DISTRICT 11CLASS AAA BOYS
No. 10 Tamaqua (13-9, 6-6 Schuylkill League)
at No. 7 Northern Lehigh (14-8, 9-7 Colonial League)
TIPOFF: Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m
COACHES: Tamaqua - Caszy Kosciolek (second season). Northern Lehigh - Jeff Miller (third season)
LEADING SCORERS: Tamaqua - Brett Kosciolek (16.27), Bo Rottet (10.23), Zach Wargula (9.00). Northern Lehigh - Josh Eden (16.95), Ty Dibilio (9.91), Caleb Johnson (8.61).
GAME NOTES: Northern Lehigh defeated Tamaqua by 16 points in a match-up earlier this season. The Bulldogs physicality was too much for the Raiders as the Northern Lehigh defense shut down Tamaqua in the first half, holding them to just 12 points. TIMES NEWS leading scorer Josh Eden torched the Raiders for 24 points in that game. For the Raiders to compete with the Bulldogs they're going to have to do a better job on Eden this time around...The match-up between the Raiders and Bulldogs will showcase the TIMES NEWS areas top two scorers in Eden and Brett Kosciolek. Eden leads the TN area, averaging 16.95 points per game while Kosciolek averages 16.27 per contest. Eden also scored in double figures 21 out of the 22 game he played in this season. Kosciolek isn't far behind scoring double figures in 19 games...Tamaqua is back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season. Their 13 wins is the most since that season as well. However, only three of the Raiders thirteen wins were against teams with winning records. Eight out of their nine losses came to teams with a .500 or better record... Northern Lehigh is returning to the playoffs for the tenth straight season, winning the District 11 AA Championship in 2008. Last season the Bulldogs advanced to the state tournament once again by defeating North Schuylkill in AAA consolation game. They then lost to Abington Heights in the first round... The Bulldogs and Raiders have faced five common opponents this season with Tamaqua going 3-4 and Northern Lehigh compiling a 6-1 record... Size will be an issue for the Raiders in this one as Northern Lehigh has a frontcourt measuring 6-4 (Caleb Johnson) and 6-6 (Lucas Pierce). Eden also has some length, standing at 6-3. The Bulldogs sixth man Josh Landsberger measures 6-4 as well. The Raiders only have one player with any real height in the starting line-up and that's Kosciolek, who stands at 6-6... Tamaqua will try to counter the Bulldogs size by drawing them out to the perimeter on the defensive end. The Raiders certainly have the sharp shooters to do so. They are second in the the TN Area in team three-pointers with 113 and slate three players in Kosciolek, Bo Rottet, and Zach Wargula in the top ten individual three-pointers in the area...
QUOTEABLE: "Their size will certainly be an issue for us. I think it's very important that we do our very best at rebounding with them. We really have to make an effort to crash the boards and play physical when doing that. Their match-up zone will also be very challenging, so we have to make sure we move the ball and knock down our shots when we're attacking them." Tamaqua coach Caszy Kosciolek
"Our strength is in our size and our ability to control the glass. So obviously we're going to look to use those things to our advantage. We must also contain their shooters. They can really shoot it and when you let a team that can shoot get hot anything can happen from then on. I think we just need to just play solid basketball, defend well, and rebound, in turn getting quality offensive looks on the other end." Northern Lehigh coach Jeff Miller
DISTRICT 11 CLASS AAA BOYS
No. 9 Lehighton (11-11, 4-8 Mountain Valley Conference)
at No. Southern Lehigh (11-11; 8-8 Colonial League)
TIPOFF: Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.
COACHES: Lehighton - Rich Oertner, Southern Lehigh - Bob Schaffer.
LEADING SCORERS: Lehighton - Tyler Crum (14.1 ppg), Anthony Rossino (9.0), Jordan Knappenberger (8.6), James Farano (8.3); Southern Lehigh - Troy Reppert (11.6 ppg), Casey Krause (8.1), Mike Zabrecky (6.6), Conor Zellner (6.3), Nick Heiser-Koch (4.9).
GAME NOTES: Lehighton and Southern Lehigh both secure their district playoffs berths late in the regular season. In fact, the Indians didn't punch their ticket until their very last game of the season against Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg. On that same Tuesday evening, back on Feb. 5th, the Spartans capitalized on the opportunity on a "Tribute Night" for Head coach Bob Schaeffer and assistant coach Kurt Zellner, who are both retiring at the end of the season. They have both served the last 25 seasons with the boys' basketball program, to make this season their 20th postseason appearance under their tutelage... While Southern Lehigh has been an annual visitors to districts over the years, Lehighton makes it first trip back to the postseason since 2007 ... Southern Lehigh has won the last four meetings between the two programs, including two regular season victories in both the 2009-2010 (81-55) and 2010-11 (74-65) seasons, and two district playoff games back in 2005-06 (53-44) and 2006-07 (43-41) ... Although the opening round of districts is their first meeting of the 2012-13 season, the Indians and Spartans have had some familiar foes along the way. Lehighton scored two victories against Palmerton (57-39; 77-55) and one against Pen Argyl (76-49), while dropped double-digit setbacks to two other Colonial League opponents Catasauqua (80-63) and Northern Lehigh (61-38). Meanwhile, Southern Lehigh won against the same two in the Bombers (54-35) and Green Knights (53-44), while suffered double digit losses to the Roughies (56-40) and Bulldogs (52-40) ... Spartans' head coach Bob Schaeffer has ties in "Indian Territory" as he was a member of the Class of 1974 at Lehighton High School where he was also a two-year starting quarterback for the Tribe's varsity football team.
QUOTEABLE: "It's something new to all of them. They're happy to be still playing. We watched tape today and they were ecstatic to be watching tape. And, you don't see that too many times to see where players are happy to be watching tape of whatever team. So, they're happy about everything. The kids have been fantastic. The parents have been fantastic. Everyone's willing to help whatever it is to get to the next level. Lehighton coach Rich Oertner.
DISTRICT 11 CLASS A BOYS
No. 9 Nativity BVM at No. 8 Weatherly
TIPOFF: Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.
COACHES: Weatherly - Ron Cann, Nativity - Kevin Kennedy.
LEADING SCORERS: Weatherly - Brett Stallone (12.18 ppg), Joe Haganey (11.05), Charlie Wallish (9.50); Nativity - Jeff Yordy (17.5 ppg).
GAME NOTES: The two teams have met three times throughout the regular season: Dec. 17, Weath 67-56, Jan. 29, Weath 63-62, and Feb. 13, Nat 66-60 OT...Out of the eight other teams in the Class A playoffs, Weatherly has played against five of them this season (3-7 vs those teams: Nat 2-1, Mahanoy Area 0-2, Marian 0-2, Shenandoah 1-1, Moravian Academy 0-1)...Weatherly has had a season of runs 5-1 in their first six games, 0-5 in their next five, 5-0 in the ensuing five games, and 2-4 in their last six games of the regular season...Last time Weatherly won a District 11 game was in 2006, when it won in the quarterfinals (vs. Lehigh Valley Christian), and semifinals (vs. Pius X), before losing eventually in the finals to Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg...Weatherly is the only TN area team that has three players that have scored over 200 points in Stallone, Haganey and Wallish...
QUOTEABLE: "All three times that we have played, the games have been close and tightly-contested. We're expecting the same thing on Tuesday. Both groups have good scorers and both groups play solid defense. Defensively, we're hoping to try and contain their two big offensive scorers in (Jeff) Yordy and (Kyle) Kaledas, because they can both shoot the ball well and are outstanding guards. One of the last times we played them, Kaledas scored 15 in the first quarter, so we're hoping to prevent any kind of quick start like they had that night. Hopefully, we can carry out our game plan, because whoever executes on Tuesday night is going to come out the winner." Weatherly Head coach Ron Cann.