Leadership on the Class A third team.

Iorio repeated as an all-state selection after being a second-team choice in 4A as a junior. He ended his career with 1,892 points, breaking the school's previous record of 1,692 points set by Adam Lane in 2002.

He helped Parkland win three District 11 titles and two league championships. The Trojans were 94-22 in his four seasons.

Iorio's full array of talents didn't come to the forefront until this past season, when he was thrust into more of a do-it-all role after losing some teammates from his previous year to graduation.

"He had to pick up and shoulder the load and do a little bit of everything," Parkland coach Andy Stephens said. "He really had to play every position. He was awesome, he was that good.

"At the start of his high school career, he was kind of a stand-still shooter. But then we get to this year and he shows how versatile he is. He did everything we asked him to do and he never complained."

Martin blossomed as his Canaries career progressed, finishing his career with 1,120 points, 982 of them coming over the past two seasons. This season he averaged 21.3 points and 11.4 rebounds in being voted the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference's MVP and leading Allen to its first EPC title since 2006.

Williams averaged 17.8 points and six rebounds per game. His 1,460 career points tied him with Wayne Thomas (1993 grad) for second all-time at Allen. His specialty was throwing down slams. He averaged three per game.

He will play next season at Central Connecticut State, coached by former Reading, UConn and NBA player Donyell Marshall.

The representation from District 11 is well-deserved, according to Allen assistant coach Randy Atiyeh,

"It's really been a wonderful year for the whole area," he said. "I think it's a great thing for our two guys and for the whole Lehigh Valley.

"For us to get two guys on the team, I think all the credit goes to them. They're just non-stop basketball players. They're always looking to improve their skills and add to their game. They're always at a gym or a park somewhere. More importantly, they served as great examples of students and young men we have in our program and our school."

Atiyeh believes that work ethic is common among all the District 11 players honored on Friday.

"A lot of times kids think that they're putting in the work to play Division I basketball, but when you look at those two guys as well as Sam [Iorio] and David [Kachelries] and some of the other guys it's really a credit to them," he said.

Kachelries was a third-team Class 4A pick last year. He closed his career by leading the Green Hornets into the state quarterfinals, averaging 29.3 points in his team's last six playoff games and 23.8 points per game overall in his senior season. He had 34 points in the 78-74 double-overtime loss to Carlisle that ended his career.

Vaughns averaged 22.8 ppg and set a school record with 642 points this season in leading the Panthers to the District 11 6A championship and the second round of the state tournament. He also set records for rebounds in a season (332) and career (672) and shot 64 percent from the field.

He finished his career with 1,158 points and had 22 double-doubles. He scored a season-high 33 points against Parkland in the EPC quarterfinals and had 21 rebounds in a game against Dieruff.

Young proved to be a strong inside presence, finishing with 300 rebounds and 37 blocks despite missing three full games with an ankle injury and being less than 100 percent in several others. He also averaged 13.9 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.

Here is the complete list, with Morning Call area selections in bold:

CLASS 6A

FIRST TEAM

Izaiah Brockington, Archbishop Ryan, 6-4 sr, 18.6 ppg

Sam Iorio, Parkland, 6-6 sr, 25.0 ppg

DeShawn Millington, Carlisle, 6-1 sr, 19.1 ppg

Andrew Petcash, Pine-Richland, 6-4 sr, 21.0 ppg

Nick Smith, North Hills, 6-1 sr, 26.0 ppg

Lonnie Walker IV, Reading, 6-5 sr, 18.4 ppg

SECOND TEAM

Austin Butler, Greater Latrobe, 6-4 sr, 29.2 ppg

Eric Dixon, Abington, 6-6 soph, 19.2 ppg

Justin Jaworski, Perkiomen Valley, 6-1 sr, 22.2 ppg

David Kachelries, Emmaus, 6-0 sr, 23.8 ppg

Tyrese Martin, William Allen, 6-6 sr, 20.7 ppg

Stanley Scott, Williamsport, 6-3 sr, 20.0 ppg

Jalen Vaughns, Pocono Mountain West, 6-5 sr, 23.1 ppg

THIRD TEAM

Mark Flagg, Pennsbury, 6-8 sr, 18.3 ppg

Drew Friberg, State College, 6-6 jr, 17.3 ppg

Phil Jurkovec, Pine-Richland, 6-5 jr, 16.0 ppg

Matiss Kulackovskis, Archbishop Ryan, 6-7 sr, 17.7 ppg

Marc Rodriguez, Father Judge, 6-2 sr, 19.7 ppg

Chris Whitaker, Harrisburg, 6-3 sr, 19.8 ppg

Talek Williams, William Allen, 6-3 sr, 17.8 ppg

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Lonnie Walker IV, Reading

COACH OF THE YEAR: Rick Perez, Reading

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The Morning Call Coach of the Year - Brad Pensyl went out on top with Pocono Mountain West


By: Keith Groller of The Morning Call

Brad Pensyl said the 2016-17 Pocono Mountain West basketball season played out better than he could have ever imagined.

"I didn't anticipate a year like this, but I was kind of hoping for one," he said. "I had decided as far back as the summer that this was probably going to be my last year. So to have the kind of year we had, it certainly was a great way for me to go out and retire."

Pensyl's Panthers went 23-5, won 11 straight games, ended Parkland's four-year run as District 11 champs in the highest classification, and won a state playoff game for just the second time in school history.

It was the perfect way for Pensyl to cap a remarkable 28-season run as a high school coach, a stretch in which he went 524-208, including 300-91 in 15 seasons at West, and won eight league and two District 11 championships.

Pensyl's teams won 20 games 16 times and never missed a District 11 tournament.

But this year's team, featuring three 1,000-point scorers, may have been his best.

Unlike the 2015-16 team, which had a disappointing ending with back-to-back losses in the District 11 semifinals and third-place game, these Panthers stayed together and were playing their best basketball at the right time.

For keeping the group together and performing at their peak down the stretch, Pensyl is The Morning Call's Coach of the Year.

Isaiah Wiggins, Jalen Vaughns and Lance Singh, the three 1,000-point scorers, powered the most explosive offense in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, a team that averaged a league-high 75.4 points per game. They also played good defense and rebounded well, too.

"Sometimes I think coaching is way overrated because you don't win without good players, and I was fortunate to have three really good, phenomenal players and a good cast of characters around them," Pensyl said. "We were really good this year, and we were playing really good basketball at the end of the season. I don't know if I've had a team play as well as these guys were playing at the end of the year."

Pensyl, who played for his father, Bangor coaching legend Bill Pensyl, in the 1970s, scored 1,000 points as a high school player and again at West Chester University.

He took many of the things he learned in high school and college, and carved his own niche on the sidelines.

One of the things he learned from his father is that wins and championships are great, but coaching high school sports is about helping youngsters.

"People will never know all the things he did for the kids in our program," longtime assistant coach Mike DelGrosso said. "He goes above and beyond for them."

Wiggins said: "He's on top of us on and off the court, making sure we do the right things. He's always there to help us. He helped me with a lot of things."

Vaughns called Pensyl "Hands down, the greatest coach I've ever played for. He had a way of motivating me and bringing out the best in me. I'm very appreciative of that."

Pensyl will move into an administrative role for the Pocono Mountain School District in the next school year as the executive director of student and support staff services.

He hasn't ruled out coaching again, but said if he comes back, it probably won't be at the high school level.

"Maybe I'll miss it, and maybe I won't, but for me this is the perfect time to step away because I need a break," he said. "I always wanted to go out on top. I didn't want to be one of those guys who hung around too long."

And if he could pick a group to go out with, these Panthers were a great choice.

"Sometimes we've had things happen with kids that were beyond my control and that was frustrating," he said. "But with this group, we didn't have many issues and I was just so happy for them. I know they'll remember the district championship forever. It's great to see them get stuff that they've never gotten before."

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The Morning Call's All-Area Boys Basketball Team for the 2016-17 season


By: Keith Groller of The Morning Call

Jalen Vaughns, Pocono Mountain West

Senior, 6-foot-5, Forward

Notable: A first-team all-league selection, Vaughns averaged 22.8 ppg and set a school-record with 642 points this season. He also set records for rebounds in a season (332) and career (672) and shot 64 percent from the field. ... He finished his career with 1,158 ... Had more than 2-0 double-doubles ... Scored a season-high 33 points against Parkland in the District 11 6A quarterfinals and 21 rebounds in a game against Dieruff ... Received a Division I scholarship offer from St. Francis University and has several Division II offers.

Isaiah Wiggins, Pocono Mountain West
Senior, 6-foot, Guard

Notable: A second-team all-league selection, Wiggins averaged 18.2 ppg and led the Panthers with 42 3-pointers and 118 made three throws. He shot 73 percent from the line ... He led team with 25 points in District 11 semifinal win over Emmaus and had 23 points and 13 rebounds in a win win over East Storudsburg South ... He finished his career as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,571 -- 10 more than teammate Lance Singh. ... Excels in the high jump during track season. May do both sports in college.

Justin Paz, Bethlehem Catholic
Sophomore, 5-foot-10, Guard

Notable: Led the Golden Hawks to the District 11 4A title by averaging 17.3 ppg. He had 73 3-pointers and shot 76 percent from the foul line ... He had 27 points in a 68-56 win over Allen, which was the Canaries first loss of the season after they had 21 straight games. ... He had a team-high 49 steals and averaged three assists per game. ... Was The Morning Call's Rookie of the Year in 2015-16.

Ryan Young, Bethlehem Catholic
Junior, 6-foot-9, Center

Notable: Averaged 13.9 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in being named second-team all-league. ... He had 300 rebounds and 37 blocks despite missing three full games with an ankle injury and was less than 100 percent in several others. ... He scored 29 points in a win over Pocono Mountain East and had 19 points and 25 rebounds in a subregional win over Lower Moreland. Receiving considerable Division I interest.

Nick King, Freedom
Senior, 6-foot-3, Guard-Forward

Notable: Averaged 20.6 points per game, made 50 3-pointers and shot 78 percent at the foul line in being named second-team all-league. ... He scored 28 points against Whitehall and Bethlehem Catholic and had 27 twice. Finished his career with 19 points against Emmaus in the District 11 quarterfinals. ... "We had seniors with character this year, who did a lot of things right and Nick was one of them," head coach Joe Stellato said.

Matt Kachelries, Emmaus
Senior, 6-foot, Guard

Notable: Averaged 16.4 points, 6.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 8.2 rebounds per game in being named second-team all-league. ... Finished his career with 1,027 points despite playing in just 11 games as a sophomore due to an injury. ... He had 24 points with four 3-pointers in a state playoff win over Cheltenham, and ended his career with 23 points and 10 rebounds against Carlisle in the state quarterfinals. ... Was a second-team all-area selection last year. ... Has committed to Bloomsburg.

Dylan Benton, Bangor
Senior, 6-foot-4, Forward

Notable: Averaged 13 points, 7 rebounds, two assists and two blocks per game in being named the Colonial League's MVP. ... Was a second-team all-area selection last year ... Had 19 points and nine rebounds in district semifinal loss to Pottsville ... Was a 72 percent free-throw shooter this season and in his career. ... Finished career with 853 career points. ... Headed to IUP and will walk on.

Talek Williams, Allen
Senior, 6-foot-3, Guard

Notable: Repeated as both a first-team all-league and all-area selection ... Averaged 17.8 points and six rebounds per game ... Made 33 3-pointers, shot 67.1 percent from foul line ... Finished his career with 1,460 points, tied with Wayne Thomas (1993 grad) for second all-time at Allen. ... Played with Tyrese Martin on a national championship Under Armour AAU team. ... Led team with 20 points in 84-62 win over Becahi for the EPC title. ... Scored 27 points in the 2016 EPC title game against Parkland ... Committed to Central Connecticut State where he will play for former Reading, UConn and NBA standout Donyell Marshall. ... Will forever be known as one of the best dunkers in local basketball history, averaging three slams per game.

SECOND TEAM ALL-AREA

Arian Azemi (ES North, Sr.); Jaxon Costello (Salisbury, Sr.); Mikey Esquilin (Whitehall, Sr.); Isaiah Graves (Catasauqua, Jr.); Cam Hoffman (Liberty, Sr.); Jeremy Johnson (Liberty, Sr.); Arnel Lewis (Easton, Sr.); Lance Singh (Pocono Mt. West, Sr.); Kevin Wagner (Nazareth, Sr.); Shon Wilson (Stroudsburg, Sr).

THIRD TEAM ALL-AREA

Dyony Bueno (Stroudsburg, Sr.); Mitch Daniel (Notre Dame-GP, Sr.); Aidan Ellwood (Northampton, Jr.); Jordan Holmqvist (Moravian Academy, So.); Lucas Hudson (Southern Lehigh, Sr.); Reece Jones (Bangor, Sr.,); Logan McGinley (Whitehall, Sr.); Jack Reichenbach (Salisbury, Jr.); JJ Winslow (Allen, Sr.); Michael Zeky (Parkland, Sr.).

HONORABLE MENTION

Camrin Allen (Saucon Valley, Sr.); Josh Artis (Emmaus, Jr.); Jake Bartholomew (Parkland, Jr.); Darin Bellinger (ES North, Sr.); Seth Benton (Bangor, Sr.); Amadeus Cannon (Liberty, Sr.); Mohammed Dumbuya (Easton, Jr.); Greg Eck (ES South, Jr.); Joe Egan (Northern Lehigh, Sr.); Travis Elmore (PM West, Jr.); Stephen Forbes (PM East, Sr.); Lewis Hargett (Freedom, Sr.); Morgan Heffelfinger (Northampton, Sr.); Tyler Henry (Stroudsburg, Jr.); Ryan Kendra (Upper Perk, Jr.); Dat Lambert (Central Catholic, Jr.); Greg Lauray (Notre Dame-GP, Sr.); Will Melson (Bethlehem Catholic, Jr,); Amir Pettiford (Bethlehem Catholic, Sr.); CJ Richardson (Dieruff, Jr.); Ramfis Rodriguez (Lincoln, Sr.); Zach Sabol (Emmaus, So.); Elias Scott (Pocono Mountain East, Jr.); Alex Serrano (Liberty, Jr.); Robbie Seyfried (Northwestern, Sr.); Josh Snead (Saucon Valley, Sr.); Jay Vaughan (Central Catholic, Jr.); Sean Welsh (So. Lehigh, Sr.); Devontea Wiggins (ES North, Sr.); Sean Yoder (Pennridge, So.).

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 There was a lot for the Panther senior to look back on.

 Vaughns, a 6-foot-5 forward, scored a school-record 642 points this  year, blowing by Joe Wiggins' previous record of 589. He set 10 other  records this season, including most rebounds in a season (332),  rebounds in a career (672), field goals made (264), and field goal  percentage (63.9 percent), all while averaging 22.9 points and 11.9  rebounds per game on a team that advanced to the PIAA Class 6A  Sweet 16.

 With such a standout season, Vaughns is the Pocono Record's boys    basketball player of the year.

 "I think he far exceeded any expectation I had, as a coach, of what he  was going to do," PM West coach Brad Pensyl said Monday in his office.  "I don't remember a player I've ever coached having a better senior year  than he did. He might've had one bad game this year, and that would be  stretching.

 "I think his consistency and his level of play the whole year, especially  the league we play in, I think he just really played at a high level the  whole year."

The level at which he played was higher than perhaps anybody expected. There were flashes of success in past years – he averaged 14.1 PPG and 9.5 RPG last season – but Vaughns' consistency was at a remarkable high as a senior.

According to Vaughns, the difference was simple: Confidence.

"Last year, after bad games, I would get a little shaken and not really want to do stuff with the ball and certain things," Vaughns said. "But this year, my confidence was at an all-time high, and I felt like I could do anything on the court."

Vaughns didn't just feel it. It looked that way, too. His poise in the paint was almost robotic, charging in with a purpose and attacking the boards as if it was his job. In his mind – and Pensyl's – that was his job.

"I think if Jalen did one thing that younger guys should look at, whether here or other schools, is he did exactly what he had to do every night we went out and played," Pensyl said.

"He was like a professional. He was a businessman. 'This is my job tonight. This is what I'm going to do. These are the number of points I need to score.'"

It became second-nature to Vaughns, both on and off the court.

"For me, it's just being mentally prepared," he said. "Usually during game days or whenever we're playing, I usually am focused, zoned in throughout the whole day. And I knew what I had to do every night we were coming in if we wanted to win and be a great team. I just knew what I had to do and just went out and focused."

Vaughns set plenty of personal records this season. And while those record books will only list his name in those respective categories, he adamantly credits his teammates for his success.

"There's been games this season where they've played down and I've been playing really well, and they tell me, 'Jay, just go out and get it. This game is yours. We're going to need you to go over and take over the game,'" Vaughns said. "They had all the confidence in me to be able to do what I did this year."

Isaiah Wiggins, Lance Singh, and Vaughns each scored 1,000 points in their high school careers, but Wiggins and Singh started as freshmen. Vaughns didn't play varsity until his sophomore year, finishing his career with 1,158 points.

"It's great knowing that everybody on the team trusts me," Vaughns said. "So I know I had to put everything on my back and make sure I take them to the right way and do what we need to do to win."

Naturally, there's one other person he thanks profusely – his coach, Brad Pensyl.

What impact has he had on Vaughns' life?

"Everything. Everything," Vaughns said. "He's helped me grow as a player, as a man, about handling certain things on and off the court. I don't think I would be the Jalen I am today without growing up being coached by Coach Pensyl for my high school years."

In return, Vaughns' success will have leave a lasting effect on Pensyl's life as well.

"Him having the success he had, certainly it's enjoyable for me as a coach to experience that because it's like he's one of my kids, you know?" Pensyl said. "My son gets a raise at work, or my daughter gets a promotion. You enjoy it. You take a sense of pride.

"So yes, I take a small amount in pride in what he did because hopefully I gave him some things that helped him achieve that. That's what you do as a coach. I'm thinking more down the road for him – go to school; get a free education; get a degree; go out in life and be a success. That's what I want him to do."

Vaughns has yet to commit to a college, but the 17-year-old has options. He has one Division I offer from St. Francis University, and a multitude of Division II options like Lincoln and Indiana of Pennsylvania. He wants to visit some schools before deciding where he wants to go. He does know he wants to major in forensic science.

Pensyl believes Vaughns' best days are ahead of him. And if Vaughns' improvement rate continues to grow the same way it has over the past three years, Pensyl may be right.

"I think when he's about 20, he's going to be a stud," Pensyl said. "I think there's going to be a lot of people having a hard time handling him."

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A former coach pays tribute to Bill and Brad Pensyl


By: Keith Groller of The Morning Call

Marc Blau is a former girls and boys basketball coach at Bangor who has remained close to the local hoops scene. He regularly attends games at Bangor's Pensyl Gym and other venues.

He pays tribute to Bangor coaching Bill Pensyl and his son, Brad, who recently wrapped up an outstanding 28-year career as a head coach in the Pocono Mountain School District:

As the 2016-17 high school basketball season comes to a close I would like to pay tribute to the end of a coaching legacy that spans 57 years.  The 2017-18 high school basketball season will open for the first time since 1960 without a coach named Pensyl roaming the coaching box.  I’m sure there may be another, but my research cannot find a father/son high school basketball duo that spans that period of time.  If there has been one, I apologize. 

Bill Pensyl, the legend of Colonial League coaching for 38 years at Bangor actually began his career at Middletown in 1960.  He came to Bangor in 1962 and began his quest to place Bangor basketball on the map.  His legendary antics on the sidelines drew huge crowds to not only watch his great teams play, but also watch Bill in action.  His tie was removed first, followed by his sports coat, which would travel through the air and land into the bleachers. 

Bill and his Elizabethtown College teammate, the great Nazareth basketball coach Barry Boyer packed gyms to capacity.  During the late 1960s Bangor – Nazareth games were played at Liberty High School, because the Bangor and Nazareth High School gyms were too small.  Liberty would be sold out.

If you ever want to learn some b’ball and be entertained for a few hours with some terrific stories, sit in between the Bill and Barry at a Nazareth game.  Bill won a few championships throughout his career, but he always told me he hated game days. He loved to teach the game in practice and work with kids.  That was his love.  His soft spot was for the poor kid who couldn’t afford a pair of sneakers, but worked real hard in practice and in life to make his situation better.  He loved those kids because that was a mirror of his own life. 

Bill grew up in his beloved Portland, Pa. and became a teacher and coach through the same work ethic as he expected from his players.  After he retired as head coach he took the freshman-coaching job for a few years and told me he loved that.  There he could teach the game to kids who didn’t “know-it-all” yet.  He stills helps out with his son Brad’s team and will hopefully be involved in the game forever.

Brad Pensyl somehow got away from Bangor to the dismay of many of us.  The Bangor district had a chance to hire him early in his career, but chose not to.  I coached with him as an assistant to Bill for several years and we had lots of fun on that bench, but he was destined to achieve success far beyond that level.  Brad was eventually hired by the Pocono Mountain School District as their head coach and has built that program to an unbelievable level. 

First at PM East and now at PM West he continued the Pensyl legacy for the past 28 years. Brad has decided to retire from coaching after this season and take on a new position in the district.  Brad has coached 732 games and won 524 of them.  He has lead PM West to several championships through the years and has developed many Division I players.  Another fantastic feat was qualifying for the District IX Tournament 28 years in a row! 

His epic Mountain Valley games with Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg will be talked about for years to come.  If you ever attended those games you know how electric those gymnasiums became.  In recent years after the league realignment battling the great teams of the Lehigh Valley has been a treat for all basketball fans. Witness the spectacle held at the PPL Center, when maybe the four best teams ever assembled put on a show for all of us. 

Brad’s coaching style was his own and although he learned, as we all did from Bill, Brad developed his players and designed his schemes by himself.  Brad was a terrific player in high school and college.  His 52- point performance in the old Bangor gym was the greatest single performance that I ever witnessed.  He went on the captain West Chester University and star there too.  Not all great players can transfer their knowledge of the game to young athletes, but he did.  Just like dad, Brad loves to involve himself in the lives of his players.  Brad serves as a coach and a father to his athletes and that is the true difference between coaching and teaching high school athletes. 

To the families of both Pensyls, who have fiercely stood behind them in good times and bad, I say thanks for allowing us to borrow them for the last 57 years.  Our lives are so much better for the time spent with them.  May the future bring much happiness, relaxation and success to both Bill and Brad in whatever they choose to do next.  As the elder Pensyl always says, “Nothing is ever the same.”

 

                                                                                    Marc Blau

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Super 16 Countdown High School Basketball

Super 16 Countdown High School Basketball

Check back weekly for the latest Super 16 High School Basketball Rankings

BOYS RANKINGS:

RANK TEAM RECORD PREVIOUS RANK
1 Pocono Mountain West 23-5 2
2 Scranton Prep
23-4 3
3 Abington Heights 25-4 6
4 Williamsport
21-5 5
5 St. John Nuemann
27-1 1
6 Hazleton Area
21-4 3
7 Nanticoke
21-8 NR
8 Blue Mountain 19-6 NR


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Panthers finish up Pennlive rankings at #7

The PIAA basketball championships are complete, and the scene Saturday night at Giant Center for Reading’s thrilling 64-60 Class 6A triumph over Pine-Richland was a perfect ending to a sensational season.

To close the book on the 2016-17 campaign, it’s time to unveil the final set of state rankings. Teams are listed with district, overall record, and ranking from our previous set on Feb. 27.

Class 6A
1. Reading (3) -- 30-3 -- 2
2. Pine-Richland (7) -- 28-2 -- 3
3. Archbishop Ryan (12) -- 23-6 -- 7
4. Carlisle (3) -- 21-9 -- NR
5. Emmaus (11) -- 22-6 -- 6
6. Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) -- 25-6 -- 8
7. Pocono Mountain West (11) -- 23-5 -- NR
8. Harrisburg (3) -- 20-7 -- NR
9. State College (6) -- 22-5 -- NR
10. William Allen (11) -- 26-3 -- 1
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BETHLEHEM – Brad Pensyl wasn't about to make excuses Friday night. His Pocono Mountain West basketball team lost a heart-breaker.

And the Hall of Fame coach could do little about it.

One of his three 1,000-point scorers – Lance Singh, who was having a good night – had fouled out in the third quarter after a technical foul. And while Jalen Vaughns (24 points) and Isaiah Wiggins (28 points) tried to keep the Panthers in their second round PIAA game, Plymouth-Whitemarsh was just too much.

The Colonials didn't hit a bucket from the floor in the final four minutes, but the District 1 power managed to hold on for a 66-63 victory over the District 11 champion Panthers at Freedom High School. Plymouth-Whitemarsh will meet Reading on Sunday in the Class 6A quarterfinal.

Late in the third quarter tempers flared when Singh was hit in the gut on an inbounds pass – a play that stoked the competitive fire on the court and off it. Moments later Singh and Ahmad Williams were hit with technical fouls, which ended Singh's night with his fifth foul.

"I didn't see anybody out of control," Pensyl said. "I saw a kid reacting to a play, and unfortunately it was his fourth foul and then the technical."

West (23-5), which had the lead most of the game, gave it up by the end of the third quarter, 55-50 after a mid-court shot by Ish Horn.

"It was tough for him to sit on the bench and watch that unravel," Pensyl said. "Certainly if he's out there, we're scoring points."

Wiggins and the Panthers did their best to stay in the game. The senior, who ended his career with a school-record 1,571 points, hit a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and would hit a second 3-pointer to cut PW's lead to 4, 62-58 with 2:56 to play.

Wiggins would make it a one-point game with a pair of free throws with 5 seconds to play, 63-62. After a pair of free throws by the Colonials, Wiggins hit the first of two free throws, making it a 65-63 game. His second free throw he intentionally missed, but PW got the rebound, ending the Panthers' chances to win.

"We had a shot there at the end," Pensyl said. "We took that ball with 30 seconds left and we're down 1. Of course we're going to battle back. My kids always play hard."

After a slow start for both teams to start the game – the Panthers were 0-for-5 from the floor and the Colonials (27-5) had four turnovers in two minutes – Pocono West built an 8-0 lead.

Then Vaughns went on a tear.

The senior guard scored 16 of the next 25 points for the Panthers as they took a 33-27 lead at the break. During the first half, Vaughns had four offensive rebounds (10 total in the first half) which resulted in easy putbacks under the basket.

Plymouth-Whitemarsh, the District 1 bronze medalist, which has been playing without starter Ahmin Williams for about a month, battled back in the second quarter. The Colonials got a solid second quarter from Ahmin's twin brother, who scored five points to chip at Pocono West's halftime lead.

The defeat capped a spectacular season for the Panthers, winning a second district title under Pensyl. It also capped the coach's Hall of Fame career.

"This is a team that really played as a team," Pensyl said. "And they liked each other. A lot of times you hear people say it, but that's so important. They really get along. To have three 1,000-point scorers on a team that get along, that speaks volumes."

Plymouth Whitemarsh 66, PM West 63

PM West 16 17 17 13 – 63

Plymouth Whitemarsh 8 19 28 11 – 66

Vaughns 10 4-8 24, Wiggins 10 5-8 28, Singh 4 3-4 11, Mosley 0 0-0 0, Romney0 0-0 0, Elmore 0 0-0 0, Nelson 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 12-20 63.

PW 66

Horn 6 7-7 18, Tilghman 0 0-0 0, Breeden1 0-0 2, McLeod 0 0-0 0, Cooper 0 0-0 0, Walker 2 1-2 7, Houston 7 1-3 15, Williams 6 2-5 12, Glover 3 3-4 9. Totals: 24 14-21 66.

3 point goals: PMW 3 (Wiggins 3); PW Horn 2, Walker 2
_________________________________________________________________________

 
PM West season, Brad Pensyl's career ends with 66-63 loss to Plymouth-Whitemarsh


By: Keith Groller of The Morning Call

VIDEO

Brad Pensyl said he hasn't made excuses throughout his coaching career and wasn't going to start after his final game.

Pensyl, though, could have pointed fingers at a lot of things after Friday night's 66-63 PIAA Class 6A second-roundloss to Plymouth-Whitemarsh at Freedom High's McIntyre Gym in Bethlehem Township ended one of the best seasons in Pocono Mountain West history as well as his 28-year coaching career.

Most notably, Pensyl, the Panthers' head coach, could have blamed a lot of his team's demise on having starter and 1,000-point scorer Lance Singh foul out with 1:06 left in the third quarter as the result of a double technical foul.

"It was not good having a 1,000-point scorer on the bench for the entire fourth quarter," he said.

Pocono Mountain West had two other starters foul out in the frantic finish of a hard-fought, high-intensity contest that was entertaining for neutral fans but agonizing from a Panthers perspective.

The District 11 champs, on a four-game win streak after losing to Allen in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semis, played a terrific first half, leading 18-8 early in the second quarter.

West was still up 46-39 midway through the third period when the perennial District One power began to assert itself. A Jalen Vaughns basket off a Singh feed gave the Panthers one last lead at 48-46 with 1:25 left in the third period, but 19 seconds later Singh was whistled for a personal and then got into a verbal joust with P-W's Ahmad Williams.

Both players were hit with technicals, but the damage was more severe for West because the T sent Singh to the bench for the rest of the game, and as it turned out, his scholastic career.

"Our tempers didn't flare," Pensyl said. "Their kid elbowed my guy in the face and everybody saw it. I don't know what [Singh] said, but my kids were under control. I guess the double technical was the official's way of trying to get everybody under control. It's like a beanball battle in baseball where everybody gets ejected. It is what it is. I am not saying that's why we lost the game. But my kids were under control. I didn't see anybody out of control.

"Unfortunately, the fourth foul and the technical disqualified him. It was a horrible way for Lance to go out and have to watch us unravel. I feel bad for him. Certainly, if he's out there we're scoring points. Without him, we went into a lull."

P-W closed the third quarter with a half-court, 3-pointer by Ish Horn that made it 55-50. Then a three-point play by Horn made it 62-55 P-W with 3:42 left.

Still, the Panthers kept battling, thanks to Vaughns and Isaiah Wiggins, who combined for 52 points.

Just not enough shots would drop.

Down three with the clock winding down, West looked to get off a final 3-point try, but Wiggins was fouled as he crossed midcourt. He made the first foul shot and intentionally missed the second, but the Panthers couldn't corral the rebound and the Colonials were able to put the game away.

Plymouth-Whitemarsh (25-5) will face Reading and star Lonnie Walker on Sunday in the quarterfinals at a site and time to be determined.

The Panthers, meanwhile, will have a lot of great memories to cherish.

"This was a real special group," Pensyl said after West's season ended at 23-5 "They won a district championship and to win 6A this year in this district says a lot because the district was loaded this year. They went on to win a state game. We played really good at the end of the year. They're not happy right now, but they have a lot of good things to look forward to."

As for Pensyl, who finished his career with a mark of 524-208, reflection will come later.

"It's not about me right now," he said. "I'll deal with it in my own way. I have to take care of kids right now who are probably having a hard time dealing with this loss. That should be my job right now."

PROUD PANTHERS

Career point totals for PM West's three 1,000-point scorers

Isaiah Wiggins: 1,571 (best in school history)

Lance Singh: 1,561

Jalen Vaughns: 1,168

_______________________________________________________________________

BRODHEADSVILLE – Pocono Mountain West is going back to the Sweet 16.

Travis Elmore scored a career-high 21 points and nabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Panthers to a 71-57 victory over Lower Merion in the first round of the PIAA Class 6A Tournament at Pleasant Valley High School on Saturday night.

After trailing by as much as nine in the opening two quarters, Pocono Mountain West (23-4) dominated the second half, outscoring Lower Merion 25-11 in the fourth quarter en route to the win.

"I switched defenses the second half," Panther coach Brad Pensyl said. "We started ramming the ball inside and we scored down low, and we clearly outplayed them the second half. There's no question about that.

"Like I told the kids, there's 16 teams left, and we're one of them."

In Pensyl's 300th victory at West, his team also advances to the second round of the Class 6A tournament for just the second time in the school district's history. The Panthers (23-4) will play Plymouth-Whitemarsh on Wednesday at a time and location to be determined.

Elmore controlled the boards on both ends of the court, leading to plenty of offensive second-chances for the best game of his career.

"I thought Travis really played well for us," Pensyl said. "His offensive rebounding and putting the ball back in, I thought that was the difference – his tenacity inside and getting a lot of defensive rebounds for us."

Elmore couldn't stop smiling after the win that kept his team's season alive.

"Finishing was a big part of the game today because they weren't really that big of a team, but they could box out pretty good," Elmore, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, said. "As long as I just set my feet, finish strong, I was pretty good."

His performance was critical in a game that found the bench short-handed. Junior forward Lee Mosley was out after suffering a concussion in Pocono West's district title game on Mar. 4. But between Elmore's offensive contribution and senior guard Kieran Romney stepping up defensively, the Panthers were in good shape to pull away late.

"He's just been real steady," Pensyl said of Romney, who finished with eight points. "He doesn't take bad shots. He knows his role."

That role included a series midway through the third quarter where he drilled a 3-pointer to give the Panthers its first lead of the game, 39-37, before blocking a pass and catching a pass from Lance Singh for a breakaway layup.

"I thought that (play) was really key for him," Pensyl said. "There's a guy that understands what he's supposed to be doing and doesn't try to do other things."

Pensyl took plenty of Panther pride in leading Pocono West to the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history. The last time his team sat 23-4 was the 2007-08 season, which was also the last time his team earned a win in the state tournament.

Unforced turnovers are something Pensyl plans to address over the next few days of practice, but he sees potential in this squad.

"I'm happy with the way we're executing on offense," he said. "My concern right now is always the little things – making foul shots, taking care of the basketball, don't take bad shots. Those are the things I'm looking for as a coach."

Aside from Elmore, the team's three leading scorers also ended the night in double-digits, with Jalen Vaughns and Singh each scoring 15 points while Wiggins scored 12.

Singh was benched for the first quarter for disciplinary reasons and Wiggins struggled from the floor. Still, the Panthers found a way to win by 14 points.

If Pocono West finds a way to fire on all cylinders, this team can make a run in the tournament.

PIAA Class 6A Tournament

PM West 71, Lower Merion 57

Lower Merion 17 14 15 11 – 57

PM West 12 13 21 25 – 71

Lower Merion 57

Payne 11 0-1 22, Fennell 3 0-0 8, O'Connor 0 0-0 0, Henry 0 0-0 0, Bilal 0 0-0 0, Forrest 5 0-1 12, Taylor 1 1-2 3, Jones 5 0-0 12. Totals: 25 1-4 57.

PM West 71

Vaughns 6 3-6 15, Wiggins 4 3-4 12, Singh 5 5-6 15, Louchie 0 0-0 0, Romney 3 0-0 8, Elmore 9 3-7 21, Williams 0 0-0 0, Nelson 0 0-0 0, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27 14-23 71.

3-pointers: LM 6 (Fennell 2, Forrest 2, Jones 2); PMW 3 (Romney 2, Wiggins).

Records: PM West 23-4.
________________________________________________________________________


2017 PIAA Class 6A Boys Basketball Tournament  


3/11
3/15
3/18
3/21
CHAMPION
Abington

 

CD East

TBA

TBA

TBA


SEMIFINALS

TBA

March 25th 

8 PM


Giant Center, Hershey
CHAMPIONSHIP

TBA

Parkland

 

Archbishop Ryan
Hempfield

 

William Allen

TBA

Williamsport

 

Penn Wood
Roman Catholic

 

Perkiomen Valley

TBA

TBA

Reading

 

North Penn
Plymouth-Whitemarsh

 

Lebanon

TBA

Pocono Mountain West

 

Lower Merion
3/21
3/18
3/15
3/11

TBA


SEMIFINALS

TBA

TBA

TBA

Harrisburg

 

Downingtown West
Cheltenham

 

Emmaus

TBA

Lincoln

 

Conestoga
Coatesville

 

Carlisle

TBA

TBA

State College

 

Woodland Hills
Butler

 

Canon-McMillan

TBA

Pine-Richland

 

Greater Latrobe
Taylor Allderdice

 

North Hills

















EASTON – Brad Pensyl is going out on top.

Lance Singh scored a school-record 36 points and Isaiah Wiggins added 18 to lead No. 3 Pocono Mountain West to an 83-59 win over No. 4 Parkland to claim the District 11 Class 6A boys basketball championship Saturday night at Easton Area Middle School.

Pensyl, in his 28th year as a varsity coach, announced earlier this week that he would be retiring from coaching on Wednesday, Mar. 8. Prior to Saturday night, the veteran coach had won one district gold medal. That was in 2012 against Parkland, which has won each of the last four titles since.

Now, the Trojans' streak is over, and Pensyl has another championship trophy for West's case.

"It's just an awesome win for our kids," Pensyl said. "We played really well. I thought we just disrupted (Parkland) so much offensively."

Singh was dominant on both ends of the court in the game of his life. Offensively, he couldn't miss a shot if he tried for most of the game. Defensively, he silenced Parkland's Division I recruit Sam Iorio, who finished with 18 points, only seven of which came from the field.

"He just had a really good game," Pensyl said. "He's an outstanding player, so in big games, big players step up. That's what he's supposed to do.

"It seemed like any time we needed a big bucket – they would chip away a little bit, and he would answer. Pretty much that second half, we were up (by) 10 the whole half."

Singh, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, was thrilled to end the night with gold around his neck.

"It's a great feeling right now. I love it," Singh said. "Coach said let's do it for all the seniors, do it for him kind of, but he told us it's really not him and just play hard and end (Parkland's) four-peat and five-peat stuff."

Jalen Vaughns, who remains West's leading scorer this season, ended the night with 17 points after fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. But that disappointment wasn't going to overshadow the championship trophy that was in his hands.

"It really means a lot," Vaughns said. "I'm kind of here in a loss of words, just enjoying everything right now. But this is real big and I'm happy for the team."

Pensyl told his players that this season would be his last at the beginning of the conference playoffs. And while he emphasized that this game nor season was about him, a few of his players used Pensyl's retirement as motivation.

"He told us not to worry about him, he'll be fine, but I couldn't," Vaughns said. "It was always in the back of my mind, thinking I wanted to get him one more before we go, and I'm glad we did."

Wiggins, who had an 11-point fourth quarter, was relentless defensively, continuously making stops, steals, and blocks until he was subbed out late.

The Panthers now have 14 wins in their last 15 games as they head into states. After Saturday, this team is showing no signs of slowing down as it prepares for the PIAA tournament.

"We've got to keep doing what we're doing now," Wiggins said. "Playing hard and executing what coach's game plan is and just keep working."

Pensyl envisioned success with this year's group of seniors four years ago. That vision became reality after his team thwarted the four-time defending champions of District 11, shooting 33-for-67 from the field against Parkland.

"It's an incredible feeling when you have a group of kids that you make some plans (around), and hopefully they develop and kids understand what we're trying to do offensively and defensively and they buy into the system, and that's what they did.," Pensyl said.

"We're just a really good basketball team, and our kids earned that. Nobody gave us that championship. We fought our way up as a third-seed to get here, and we didn't have any easy ones. Just a real nice win for us."

As a coach in Pocono Mountain School District for 28 years, Pensyl says he's caught grief for only having one district championship.

"Well, guess what? I've got two now," he said. "And that's two more than a lot of people got."

Before Pensyl is finished, the Panthers will face Lower Merion in the state tournament beginning next Saturday.

District 11 Class 6A Boys Basketball Championship

No. 3 PM West 83, No. 4 Parkland 59

Parkland 10 18 22 19 – 59

PM West 21 17 19 26 – 83

Parkland 59

Burgos 2 2-2 7, Stendell 0 0-2 0, Persichetti 0 1-2 1, Zeky 6 2-4 17, Bross 0 0-0 0, Rindock 2 2-2 7, Iorio 3 11-12 18, German 0 0-0 0, Comegys 0 0-0 0, Bartholomew 1 0-0 3, Lessel 1 2-2 4, Ruisch 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 20-26 59.

PM West 83

Vaughns 8 1-4 17, Wiggins 7 4-6 18, Singh 14 3-4 36, Mosley 2 2-4 6, Louchie 0 0-0 0, Germosan 0 0-0 0, Romney 0 1-2 1, Elmore 1 1-2 3, Nelson 0 0-0 0, Kidney 0 0-0 0, Ernest 1 0-0 2. Totals: 33 12-22 83.

3-pointers: PARK 7 (Zeky 3, Burgos, Rindock, Iorio, Bartholomew); PMW 5 (Singh 5).
________________________________________________________________________

 
Pocono Mountain West routs Parkland 83-59 for first 6A boys crown


Video

By: Keith Groller of The Morning Call

In a boys basketball season filled with stars, Pocono 
Mountain West senior Lance Singh often faded from view.

The 6-foot-5 guard entered the season as the school's all-time leading scorer, but was hindered by injuries and other issues and generally became considered the third best player on his team.

But Saturday night, in arguably the biggest game of his career, Singh came up big. He scored a school-record 36 points and led an onslaught that has rarely been seen in district championship play.

For one night, he was No. 1 again and his Panthers also became the No. 1 team in District 11 6A.

Pocono Mountain West made sure Brad Pensyl, the only coach in school history, will go out as a district champ as the Panthers routed Parkland 83-59 for the 6A title before a big crowd at Easton Area Middle School.

West, the No. 3 seed (22-4) started slow, but once it got rolling, the power of the Poconos became unstoppable, winning the school's first district title since 2012.

"It's a storybook ending for Brad," Panthers assistant coach Mike DelGrosso said. "He deserves it. He has been dedicated to this district for 28 years and has been this school's coach for 15. I have never been around a better coach. He's passionate, he's dedicated and he knows his X's and O's. For him to go out like this is just phenomenal."

As he watched his players cut down the net with gold medals draped around their necks, Pensyl said it wasn't about him.

"I told the kids not to win it for me, win it for themselves," Pensyl said. "I've never been in it for me. It's always been about the kids. This is something special they'll have for the rest of their lives."

And, they went and literally took the title and ran away with it with suffocating defense that never allowed Parkland to find its rhythm. Besides his spectacular offensive effort, Singh contained Parkland star Sam Iorio in the Panthers' triangle-and-two defense.

Iorio had just four points and one field goal in the first half and it came on a 3-point shot at the halftime buzzer.

Parkland, going for a record fifth straight district title, a streak that began after the 2012 title-game loss to West, simply couldn't keep pace with the faster, stronger Panthers.

The Trojans got a pair of Michael Zeky 3s to take an early 8-2 lead, but Pocono West responded with a 16-0 run fueled off turnovers and two 3-pointers by Singh.

"Coach just told me to play and my teammates fed me the ball," Singh said. "We just had to win this game. Parkland won this title four times in a row and we had to put an end to it. My coaches and teammates believed in me. I had a good feeling about this game since warmups."

Singh missed his first three shots, but then closed the half with seven straight baskets. It was 21-10 after one quarter and 27-10 at one point before Parkland fought back to within38-28 on the Iorio 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer.

However, the Trojans, who are expected to meet Archbishop Ryan from the Philly Catholic League at Freedom when the state tournament begins on Saturday could never mount a charge.

Singh scored 12 points in the third quarter as West opened a 57-37 lead and even with Jalen Vaughns in foul trouble and Isaiah Wiggins sidelined briefly with a cut on his ear, the Panthers never lost control.

Wiggins finished with 18 points and Vaughns tallied 17, while Travis Elmore chipped in 14 rebounds for West which is expected to open PIAA action Saturday against Lower Merion at Pleasant Valley.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

ALLENTOWN – Under the daunting lights of the PPL Center, the Panthers were unfazed.

But they needed to fight off a swarm of Green Hornets to seal the win.

Isaiah Wiggins scored 25 points, Jalen Vaughns netted 19, and Lance Singh added 15 to lead No. 3 Pocono Mountain West to a 79-76 victory over No. 2 Emmaus in the District 11 Class 6A boys basketball semifinal at the PPL Center on Wednesday.

The Panthers (21-4) advance to the district championship game where they will face No. 4 Parkland. Parkland defeated top-seeded Allen on Wednesday night, 62-58. It's West's first district title game since winning the championship in 2012.

"It's just awesome for them," Panther coach Brad Pensyl said. "The kids get an opportunity to play on a big stage like this and they get some attention, and it's positive attention. I give all the credit to the kids. They've just worked so hard.

"When those kids are happy, it makes me happy."

The Panthers (21-4) led from start to finish, but it was the closing minutes when Emmaus tightened the gap.

With 1:53 left, Emmaus trailed 70-64 and called a timeout. Over the next 1 1/2 minutes, the Hornets went on an 8-4 run, capped by Eric Cichocki's four-point play with 28.4 seconds left to close West's lead to 74-72.

But Pocono West held its composure. In the final 21.4 seconds, Singh sank two free throws, Kieran Romney (7 points) added one, and Travis Elmore (13) nailed his two shots to secure the Panthers' trip to the championship game.

"I thought our kids played really well," Pensyl said. "Emmaus is an outstanding team, there's no question about that, and we're happy to win the ball game because this league is tough. And to get to the finals is an accomplishment.

"And I just really think our kids work so hard and they're so dedicated to the basketball program, so I couldn't be more happy for these kids. They've just done an outstanding job for me."

West has won 13 of its last 14 games dating back to Jan. 14. That success has stemmed from its defense, which stifled Emmaus to just two points in the opening 4:52 of the game.

And the defense translated to opportunities on the other end. At halftime, both Wiggins and Singh had 11 points, Elmore had 10, and Vaughns had 4.

"We were all hungry," Wiggins said. "We all wanted to come out and win this game. There's a lot of people out there, and we tried to do everything we can to make them happy, and that's what we did."

The PPL Center was filled to the brim for the semifinal doubleheader, partially occupied by two busloads of Panther fans that came down from Pocono Summit.

"This whole thing was awesome," Pensyl said. "I'm just so happy for our kids that they got to experience something like this. A lot of them never get to experience something like this, so (it's) like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"Thanks to District 11 and the people that operate this place because this was just awesome for them to allow us to do this."

The Panthers will play Parkland on Saturday at a time and location yet to be announced.

District 11 Class 6A Boys Basketball Semifinal

No. 3 PM West 79, No. 2 Emmaus 76

PM West 18 20 19 22 – 79

Emmaus 13 14 21 28 – 76

PM West 79

Vaughns 7 5-9 19, Wiggins 9 6-7 25, Singh 6 2-2 15, Mosley 0 0-0 0, Romney 2 1-2 7, Elmore 5 3-5 13, Nelson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 29 17-25 79.

Emmaus 76

Diehl 0 0-0 0, M. Kachelries 8 1-2 18, D. Kachelries 14 3-3 34, Lewis 0 0-0 0, Cichocki 5 1-1 14, Artis 2 2-2 6, Sabol 2 0-0 4. Totals: 31 7-8 76.

3-pointers: PMW 4 (Romney 2, Wiggins, Singh); EMM 7 (D. Kachelries 3, Cichocki 3, M. Kachelries).

Records: PM West 21-4; Emmaus 20-5.
________________________________________________________________________

 
Pocono Mountain West, Parkland advance to District 11 Class 6A final


By: Keith Groller of The Morning Call

The giant scoreboard stretched from the ceiling above the floor at PPL Center revealed that Pocono 
Mountain West and Parkland were the winners Wednesday night.

But on a historic night that will be long be remembered in the local high school sports community in general, and the basketball people in particular, the Lehigh Valley as a whole was the winner.

A crowd of 7,630, the largest for a District 11 tournament game held in the Lehigh Valley, showed up for the first high school basketball games ever played at PPL Center and those fans were treated to a pair of scintillating contests not decided until the final minutes.

Pocono Mountain West led from start to finish and held off a late Emmaus charge for a 79-76 win in the opener of the District 11 Class 6A semifinal doubleheader and then Parkland got a big second half from Sam Iorio. among others, and knocked off top-seeded and Eastern Pennsylvania Conference champion Allen 62-58 in the nightcap.

So it will be the Trojans going for a record fifth straight district title Saturday night at Easton Area Middle School at 7:30 with the Panthers, the last team to beat Parkland in a district title game, beating the Trojans in the 2012 4A championship game, standing in their way.

Allen and Emmaus, which will join Parkland and Pocono Mountain West in the state tournament, will face each other at noon Saturday in the third-place game also at Easton Area Middle School in Forks Township.

While disappointed, this was a night in which even the losing teams could find reason to smile.

"This is going to be an experience that the guys on all four of these teams will remember for the rest of their lives," Canaries coach and Allentown native Doug Snyder said. "They might never play in front of such a large, raucous crowd like this ever again.

"Two teams had to win and two teams had to lose, but standing out there and seeing it all was just a wonderful thing for me, this city and all involved."

It was Allen and its high-wire act that energized the entire basketball community this winter and without the strong following the Canaries have received, District 11 officials may have never thought about moving the games to PPL Center.

But while Allen had the largest contingent of fans in the building just 10 blocks away from the high school, Parkland silenced the "Canary Crazies" with a sterling effort overall, especially in the second half.

"I thought for 32 minutes Parkland outplayed us and I give credit to them," Snyder said. "They never let us get the ball inside against their zone. We were 2-for-18 from the 3-point line and we shot too much from the 3-point line. We didn't handle the ball very well and our pressure didn't bother them enough."

Allen, ranked No. 1 in the state and 25-1 coming in, led 32-30 at halftime. However, the Canaries were outscored 15-9 in the third period and Iorio had 13 by himself.

It was 48-47 Parkland early in the fourth period when Allen star Tyrese Martin was helped off the floor with leg cramps.

While Martin received treatment, the Trojans found their legs with a 13-3 run that opened a 61-50 lead with just under three minutes left.

The Canaries excited their fans with one last charge and got to within 61-58 when Martin made one of two at the line with 47.7 seconds remaining.

However, Parkland was able to add a free throw by Michael Zeky and played solid defense down the stretch to avenge a Feb. 6 loss at Allen's Sewards Gym.

"It was great to play in this atmosphere, but it was even better to win," Iorio said after finishing with 28 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. "The difference was that we started out stronger tonight and we had the momentum from the beginning. We had our runs, they had their runs, but we just dug deep and found the extra effort at the end. It was a great team win."

Zeky had 14 points and 12 rebounds and might have been the difference in a game filled with stars.

However, he felt Parkland had the best player on the floor in Iorio.

"I know what I need to do and just try to play a complete game," Zeky said. "This is a big one, but Saturday night is the biggest one yet. We want a five-peat."

It won't come easily against a Pocono Mountain West team that defeated the Trojans in the EPC quarterfinals on Feb. 10.

The Panthers (21-4) have a trio of 1,000-point scorers in Lance Singh, Isaiah Wiggins and Jalen Vaughns and they did their share of damage against Emmaus with a combined 59 points, led by Wiggins' 25.

However, it was a pair of key 3s by Kieran Romney in the second half and 13 points and nine rebounds by Travis Elmore that were just as big in Pocono West avenging an early-season loss to Emmaus.

"They may have played their best game of the year tonight," Emmaus coach Steve Yoder said after his team fell to 20-5. "Could we have played better? Yes. But was it a combination of us not playing our best and them playing really well. You have to give them credit."

David Kachelries led Emmaus with 28 points, but every time the Green Hornets had something going it seemed as though West had an answer in a hurry at the other end, usually by Wiggins.

"The atmosphere here was just great," Wiggins said. "We just had to come out strong and that's what we did. We just had to keep attacking. Every time they made a run, we had to come right back."

Pocono Mountain West had four players reach double figures and outrebounded Emmaus 42-28 with Vaughns collecting 13 off the glass.

"I thought our kids played really well," said Panthers coach Brad Pensyl, who has indicated that this could be the final season of his coaching career after 28 years of never missing the district tournament. "Emmaus is an outstanding team. This league and this district is tough. To get to the final is quite an accomplishment. Our kids work so hard and are really dedicated to the basketball program."

Pensyl, who is also the school's athletic director, said the school sent two busloads of fans from Monroe County to the game.

Even though the Panthers had a much longer ride than the other three schools involved, Pensyl thought the experience of playing at the PPL Center was awesome.

"I'm just glad my kids got to experience something like this," he said. "This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I thank the District 11 people and the people who operate this place for putting it together and allowing us to do this. It's a really nice place and my kids couldn't wait to get here."

Now there will be a few days to refocus on the finals. Pocono Mountain West was hoping to play Allen, but will now get Parkland instead.

"We want the championship really bad," Wiggins said. "We just have to come out strong like we did tonight."
_______________________________________________________________________

BRODHEADSVILLE – Brad Pensyl has three 1,000-point scorers who he thought deserved to play in the state tournament.

Thanks to those players' resiliency, Pensyl's wish is coming true.

Jalen Vaughns scored 21 points, Lance Singh added 20, and Isaiah Wiggins netted 17 to seal No. 3 Pocono Mountain West's 76-68 win over No. 6 Liberty in the District 11 Class 6A boys basketball quarterfinals on Saturday at Pleasant Valley High School.

The Panthers advance to the semifinals against Emmaus at PPL Center in Allentown on Wednesday and also move onto the PIAA state tournament.

"That's an awesome win for us," Pensyl said. "That gives us three more games."

Vaughns, one of those three 1,000-point scorers, has always had states on his mind.

"That's something I wanted to accomplish my whole high school career," Vaughns said. "And this is finally happening in my senior year, so it's big."

The Panthers (20-4) had to rely on Singh and Wiggins, its other two 1,000-point men, in the game's closing minutes. Pocono West held a 13-point, 60-47 lead with 6:46 to play in the fourth quarter. But Liberty picked up the intensity to embark on a 16-4 run over a 4 1/2 minute span, closing West's lead to 64-63 with 3:01 to play.

That was as close as the Hurricanes (12-11) would get, though. Singh sank each of his two free throws with 1:54 to play, and Wiggins scored the Panthers' final eight points, six of which came on free throws, to clinch West's position in states.

"My teammates trusted me with the ball to knock down big shots," Wiggins said. "So I took the ball, made my free throws, and helped my team win."

The game had a yo-yo effect to it – West would jump out to a double-digit lead, but Liberty would reel the Panthers back in.

"We'd get up, and then they'd close the gap," Pensyl said. "We got careless with the ball out front with our guards a little bit, which we haven't done in the past.

"But I thought the way we attacked them with the 1-3-1 offensively was the best way to do it."

In their Dec. 18 matchup, Pocono West defeated Liberty 76-74 in overtime. Liberty's Cameron Hoffman scored 30 points in that game. On Saturday, he was limited to just three.

Junior forward and starter Travis Elmore found himself in foul trouble early, earning his third midway through the second quarter and his fourth early in the third quarter.

Coming off the bench for him was junior Lee Mosley, who played well in a critical situation and ended the afternoon with five points.

"If he doesn't play well, we don't win that game," Pensyl said. "His rebounding and his defense was enough to keep us in the game until Travis got back in. And I thought that was the difference."

The Panthers earned their 20th win of the year on Saturday, something Pensyl has now led nine of his last 10 teams to.

But Pensyl was more excited for Vaughns, Wiggins, and Singh to advance to states than any other achievement on Saturday.

"Particularly those three seniors because they put so much time and effort into the program," Pensyl said. "And last year, I told them, at the end of the year in our big games, either one of them played well and the other two didn't, but tonight I didn't think that was the case at all. All three of them played really well.

"Those three guys, I'm really happy for them. And I'm happy for the other seniors that we can go play in the state playoffs because I think we have a chance to win a game or two in there. It depends on who the draw is, but now we refocus for the district playoffs."

The Panthers will play Emmaus on Wednesday at PPL Center.

District 11 6A Boys Basketball Quarterfinals

No. 3 PM West 76, No. 6 Liberty 68

Liberty 12 14 19 23 – 68

PM West 20 10 22 24 – 76

Liberty 68

Serrano 4 3-5 12, Griffin 4 2-4 10, Johnson 9 6-8 26, Martinez 2 1-2 5, Erney 2 0-0 6, Harper 0 0-0 0, Hoffman 1 1-4 3, Cannon 3 0-0 6, Brito 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 13-23 68.

PM West 76

Vaughns 9 3-5 21, Wiggins 3 10-12 17, Lance Singh 7 5-5 20, Mosley 2 1-1 5, Louchie 0 0-0 0, Romney 1 0-1 2, Elmore 3 3-4 9, Nelson 0 2-2 2, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 24-30 76.

3-pointers: L 5 (Johnson 2, Erney 2, Serrano); PMW 2 (Wiggins, Singh).

Records: Liberty 12-11; PM West 20-4.
_________________________________________________________________________

BRODHEADSVILLE – Pocono Mountain West was faced with the same task as last year – beat William Allen to advance to the conference title game.

For the second year in a row, the Panthers fell just short.

Jalen Vaughns scored 25 points and Lance Singh added 23, but Pocono West fell 84-80 to Allen in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball semifinal Tuesday night at Pleasant Valley High School.

Allen knocked down nine foul shots in the final 1:05 to knock the Panthers out of the tournament.

"They didn't miss foul shots," Pocono West coach Brad Pensyl said. "That really hurt us. I mean we were trying to put them on the line, and I don't know if they missed more than three or four – but it wasn't many."

Pocono West (19-5, 15-3 EPC) trailed by as much as 13 points in the fourth quarter but mounted an 18-11 run in the closing three minutes. That effort wasn't enough to slow down the Canaries, who have lost just once this season.

But it was a technical foul by Allen's Jvon Winslow on West's Isaiah Wiggins that Pensyl said changed the game. West trailed 65-58 at the time of the foul, and just one minute later trailed 71-58.

"When they got that technical foul, I thought we were going to get back in it, and we missed both of those, and that hurt us a little bit," Pensyl said. "I thought momentum changed a little bit for us at that point."

The Panthers tried to answer each Allen blow with a knock of their own. But strong games from Talek Williams, who scored 22 points, and Tyrese Martin, who added 17, kept the Canaries in charge during the second half.

"I thought we played better in the first half, and I thought we played better than them the first two minutes of the third quarter," Pensyl said. "After that, I thought they outplayed us."

That setback led to a string of fouls from Pocono West with time dwindling, a strategy Pensyl isn't fond of.

"We were out of things to do," he said. "The only chance we had left at the end of the game was to foul. And I don't like doing that, but I've got to put my kids in the best position I can to win.

"I'm not sure I like, 'foul, foul, foul,' but we had a shot."

As the game neared the end, emotions rose. These two teams are two of the most talented in District 11, Allen ranked No. 1 in the state and West ranked ninth.

And chances are, these two teams may meet again during the district tournament that begins on Feb. 25.

"Every time we play them, we have a battle," Pensyl said. "It's every year. It's double-overtime, triple-overtime, one or two-point win. Yeah, we've had some great games with them. And I would like to see them again. I know my players would like to see them again.

"Sometimes, you've got watch what you wish for, though."

Pensyl admitted there's a common thread between the two teams – talented players who play at a similar level.

"(They're) real skilled, athletic kids," he said. "Real competitive games, and it's not like one's beating the other team by 50. And it does get heated. Hopefully, the kids understand it's just a game and they can remain friends. I know (Allen coach) Doug (Snyder) and I get along real well.

"It is very heated, and they should probably have five (referees) ref this game."

Allen will play Bethlehem Catholic in the EPC title game on Friday.

EPC Semifinal

No. 2 Allen 84, No. 3 PM West 80

PM West 18 13 22 27 - 80

Allen 18 11 26 29 – 84

PM West 80

Vaughns 11 1-2 25, Wiggins 5 4-6 17, Singh 8 5-6 23, Mosley 0 0-0 0, Louchie 0 0-0 0, Romney 2 2-2 4, Elmore 3 1-4 7, Nelson 1 0-0 2, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 13-20 80.

Allen 84

Jones 3 0-0 6, Williams 7 7-8 22, Martin 4 7-8 17, Johnson 3 0-0 6, Gutierrez 4 2-2 13, Stewart 3 3-3 9, Winslow 3 3-4 11. Totals: 28 22-25 84.

3-pointers: PMW 7 (Wiggins 3, Vaughns 2, Singh 2); A 6 (Gutierrez 3, Martin 2, Williams)

Records: PM West 19-5, 15-3 EPC; Allen 23-1, 17-1 EPC.
_________________________________________________________________________

 
West puts 3 on all-league teams


The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference has released its all-league team for the 2016-17 season and the coaches in the league had some difficult choices because this season has featured more talent across the board than the area has seen in a long time.

Allen's Tyrese Martin, who led his team to regular season records of 21-1 overall and 15-1 in the EPC, has been named the league's MVP.

Martin is just four points shy of 1,000 in his career. He'll likely get that tonight when the Canaries play Pocono Mountain West in the EPC semis at Pleasant Valley after Bethlehem Catholic takes on East Stroudsburg North.

Here's a look at the all-league team:

1st Team

Tyrese Martin – William Allen – Senior

David Kachelries – Emmaus – Senior

Sam Iorio – Parkland – Senior

Jalen Vaughns – Pocono Mountain West – Senior

Talek Williams – William Allen – Senior

2nd Team

Isaiah Wiggins – Pocono Mountain West – Senior

Matt Kachelries – Emmaus – Senior

Kevin Wagner – Nazareth – Senior

Mikey Esquilin – Whitehall – Junior

Ryan Young – Bethlehem Catholic – Junior

Nick King – Freedom – Senior

3rd Team

Logan McGinley – Whitehall – Senior

Lance Singh – Pocono Mountain West – Senior

Arnel Lewis – Easton – Senior

Dyony Bueno – Stroudsburg – Senior

Jeremy Johnson – Liberty - Senior
_______________________________________________________________________

Surprise contender East Stroudsburg North is one win away from the conference title game.

So, too, is perennial playoff contender Pocono Mountain West.

No. 8 seed East Stroudsburg North squares off against No. 4 Bethlehem Catholic in the first Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Pleasant Valley High School.

The No. 3 Panthers take the floor next at 7:30 p.m. against No. 2 William Allen in the second semifinal, a game that's shaping up to be a classic in the making.

The Timberwolves (14-9, 10-7 EPC) pulled off an almost unthinkable upset Friday night against top-seeded Emmaus with a 52-49 win. Just 32 minutes of basketball away from the championship game, North coach Jon DeJesus believes his kids are ready for what's next.

"Right now, they're just doing everything together," DeJesus said Sunday. "And that's kind of what we've been preaching all year is just the three keys – play hard, play smart, and play together. And now they're putting all three together and they're seeing some success."

North has won three of its last four games, but DeJesus is quick not to let his players get caught up in the moment. The Timberwolves fell 58-46 to Bethlehem Catholic in their only regular-season game on Jan. 6. Arian Azemi scored 17 points and Darin Bellinger added 12 for North, but that wasn't enough to hold off a Golden Hawks' attack led by sophomore Justin Paz's 21 points.

"The first time we played them, we didn't play great," DeJesus said. "We didn't follow the scouting report and the game plan, so we struggled a little bit. They do things differently, whether (they) switch defenses on us, and we didn't attack like we normally do.

"But I think on Tuesday – obviously right now we're in a different mindset. The kids are playing at a high level and they're starting to realize that if they do things the way they're supposed to, if they do things together, good things will happen."

DeJesus knows Paz through summer camps and workouts. He also knows what Paz's teammate, 6-foot-9 junior center Ryan Young, did against his team just one month ago.

"They're a team that likes to shoot a lot of threes, so for us, it's just keeping them off the 3-point line and giving them no easy shots and just keeping the big kid off the glass," DeJesus said.

He also knows what his own players have to do to send the Timberwolves to their first EPC title game.

"Just attacking their zone defense," DeJesus said. "But they'll throw a couple different looks at us. So (if) we just stay in that attack mindset both offensively and defensively, I think we'll have a good shot on Tuesday."

At Pocono Mountain West (19-3, 15-2 EPC), Brad Pensyl is busy preparing his team for one of its biggest games of the year.

The Panthers are currently ranked ninth in the latest City of Basketball Love state rankings for the PIAA Class 6A. Ranked first is Allen, which has held the No. 1 spot for all but one week of the season.

"Nobody in District 11 has more talent than William Allen," Pensyl said Sunday. "Nobody. And I have some talented kids."

Pensyl's talented team silenced a dangerous Parkland team during the second half of Friday's quarterfinal game. Pocono West's defense smothered the Trojans, and senior forward Jalen Vaughns netted 33 points and 12 rebounds to give the Panthers a 79-67 victory.

That performance has Pensyl confident in what's next for his experienced roster.

"I think we're absolutely peaking at the right time," he said. "I thought last year we might've peaked a little early, and then we had some things fall apart unfortunately out of my control, which is really frustrating to me as a coach sometimes. ...;

"But this year I think our kids are much more focused. I have emphasized defense to them for a long time. I think they understand. They get it."

The Panthers face a rematch of last year's EPC semifinal against No. 2 Allen. But this year, the seeds are reversed. West hopes the result will be too. The Canaries earned a 70-65 win last year that sent the Panthers home until districts.

"Last year when we played Allen in the semifinals, we were horrible," Pensyl said. "I had guys who didn't show up to play, guys who were worried about what their hair looked like and what kind of earrings they had on and what their shirt looked like instead of worrying about who they were defending and just really weird stuff. ...;

"This year, I don't think I have that. This year, I think I truly have kids who really are concerned about everybody else but themselves, which is a nice thing."

This game features high quality talent. Pocono West's Vaughns is averaging 23.6 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per game and is being heavily recruited as a Division II player. He also has great support from teammates Isaiah Wiggins, Lance Singh, and Travis Elmore.

On the other end, Allen has Talek Williams and Tyrese Martin, two of the most explosive players in the district who are being recruited by DI schools.

"I think it's coming down who can contain the most, and I think a key for us is how much can we take them out of things they like to do," Pensyl said. "They have a certain comfort zone, and I would like to take them out of that comfort zone as much as we could."

If the Panthers' defense plays anything like it did Friday, Pocono West may finally break into the conference championship game.
________________________________________________________________________

POCONO SUMMIT – Jalen Vaughns continued to be the Panthers' lethal weapon.

Vaughns scored 33 points and shot 9-for-10 from the free-throw line to lead No. 3 Pocono Mountain West to a 79-67 win over No. 6 Parkland in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball quarterfinal round on Friday. West's victory knocks Parkland, the two-time defending conference champion, out of the tournament.

"This game was real emotional and real big," Vaughns said.

The difference was Pocono West's (19-3, 15-2 EPC) defense. Parkland closed the gap to 65-64 with 3:31 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers held the Trojans to just three points in the final 3 ½ minutes.

"We switched defenses a little bit from some man and then we went man," Panthers coach Brad Pensyl said. "I think (we) did some of those things that helped transition wise."

The Panthers trailed 43-35 at halftime, and with 5:30 to play in the third quarter, trailed 51-44. But tides turned after Parkland's Sam Iorio intentionally fouled Pocono West's Isaiah Wiggins with 4:43 to play in the frame. Wiggins knocked down the two free throws and converted on another layup just 10 seconds later, sparking an 8-0 run that gave the Panthers the lead. From there, Pocono West took control.

"At halftime, coach (Pensyl) really screamed on us a little bit and said we got to play more tough," Vaughns said. "And that's what we did."

"I thought the first half we were a little out of control," Pensyl said. "We didn't shoot fouls well. We didn't pick them up in transition. And then from then on out after halftime, we made some really good adjustments. The kids did what we needed them to do."

The first half was a back-and-forth battle. Neither team held a lead larger than four points in the first quarter, capped by Lee Mosley's buzzer-beating jumper to tie it at 21. It wasn't until late in the second quarter that Parkland began to pull away for its seven-point halftime lead.

But in the second half, it was all West. The Panthers outscored Parkland 43-24 in the final 16 minutes.

"We got out. We got some stops. I thought we absolutely controlled the boards, and we shot fouls really well in the second half," Pensyl said. "It was just an awesome win for the kids."

On an 11-game winning streak, Pocono West faces No. 2 Allen (22-1, 16-1 EPC) on Tuesday night in the EPC semifinals. Where that game will be played has yet to be determined, but Pensyl knows what kind of talent the Canaries hold. Allen's only loss came to Bethlehem Catholic in overtime on Wednesday.

"Allen's very athletic and they have three very good players," he said. "We've got to play really well. We've got to come ready to play."

Vaughns is already preparing for his next game.

"I feel like we've got to stay level-headed," he said. "Don't get too high, don't get too low. Just keep rolling on the momentum and things should be fine."

EPC Quarterfinal

No. 3 PM West 79, No. 6 Parkland 67

Parkland 21 22 14 10 – 67

PM West 21 14 26 17 – 79

Parkland 67

Burgos 1 0-0 3, Zeky 3 0-0 7, Bross 2 0-0 5, Rindock 3 8-12 14, Iorio 5 3-4 15, Bartholowmew 5 4-4 18, Ruisch 2 1-1 5. Totals: 21 16-21 67.

PM West 79

Vaughns 12 9-10 33, Wiggins 7 4-6 20, Singh 5 1-5 11, Mosley 2 0-0 4, Louchie 0 0-0 0, Romney 1 0-1 3, Elmore 3 2-4 8, Nelson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 16-26 79.

3-pointers: P 9 (Bartholomew 4, Iorio 2, Burgos, Persichetti, Bross); PMW 3 (Wiggins 2, Romney).

Records: Parkland 15-8, 11-6 EPC; PM West 19-3, 15-2 EPC.

________________________________________________________________________

Pocono Mountain West dominated the Mountain Division this season.

But the Panthers are never satisfied after the regular season.

The No. 3 Panthers play host to No. 6 Parkland in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference quarterfinal round at 7 p.m. Friday.

While Pocono West (18-3, 14-2) hasn't faced the Trojans (15-7, 11-5 EPC) this year, veteran coach Brad Pensyl is looking forward to seeing Parkland.

"We've had our luck with Parkland," Pensyl said Thursday. "Our kids aren't scared. We beat them last year on our floor, so we're certainly not scared of them. I welcome the challenge."

Pensyl is realistic, though. He knows how well Andy Stephens coaches Parkland and realizes that there is an obvious possibility the Panthers, who enter on a 10-game winning streak, don't move on to the semifinals. Sam Iorio and Jake Bartholomew each post huge threats as shooters from the perimeter.

"They have a ton of really good players and really good shooters," Pensyl said. "And of course they're the four-time defending champs of District 11. The last team besides them that won a District 11 championship was us, and that was in 2012."

But the Panthers also come in with some momentum. Senior forward Jalen Vaughns has dominated the floor this year and scored his 1,000th career point in Wednesday's 70-47 victory over Pleasant Valley. Vaughns is averaging 23 points per game and has 15 double-doubles in 21 games this season.

He and Isaiah Wiggins have been the leaders of a potent offensive attack. That's especially important as senior Lance Singh has not played in each of the last four games for West due to disciplinary actions.

Pensyl has had to rely on his bench to make a difference while Vaughns, Wiggins, Travis Elmore, and Kieran Romney execute as starters.

"One thing I was concerned about was our bench," Pensyl said. "So the last four or five games, I think Haybert Louchie's played really well for us. Shay Nelson has played pretty well for us off the bench. Shemar Ernest has played pretty well for us. So I've gotten some production off the bench.

"And I've got to have guys in the playoffs. We're not winning with five guys. That's not going to happen. I need some guys to step it up a little bit for us."
_________________________________________________________________________

 
Vaughns scores 1000th point in regular season finale


PM West 70, Pleasant Valley 47

BRODHEADSVILLE - Pocono Mountain West's Jalen Vaughns scored 31 points including his 1,000th of his career to lead the Panthers to a 70-47 win over Pleasant Valley in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball Wednesday night.

PM West 70, Pleasant Valley 47

PM West 16 17 23 14 - 70

Pleasant Valley 11 6 13 17 - 47

PM West 70

Vaughns 11 9-13 31, Wiggins 4 5-5 13, Mosley 1 0-0 2, Louchie 1 0-0 3, Germosen 0 0-0 0, Romney 3 0-0 7, Elmore 4 2-6 10, Williams 0 0-2 0, Nelson 1 0-0 2, Ernest 1 0-0 2. Totals: 26 16-26 70.

Pleasant Valley 47

Robinson 2 0-2 4, Barker 4 1-2 11, Stivala 2 0-0 4, Richardson 0 0-0 0, Gaddist 1 0-0 2, Neubert 0 0-0 0, Scarboro 2 0-0 5, Gerolimatos 3 0-0 7, Rosario 0 2-2 2, Duviella 2 0-0 4, Prator 4 0-0 8. Totals: 20 3-6 47.

3-Pointers: PM West 2 (Louchie, Romney), PV 4 (Barker 2, Scarboro, Gerolimatos).

Records: 18-3 (14-2 EPC), PV 7-15 (3-13 EPC).
________________________________________________________________________

 
Wiggins, PM West top Cavs, 77-34


POCONO SUMMIT - Pocono Mountain West's Isaiah Wiggins hit five 3-pointers and finished with 24 points to lead the Panthers to a 77-34 victory over ES South on Monday in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball. Jalen Vaughns added 22 points for PM West.

PM West 77, ES South 34

ES South 6 8 13 7 - 34

PM West 15 22 21 19 - 77

ES South 34

Lopez 2 1-2 5, Eck 4 2-4 11, Bradley 2 0-0 4, Kross 2 0-0 5, Rodriguez 1 0-0 2, Raso 0 0-0 0, Murphy 1 0-0 3, Demarco 0 0-0 0, Matos 0 0-0 0, Gray 1 0-0 2, Patterson 1 0-0 2, DeSantis 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 3-6 34.

PM West 77

Vaughns 8 5-8 22, Wiggins 8 3-7 24, Mosley 3 0-1 6, Louchie 2 2-3 7, Romney 2 0-0 5, Elmore 4 1-4 9, Williams 1 0-0 2, Nelson 1 0-0 2, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 29 11-23 77.

3-Pointers: ESS 3 (Eck, Kross, Murphy), PMW 8 (Wiggins 5, Vaughns, Louchie, Romney).

Records: PM West 17-3 (13-3 EPC), ES South 8-12 (3-11 EPC).

_________________________________________________________________________

 
Vaughns, Panthers rout North


POCONO SUMMIT - Jalen Vaughns led PM West with 27 points as the Panthers rolled to a 75-40 victory over ES North on Wednesday night in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball.

PM West 75, ES North 40

ES North 6 13 9 12 - 40

PM West 18 16 18 23 - 75

ES North 40

A. Azemi 4 1-1 10, Noble 3 0-2 6, Bellinger 4 2-2 10, Moultrie 1 0-0 2, Wilkins 0 0-0 0, Enyosiobi 0 0-2 0, Wiggins 4 0-0 8, Reed 0 0-0 0, B. Azemi 1 1-3 4. Totals: 17 4-7 40.

PM West 75

Vaughns 12 3-8 27, Wiggins 5 0-0 12, Singh 6 0-0 13, Mosley 3 0-0 6, Louchie 1 0-1 2, Germosan 0 0-0 0, Romney 3 0-0 8, Elmore 1 1-1 3, Williams 1 0-0 2, Nelson 1 0-0 2, Kidney 0 0-0 0, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 33 4-10 75.

3-Pointers: ESN 2 (B. Azemi, A. Azemi), PMW 5 (Romney 2, Wiggins 2, Singh).

Records: PM West 15-3 (11-2 EPC), ES North 11-8 (7-6 EPC).

________________________________________________________________________

 
Panthers run by the Huskies


ALLENTOWN - Isaiah Wiggins scored a team-high 22 points as PM West rolled to a 84-46 victory over Dieruff on Friday in EPC boys basketball. Wiggins, Jalen Vaughns, Lance Singh, and Travis Elmore reached double figures for the Panthers.

PM West 84, Dieruff 46

PM West 21 22 20 21 - 84

Dieruff 10 14 12 10 - 46

PM West 84

Vaughns 9 2-4 20, Wiggins 7 5-10 22, Singh 5 4-6 14, Mosley 2 0-0 4, Louchie 1 1-2 3, Romney 1 0-0 3, Elmore 6 0-0 12, Williams 0 0-0 0, Nelson 1 0-0 2, Ernst 2 0-0 4. Totals: 34 12-22 84.

Dieruff 46

Davis 1 0-0 2, Rockmore 0 0-2 0, Franklin 0 0-0 0, Paniaqua 2 2-2 7, Whyte 2 0-0 6, Grullon 0 0-0 0, Perkins 2 0-1 4, Hernandez 2 0-0 5, Richardson 5 6-9 16, Woodson 0 0-1 0, Huff 2 0-0 6. Totals: 16 8-15 46.

3-Pointers: PM West 4 (Wiggins 3, Romney), Dieruff 6 (Huff 2, Whyte 2, Paniaqua).

Records: PM West 13-3 (9-2 EPC), Dieruff 5-12 (3-9 EPC).
________________________________________________________________________

 
Vaughns, Singh lead West past Mounties


POCONO SUMMIT - Pocono Mountain West's Jalen Vaughns and Lance Singh both scored 23 points each as the Panthers rolled to a 87-54 victory over Stroudsburg in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball Wednesday. Singh went 15-for-16 from the free-throw line.

PM West 87, Stroudsburg 54

Stroudsburg 12 9 19 14 - 54

Pocono West 15 24 24 24 - 87

Stroudsburg 54

Jackson 2 1-2 6, Walter 1 0-0 2, Arriola 0 0-0 0, Ferreras 0 2-4 2, Sadler 0 0-0 0, Hunt 0 0-0 0, Ogrodniczuk 1 0-0 2, Bueno 5 0-3 11, Henry 4 2-2 12, Wilson 4 4-6 13, Strickland 0 1-2 1. Totals: 19 10-19 54.

PM West 87

Vaughns 11 1-3 23, Wiggins 9 0-0 20, Singh 4 15-16 23, Mosley 2 0-0 4, Louchie 2 0-0 5, Germosan 0 0-0 0, Romney 0 4-4 4, Elmore 3 0-2 6, Williams 0 0-0 0, Nelson 0 0-0 0, Ernest 1 0-0 2. Totals: 32 20-25 87.

3-Pointers: SBG 6 (Henry 2, Wilson, Bueno, Ferreras, Jackson), PMW 3 (Wiggins 2, Louchie).

Records: PM West 12-3 (8-2 EPC), Stroudsburg 8-5 (5-4 EPC).
________________________________________________________________________

 
Duo of Singh and Vaughns push West past Freedom


PM West 71, Freedom 62

POCONO SUMMIT - PM West's Jalen Vaughns and Lance Singh scored 20 points each to lead the Panthers to a 71-62 victory over Freedom in EPC boys basketball on Friday night.

Travis Elmore pitched in with 14 points for the Panthers.

PM West 71, Freedom 62

Freedom 14 14 16 18 - 62

PM West 14 17 21 19 - 71

Freedom 62

Polk 1 3-4 5, Muniz 4 0-0 10, Cappell 2 2-2 6, Hall 2 0-0 5, King 6 6-7 22, Benton 3 0-0 7, Bell 0 0-0 0, Hargett 3 1-2 7, Mims 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 12-15 62.

PM West 71

Vaughns 8 4-6 20, Wiggins 4 1-2 9, Singh 7 4-6 20, Mosley 0 0-1 0, Louchie 0 0-0 0, Romney 1 0-0 2, Elmore 7 0-1 14, Williams 0 0-0 0, Nelson 2 2-3 6, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 29 11-19 71.

3-Pointers: Freedom 8 (King 4, Muniz 2, Benton, Hall), PM West 2 (Singh 2).
________________________________________________________________________

 
Vaughns leads Panthers in win over Nazareth

NAZARETH - Jalen Vaughns scored 24 points to lead PM West to a 79-50 victory over Nazareth in EPC boys basketball on Wednesday.

PM West 79, Nazareth 50

PM West 18 21 14 26 - 79

Nazareth 15 5 17 13 - 50

PM West 79

Vaughns 11 2-7 24, Wiggins 5 6-8 16, Singh 5 5-9 15, Mosley 2 0-0 4, Louchie 1 1-2 3, Germosen 1 2-2 4, Romney 0 0-0 0, Elmore 3 1-2 7, Williams 0 0-0 0, Nelson 3 0-1 6, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 31 17-31 79.

Nazareth 50

Wagner 8 1-2 19, Harris 0 0-0 0, Ramin 2 1-3 5, Clark 2 0-0 5, Wickmann 3 0-0 8, Briggs 1 0-0 3, Bachik 2 1-2 5, Stoner 2 1-2 5. Totals: 20 4-9 50.

3-Pointers: Nazareth 6 (Wagner 2, Wickmann 2, Clark, Briggs).

Records: PM West 10-3 (6-2 EPC), Nazareth 4-10 (2-7 EPC).

_______________________________________________________________________

POCONO SUMMIT - Jalen Vaughns and Isaiah Wiggins gave the Panthers some offense, but Pocono Mountain West couldn't keep pace with Whitehall.

Vaughns scored 24 points while Wiggins added 21, but Pocono Mountain West fell 77-72 to Whitehall in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball on Friday in Pocono Summit.

The Panthers (8-3, 5-2 EPC) were kept out of rhythm all night, playing from behind from the beginning and never possessing the lead. The Panthers were down by as much as 16 points in the third quarter but closed the gap to three multiple times late.

In the final minute of play, the Zephyrs sank seven of their eight free-throw attempts, five of which came from junior Mikey Esquilin, to put Pocono West away.

"They took us out of rhythm and we didn't shoot the ball well," PM West coach Brad Pensyl said. "They deserved to win. They played better than we did."

Whitehall (10-2, 6-1 EPC), which is ranked No. 6 in the City of Basketball Love Class 5A state rankings, used its intense defensive pressure to force the Panthers to rush shots and turn the ball over, especially throughout the first half.

"The first half we had 11 turnovers," Pensyl said. "We don't turn the ball over. That was uncharacteristic of us to turn the ball over like that.

"I think (it was) just us not being patient and just rushing, which we haven't done in a while, and reverting back to some bad habits that I thought we had gotten out of."

Senior forward Lance Singh added 16 points but had plenty of other shots that simply didn't fall. The same could be said for Wiggins and Vaughns, despite their notable combined 45 points.

But Pensyl is "not going to lose any sleep over this game."

"I'm disappointed we lost at home," he said, "but I'm not disappointed with my basketball team.

"It's a game we should grow from. We'll get better because of this game I think."

Senior forward Lee Mosley got the start for the Panthers on Friday while sick regular starter Travis Elmore came off the bench.

"I thought he played pretty well," Pensyl said of Mosley. "He's not the offensive player that Travis is, but he hustled, rebounded the ball for us. He played some defense. So what I got out of him, I was happy.

"There were some good things about the game. It's just - we didn't have enough positive things to affect the outcome I guess."

Charles Hudson led the Zephyrs with 23 points in an impressive effort coming off the bench. The 6-foot-2 senior forward played aggressively and physically throughout the game while shooting 4-for-7 from the free-throw line.

He played with an intensity Pocono West lacked early.

"I didn't think we came out with a whole lot of intensity in the first half," Pensyl said. "I don't get that. I mean, you're 16, 17 years old. You should be fired up. I wish I could still play.

"But I thought they (the Zephyrs) were more intense than us in the first half."

Pocono West's next game is Tuesday night at East Stroudsburg South.

Whitehall 77, PM West 72

Whitehall 20 20 18 19 - 77

PM West 8 25 10 29 - 72

Whitehall 77

Hudson 9 4-7 23, Buskirk 2 0-0 4, Esquilin 1 5-8 7, Gilbert 4 2-2 11, Walschburger 2 2-2 8, Harrison 3 0-0 6, Martinez 2 0-0 4, McGinley 5 4-4 14, Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 28 17-23 77.

PM West 72

Vaughns 10 4-7 24, Wiggins 10 0-2 21, Singh 6 4-4 16, Mosley 1 0-0 2, Louchie 1 3-3 5, Romney 0 0-0 0, Elmore 0 0-0 0, Nelson 1 2-2 4. Totals: 29 13-20 72.

3-pointers: W 4 (Walschburger 2, Hudson, Gilbert); PMW 1 (Wiggins)
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STROUDSBURG - Pocono Mountain West relied on everyone it had.

But in the end, no one played a bigger role than Isaiah Wiggins.

Wiggins scored each of the Panthers' final 10 points and 26 total to lead Pocono Mountain West to a 76-70 victory over Stroudsburg in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball on Friday night.

The Mounties trailed 60-43 entering the final eight minutes of play but trimmed Pocono West's lead down to three points, 67-64, with just over two minutes to play.

But Wiggins nailed a jump shot, layup, and four of his five free throws in the closing minutes to secure the Panthers' win, ending on a 10-4 run.

"It was a great win for us," PM West coach Brad Pensyl said. "I felt like we played really well as far as a team. We passed the ball, we made the extra pass. I thought we were real methodical in our offense which was good, and we executed, I thought, very well in the half-court."

The Panthers (8-2, 5-1 EPC) were able to close out a close game, something they haven't always been able to do this season. Opportunities to win came in an early-season contest against Emmaus, but Pocono West couldn't capitalize on them and fell 75-68. Pensyl and his players made sure that wouldn't happen on Friday.

"We've been in a few close games this year," Pensyl said. "And games like this only make your team better. And we did what we had to do at the end of the game. We knocked some foul shots down, we took care of the basketball, and we got some stops."

The Panthers know there's still plenty of basketball yet to play this season. But after a 26-point performance from Isaiah Wiggins and a game-high 27 from Jalen Vaughns, Pensyl's confidence in his team is high.

"This league is far from over," he said. "We've got a lot of work to do, and I think I'm happy because I think I see us getting a little bit better every game. And there were some spurts out there where we looked really good. And hopefully we can continue to get better."

Pocono West's bench also made its presence known with help from Shay Nelson and Lee Mosley. The pair only scored two points each, but their effort on the court resulted in numerous rebounds and defensive stops.

"I thought the guys that came in tonight for us off the bench did a really nice job, and that's what I need," Pensyl said. "I need some guys that can give guys a breather and a rest. ... So I thought those guys did a nice job for us off the bench."

Stroudsburg (5-4, 3-3 EPC, 3-2 division) rebounded from another large deficit, but fell short in the end. Junior Tyler Henry came off the bench to score four 3's and a team-high 18 points, backed by Dyony Bueno's 15 and Shon Wilson's 13, all playing a critical role in keeping the Mounties' hopes alive.

"We became very aggressive," Stroudsburg coach Rich Baker said. "We had to start competing. ... I wish we could've competed like that in the (first) three (quarters), but unfortunately, you put yourself in situations where you try to have some type of impact on whether or not you can win a basketball. We gave ourselves a chance."

Henry's effort did not go unnoticed.

"He hit some big shots," Baker said. "He came in and he plays with an abundance of confidence. So I have the utmost confidence to make plays, and he made a bunch of plays for us down the stretch. He had a big 3 down here in the corner.

"We were a couple plays away from taking over this game and winning this game, but obviously the ball didn't bounce our way."

Pocono West is on the road at Nazareth on Tuesday night, while Stroudsburg travels to Bethlehem Catholic.

PM West 76, Stroudsburg 70

PM West 20 18 22 16 - 76

Stroudsburg 11 15 17 27 - 70

PM West 76

Vaughns 11 4-10 27, Wiggins 10 5-6 26, Singh 5 4-7 14, Mosley 1 0-0 2, Louchie 0 0-0 0, Romney 1 1-2 3, Elmore 1 0-0 2, Nelson 1 0-0 2, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 14-25 76.

Stroudsburg 70

Jackson 1 4-4 7, Walter 4 1-1 9, Arriola 1 4-4 6, Ferreras 0 0-0 0, Sadler 0 0-0 0, Ogrodniczuk 0 2-2 2, Bueno 5 4-5 15, Henry 7 0-2 18, Wilson 4 3-6 13. Totals: 22 18-23 70.

3-pointers: PMW 2 (Vaughns, Wiggins); S 8 (Henry 4, Wilson 2, Bueno, Jackson).
________________________________________________________________________

New year, same season.

That's what everyone has to remember as we hit the middle of the winter sports season.

In boys basketball, Pocono Mountain West and coach Brad Pensyl are exactly where they want to be coming out of the holiday break.

"Our schedule was brutal," Pensyl said Monday via text. "Both our losses were against state-ranked teams and games that came down to the wire.

"My goal was to be competitive, win some games and hopefully be 5-3 at break."

The Panthers are ahead of schedule, coming out of the break with a 6-2 record (3-1 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference). They hit the court on Tuesday night hosting Pleasant Valley (4-3, 2-2), a team coming off a 62-49 win over Jim Thorpe in non-conference action on Friday night.

The Bears roll in behind an impressive defensive performance that put them over the .500 mark. PV limited Jim Thorpe to just 14 first-half points in its victory, while Isaiah Howard managed to sink 19 points.

"When we bring our defense, we are successful," Bears head coach Matt Gould said Monday via text. "We went to Nazareth (on Dec. 13) and really worked on D as well as this past week at Jim Thorpe.

"Also, we have shot the ball well in our wins. Isaiah Howard has carried us from behind the arch."

The Bears will need another strong showing on Tuesday if they're going to compete with Pocono West though, which just recently fell out of the Class 6A state rankings.

"Turnovers have been our Achilles heel in losses to Whitehall and Stroudsburg," Gould said. "If we limit turnovers, we have a chance against any team."

East Stroudsburg South's boys are playing with some energy, too. Greg Eck scored 22 points on Friday to lead the Cavaliers (4-4, 0-4 EPC) to a 57-36 win over Honesdale, earning his team a tournament championship and himself the MVP award. The Cavs face a struggling Pocono Mountain East tonight and could earn South its first conference win of the year.
________________________________________________________________________

 
Panthers blow out rival PM East
 

POCONO SUMMIT - PM West's Jalen Vaughns, Isaiah Wiggins, and Lance Singh combined for 67 points as the 
Panthers defeated PM East 92-47 in EPC boys basketball Thursday night.

PM West 92, PM East 47

PM East 11 12 16 8 - 47

PM West 23 22 29 18 - 92

PM East 47

McCain 1 0-0 2, Scott 5 2-2 12, Valencia 0 0-0 0, Forbes 5 3-3 17, Thompon 1 0-1 2, McMaster 3 4-4 11, Tucker 0 0-0 0, Pechatka 1 1-2 3. Totals: 16 10-12 47.

PM West 92

Vaughns 11 2-5 24, Wiggins 7 3-6 20, Singh 9 4-4 23, Mosley 1 1-2 3, Louchie 1 2-2 4, Germosan 1 0-0 2, Romney 1 2-2 5, Elmore 4 0-2 8, Williams 0 1-4 1, Nelson 1 0-0 2, Kidney 0 0-0 0, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 36 15-27 92.

3-PT Goals: PM East 5 (Forbes 4, McMaster), PM West 5 (Wiggins 3, Romney, Singh).
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4 players in doubles help West rout North
 

BUSHKILL - PM West's Jalen Vaughns led all scorers with 27 points as the Panthers rolled to a 91-49 victory over ES North on Tuesday night in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball. Isaiah Wiggins added 21 points for Pocono West.

PM West 91, ES North 49

PM West 15 29 29 18 - 91

ES North 12 9 18 10 - 49

PM West 91

Vaughns 11 5-7 27, Wiggins 7 6-6 21, Singh 7 1-2 16, Louchie 1 0-0 2, Romney 1 0-0 3, Elmore 5 2-2 12, Williams 1 0-0 2, Nelson 2 0-0 4, Ernest 1 0-0 2. Totals: 35 14-19 91.

ES North 49

A. Azemi 8 2-2 19, Bellinger 4 8-9 17, Moultrie 0 0-0 0, Bavila 0 0-0 0, Wilkins 0 0-0 0, Enyosiobi 0 0-0 0, Richards 1 2-2 5, D. Wiggins 3 1-2 7, Mills 0 0-0 0, Reed 0 0-0 0, B. Azemi 0 1-2 1. Totals: 16 14-15 49.

3-Pointers: PMW 3 (Wiggins, Singh, Romney), ESN 3 (Richards, A. Azemi, Bellinger).

Stroudsburg 61, ES South 48
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Vaughns, Wiggins lead Panthers over Liberty in OT


ALLENTOWN - Jalen Vaughns sank a team-high 29 points, Isaiah Wiggins scored 21, and Lance Singh added 16 to lead Pocono Mountain West to a 76-74 overtime win over Liberty in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball at William Allen High School on Sunday.

Wiggins scored 10 of West's 16 points in overtime, six of which came from his free-throw shooting. Liberty's Cameron Hoffman scored a game-high 30 points.

PM West 76, Liberty 74 (OT)

PM West 15 17 16 12 16 - 76

Liberty 13 19 16 12 - 74

PM West 76

Vaughns 12 4-6 29, Wiggins 6 9-10 21, Singh 7 2-2 16, Mosley 0 0-0 0, Romney 0 0-0 0, Elmore 5 0-2 10, Nelson 0 0-0 0, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 15-20 76.

Liberty 74

Serrano 5 2-2 17, Griffin 2 0-0 4, Johnson 4 2-3 12, Legree 0 0-0 0, Martinez 0 0-0 0, Erney 0 0-0 0, Heess 0 0-0 0, Hoffman 14 0-0 30, Cannon 5 1-2 11. Totals: 30 5-7 74.

3-pointers: PMW 1 (Vaughns); L 9 (Serrano 5, Johnson 2, Hoffman 2).

Records: PM West 3-1, 2-1 EPC; Liberty 2-2, 1-2 EPC.
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Stepping up their game



By: Zach Sturniolo | The Pocono Record


POCONO SUMMIT - Jalen Vaughns and Lance Singh put on a show in the Panthers' home opener.

Vaughns netted 26 points and Singh scored 15 to lead Pocono Mountain West to a 74-67 win over Easton in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball on Friday night.

The second quarter made all the difference for the Panthers (2-1, 1-1 EPC). Trailing 19-18 after the first quarter, Pocono West wasted no time in the second, exploding for a 20-3 run just midway through the quarter. The Panthers outscored the Rovers 22-7 in the second frame alone.

"We played really well the second quarter," Pocono West coach Brad Pensyl said. "We were flying around and trapping them."

The Panthers had to adjust quickly for a strong Easton team that was sticking with Pocono West through the opening eight minutes.

"We full-court pressed a little bit, which I hadn't done in the first quarter," Pensyl said. "And the game got pretty fast, and our kids are really good at playing fast. I thought maybe they came down and took some ill-advised shots occasionally, and I think that was the big difference.

"I think our kids were getting hands up on shooters on the perimeter. In the first quarter, we didn't do that. In the second quarter, we were contesting shots, especially from their big guys."

Despite West's early dominance, though, Easton (2-2, 1-1 EPC) managed to keep it interesting in the fourth quarter. The Rovers sparked a 13-4 run over a 2:27 span midway through the quarter and cut the Panthers' lead to nine with 2:07 to play. Senior guard Arnel Lewis scored an impressive 32 total points for Easton.

But excellent foul shooting from Isaiah Wiggins kept West comfortably ahead. Wiggins scored six of the Panthers' final nine points from the stripe and went 8-for-10 from the line.

"He didn't shoot the ball very well from the field," Pensyl said of Wiggins, who scored eight of his 14 points from the line. "But he shot the ball very well from the foul line."

Vaughns' night at the stripe did not go as well. The senior forward went just 4-for-13 on Friday, less than one week after shooting 1-for-7 in the season opener.

"The foul shooting thing is really hurting him right now," Pensyl said. "We've got to get that straightened out."

Behind his big three was Travis Elmore. The 6-foot-4 junior center put up 13 points in the victory, giving the Rovers another big body to watch inside.

"Right now, we've got three guys. Which guy are you going to guard?" Pensyl said. "So that's why Travis is so important to us. Not many high school teams can shut four guys down.

"You shut Lance down and Jalen one night, hopefully Isaiah plays well. Now you want to shut four down. That's why I keep saying I need Travis to do that. If they're double-teaming Jalen or whatever, Travis is in there."

What's next for West is far from easy. The Panthers face Liberty (1-1) at Allen High School Sunday at 12 p.m. before taking on East Stroudsburg North (3-1) on Tuesday.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Pensyl said. "Like I said, we have potential to be very good. But this league is so difficult, and I need some guys coming off the bench. We need to get a little deeper."

PM West 74, Easton 67

Easton 19 7 19 21 - 67

PM West 18 22 15 19 - 74

Easton 67

Koch 0 0-0 0, Manley 0 0-0 0, Olsen 0 0-0 0, Foreman 1 0-0 2, Herres 2 1-2 6, Hyppolite 1 1-1 4, Lewis 12 5-8 32, Dumbuya 3 1-1 7, Nimeh 1 0-0 2, Quezada 3 0-0 7, Fahie 3 0-1 7. Totals: 26 8-13 67.

PM West 74

Vaughns 11 4-13 26, Wiggins 3 8-10 14, Singh 4 5-6 15, Mosley 0 0-0 0, Louchie 0 0-0 0, Romney 2 0-0 5, Elmore 5 3-3 13, Nelson 0 1-2 1, Ernest 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 21-34 74.

3-pointers: E 7 (Lewis 3, Herres, Hyppolite, Quezada, Fahie); PMW 3 (Singh 2, Romney).

Records: Easton 2-2, 1-1 EPC; PM West 2-1, 1-1 EPC.
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Emmaus holds off Pocono Mountain West for 75-68 season-opening basketball win


By: Keith Groller | The Morning Call

One of the most anticipated Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball seasons in years began on Tuesday night and at least at Emmaus, it got off to a flying start.

David and Matt Kachelries combined for 50 points for the Green Hornets, and while David had 28 of them it was Matt's final two that proved pivotal in Emmaus' high-energy, entertaining 75-68 win over Pocono Mountain West.

The Panthers, down 10-0 at the outset and 40-23 at halftime, fought all the back to within 71-68 and had a chance to launch a game-tying 3-pointer with about 30 seconds to play.

That's when Matt Kachelries came up with a steal at midcourt and took it in for a layup with 26 seconds left. Pocono Mountain West wouldn't score again, Matt Kachelries would add two late free throws and the Green Hornets had themselves an opening-night win that certainly whet the appetite for what's to come over the next couple of months.

"I just read the offensive player and stole it and then all I thought about was making that layup to ice the game," Matt Kachelries said of the game-clinching steal and field goal.

Actually, both teams needed lots of ice as did the scoreboard operator to cool down after a game that was played at a frenetic pace and featured plenty of athleticism on both sides.

While the Kachelries twins did their thing for Emmaus, Pocono Mountain West had its own share of big moments as Jalen Vaughns scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half to spark the Panthers rally.

Lance Singh and Isaiah Wiggins added 17 and 16 respectively as Pocono West kept hitting the offensive glass for second and third shots after intermission.

The Panthers, who were eliminated by Emmaus in the District 11 4A consolation game last winter, went on 15-0 run early in the third quarter to cut a 17-point deficit to 44-42 seemingly in the blink of an eye.

David Kachelries scored eight points and his brother added a 3-pointer as the Green Hornets closed the third with an 11-5 spurt to regain control.

Then a spectacular David Kachelries slam made it 59-47 with 6:45 left and it looked like the rout was back on.

Instead, the proud Panthers kept clawing with Vaughns and Singh combining for 15 points in the final period. However, West wouldn't score again after a Travis Elmore follow with 44 seconds left.

"For us as a coaching staff, our favorite thing to do is coach them up and see them go out and execute what we've been putting in for the last three weeks," Emmaus coach Steve Yoder said. "Anybody who watched them saw a prepared team that executed the heck out of the game plan. At times, they lost their minds which high school kids are known to do, but in the end we came out with a really good win."

Unlike most other teams, Emmaus didn't get a non-league game in before the EPC started and the Green Hornets came out eager to make a statement. David Kachelries was off and flying to the rim for a dunk four seconds after the game started.

"We had a bunch of scrimmages and it seemed like the practices were never going to end," Matt Kachelries said. "We were happy to play a game. We just need to execute the game plan the coaches design. If we do, we'll win a lot of games."

Pocono West will also win its share of games. It simply could never get over the hump against the Hornets after the slow start.

"They played so well in the first half and we didn't," Panthers coach Brad Pensyl said. "We stood around and watched them play. They were so much more aggressive than we were. We've got to come ready to play every night in this league, especially on the road. We're not going to dwell on it. We just have to get back in the gym and get ready to play Easton on Friday night."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 
Elmore leads Panthers to win season opener


BETHLEHEM - Travis Elmore scored a career-high 18 points to lead Pocono Mountain West to a 68-59 win over Universal Audenreid in non-conference boys basketball at the Steel City Challenge at Moravian College on Saturday. Jalen Vaughns added 17 while Lance Singh battled through a hand injury to net 16.

PM West 68, Audenreid 59

PM West 19 11 13 25 - 68

Audenreid 15 13 16 15 - 59

PM West 68

Vaughns 8 1-7 17, Wiggins 3 5-6 12, Singh 5 6-9 16, Mosley 0 0-0 0, Romney 0 1-1 1, Elmore 8 2-2 18, Nelson 0 2-4 2, Ernest 1 0-0 2. Totals: 25 17-29 68.

Audenreid 59

Wright 6 5-8 19, Smith 1 0-2 3, Moore 9 5-9 23, Grant 0 1-2 1, Bey 2 0-0 4, Smith 0 0-0 0, Haynes 3 2-2 9. Totals: 21 13-23 69.

3-pointers: PMW 1 (Wiggins); Audenreid 4 (Wright 2, Smith, Haynes).

Records: PM West 1-0.

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Final stop on 20 in 20 boys hoops tour: Pocono Mountain West where a big three could lead to three titles


Watch video here

By: Keith Groller | of the Morning Call

Just before the season began on Friday night, I made one last stop on my 20 in 20 tour, which I have to admit was more like a 20 teams in 22 days deal this season if I counted correctly from Nov. 18 (the actual start of practice) to last night.

Bottom line is that I got to see 20 teams before the season began and one of the squads I really wanted to see was Pocono Mountain West. The Panthers have been building toward this season for several years with perhaps as talented a starting lineup as anyone in the EPC or Colonial League has this season.

When I got to Pocono West, it felt like I was in a different world.

First of all, there was snow on the ground. Lots of it.

Then as I am driving in Panther Lane toward the school, a deer hopped out right in front of me and took his time crossing the road. I didn't mind the delay. Beautiful animal. Didn't seem scared of me at all. 

Once inside the spacious and sparkling building, I had to walk what felt like a half-mile to get the gym. If you've never been to West, it's a terrific facility, as nice as any in District 11. The kids who get to go there are lucky to have a state-of-the-art venue.

Assistant coach Mike Delgrosso let me in and finally I got there to see Brad Pensyl and his guys finishing up their Friday session in preparation for their opener today against a Philadelphia team in the Steel City Challenge at Moravian College. West plays at 5:30.

Pensyl lost one player, AJ Simon, to a major football injury. Simon really would've helped West.

But he did have good news as one of his three stars, Lance Singh, was cleared to practice after suffering some kind of a hand injury.

This is an experienced, talented team with two players already over 1,000 points -- Singh has 1,171 and Isaiah Wiggins 1,063 -- and another player in Jalen Vaughns who is capable of getting there even though he has just 526 entering the season.

Pocono West has a big three that's capable of leading them to three titles: EPC Mountain, EPC and District 11. I would say the state, too, but since no District 11 team has won a state championship since 1986, I'm going to let that go for now for all of our teams.

Anyway, I had a nice visit to the school and I will see West at Emmaus on Tuesday night when the EPC season begins.

Here's a look at the 2016-17 Panthers, and by the way, I saw that same deer on the way out as if he wanted to say good-bye.

POCONO MOUNTAIN WEST

Coach: Brad Pensyl (28th season 501-203)

Last year: 21-6 (14-2, first in EPC Mountain). Lost to Allen in EPC semis; lost to Bangor in District 11 semis and to Emmaus in District 11 consy.

Returners: 6-5 Sr. F Jalen Vaughns (14.1 ppg); 6-0 Sr. G Isaiah Wiggins (16.4 ppg); 6-5 Sr. G Lance Singh (17.5 ppg); 6-5 Sr. C Travis Elmore (4.5 ppg); 6-1 Sr. G Kieran Romney (2.0 ppg).

Newcomers: 6-3 Sr. F Shay Nelson; 6-3 Jr. F Lee Mosley; 6-3 Jr. F Shermar Ernest.

THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE PANTHERS

1. Pensyl has tried to beef up the nonleague schedule and that's why he's starting with a team like Audenfried Charter out of Philadelphia. Later, he'll face Friere Charter from Philly, Scranton, Liberty in a nonleague and participate in a tournament that will feature Downingtown East or a team from Woodson, Va.  The idea is to be ready for the postseason after West lost three of its last four games last season.

2. Pensyl said the team is unified, which wasn't always the case last year. "The key is keeping these guys together for three and a half months, which is a long time," he said. "There's a lot of factors involved here and hopefully they can hold it together. This is a much more close-knit team than we've had for a while. That's a big thing. Plus another big thing is our defense. We can score, but we've got to stop people." 

3. Pensyl hopes the guys understand that they're going to lose some games, but the key is to not let one bad game turn into a losing streak. "This league is brutal and there are some great players in our league this year," he said. "In our division, Stroudsburg will be very good with three starters back. And we've got great men coaching teams in our division. So, it's going to be competitive."

_______________________________________________________________________

Pocono Mountain West could have some early trouble defending its Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Mountain Division title.

That comes thanks to an unfriendly injury bug.

Panthers head coach Brad Pensyl said Monday that senior guard Lance Singh severely hurt his hand on Friday and will be out to start the season with no set timetable for a return. That bad news comes on top of an injury to senior forward AJ Simon, who tore his ACL during football season and will miss his second consecutive season on the court.

"We've had our share of injuries," Pensyl said. "I'm sure others have had their injuries, but we're trying to work our way through some stuff here."

Pensyl was particularly excited to have Simon back after an impressive summer. Simon was a key enforcer inside who played strong, physical basketball during the team's rally to win the Stellar Catch a Rising Star Tournament championship in July.

"I thought him coming back would've really made us a strong team," Pensyl said.

Singh, the Panthers' all-time leading scorer with 1,171 career points, is sure to make a difference whenever he rejoins the team. But don't write off Pocono West without him.

"We have potential to be very good," Pensyl said.

The Panthers, who finished 21-6 last year, bring back a talented roster including first-team all-EPC senior guard Isaiah Wiggins and third-team all-conference senior forward Jalen Vaughns.

"There's not many players in our league who can stop him one-on-one," Pensyl said of Vaughns. "I feel real good about him inside."

Wiggins will be back at point guard this season, and while Pensyl admits Wiggins isn't the kind of player he'd like to put there, the veteran coach trusts his guard's knowledge of the game and position.

"Isaiah's been subbing for us since he was a freshman," Pensyl said. "You can't buy experience, and our kids have played in some big games. So that big game atmosphere shouldn't rattle them.

"I'm not concerned with December. It's where we are in February that matters. That in-game experience matters in February. I don't get too excited about December games. But when you lose at the end of the year, you put your equipment away."

Junior center Travis Elmore is also back for Pocono West. Despite entering the season with limited experience, Elmore showed promise in four starts last season, all coming during the playoffs, while averaging 9.5 points per game.

"Travis Elmore is going to be real solid," said Pensyl, who enters his 28th year as the Panthers' coach. "He's a junior and will be a real good player."

Pensyl is confident his team will be strong yet again this season, especially with a strong interior game he feels he hasn't had since 2006 or 2007. But he remains realistic too.

Last year's divisional runner-up Stroudsburg (15-10 in 2015-16) returns seniors Shon Wilson, Dyony Bueno, and junior Saveon Jackson, all of which are strong players on both sides of the ball. The Mounties and Panthers met three times last season, and Pocono West won each of the last two battles, most notably in the District 11 Class 4A quarterfinal with a 84-54 victory over Stroudsburg.

The Mounties have also run into injuries, though, losing junior forward Colin Brady early. Stroudsburg coach Rich Baker called Brady, "our biggest player in the front court with experience."

"Stroudsburg probably has as many players back as I do," he said. "We've got our work cut out for us. We're not taking things lightly. We have as difficult an independent schedule as anyone in District 11, and our league is one of best in the state.

"There are no nights off. We've got to be able to play and try to win some road games, and I think that would be the key. Win the games were supposed to win and try to steal a couple here and there."

Pocono Mountain West will face Universal Audenreid Charter High School at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at Moravian College in its season opener.

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Pocono Mountain West boys looking for a stronger finish
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Contact Reporter
Of The Morning Call

It wasn't the way Pocono Mountain West wanted last season to end.

The Panthers went into the postseason with a 14-2 league record and just three losses overall.

And then in a span of four games, they lost three times and their season was over after disappointing District 11 losses to Bangor and Emmaus.

But it's a new year, and Pocono Mountain West is excited about the seasoned talent it has. Jalen Vaughns, Isaiah Wiggins and Lance Singh are not only three of the best players in the division, but they're also a trio of the best in District 11.

It was a team that scored more than 72 points per game last season and will light up the scoreboard this season.

Coach Brad Pensyl, who has never missed districts in 27 seasons as a coach, knows he has a quality team.

However, it's a team that already has some injury issues. The goal is to get everybody healthy and on the same page in time for a strong postseason run, which the Panthers are quite capable of doing.

Here's a look at the six Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Mountain Division teams:

EAST STROUDSBURG NORTH

Coach: Jon DeJesus (third season, 19-25)

Last year: 9-13, 6-10 EPC (3rd in Mountain)

Returners: 6-0 Sr. G Arian Azemi (10.5 ppg); 6-6 Sr. F Darin Bellinger (12 ppg); 6-7 Sr. F Devontea Wiggins; 6-0 Sr. G Joshua Noble.

Outlook: After a rough season due to players being ineligible and numerous injuries, DeJesus expects a big year. "We lost six games last season by six points or less," he said. "I finally have senior leadership as my four returning players have been in the program since I started two seasons ago." Bellinger and Azemi have started since their sophomore year, and Wiggins and Noble saw significant time last season.

EAST STROUDSBURG SOUTH

Coach: Shawn Munford (fifth season, 35-55)

Last year: 8-14, 4-12 EPC (4th in Mountain)

Returners: 6-0 Jr. G Greg Eck 14.0 ppg; 5-7 Jr. G Devin Lopez; 5-7 Jr. G Isaiah Watson-Bradley; 6-0 Jr. F Union Burns; 6-0 Sr. G John Murphy; 5-9 Sr. G Dakota Kross.

Newcomers: 5-11 Jr. G Brian Rodriguez; 6-1 Jr. F Jose Matos; 6-1 Jr. F Jasiah Raso .

Outlook: The Cavs lost their inside presence of a year ago, but Munford said: "We will be successful if we can take advantage of our guards, utilize our quickness, and stay competitive in rebounding margin."

PLEASANT VALLEY

Coach: Matt Gould (3rd season, 12-32)

Last year: 4-18, 3-13 EPC (6th in West)

Returners: 6-0 Sr. G Chris Barker; 6-0 Sr. G Jah-Seer Aulder; 6-0 Sr. G Alex Gerolimatos; 6-1 Sr. F Justin Richardson; 6-3 Sr. F Ian Prator; 6-0 Jr. G Elijah Munford; 5-10 Jr. G Isaiah Howard

Newcomers: 6-3 Jr. G/F Noah Neubert; 5-8 Jr. G Collin Stivala; 6-0 Sr. G Jaison Robinson.

Outlook: Gould said his core group is back from a challenging season. "They have worked hard both in the gym and weight room to make a push for the EPC playoffs and districts," he said. The Bears will need their guards to play strong and the seniors must lead by example. Could double win total and more.

POCONO MOUNTAIN EAST

Coach: Mark Dudley (second season)

Last year: 6-16, 3-13 EPC (5th in West)

Returners: 5-10 Sr. G/F Richard McMaster (6.2 ppg); 5-10 Sr. G Stephon Forbes (10.8 ppg); 5-10 Jr. G Scott Elias (6.7 ppg); 6-4 Sr. F CJ Peechatka; 5-11 Sr. G/F Alex Valencia.

Outlook: The Cardinals won more games last year than they did in the previous three seasons combined. Dudley said his players worked hard in a summer that included the Stellar League and various camps. It is a stronger, better-conditioned team. "They have learned that losing is not OK," Dudley said. "We've worked too hard to just go out there and lose. It's not unacceptable." Could be a team on the rise.

POCONO MOUNTAIN WEST

Coach: Brad Pensyl (28th season 501-203)

Last year: 21-6 (14-2, first in EPC Mountain). Lost to Allen in EPC semis; lost to Bangor in District 11 semis and to Emmaus in District 11 consy.

Returners: 6-5 Sr. F Jalen Vaughns (14.1 ppg); 6-0 Sr. G Isaiah Wiggins (16.4 ppg); 6-5 Sr. G Lance Singh (17.5 ppg); 6-5 Sr. C Travis Elmore (4.5 ppg); 6-1 Sr. G Kieran Romney (2.0 ppg).

Newcomers: 6-3 Sr. F Shay Nelson; 6-3 Jr. F Lee Mosley; 6-3 Jr. F Shermar Ernest.

Outlook: Even though Pensyl lost big man AJ Simon for the second straight season due to an ACL injury suffered playing football, there's plenty of talent for this team to win 20 games and return to the postseason. Singh has a hand injury and the timetable on his return is uncertain. Not deep at guard, but Vaughns could be one of the best players in the area. "We will eventually be a very good team," Pensyl said. Clearly the class of the division. Capable of postseason run.

STROUDSBURG

Coach: Rich Baker (3rd season, 34-16)

Last year: 15-10, 12-4 EPC (2nd in West). Lost in EPC quarterfinals to Freedom; lost to Pocono West in District 11 4A quarterfinals.

Returners: 6-2 Sr. G Shon Wilson (11.2 ppg); 6-3 G/F Dyony Bueno (12.5 ppg); 5-11 Jr. G Saveon Jackson; 6-5 Jr. F Colin Brady; 6-0 Sr. G Nick Walters.

Newcomers: 6-2 Jr. G Tyler Henry; 6-1 Sr. F Markeith Strickland; 6-1 Sr. G/F Justin Arreola; 6-3 Jr. F Marcin Ogrodniczuk; 5-8 Jr. G Edwin Ferreras; 5-9 Sr. G Christian Ferreras.

Outlook: The Mounties have experience and talent, especially with Wilson and Bueno, an all-league player last year. "We are guard heavy and that allows us to play uptempo for the duration of a game." Baker said. But team lacks size and Brady is injured to start the season. Rebounding will be a key if this team is going to push deep into the postseason.

PREDICTED EPC MOUNTAIN FINISH

1. Pocono Mt. West

2. Stroudsburg

3. Pocono Mt. East

4. E.S. South

5. Pleasant Valley

6. E.S. North

Likely EPC tournament teams: Allen, Liberty, Becahi, Parkland, Emmaus, Whitehall, CCHS, Pocono Mt. West.

Likely EPC final: Allen over Parkland.
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Pocono Record Preview: 2016-17 Boys Basketball Capsules


Pocono Mountain West

Head coach: Brad Pensyl

Years as coach: 15th at West (277-76), 28th overall (501-203)

Last year's record: 21-6, EPC Mountain Division Champions

Key returners: Jalen Vaughns, Sr., F; Isaiah Wiggins, Sr., G; Lance Singh, Sr., G; Travis Elmore, Jr., C; Kieran Romney, Sr., G.

Key losses: Jeremiah Pedrozza, AJ Simon (injury).

Top newcomers: Shermar Ernest, Jr., G; Lee Mosley, Jr., F.

Team strengths: Experience, more mature.

Team weaknesses: Sometimes, we think we are better than we are.

We will be successful if ...; we play together, shoot fouls, and share the ball.

Pleasant Valley

Head coach: Matthew Gould

Years as coach: 3rd year (12-32)

Last year's record: 4-18

Key returners: Chris Barker, Sr., G; Elijah Munford, Jr., G; Isaiah Howard, Jr., G; Ian Prator, Sr. F.

Key losses: Romello Smaltz, Lucas Schaffner, Matt Pierce.

Top newcomers: Alex Gerolimatos, Sr., G; Jah-Seer Aulder, Sr., G; Justin Richardson, Sr., F, Noah Neubert, Jr., G/F; Jaison Robinson, Sr., G.

Team strengths: Senior leadership, guard play and ball handling.

Team weakness: Mental Preparation and focus, lack of size.

We will be successful if ...; we are able to force teams to take difficult shots and then limit offensive rebounds; our guards play to their ability; we make open shots.

East Stroudsburg North

Head coach: Jon DeJesus

Years as coach: 3rd year (Overall record 19-25)

Last year's record: 9-13, 6-10 EPC

Key returners: Arian Azemi, Sr., G; Darin Bellinger, Sr., F; Devontea Wiggins, Sr., F; Joshua Noble, Sr., G.

Key losses: Shaekwon Grant-Wheeler, David Campbell, Mohammed Mangasoubba, Willie Seabrooks.

Top newcomers: Adisa Wilkins, Jr., G; Ishamel Lewis, Jr., G; Armani Reed, F.

Team strengths: Athleticism and senior leadership.

Must improve: Our overall focus on and off the court.

We will be successful if ...; We play together and continue to work hard every single time we step on the floor. Must be consistent and remain hungry and humble.

Stroudsburg

Head coach: Richard Baker

Years as coach: 3rd year (34-16)

Last year's record: 15-10, 12-4 EPC

Key returners: Shon Wilson, Sr., G; Dyony Bueno, Sr., G; Saveon Jackson, Jr., G; Colin Brady, Jr., F; Nick Walters, Sr., G.

Key losses: Dshon Collins, Arel Lamour, Travis Hines, LJ Brown, Dave Kusz, Micayel Mack, Jaylen Hayden.

Top newcomers: Tyler Henry, Jr.; Markeith Strickland, Sr.; Justin Arreola, Sr.; Marcin Ogrodniczuk, Jr.; Edwin Ferreras, Jr.; Christian Ferreras, Sr.

Team strengths: Bring back a lot of experience players. We have great chemistry and really enjoy playing with each other. We are guard heavy and allows us to play up-tempo for a whole duration of the game.

Team weaknesses: Lack size in the front court. Injuries have hit us early with losing our biggest player in the front court with experience in Colin Brady. Need to be able to rebound well this year from 1-5 in order to win ball games.

We will be successful if ... We play together and buy into the process. We have a high expectation, but we understand it will be a very tough task, so we would need to get better every day and not be content with just winning. We want to play well every time we step on the court and get better. If we are doing that, we can be extremely successful this year.

East Stroudsburg South

Head coach: Shawn Munford

Years as coach: 5th year (35-55)

Last year's record: 8-14, 4-12 EPC.

Key returners: Devin Lopez, Jr., G; Greg Eck, Jr., G; Union Burns, Jr., F; Isaiah Watson-Bradley Jr., G; Dakota Kross, Sr., G; John Murphy, Sr., F.

Key losses: Wayne Davy.

Top newcomers: Brian Rodriguez, Jr., G; Josiah Raso, Jr., F; Jose Matos, Jr., F.

Team strengths: Hard working and pretty quick.

Must improve: Rebounding and guarding the dribble.

We will be successful if ... we can be consistent on the defensive end of the floor and stay competitive on the glass.

Pocono Mountain East

Head Coach: Mark Dudley

Years as coach: 2nd year

Last year's record: 6-16, 3-13 EPC

Key returners: Stefan Forbes, Sr., G; Richie McMaster, Sr., G; Elias Scott, Jr., G; Alex Valencia, Sr., G.

Key losses: Kevin Ferguson, Amir Lamar.

Team strength: Senior leadership.

Must Improve: Team defense.

We will be successful if ...; we play as a team and cut down on mental mistakes.

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