Tradition Doesn't Graduate

2017-18 News

Cavaliers top Panthers to reach district final
By Zach Sturniolo -- Record Sports Writer

BRODHEADSVILLE – The Cavaliers are heading to the district title game for the first time since 1994.

The Panthers were denied a shot at defending their championship by inches when Travis Elmore missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer as time expired.

Brian Rodriguez scored 11 points and Jeremiah Anderson added 10 to lead No. 1 East Stroudsburg South to a 52-49 victory over No. 5 Pocono Mountain West in the District 11 Class 6A semifinal round at Pleasant Valley High School on Wednesday night. The Cavs will face No. 2 Northampton for the championship on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Freedom High School.

ES South (23-3) was up by nine, 41-32, with 6:21 left in the game. But in another display of West’s resiliency, the Panthers charged back and closed the gap to as close as one point – 50-49 – with 23.9 seconds left. That was thanks in large part to a 17-point fourth-quarter effort by Travis Elmore.

But Cavalier guard Devin Lopez went to the foul line with three seconds on the clock and drilled both attempts for a 52-49 cushion. Elmore had a chance to sink a 3 at the buzzer and send the game to overtime, but the ball bounced off the back of the rim and the backboard to seal South’s win.

“They just fought hard,” Cavalier coach Shawn Munford. ”(West) is a really good team. You see why I was worried about Travis Elmore and rebounding.”

“I just can’t say enough about how our guys have been able to fight all year.”

Elmore’s dominant performance in the fourth quarter kept the Panthers in contention. The senior guard had a game-high 25 points.

South’s defensive persistence paid off in the end, especially as West charged back into the game.

“We went up (by nine), and they came right back,” Munford said. “I think our guys tried to do their best to stick with the game plan. As much as we game planned for Travis, he was too much for us tonight. He showed right there why he was an all-league selection.”

West was able to hold Anderson, South’s star player, to just 10 points, but the Cavs spread the scoring throughout the roster and relied on newcomers like junior Shawn Owens to come off the bench and add six points. Lopez went 6-for-8 from the line and finished the night with eight points.

Those points were particularly critical because starting guard Jasiah Raso injured his foot midway through the second quarter and did not return to the game. Raso became a starter when senior guard Greg Eck tore his ACL.

“Essentially, I’m down two starters now,” Munford said. “But I’m hoping it’s not too bad for the kid’s sake. He’s a senior. We haven’t been here (in the final) since the school split, so he wants to have a chance to play in the final game. So I’m hoping he’ll be alright.”

Though Pocono West (15-10) rallied late to make it close, coach Rich Williams believed a slow stretch in the second quarter ultimately cost his team a shot to advance.

“Our whole season has kind of been a story at times of too little too late,” Williams said. “We struggled offensively in the first half, but huge credit to them. We struggled because they’re so good defensively. They just do a really good job as a unit playing defense.”

Despite the loss, Elmore’s performance was encouraging for the Panthers. Their season continues as well and will play in the consolation game on Saturday at Freedom High School against No. 7 Emmaus at 12 p.m. and will play in the first round of the PIAA tournament.

With a combined 44 points over his last two games, Elmore is carrying momentum far into the postseason.

“I thought he did a really good job of scrapping and clawing at the end,” Williams said. “And he was fighting (South’s Jahi) Hamilton for every rebound. He ripped a couple out of there actually that I was impressed with. He did exactly what we needed him to do in that situation.”

“I think he gave me everything that he had. I thought he left it all out on the floor. He really wanted to go back to another district championship game.”

Next for ES South is Northampton, which enters after defeating No. 7 Emmaus 58-54 on Wednesday night.

Munford knows their biggest weapons will be Aidan Ellwood and Cory Weisenberger, who each average nearly 20 points a game.

“It’s going to be tough,” Munford said. “I wish I had a couple of my top players and my manpower. But we’re going to go down there and compete and see what we have.”

District 11 Class 6A Boys Basketball Semifinal

No. 1 ES South 52, No. 5 PM West 49

PM West 12 9 11 17 – 49

ES South 14 13 7 18 – 52

PM West 49

Kidney 1 1-2 4, Pilgrim 0 0-0 0, Mosley 0 1-2 1, Ernest 3 2-3 8, Louchie 2 2-2 8, J. Burns 1 0-0 3, Elmore 11 3-3 25. Totals: 18 9-12 49.

ES South 52

Lopez 1 6-8 8, Bradley 3 0-0 6, Anderson 4 2-2 10, Rodriguez 4 0-0 11, Raso 0 1-2 1, Bruce 1 0-1 2, Owens 2 1-1 6, Hamilton 2 4-6 8, Matos 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 14-20 52.

3-pointers: PMW 4 (Louchie 2, Kidney, J. Burns); ESS 4 (Rodriguez 3, Owens).

Records: PM West 15-10; ES South 23-3.
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Two District 11 6A Quarterfinals went to the wire at Pleasant Valley

Pocono Mountain West beat Allen 63-62 in overtime & ES South held off Nazareth 53-50
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DISTRICT 11 6A BASKETBALL: K-Kids earn first district win since 2008; Emmaus, PM West, ES South also advance

By Keith Groller • Contact Reporter of the Morning Call 

It has been an up and down boys basketball season for both Northampton and Emmaus.

The important thing is to be spiking upward at playoff time.

The Konkrete Kids and Green Hornets offered ample evidence of that Saturday afternoon at Allen High School’s Sewards Gym in Allentown.

Northampton peppered Parkland for 13 3-pointers and got a combined 50 points from seniors Aidan Ellwood and Cory Weisenberger in a 74-65 win in the first game of a District 11 6A quarterfinal-round doubleheader.

Emmaus was just impressive in the nightcap, getting a combined 51 points from three players in a 68-42 rout of Easton.

So, it’ll be the third-seeded Konkrete Kids (17-7) against the seventh-seeded Green Hornets (14-10) in a semifinal matchup Wednesday night back at Allen at 7:30.

Meanwhile, in a riveting doubleheader at Pleasant Valley Saturday night, Pocono Mountain West outlasted Allen 63-62 in overtime and top-seeded East Stroudsburg South held off Nazareth 53-50 to set up an all-Monroe County semifinal Wednesday night at 7 back at PV.

Regardless of what happens Wednesday and Saturday in the championship/consolation round, both teams are headed to the state tournament beginning on March 10.

“We’re really pleased,” Northampton coach Coy Stampone said of the program’s first district tournament win since 2008. “We had a lot of time to prepare for this game. We lost in the first round of the league tournament and had nine days of practice and worked on a few things. We had a good week or more of preparation.”

Northampton, like many teams, lives and dies at the 3-point line. Against Parkland, they thrived from the outside with Weisenberger (6 treys, 27 points) and Ellwood (3 treys, 23 points) leading the long-range attack.

Zachary Gula also connected from deep twice and scored all of eight of his points in the first half as the K-Kids opened a 33-21 halftime lead.

A Weisenberger 3-pointer helped Northampton stretch its advantage to 38-21 in the first 70 seconds of the second half.

But Parkland, which failed to reach the district semis for the first time since 2011, fought back.

Jake Bartholomew, a senior, scored 15 of his 26 points in the second half and got the Trojans within 42-37 with 3:21 left in the third quarter.

However, Northampton closed the third quarter with a 7-3 run and scored the first six points of the final period to open a 58-43 lead and the K-Kids were able to withstand repeated Trojans comeback attempts.

“Parkland is going to come back at you,” Stampone said. “We talked about it at halftime. We knew we had to finish it out. Our guys are very resilient, however. Whatever happens to them, injuries or whatever, they just fight back. They’re a great group to coach.”

Stampone will get to coach them for at least two more weeks while Parkland closed out a star-crossed 12-12 season that didn’t feature a postseason win.

Likewise, Easton couldn’t manage a postseason win after going 14-8 in the regular season.

The Red Rovers scuffled offensively in the quarterfinals of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference tournament, falling to East Stroudsburg South 53-24.

Those struggles continued against Emmaus, which was in danger of missing districts before staging a five-game win streak.

"This is an example of what can happen when you stick together,” Green Hornets coach Steve Yoder said. “We had a lot of adversity throughout the year with different things. But we never play the victim and we find the positives in the challenges. Maybe we’re peaking at the right time.”

Junior Zach Sabol, who suffered a sprained ankle on the same Sewards Gym floor in late December that caused him to miss five games, stood strong this time with 17 points and 18 rebounds.

He had plenty of help as junior Bryce Diehl added 18 points and Mark Swedberg, another 11th-grader, chipped in 16 points.

Cameron Brooks, yet another junior, added nine points and five assists in a well-rounded effort that began on the defensive end.

“I like to think I have the best coaching staff around and we prepare well,” Yoder said. “We know teams sets and we owned their sets today. I felt at the beginning of the year that we could have one of the best defensive teams in my 10 years here, which is saying something. We’re just coming together and our man-to-man is tough when you have 6-foot-8 in the middle [Sabol] waiting there.”

After leading 26-21 at halftime, Emmaus limited Easton to six points in the third quarter and then avoided any thoughts of a letdown with a 26-point fourth period when Diehl led the way with 11.

“This was the best game we’ve played all year and what a great time to play that way,” Yoder said.

Like Emmaus, both Allen and Pocono Mountain West were trying to get to back to the District 11 6A semifinals.

The Canaries, who beat the Panthers 76-68 in the EPC quarterfinals on Feb. 12, had a pair of nine-point leads in the first half. They were still up 52-46 with 2:55 left after a pair of Jasiah Lopez free throws.

However, missed layups and free throws along with foul trouble created problems for Allen and defending 6A champion Pocono Mountain West took advantage.

A Travis Elmore basket on a follow tied it at 55 with 10 seconds left and Allen couldn’t get off a shot at the end of regulation.

A Tyreek Bell 3-pointer, his seventh of a 26-point performance, gave Allen a 58-55 edge, but the Canaries wouldn’t lead again.

The game boiled down to one late Allen possession with the game tied at 62.

Bell took a 3-pointer and in the scramble for the rebound, Ishyne Pilgrim, who scored a team-high 22 points, was fouled.

He made one of two at the line to give the Panthers (15-9) the lead and they held their breath and then held on as Malik Gordon’s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer missed.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games all year and I’m proud of my kids for how they fight,” first-year Pocono Mountain West coach Rich Williams said. “We always have a punch left in the tank. You hope it lands and tonight it did.”

Allen coach Doug Snyder was also proud of his kids.

“I don’t think anyone expected us to win 15 games and make it to the league semis and come within one point of the district semis after we went 26-3 last year,” he said. “I’m proud of my senior seniors. That said, we just didn’t do a good enough job of boxing out. We kept saying ‘defend and rebound’ and we didn’t do that well enough.”

In the nightcap, East Stroudsburg South’s Jeremiah Anderson and Nazareth’s Jahan Dotson staged a dandy duel at the guard position.

Anderson had 19 points and Dotson had 25 in his final scholastic basketball game. In the end, the Blue Eagles were one shot short and East Stroudsburg South moves into the district semis for the first time since the East Stroudsburg School District split into two high schools in 2000.

“We just made a couple more plays,” said South coach Shawn Munford. “Jahan Dotson scared me every time he touched the ball. That kid is special. Penn State has a special kid coming their way.”

NORTHAMPTON 74, PARKLAND 65

Parkland — 8 — 13 — 22 — 22 — 65

Northampton — 14 — 19 — 19 — 22 — 74

PARKLAND (65)

Ruisch 3-6 0-0 6, Stendell 0-1 0-0 0, Kelly 2-3 0-0 4, Rindock 3-7 1-4 8, Kucharczuk 3-6 2-4 10, Bartholomew 8-16 5-6 26, Melady 4-8 2-2 11, Rappa 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-47 10-17 65.

NORTHAMPTON (74)

Rodriguez 0-0 0-0 0, Gula 3-5 0-1 8, Ellwood 8-18 4-11 23, Weisenberger 9-12 3-4 27, Cole 3-4 2-3 10, Brandon 0-0 0-0 0, Torres 2-4 2-2 6. Totals 25-43 11-21 74.

Officials: Dennis McWhite, Jack Keiter, Dave Plachko.

3-pointers: Parkland (9-22) Bartholomew 5, Kucharczuk 2, Rindock, Melady. Northampton (13-21) Weisenberger 6, Ellwood 3, Cole 2, Gula 2.

Rebounds: Parkland 21 (Kelly 6). Northampton 22 (Weisenberger, Torres 6).

Assists: Parkland 9 (Ruisch 3). Northampton 10 (Gula 4).

Turnovers: Parkland 8, Northampton 6.

Fouls: Parkland 17, Northampton 14.

EMMAUS 68, EASTON 42

Emmaus — 15 — 11 — 16 — 26 — 68

Easton — 12 — 9 — 6 — 15 — 42

EMMAUS (68)

Artis 3-3 0-0 6, Carroll-Herring 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Diehl 7-11 2-4 18, Brooks 3-6 0-2 9, Swedberg 6-9 3-3 16 Bohman 0-0 0-0 0, Ferguson 0-0 0-0 0, Boyd 0-0 0-0 0, Riegel 0-0 0-0 0, Boyko 0-2 0-0 0, Sabol 8-13 1-3 17, Martellucci 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 27-45 8-14 68.

EASTON (42)

D. Jacobs 3-10 0-0 7, Boylan 0-7 0-2 0, Brown 0-4 0-0 0, Hewey 7-13 0-0 16, Foreman 2-5 2-2 6, Herres 3-13 3-4 9, J. Jacobs 0-1 0-0 0, Quezada 1-2 0-0 2, Baker 0-0 0-0 0, Davila 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 17-54 5-8 42.

Officials: Rob Bosak, Rod Strobl, Bud Kohler.

3-pointers: Emmaus (6-10) Brooks 3, Diehl 2, Swedberg. Easton (3-15) Hewey 2, D. Jacobs.

Rebounds: Emmaus 39 (Sabol 18). Easton 26 (Hewey 6).

Assists: Emmaus 11 (Brooks 5). Easton 6.Turnovers: Emmaus 10, Easton 8.

Fouls: Emmaus 10, Easton 15.

ES SOUTH 53, NAZARETH 50

Nazareth 12 — 12 — 11 — 15 — 50

ES South 12 — 12 — 12 — 17 — 53

NAZARETH (50)

Ramin 6 3-4 15, Harris 1 0-0 2, Dotson 10 3-4 25, Clark 0 0-0 0, Wickmann 1 0-0 3, Briggs 0 0-0 0, Bachik 2 1-2 5. Totals 20 7-10 50.

ES SOUTH (53)

Lopez 0 4-7 4, Watson-Bradley 0 0-0 0, Anderson 6 6-6 19, Rodriguez 4 0-0 11, Raso 4 2-4 11, Bruce 1 0-0 2, Hamilton 3 0-2 6, Matos 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 12-18 53.

Officials: Chris Mihalik, Norris Bullock, John Plachko.

3-pointers: Nazareth (3): Dotson 2, Wickmann. ES South (5) Rodriguez 3, Raso, Anderson.

POC. MOUNTAIN WEST 63, ALLEN 62

Pocono Mt. West 11 — 12 — 13 — 19 — 8 — 63

Allen Canaries 20 — 10 — 9 — 16 — 7 — 62

POCONO MOUNTAIN WEST (63)

Pilgrim 9 1-4 22, Mosley 4 3-11 11, Ernest 2 0-0 4, Louchie 2 3-5 7, Elmore 7 5-7 19, Kidney 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 12-27 63.

ALLEN (62)

Gordon 2 1-2 7, B. Jones 2 3-5 7, Bell 8 3-4 26, Lopez 4 2-2 11, Steward 0 0-0 0, Adderley 5 1-4 11, X. Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 10-17 62.Officials: Jim Barker, Andy Donatelli, Pat Petrone.3-pointers: PMW (3): Pilgrim 3. Allen (10): Bell 7, Gordon 2, Lopez.


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South, West boys, S-burg girls enter postseason play

By Zach Sturniolo 
Record Sports Writer

East Stroudsburg South’s boys are heading to the playoffs for the first time in five years.

Pocono Mountain West’s boys and Stroudsburg’s girls are ready to fight again.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys and girls basketball games tip off on Monday night, four days after the tournament was originally scheduled to begin after weather postponements.

Third-seeded ES South (20-2, 14-2 EPC) will host No. 6 Easton to begin its first playoff run since the 2012-13 season. The Cavaliers, who defeated the Red Rovers 54-36 on Jan. 19, enjoyed stellar success throughout the regular season thanks in large part to leading scorers junior guard Jeremiah Anderson and senior guard Greg Eck.

But Eck went down with a knee injury on Feb. 5 against Pocono West and is done for the season. In South’s win over Easton, the Rovers were without Jake Herres, a 6-foot-5 senior forward and the team’s top player. Eck netted 17 points in the victory over Easton, but now will watch from the sideline in support of his teammates.

“I expect a completely different game,” Munford said of Monday’s quarterfinal. “Our best player isn’t there, and their best player is. So that’s not a favorable trade-off for us.”

Eck has led the Cavaliers in many ways over the past four years. A four-year starter, the senior brought a strong sense of leadership to the floor that Munford said can’t be replicated.

“I don’t think one person or even a couple people can replace what he’s done for us,” Munford said. “So I think it’s going to (take) a complete group effort. I brought some JV guys up and they might get their chance, and we’ll go from there because he brought way more than what his stats say. He brought a calm. He brought a sense of confidence. He brought an understanding, and he brought a lot of intangibles that are hard to be embraced.

“Everybody who gets in has to raise their game just a little bit in order for us to have a chance.”

Anderson has done an incredible job in his first season with South, averaging 18 points per game. He will likely have to play a big role on Monday night if the Cavs want to move forward.

“I’m hoping that he’ll lead us on both ends of the floor,” Munford said. “I’m hoping that he picks up some of the slack and plays his best and also creates plays for others and defensively he does the same thing. I’m not going to say there’s added pressure on him, but he understands the magnitude of what’s happened, and I think he’s ready for the challenge. I hope he is.”

In Pocono Summit, Rich Williams’ No. 4 Panthers are bracing for a rematch of the 2017 EPC semifinal round against No. 5 William Allen (14-8, 11-5 EPC).

Pocono West (14-8, 13-3 EPC) lost 84-80 to the Canaries last year in what Williams dubbed a “marquee match,” filled with elite talent on either side.

And while those talented seniors of yesteryear have since graduated, the two programs are still very closely matched.

“I think both teams obviously lost a lot, and because of that, both teams lost identity from last year,” Williams said. “I think both Allen and us had to figure out who we were early in the season this year, and obviously both teams have done a pretty decent job of it because we’re both in the EPC playoffs and we’re both in the (District 11 Class 6A) playoffs.”

West’s identity lately has been plagued by inconsistency. Whether it be slow starts or trouble holding onto late leads, the Panthers have lost four of their last seven games.

Heading into Monday’s contest, Williams is relying on senior leadership from Travis Elmore and Lee Mosley to guide his team in the right direction as the playoffs start.

“Those two guys are going to have to lead,” he said. “I’ve been talking to those two all year about being leaders and letting some of that knowledge and experience rub off onto other players.”

The key to a win, though, starts with limiting turnovers.

“William Allen is renowned for their pressure defense,” Williams said. “They’re renowned for their run and jump, and I’m sure they’re going to bring that on Monday. We have to take care of the basketball. We have to execute, and we have to knock free throws down.”

Stroudsburg’s girls are looking to advance out of the quarterfinal round after falling to Easton in the EPC opener one year ago.

On Monday, the No. 3 Lady Mounties (17-5, 12-4 EPC) will host No. 6 Parkland (14-8, 11-5 EPC). Parkland took down Stroudsburg 63-55 on Jan. 11 despite a career-high 26 points from Mountie senior point guard Tamia Hines.

Stroudsburg coach Matt Field doesn’t expect as many points on the board this time around, but he does expect another close game.

“I think both teams are going to play tough defense and it’s going to come down to the team that makes the least amount of mistakes,” Field said.

Hines has played a critical role in the Lady Mounties’ success this season, averaging 16.5 points per game. Mixed with senior teammate Angie Byra’s 7.5 points per game, the duo has made a significant impact on their teammates.

“Any time your best player can be somebody the younger girls can look up to, that’s a big deal,” Field said. “And we certainly have been very thankful this year that we’ve had our two seniors be the type of girl that they can look to on and off the court.”

Field believes if Stroudsburg wants to move on to the semifinals, success must start defensively.

“The first time that we played, we gave up some more shots than we wanted to around the basket, and Parkland shot really well,” Field said. “So for us, it’s just playing hard, physical defense, making sure that their shots come from a little bit further out than they did last time, that we do a good job finishing possessions by contesting the shot and then boxing out and getting the rebound.

“If we do that and don’t give up second-chance points, I feel that we have a really good opportunity to have a great game against them.”

All games begin at 7 p.m. at their respective schools on Monday night.

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Cavaliers battle for overtime win over Panthers

By Zach Sturniolo 
Record Sports Writer


EAST STROUDSBURG — The Cavaliers’ biggest win of the night possibly came with its biggest loss, too.

Jeremiah Anderson posted an incredible 28 points, including six in extra time, to lead East Stroudsburg South to a 67-64 overtime victory over Pocono Mountain West in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball on Monday night.

But early in the second quarter, the Cavaliers lost senior guard Greg Eck to a left knee injury on senior night.

The win pushes the Cavaliers (19-2, 13-2 EPC) one game closer to claiming the Mountain Division championship, tying the Panthers at 8-1 in divisional play and currently holding the No. 1 spot in the District 11 Class 6A rankings.

“Let me tell you, that’s a good team,” South coach Shawn Munford said of West. “They’ve been on top of the Mountain for a long time, and you understand why.”

Panther (13-9) guard Josiah Burns sank a critical 3 with just 2.5 seconds left in regulation to tie the game 58-58. Anderson attempted a near-half-court shot at the buzzer but watched the ball bounce off the backboard and rim.

West began overtime with a quick layup by senior Lee Mosley, but that was as close as his team would get. Mosley fouled out just a minute later, the same happening to Burns just 10 seconds later.

Anderson sank a floater to tie the game at 60 and went 4-for-4 at the stripe to help push South ahead. Julius Patterson also netted both his free throws with 8.5 seconds left for a 67-62 advantage.

Panther guard Haybert Louchie netted a quick jumper just before the buzzer, but the Cavaliers came away with the win and a potential division title in hand.

“I think our crowd helped us a little bit,” Munford said. “We made a couple plays at the end. (West) had a lot of foul trouble. And we withstood a catastrophic injury.”

Munford then was overwhelmed with emotion at the thought of Eck’s dilemma.

Eck was charging in for a layup under the basket with 1:30 left in the first quarter when he drew a foul from West’s Burns. Eck came down hard on his left knee and couldn’t put pressure on it immediately after the fall.

After a visit to the training staff, the 6-foot senior felt well enough to come back in early in the second quarter. But Eck only lasted two more minutes before having to step back off the court. He watched the remainder of the game from the bench with a brace on his lower leg and crutches nearby.

“It’s not looking good,” Munford said. “I’m not a doctor, but our athletic trainer braced him for a reason. ... The second time he went in, he said as soon as he moved it, he heard a pop. So we’re praying for the best, but whatever happens, we wish him a speedy recovery.”

West coach Rich Williams was equally sympathetic for the Cavs’ four-year starter.

“Before I say anything, I feel terrible for Greg Eck,” he said. “That’s not fair what happened to him tonight. I don’t care if he stayed in the game and we’re losing the game by 30 — which is really where it was heading there until he hurt himself.

“He’s a really classy kid who works extremely hard, and kids like that — no kid deserves that — but kids like him, it’s not right. I don’t know what the basketball gods were doing tonight, but it’s not fair that that happened to him tonight.”

Eck was part of a fast start for the Cavaliers, dropping six points in the opening frame as part of a 17-5 run.

While West battled back to force overtime, large deficits early have become commonplace for the Panthers, a growing problem for a team that has now lost four of its last six games. In a 74-58 loss to Easton on Feb. 1, West trailed 19-0 after the first quarter.

“We have 10 seniors, and for some reason, they don’t want to coach each other,” Williams said. “Kids these days at times are too worried about if other kids like them all the time. And unfortunately we have some kids right now who would rather their teammates like them than say what needs to be said at times.

“It can’t always be coaches policing. The best locker rooms are player-policed locker rooms in my opinion.”

With the EPC quarterfinals set to begin on Friday, Williams is looking for just one thing before the playoffs begin: Practice.

Snow in the forecast for Wednesday and a game scheduled against Pleasant Valley means West will likely play the Bears on Thursday.

For Munford, a big win in a playoff atmosphere over West builds momentum. But some changes may need to be made heading into the playoff stretch.

“I think it gives our guys a little bit of confidence,” Munford said. “Everybody who makes the playoffs is going to be tough, so I’m hoping that we can just take a little bit of momentum.”

“Today I played without Devin Lopez (calf injury), and then to lose Greg the way we did, it’s going to take a toll on us. I’m excited to see, but I’m a little cautiously optimistic.”

ES South 67, PM West 64 (OT)

PM West 10 16 15 19 4 - 64

ES South 20 13 12 13 9 - 67

PM West 64

Kidney 2 0-3 4, Pilgrim 3 3-7 10, Mosley 5 0-4 10, Ernest 4 0-1 8, Louchie 4 0-0 11, U. Burns 0 0-0 0, N. Mosley 0 0-0 0, J. Burns 2 1-2 6, Elmore 5 5-6 15. Totals: 25 9-23 64.

ES South 67

Eck 2 0-0 6, Bradley 0 3-4 3, Patterson 0 2-4 2, Anderson 11 6-9 28, Rodriguez 3 3-3 10, Raso 3 2-2 9, Sapp 0 0-0 0, Hamilton 2 1-2 5, Matos 1 2-6 4. Totals: 22 19-30 67.

3-pointers: PMW 5 (Louchie 3, Pilgrim, J. Burns), ESS 4 (Eck 2, Rodriguez, Raso).

Records: ES South 19-2 (13-2 EPC), PM West 13-8 (12-3 EPC).

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Brown enjoying his return to sideline 
By Zach Sturniolo 
Record Sports Writer

POCONO SUMMIT — No matter how hard he tries, Mark Brown can’t escape basketball.

And although he’s now part of Rich Williams’ coaching staff at Pocono Mountain West, East Stroudsburg South still holds a special place in his heart.

That’s what made Monday night a challenge for Brown, the former head basketball coach and athletic director of the Cavaliers, as he watched his new team play his old team in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball showdown for the ages.

“After 36 years in the purple and white ... it’s in your blood,” Brown said before the game. “I love the kids up at West, and I love Richie and all his coaches. And they’ve treated me like I’m family. But this is difficult. This is difficult.”

The Panthers hosted the Cavaliers and won a 65-61 overtime battle for the top spot in the Mountain Division. But Brown was soaking in the moment prior to tipoff.

“I bite my lip,” Brown said. ”(Monday was) difficult for me because, like I said, I was a teacher, coach, and an administrator for 36 years (at South).”

This was the first true test for Brown, who rejoined the basketball sidelines as West’s seventh- and eighth-grade coach this year after a 23-year hiatus from the sport. Throughout his coaching career, purple jerseys indicated those players were his responsibility.

Now, his teams don navy blue and white. And more importantly, he feels as though he’s found a new home with head coach Williams.

“It’s just great being back coaching and teaching kids again,” Brown said. “And Richie’s staff (has) welcomed me with open arms. It’s just nice, the old guy getting back coaching them up again.”

This is the first time that Brown has worked with Williams, but it isn’t the first time their paths have crossed.

Brown’s final season of coaching was 1994-95, which was Williams’ senior year at Pocono Mountain High School.

“Interestingly, that was the year Pocono Mountain opened up that big, beautiful, new red gym down there,” Brown recalled. ”(PM head coach) Brad (Pensyl) was 15-0 when the Cavaliers came up there, and long story short, they were 15-1 when we got on the bus to go back.”

Brown’s respect for Williams came full circle last spring, when Williams was named the next head coach of the Panthers after Pensyl resigned. Brown reached out to congratulate the new coach, and Williams responded about a week later, asking to meet for a sandwich and a couple drinks.

It wasn’t long after that when Brown agreed to jump back into the fire of coaching.

And while Brown is enjoying a resurgent year, so are the Cavaliers.

Eastburg South has already clinched a spot in the District 11 Class 6A tournament, its first playoff berth since the 2012-13 season. The last time the Cavs won a district playoff game was in 1994, the year they won the district title with Arthur Perryman, among others, and advanced to the PIAA state quarterfinals.

“I’m very, very proud of those guys,” Brown said of the current South team. “Like I said, I have the utmost respect for Shawn Munford. He’s a great teacher and he’s a great coach. And he’s got this team hitting on all cylinders.

“I’m just so impressed. I was always a defense guy too when I was coaching because defense wins games. And his team plays just such an unbelievable defense.”

Brown says he still gets asked why he’s coaching junior-high students instead of the varsity team.

“You know, it was never about that stuff with me. It was about coaching kids,” he said. “And if I have one regret throughout my coaching — it’s a full-time job to do it the right way. Even more so today, it’s a year-round, full-time job. And I missed so much when my kids were little.

“And now my grandkids are little. And I don’t want to miss that stuff. But seventh and eighth grade, you can do that. It’s not a year-round, full-time job. You coach them up, you go scout, go help the varsity guys, and I go take care of the girls.”

Now, Brown can coach at his leisure.

But don’t let that fool you. His competitive fire is still there. Just ask his eighth-graders, who are 8-0.
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West defeats South in overtime battle, 65-61
By Zach Sturniolo 
Record Sports Writer

POCONO SUMMIT – With first place in the Mountain Division on the line, the Panthers came out unscathed.

The Cavaliers left beaten but not rattled.

Lee Mosley netted 17 points, eight of which came in overtime, to lead Pocono Mountain West to a 65-61 win over East Stroudsburg South in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball on Monday night.

West (10-4, 9-0 EPC) remains undefeated in both conference play and divisional play (5-0 Mountain Division) after rallying from behind for a key victory.

“This is a big win,” Mosley said. “To stay undefeated in the EPC and to stay undefeated in the Mountain, now they have one loss, and hopefully we can keep going through the rest of the season.”

The Panthers trailed 49-42 with 4:56 left to play in regulation but put their resiliency on display, charging into a 10-0 run that reached its boiling point when Josiah Burns, who also scored 17 points, drilled a 3-pointer to take a 50-49 lead with 1:34 left.

“That was an absolute big shot that he knocked down towards the end of regulation,” West coach Rich Williams said.

But it wasn’t the last of the fourth quarter. After Panther senior Ishyne Pilgrim sank both free throws to put West up 52-49, Brian Rodriguez aced a deep 3-pointer of his own with just four seconds left to send the game into overtime. Rodriguez had an impressive night, netting five 3′s for 15 points for the Cavaliers.

“That’s what he can do,” South coach Shawn Munford said. “He’s been doing that for us all year. He just had more opportunities today because they were paying more attention to Greg (Eck) and Jeremiah (Anderson).”

South (13-2, 7-2 EPC), which suffered just its second loss of the season Monday, led early and often throughout the contest. But the Panthers never let them get away and slowly reeled them in at the end.

Munford said he wasn’t disappointed with the loss and credited West’s aggressive play as the deciding factor.

“They were a little bit more physical than we were, and that was it from the very beginning,” Munford said.

For the Panthers, Williams believes this win can help his team find the momentum its been looking for.

“It’s important because we want to get rolling; we want to get the train moving here,” he said. “Obviously, we still have some tough games ahead of us that we still got to really bear down and worry about. Because at any given night in this conference, you’re playing somebody who could beat you.

“But in terms of how big of a win that is, it’s humongous. We have sole custody of first place in the division. They have to play from behind now.”

Both teams get back to more divisional play right away on Tuesday. The Panthers will travel to Stroudsburg, and the Cavaliers travel to Brodheadsville to take on Pleasant Valley.

PM West 65, ES South 61 (OT)

ES South 16 13 14 9 9 – 61

PM West 12 16 13 11 13 – 65

ES South 61

Lopez 0 0-0 0, Eck 5 2-2 16, Bradley 0 0-0 0, Anderson 6 4-5 17, Rodriguez 5 0-2 15, Raso 3 0-0 6, Bruce 0 0-0 0, Sapp 0 0-0 0, Hamilton 2 1-2 5, Matos 1 0-2 2. Totals: 22 7-13 61.

PM West 65

Kidney 0 0-0 0, Pilgrim 2 7-8 13, Mosley 6 5-6 17, Ernest 1 0-0 2, Louchie 2 0-0 5, J. Burns 5 3-7 17, Elmore 5 1-4 11. Totals: 21 16-25 65.

3-pointers: ESS 10 (Rodriguez 5, Eck 4, Anderson); PMW 7 (Burns 4, Pilgrim 2, Louchie).

Records: ES South 13-2, 7-2 EPC; PM West 10-4, 9-0 EPC
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South, West meet in key divisional game
By Zach Sturniolo 
Record Sports Writer


East Stroudsburg South has already qualified for the District 11 Class 6A tournament.

Pocono Mountain West, the defending district champion, still hasn’t lost a game in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference competition.

On Tuesday night, the two best teams in the Mountain Division face off as ES South travels to PM West for a 7 p.m. game.

The Cavaliers (12-1, 6-1 EPC) have risen to new highs this season. The team was expected to be competitive with senior guard Greg Eck and others returning for a final season.

Those expectations hit a new high when sophomore guard Jeremiah Anderson entered the frame.

West coach Rich Williams knows how critical containing the duo will be in Tuesday night’s game, the first of at least two matchups for the divisional foes.

“In my opinion, I think they have the most talented backcourt in the league,” Williams said Sunday.

The numbers back that up. Anderson and Eck have handled scoring duties for South quite well, averaging 19.9 points per game and 18.2 PPG respectively.

Williams credits Cavalier coach Shawn Munford for how he readies his players – experienced or new – to game situations.

“Coach Munford is an excellent coach who always has his guys prepared to play. Always has,” said Williams, a first-year head coach at West. “We have to go in with the mentality that they’re going to bring their ‘A’ game. They’re going to be ready to play against us. We’re going to have to match their intensity and then some.”

South enters on the heels of a strong performance over the weekend. The Cavaliers topped Emmaus 65-45 in EPC play on Friday, clinching its district berth, before a 56-37 win over Honesdale on Saturday.

West dominated Whitehall in a 67-38 win on Friday, but fell 66-62 in overtime to Downingtown West in non-conference action on Saturday.

Knowing how well South is playing right now, Williams knows a big challenge lies ahead.

“It’s tough when other teams have a backcourt like they do,” he said, “because usually, in high school basketball, you can usually limit one guy, but really it’s hard to limit both. And they have some good role players. They have some guys who I think can step up when you limit their two guards.”

But Williams also trusts his own players and the preparation he and his coaching staff have provided.

“We’re going to try as best as we can to just focus on what we do well and let the chips fall where they may,” Williams said. “I’m not going to get too caught up in their guards and what they have.”

He also realizes that this game may play a key role in determining the division championship next month.

“Our first goal is (to) win the division,” Williams said. “That’s our first goal. We have to take care of business in this division.”

The Panthers (8-3, 7-0 EPC) are 4-0 in division play. So, too, are the Cavaliers.

By the end of the night on Tuesday, one team will have its first divisional loss and might miss out on a division title.
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Pocono Mountain West, CCHS win big; will meet in what could be an EPC tourney preview 

By Keith Groller • Contact Reporter of the Morning Call 

With bitter cold gripping the area this week, high school basketball may only be for die-hards.

It takes a special matchup to get fans out of their homes. One of those may be in store on Friday night as Pocono Mountain West and Central Catholic will meet at Rockne Hall for the championship of the first Lehigh Valley Health Network ACCHS Christmas Tournament.

Both rolled into the finals with impressive victories Thursday night.

The Panthers, defending District 11 6A champs, improved to 4-1 with a 68-43 win over Notre Dame-Green Pond.

Central Catholic remained one of just two unbeatens in District 11 at 8-0 with a 79-53 victory over Freire Charter of Philadelphia to set up the title game with West at about 7 p.m.

Freire and Notre Dame will meet in the 5:30 p.m. consolation game.

Both the Panthers and Vikings are excited to play in a game that could be a preview of an EPC tournament matchup in February.

“We know a lot of the guys on that team, having played with them and against them over the years,” said CCHS senior Jay Vaughan. “It’s always fun. They’re going to come at us and we’re going to have to be ready to go.”

The Vikings were ready from the outset against Freire, jumping to an 8-0 lead. Dat Lambert made two 3-pointers in the quick start off Vaughan assists.

Then Vaughan took over with two 3s in the first quarter and three more in the second period and had 23 points by halftime.

Vaughan played sparingly in the second half, finishing with 23 points and four assists and didn’t mind watching others play.

He’ll be needed much more against West.

“We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy tonight and we did that well,” Vaughan said of building a 27-10 lead after one quarter and 57-22 at halftime. “The key for us is that everyone is sacrificing, whether it’s shots, points, minutes. We share the ball well, play with energy and come out ready to play every night.”

Vikings coach Dennis Csensits was pleased with the first half, but saw some things his squad needs to work on.

“I liked how we approached the game and thought we were unselfish and moved the ball well in the first half,” he said. “Jay Vaughan had the hot hand early and the other guys recognized that and made the extra pass in finding him. As the game wore on, we didn’t do as good a job of rebounding as we should have and they cut into our lead, but overall, I was pleased.”

The game was never in doubt even though Freire (2-6) outscored the Vikings 34-22 after intermission. The Dragons, a state finalist in 2008, don’t have a senior on their roster.

Colonial League member Notre Dame is another young team with just three seniors.

The Crusaders (6-3) got a 24-point effort from junior Zach DeFoe that included six 3-pointers, but didn’t have the manpower to keep pace with the Panthers.

Pocono Mountain West had five players score seven points or more led by Lee Mosley and Ishyne Pilgrim, who had 14 and 13, respectively.

“It’s cool anytime you get to play at Rockne Hall and I tried to talk to the kids about the history of this place,” Panthers first-year coach Rich Williams said. “It’s special to play here and I think they enjoyed it tonight. They played pretty well.”

Travis Elmore, who had 11 points and 13 rebounds, said it was cold in the gym when the team first arrived. The Panthers warmed things up by pushing the tempo at both ends of the floor.

“We pushed the ball and ran fast,” he said. “We got buckets by playing fast.”

Elmore, who averaged 9.3 points per game on last year’s 23-5 District 11 championship team, plays a more prominent role on this year’s squad. Pocono Mountain West graduated three 1,000-point scorers — Jalen Vaughns, Isaiah Wiggins and Lance Singh — and Elmore knows he has to contribute more.

“The first thing Coach Williams told me at the first practice in May was that I had to become more of a leader,” Elmore said. “I am the only starter coming back, so I need to step up more.”

Elmore said that defense is the key for the Panthers, and their man-to-man, trapping pressure never allowed Notre Dame to get comfortable.

CCHS, though, could be another story.

“I like how we’re playing and how we share the ball pretty well with an unselfish group that doesn’t care about points,” Williams said. “We worry about playing defense and getting assists and rebounds. We swarmed well tonight, but Central is really good. We’ve seen them a bunch of times and they shoot the ball well and they’re really patient. They also play good defense. We know what they bring to the table.”

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Mosley, Ernest lead West over rival East
By Zach Sturniolo 

Record Sports Writer


SWIFTWATER – Pocono Mountain West was right at home in its district rival’s gym.

Lee Mosley and Shermar Ernest scored 18 points each, and Josiah Burns added 13 to lead the Panthers to an 86-67 win over Pocono Mountain East in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball on Thursday night.

“I’m just glad we were able to play as a team,” Burns said. “We came out aggressive. We knew this was important to our friends back at school. We wanted to get a win over our rival.”

Ernest scored just five seconds into the game, and a fast start for West (3-1, 3-0 EPC) set the tone for the rest of the game. He and Mosley combined for 10 points within the first five minutes of action for an early 20-11 lead.

“Lee does it all for us,” said Pocono West coach Rich Williams. “He doesn’t only do the things on the offensive end that make you go wow, but he’s a pretty good defender, and he’s a very good passer. He’s a very good rebounder, and he’s a kid that is coachable.

“He’s been our best player, in my opinion, through our first four games. Most consistent player through our first four games.”

Burns, a 6-foot senior guard, has brought an extra ounce of fuel to a senior-laden, if somewhat inexperienced, Panther squad. Burns spent his first two years of high school at West before transferring to Cumberland Valley for his junior year.

“I had come back from Cumberland Valley because I trust coach Williams with the whole recruiting process and stuff like that,” Burns said. “He’s a great coach and I was willing to play for him, and I wanted to play with a couple guys that I play AAU with.”

Burns made his season debut Tuesday in a 67-53 victory over East Stroudsburg North and is quickly making a difference for the Panthers. But according to Williams, the senior is still adjusting back to the first-year head coach’s expectations.

“Josiah could be the most talented player in the (EPC). Could be,” Williams said. “There’s times when he decides that he’s going to take over, and he has to understand that there (are) times for that. But there’s also times that, no, you can’t play that way.

“He’s learning what I want. He’s learning our style of play. And he’s starting to get it a little bit.”

Despite the win, Williams felt the team’s defense needs work going forward.

“I didn’t like the way we played defense,” Williams said. “Any win versus your rival is a great ‘W,’ but we hold these guys to a very high standard here, and I wasn’t happy with our attention to detail defensively tonight. I thought that we gave up some stuff that we shouldn’t have that we worked on in practice.

“With that said, the Scott kid is a hell of a basketball player.”

Elias Scott put up an impressive 24 points to lead Pocono East (2-2, 0-2 EPC).

“When a team has a kid like him who can score the ball the way he can, it’s very impressive,” Williams said. “You have to pay attention to guys like that in high school basketball – any level of basketball – and I thought at times tonight we didn’t pay enough attention to him the way we talked about paying attention to him.”

Tashad Thompson also added 17 points for the Cardinals with a powerful performance of his own.

“I’ve watched this kid get better every game,” PM East coach Mark Dudley said. “He’s only a junior, and he’s emerging as one of our team leaders. I’m proud of his progress that he’s had.”

After a close 56-52 loss to Pleasant Valley on Tuesday night prior to Thursday’s defeat to West, Dudley believes his young team is still learning how to compete at a high level night in and night out.

“We’re coming of age,” Dudley said. “We had two tough games back to back, and like I said, I have an inexperienced team in which we’re trying to build confidence. And for them to play Pleasant Valley one day and then to have a day’s rest and to see West, that’s tough to do.

“But one thing for sure is that our guys are fighting.”

Pocono West next takes the court against Notre Dame Green Pond on Dec. 28 in the Allentown Central Catholic tournament. Pocono East heads to the North Pocono tournament on Wednesday.

PM West 86, PM East 67

PM West 29 17 19 21 – 86

PM East 17 14 17 19 – 67

PM West 86

Kidney 6 2-2 14, Pilgrim 0 2-2 2, L. Mosley 7 4-7 18, Ernest 8 2-6 18, Louchie 2 0-0 6, U. Burns 1 0-0 2, Valentin 0 0-0 0, Pedroza 0 0-0 0, N. Mosley 1 0-0 2, J. Burns 5 2-2 13, Elmore 3 0-1 6, Whittle 1 0-0 2, Jones 1 1-1 3, Meyer 0 0-0 0. Totals: 35 13-21 86.

PM East 67

Castro 3 3-4 9, Hillman 3 2-2 9, Edwards 1 0-0 2, Scott 9 4-8 24, Vergas 1 0-0 3, Tah. Thompson 1 1-4 3, Holder 0 0-0 0, Tas. Thompson 7 3-8 17. Totals: 25 13-26 67.

3-pointers: PMW 3 (Louchie 2, J. Burns); PME 4 (Scott 2, Hillman, Vergas).

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Serrano shines for Liberty in Lehigh Valley Round Ball JAMboree
By Keith Groller • Contact Reporter of the Morning Call 

The second annual Lehigh Valley Round Ball JAMboree Sunday at Whitehall High School had a little something for everyone looking to take a break from the NFL or holiday shopping.

The four-game scholastic basketball card featured a rally from a 20-point deficit by North Hunterdon, a spectacular second-half performance by a Liberty High senior, a clinic by a Hazleton team capable of making a run at a state title and an important league win by Nazareth.

In all, it was a good day of hoops for a great cause as proceeds went toward the fight against Parkinson's disease through the Michael J. Fox Foundation in honor of former Northampton High School athletic director and basketball coach Mike Schneider.

A recap:

Canaries clipped by big rally

Allen had a 61-41 lead early in the second half of its game against North Hunderdon, but the Canaries were grounded by a flurry of turnovers, fouls and others miscues.

North Hunterdon's Michael DelSantro made Allen pay with a 30-point performance that included 21 in the second half and seven of his team's 12 3-pointers.

Allen, which fell to 2-2, got a combined 51 points from Bless Jones, Tyreek Bell and A'quele Adderley, but was undone by 24 turnovers, including 11 in the third period when the New Jersey school made its charge.

"I had scouted North Hunterdon against one of the best teams in New Jersey on Friday night when our game against East Stroudsburg North was postponed," Canaries coach Doug Snyder said. "They played Gil St. Bernards and the score was 97-43 and they gave up 97 points, but I saw how hard they played. I knew exactly what was going on, but I don't think our guys realized it. I couldn't explain their relentless pressure and the continual way they attacked."

North Hunterdon scored 33 points in the fourth quarter, while Allen tallied 32 in the entire second half after registering 57 in the first half.

"Our guys just relaxed a little bit, but to their credit they were making 3s from all over the floor," Snyder said. "They were hitting deeping 3s on us and they were making shots. Still, we should have been able to close out a game up 20 points in the third quarter, but we're learning."

Allen, which won't have a home game until its holiday tournament a couple of days after Christmas, gets back in action at Easton on Tuesday night.

"We can't turn the ball over the ball and there were times when we didn't have numbers coming down the floor and we continued to play that fast, uptempo game and maybe we should have slowed it down in the halfcourt," Snyder said. "Their pressure caught up to us in the end."

Serrano's second half spurs 'Canes

Alex Serrano scored 26 of Liberty's 34 points in the second half, including the last 21 in leading the Hurricanes to a 57-55 win over Pocono Mountain West in a game that won't count in the EPC standings.

The Panthers (1-1) led 33-23 at halftime, but Serrano scored 13 points in the third quarter and added 13 more in the final stanza, including the game-winning layup with 7.8 seconds to play.

Pocono Mountain West had a last shot by Shermar Ernest that rolled around the rim and off.

"Coming out in the second half we were down a bunch and I just wanted to help my team as much as I could," Serrano, a 6-foot-1 guard, said. "We all played hard. We all played together."

On the final play, Serrano said it was just a matter of executing the play.

"Pocono Mountain West is a tough team that got us the last couple of years," Serrano said. "We're going to have tough games like this. We just have to play through it."

Liberty coach Chad Landis said: "We're in a really tough stretch having played Central Catholic Friday night, Pocono West today and Becahi on Tuesday night. We really need our seniors to step up because we're kind of searching for roles for some of the other guys. I was really happy with how Alex stepped up but I was really happy with the other guys, too. We seemed to fit into roles better today. They accepted their roles and excelled at them."

The Hurricanes improved to 2-2.

Cougars roar past Parkland

Hazleton came to the Lehigh Valley ranked No. 3 in Class 6A in one of the statewide polls and the Cougars proved that their ranking was legit with a well-rounded performance in a 70-46 win over Parkland.

It was the second year in a row that the District 2, a former member of the East Penn League, defeated the Trojans. Last year, it was by a 77-57 margin in the season opener of a 2016-17 campaign that ended with a 21-4 but with a disappointing loss to Williamsport in the District 2-4 championship game.

This year, the Cougars not only look like a PIAA tournament team but one that could play deep into March.

"We have a little bit of everything," Hazleton coach Mike Joseph said. "We have experience with four starters back from last year's team, and three of them have been in the program for four years. We also have some youth and we have some really athletic kids including guys who play baseball and football. We also have depth."

Joseph, whose team plays Whitehall on Wednesday, said he was pleased with his team's effort with the exception of a three-minute stretch in the second quarter as Parkland was able to hang with the Cougars for most of the first half.

But after being with 29-26 late in the second period, Hazleton opened a 43-28 halftime lead and continued to pull away in the third period.

"I'm not discouraged by how we played," Parkland coach Andy Stephens said. "We hung in there and battled. The only time I was disappointed was in the second half when we took some quick shots when the game started to get away from us a little. We're still going through a feeling out process."

Parkland (2-2) will try to regroup at Emmaus Tuesday night.

Blue Eagles soar

Nazareth closed out the day with an impressive 63-50 EPC win over Whitehall behind a well-rounded effort by Jahan Dotson.

Dotson, a former standout who admitted that he's committed to UCLAbut may re-open the recruiting process and take more visits, scored 19 points and also delivered 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

"We're so athletic this year by adding Jahan, who is such a good leader and a good person on and off the court," Nazareth coach Joe Arndt said. "He takes us to the next level with his court sense. He makes everyone around him a lot better. He frees our other shooters up because he takes care of certain things. Our bigs just have to worry about catching the ball and make layups."

Arndt's team is 4-1 and 2-0 in the EPC and was coming off a big nonleague win over Wilson West Lawn.

"We stressed the importance of this game after beating Wilson Saturday, making them understand that his game is in the league and in the division," Arndt said. "We didn't want it become a trap game for us. Our kids came out ready to play. Some guys might not show up on the stat line, but we're getting a lot from everybody."

Nazareth, which is off until Friday when it will play Northampton, got 13 points from Noah Briggs and 11 from Mason Wickmann.

Dotson said he has talked to new UCLA football coach Chip Kelly on the phone and Kelly said he wanted Dotson as much as previous Bruins head coach Jim Mora.

"I liked what I heard from him because he said they pass the ball a lot and I'd fit into his offense and he still wants me to be a receiver there," Dotson said. "It's not official that I'm re-opening the process. I haven't de-committed, but I may take another look at some other schools like Rutgers, Wisconsin, Penn State and Syracuse. I will wait until February before I sign."
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PM West runs away from Emmaus, 58-44
By Zach Sturniolo 
Record Sports Writer


POCONO SUMMIT – A postponement and shift across the street didn’t faze the Panthers.

Seniors Lee Mosley and Travis Elmore scored 15 points each and Haybert Louchie added 10 to lead Pocono Mountain West to a 58-44 win over Emmaus in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys basketball Wednesday at Pocono Mountain West Junior High School.

“It was big because people were talking about how much we lost (from) last year,” Mosley said. “So we wanted to show teams that West is still one of the top teams in Pennsylvania, play hard, and try to repeat.”

Yes, last year’s standouts Jalen Vaughns, Isaiah Wiggins, and Lance Singh have all graduated, each 1,000-point scorers who made each game a must-watch event and led the Panthers to a District 11 Class 6A championship.

But this year’s West (1-0, 1-0 EPC) team started on the right foot, using a strong defensive effort in the first half to build offensive momentum into the second. The Panthers limited the Green Hornets (0-1, 0-1 EPC) to just four points in the second half and led 19-17 at the break.

First-year head coach Rich Williams, who replaces Brad Pensyl at the helm, credited the opening performance to assistant varsity coach Ken Piontkowski.

“Coach Piontkowski is our defensive coordinator. That’s his title here,” Williams said. “He works extremely hard with our guards and our bigs. We’ve been working all week on our post defense. We’ve been working all week on limiting touches by (Emmaus forwards Josh) Artis and (Zach) Sabol and getting a lot of pressure on their guards.

“I think we executed that defensively.”

Offensively, the Panthers exploded for 22 points in the fourth quarter, capitalizing on their chances at the foul line and controlling the pace of the game between whistles.

“We just played our basketball – aggressive, run the floor, get back on defense, and just talk and play as a team,” Mosley said.

Mosley and Elmore particularly bring experience with them after aiding last year’s team to a Mountain Division title and a district championship. On Wednesday, both showed they can be leaders on the floor.

“They played really solid for us,” Williams said.

The game was moved to the junior high school across the street after early Tuesday snow showers closed Pocono Mountain schools. This game was just the second varsity contest to be held at the junior high building, the most recent coming a decade ago in which West defeated West Scranton.

For Williams, the season couldn’t start soon enough. Many teams’ years began on Dec. 8 and he didn’t want his program to fall behind.

“We just wanted to play someone other than ourselves,” Williams said. “Win or lose, I think we just wanted to play somebody.”

The Panthers continue their season Friday night on the road at Easton at 7 p.m.

PM West 58, Emmaus 44

Emmaus 13 4 15 14 – 44

PM West 11 8 17 22 – 58

Emmaus 44

Artis 2 2-2 6, Smith 0 0-0 0, Diehl 3 0-0 7, Brooks 3 2-4 10, Swedberg 0 0-0 0, Ferguson 0 2-2 2, Boyd 0 0-0 0, Riegel 0 1-2 1, Boyko 1 1-4 3, Sabol 6 3-8 15. Totals: 15 11-22 44.

PM West 58

Kidney 3 1-2 8, Pilgrim 0 1-2 1, L. Mosley 6 3-6 15, Ernest 2 1-3 6, Louchie 1 8-10 10, U. Burns 0 0-0 0, Valentin 0 0-0 0, Pedroza 1 1-2 3, N. Mosley 0 0-0 0, Elmore 6 3-6 15. Totals: 19 18-31 58.

Records: Emmaus 0-1, 0-1 EPC; PM West 1-0, 1-0 EPC.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

West early favorite in Mountain Division
By Zach Sturniolo 
Record Sports Writer 

On the eve of a new high school boys basketball season, plenty has changed in the Mountain Division from one year ago.

Pocono Mountain West’s Brad Pensyl and East Stroudsburg North’s Jon DeJesus, both of whom led their teams to District 11 championships last season, have left their respective programs. So, too, has Rich Baker, who led Stroudsburg into the divisional runner-up one season ago.

That means that while there are new faces to be seen on the court, there will be three new ones on the sideline as well.

Longtime assistant coach Rich Williams will lead the defending division champion Panthers into the future, while two-time girls basketball District 2 4A champion coach Adam Holtzer takes over the Timberwolves in Bushkill. Joe Ferguson, who earned a 2008 District 2 district title with Scranton Prep’s boys and made stops at Dunmore and North Pocono, takes the helm in Stroudsburg.

But despite all the moving parts, expectations within the division haven’t differed much from 2016.

“Until somebody beats Pocono Mountain West, they’re the Mountain Division champions, and hopefully we’ll be up for the test,” Ferguson said Wednesday.

“You’ve got to give it to West,” said Pleasant Valley coach Matt Gould, who enters his fourth season with the Bears. “Until somebody knocks them off in the preseason, it’s theirs for the taking.”

Two familiar faces from last year’s District 11 Class 6A champion West team will be back as leaders for this Panther squad — senior forwards Travis Elmore and Lee Mosley.

“They’re both extremely talented, and they both have really high ceilings in my opinion,” West’s Williams said on the Pride of the Poconos podcast on Nov. 30. “Travis, everyone kind of knows about because he started for us last year. ... Lee Mosley played a good amount off the bench for us last year, but he was in a little bit of a different role as a junior, obviously.”

Coming off the bench, Mosley was expected to rebound and defend while then-seniors Jalen Vaughns, Isaiah Wiggins, and Lance Singh took the brunt of the scoring load. This year, he will have a far more prominent role in his team’s success.

“I give him a lot of credit because his game kind of really blossomed over the summertime,” Williams said. “He didn’t have a very good jump shot at all last year or as a sophomore when he played JV for me. And now all of a sudden he’s starting to knock down that intermediate shot kind of out to 15 feet, 16 feet, which will do wonders for him and his game.

“He’s super aggressive, he’s strong, I would be shocked if he wasn’t an all-star in some capacity by the end of the season. He’s that good.”

At Stroudsburg, the Mounties bring back seniors Saveon Jackson, Tyler Henry, and Edwin Ferreras who have all seen significant varsity playing time. Now, they find themselves busy learning Ferguson’s style and new offensive systems. Roughly 2½ weeks into the winter season, the new coach likes what he sees so far.

“I think they’re a very unselfish group of young men,” he said. “And I think in basketball, team play is what wins championships. And I think they’ve been adjusting well to our coaching style. They want to learn the game, and they are. They’re learning a whole different system.

“They play together, and I think if we do that, that’ll be very key for us.”

Pleasant Valley’s squad returns senior guards Isaiah Howard and Noah Neubert. But with the additions of football standout Brent Beck, Michael Duviella, and Andrius Gaddist, the Bears have size and athleticism they have lacked in past years.

″(Size) alone gives us length and it gives us that factor, when another team comes out there, even if it might be physical, they still have to go against these big guys,” Gould said. “But we tried to mix it up a little bit offensively. In the past, we’ve tried to spread it out because we’ve had guards, spread it out a little bit and make our opponents guard us in the halfcourt, three-point line to three-point line.

“This year, we can focus on throwing it in and having the other team double the post and then look to kick it out for our guards and still spread it out so the big guys inside have room to work. It’s nice to have that option.”

West, Stroudsburg, and ES North may all have new coaches, but Gould believes graduation will play a larger role in how the season shakes out. The Panthers lost three 1,000-point scorers in Vaughns, Wiggins and Singh; the Mounties lost Shon Wilson and Dyony Bueno; and the Timberwolves lost Arian Azemi, Darin Bellinger, Devontea Wiggins, Joshua Noble, and Adisa Wilkins.

“I think graduation opens it up this year for teams like us, (East Stroudsburg) South, and (Pocono Mountain) East to try and compete and stick our noses in there against Stroudsburg, who’s always up there, West, who’s always up there, and North, who did really well last year,” Gould said.

ES South coach Shawn Munford thinks the combination of new coaches and graduation will effect the division results, but still expects to see West on top by season’s end and knows not to count Stroudsburg or North out of the picture yet.

“I think us, PV, and East are looking to find our niche in terms of where we fall in trying to compete with those three teams,” Munford said. “And I think we’ll be ready, but I think Pocono Mountain West, Stroudsburg, and North, based on last year and what we’ve seen over the summer, are the teams that we need to make sure we’re ready to compete with.”

Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg looks to contend in District 11 Class 1A play as well with senior guard Royce Frazier returning with juniors Dylan Dembinski, Benjamin Jean, and Dylan Parris.

The season begins Friday with Notre Dame on the road against Pen Argyl at Moravian Academy at 5 p.m. South will face Wyoming Seminary at 6 p.m. at the Berwick Tip-Off Tournament, while North travels to Wallenpaupack and will face Monticello at 7 p.m. Pocono Mountain East will host Honesdale at 7 p.m. as well.
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SWEET 16 PRESEASON BOYS HOOPS TOUR: Stop No. 6 — Pocono Mountain West
By Keith Groller • 
Contact Reporter of the Morning Call 

Ok, I admit I cheated.

I didn’t actually get up to Pocono Mountain West High School for their stop on the Sweet 16 tour.

I don’t mind that ride by the way. It’s about an hour from the southwest end of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference to get up to Pocono Summit. And as long as things are smooth on I-78, I-33 and I-80, it’s not that big of a deal.

Usually, I get to say hello to a few deer getting in or out of that beautiful campus.

But this year, with time being of the essence, I caught the defending District 11 6A champions at Bethlehem Catholic during a really good three-way scrimmage with the host Golden Hawks and La Salle College.

All I can say is that there was a lot of talent on display and even though it was a scrimmage, those three teams — all expected to do well — really got after it.

A lot of change is in the air with the Panthers this year. Most notably Brad Pensyl, the only coach the program has ever had, is gone and assisting Scott Coval at DeSales.

Pensyl coached for 28 years at Pocono Mountain and West and went 524-208 and his teams never missed districts.

Three fantastic 1,000-point scorers — Jalen Vaughns, Isaiah Wiggins and Lance Singh — are also gone.

But Pensyl didn’t leave the cupboard for his longtime assistant Rich Williams, who has taken over. Several talented players return and West got a bonus when a talented player from Cumberland Valley transferred back into the district.

Here’s a look at the 2017-18 Panthers:

POCONO MT. WEST

Coach: Rich Williams (first season).

Last year: 23-5, 14-2 EPC (first in Mountain). Lost to Allen 84-80 in EPC semis. Beat Liberty 76-68, Emmaus 79-76 and Parkland 83-59 to win district title. Beat Lower Merion 71-57 in first round of state tournament, lost to Plymouth-Whitemarsh 66-63 in second round.

Returnees: 6-6 Sr. C Travis Elmore (9.3 ppg): 6-5 Sr. F Lee Mosley (2.4 ppg); 6-3 Sr. F Shermar Ernest; 5-9 Sr. G Haybert Louchie (2.3 ppg); 6-2 Sr. G Joe Kidney.

Newcomers: 6-1 Sr. G Josiah Burns (transfer from Cumberland Valley, 14.2 ppg); 6-1 Sr. G Union Burns; 6-1 So. G Brandon Oliveri; 6-1 Jr. G Ishyne Pilgrim.

Who’s new on the staff: Not necessarily new to the staff, but there are now roles. Ken Piontkowski is the new varsity assistant. TJ Murphy is also a varsity assistant. Jerusalem Strickland has moved from freshman to JV. Tyrel Dixon was a volunteer and now is in charge of the freshman team. Quindell Brice is now coaching the 7th graders and former ES South coach Mark Brown is coaching the 8th graders.

Schedule stuff: The Panthers will play Liberty in a special one-day event at Whitehall on Dec. 17. They’ll also play Downington West and Pennsbury on the road and they’ll play in Central Catholic’s Christmas Tournament at Rockne Hall, opening up against Notre Dame-Green Pond.

THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE PANTHERS

1. Williams says things are going well. “We have some guys back who played a good amount of minutes and we also have a lot of guys who played against Wiggins, Vaughns and Singh every day in practice last year and that’s going to benefit them,” Williams said.

2. Elmore and Mosley are talented and big returners to anchor the starting lineup. “The ceiling is very high for both of them,” Williams said. “They are both scholarship-level basketball players in my mind.”

3. Haybert Louchie, who got time off the bench last year, will play the point guard position and Shermar Ernest will provide defensive ability. Joe Kidney will also see plenty of time, but look for Josiah Burns, who transferred back to Pocono Mountain West after spending a couple of years at Cumberland Valley, to make an impact. Burns averaged 14 points per game last year at CV. 
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2017 - 18 Boys Basketball Capsules

Pocono Mountain West

Head coach: Rich Williams

Years as coach: First season

Last year’s record: 23-5 (14-2 EPC), District 11 6A Champions, PIAA Sweet 16.

Key returners: Shermar Ernest, Sr., G; Lee Mosley, Sr., F; Haybert Louchie, Sr., G; Travis Elmore, Sr., F.

Key losses: Jalen Vaughns, Isaiah Wiggins, Lance Singh, Kieran Romney, Shay Nelson.

Top newcomers: Josiah Burns, Sr., G; Joe Kidney, Sr., G; Isaac Pedroza, Jr.

Team strengths: Dedication to getting better.

Team weaknesses: Leadership.

We will be successful if ... we buy in to the defensive end of the court.

East Stroudsburg North

Head coach: Adam Holtzer

Year as head coach: First year (42-10 overall, two District 2 Class 4A titles)

Last year’s record: 18-11 (9-7 EPC), District 11 5A Champions

Key returners: Bekim Azemi, So., G; Henry Brown, Sr., F; Dozie Ensyobi, Sr., F; Ishamel Lewis, Sr., G; Armari Mills, So., G.

Key losses: Arian Azemi, Darin Bellinger, Devontea Wiggins, Joshua Noble, Adisa Wilkins.

Top newcomers: Isa Abu, Jr., F; Yekini Abu, Sr., G; David Aguiles, Sr., F; Paul Amprah, So., F; Annilo Crisci, Jr., F;Andre Lopes, Sr., G; Jacob Miller, Jr., F; Justin Miller, Sr., F; Devante Nelson, Sr., F; Jaylon Noble, Jr., G; Jerome Richards., Sr., G; Jordan Walker, Sr., F.

Team strengths: Athleticism, depth and team chemistry.

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

We will be successful if ... we play focused with a purpose and play a full 32 minutes each game leaving everything we have on the court.

Stroudsburg

Head coach: Joe Ferguson

Years as head coach: First at Stroudsburg, 15 years overall (275-151)

Last season’s record: 13-10 (10-6 EPC)

Key returners: Saveon Jackson, Sr., G (6-foot-1); Tyler Henry, Sr., G (6-3); Marcin Ogrodniczuk, Sr., F (6-3); Nyshan Sadler, Sr., F (6-5); Edwin Ferreras, Sr., G (5-9).

Key losses: Shon Wilson, Dyony Bueno.

Top newcomers: Colin Brady, Sr., C (6-6); Mike Strouse, Jr., G (5-9); Jaden Adams, Jr., C (6-3); Conor Banashefski, Jr., F (6-3); Ryan VanVarick, Jr., F (6-1); Star White, Jr., F (6-4).

Team strengths: Senior leadership and willingness to learn. Good perimeter shooting team with an inside presence. Very unselfish group with lots of energy.

Team weakness: Need to play both ends of the floor and get better defensively and on the boards. Need to find role players off the bench and learn how to overcome adversity.

We will be successful if we play together and trust in each other.

East Stroudsburg South

Head coach: Shawn Munford

Year as head coach: Sixth year (44-68)

Last year’s record: 9-13 (4-12 EPC)

Key returners: Devin Lopez, Sr., G; Greg Eck, Sr., G; Isaiah Watson-Bradley, Sr., G; Jahi Hamilton, Sr., F; Brian Rodriguez, Sr., G; Josiah Raso, Sr, F.

Key losses: Dakota Kross, John Murphy.

Top newcomers: Jeremiah Anderson, So., G; Jasir Parker, Fr., G.

Team strengths: Guard play, quickness, and cohesiveness.

Must improve: Defense and rebounding

We will be successful if ... we have consistent senior leadership, play at our tempo, stay consistent on the defensive end of the floor and compete on the glass.

Pocono Mountain East

Head Coach: Mark Dudley

Years as coach: Third season

Last year’s record: 4-18 (0-16 EPC)

Key returners: Elias Scott, Sr., G; Tashad Thompson, Jr.

Key losses: Stefan Forbes, Richie McMaster, CJ, Peechatka.

Top newcomers: Devon Castro, Jr., G; Winston Edwards, Jr., G; Tristan Hillman, Jr., G.

Team Strength: Team speed.

Must improve: Team chemistry.

We will be successful if ... we can play team basketball.

Pleasant Valley

Head Coach: Matthew Gould

Years as head coach: Fourth season (19-47)

Last year’s record: 7-15 (3-13 EPC)

Key returners: Isaiah Howard, Sr., G; Noah Neubert, Sr., G.

Key losses: Chris Barker, Justin Richardson, Ian Prator.

Top newcomers: Collin Stivala, Sr., G; DeShawn Scarboro, Jr., G; Andrius Gaddist, Jr., F; Michael Duviella, Jr., C; Valentino Rosario, Sr., G.

Team strengths: Size and athleticism.

Team weakness: Mental preparation and focus.

We will be successful if ... we are able to force teams to take difficult shots and then limit offense rebounds. Our forwards need to play to their ability and our guards need to be more consistent shooting the ball.

Notre Dame East Stroudsburg

Head coaches: Bob Mullen, Mark Allison

Last year’s record: 12-14, District 11 Class 1A third place, PIAA Tournament qualifier

Key returners: Royce Frazier, Sr., G.; Dylan Dembinski, Jr., F; Benjamin Jean, Jr., G; Dylan Parris, Jr., G.; Jordan Smith, Jr., F.; Jimmy Potter, Jr. G.; Kenny Maula, Jr., G; Brett Hallinan-Adorno Jr., F.

Key losses: LJ Bermudez, Kittipach Saicharoen, Joe Camara, Davis Jaeder, John Brunquell, Matt McGinley.

Top newcomers: Daniel Lynch, Jr., G.; Paulo Villalona, Jr., G; Aaron Bailey, Fr., G.; Shawn Seay, Fr., F.; Geordan Miller, Jr., F.; Jonathan Torres, So., G.

Team strengths: Tremendous work ethic of every member of our team.

Must improve: Becoming comfortable with switching defenses.

Will be successful if ... we continue to improve on a daily basis.

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POTP: Pocono Mountain West Boys Basketball 


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