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Winter Sports

Monday, December 12, 2011
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Panther Valley's Ogozalek goes up for two in between Marian's Alden Wha (10) and Justin Bilks (30) during Saturday's consolation game in the PV Tip-Off tournament.

The Panther Valley and Pleasant Valley boys picked up victories to highlight Saturday's scholastic basketball card.

Marian-Panther Valley

Nick McArdle hit the game-winning three-pointer with 14 seconds left to lift Panther Valley to a 36-35 victory over Marian in the consolation game of the PV Tip-Off Tournament.

The Panthers' Jake Szczecina hit four three-pointers to lead all scorers with a game-high 12 points.

Ryan Karnish paced the Colts with 10 points.

MARIAN

Monday, December 12, 2011
bob ford/times news Jim Thorpe's Ja'Quan Brown (32) tries to rip the ball away from Andy Kuzma (44) of Mahanoy Area.

Brian Carroll had an inkling it could happen.

So, did Mickey Holland.

The Jim Thorpe and Mahanoy Area head basketball coaches both had a good feeling that the Panther Valley Tip-Off Tournament Championship game could possibly be decided in the final minutes.

"Yes, I did," Holland said. "And, it was. It was a great experience for both teams.

"I think it's going to help both teams in the long run."

Saturday night, Mahanoy Area received the immediate benefit as the Golden Bears posted a 44-39 victory over the Olympians.

Monday, December 12, 2011
Palmerton second at Catasauqua Duals

Palmerton's wrestlers finished second in the Catasauqua Duals over the weekend, while Northern Lehigh ended up fourth in the Brandywine Tournament.

Palmerton

-Catasauqua Duals

Palmerton's lone loss in the Catasauqua Duals over the weekend came to eventual team champion Lake Lehman, giving the Blue Bombers second place with a 4-1 record. The host Roughies finished in third place with a 3-1 mark and Bryan Carter of Lake Lehman won the Leroy Bolmer Outstanding Wrestler Award.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Jim Thorpe and Panther Valley wrestling teams got their seasons underway this past weekend at the annual Jim Thorpe Duals. This year's duals featured ten teams including; North Schuylkill, Lower Moreland, Radnor, Cedar Cliff, Dieruff, Coatesville, Conestoga Valley, Susquehanna Township, Panther Valley and host Jim Thorpe.

The teams were split into two divisions with each team having to play each opponent in their respective pool. After pool play, the teams were seeded for the championship rounds based on their record during pool play.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
RICH GEORGE/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Palmerton boys basketball team members include: Front, from left, Logan Lesher, Tyler Snyder, Mike Horvath, Spencer Shigo, Brett Snyder and Gabe Leon. Back row, from left, Matt Leaver, Tyler Svetik, Ben Andrews, Kyle Ruch, Austin Luers, Mark Quinn and Cody Geist.

Mick Stefanek is no stranger when it comes to TIMES NEWS Area boys basketball circles.

Stefanek, who took over the Palmerton boys basketball program over the summer, was a highly successful head coach at Marian High School before resigning and taking a year off away from the game. And now he is in charge of the boys program in the same school district he teaches in.

The Blue Bombers return a group of experienced players who have grown as a unit over the years and Stefanek hopes to see some of the veterans through what he hopes will be a rewarding season.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The last thing Lehighton's Dan Williams will have to do this season is look for some leaders on his team.

With four solid seniors returning from successful years, the Indians' wrestling coach is hoping to make some noise not only in the Mountain Valley Conference, but also in the postseason.

"We have a really good group of seniors coming back," said Williams. "I've been with these guys since they were in seventh grade from coaching middle school. I'm looking for big things out of them.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
RICH GEORGE/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Palmerton girls basketball team will include: Kneeling, from left, Gabby Alban, Morgan Hadinger, Michelle Rickert, Mikayla Krupa and Sarah Graver. Back row, from left, Emily Meinhart, Morgam Mummey, Jade Farquhar, , Kelsey Hay, Jen Snyder, Maddy Mummey and Kelsey Eaton.

Palmerton head girls basketball coach Don Delich and his team always have the same expectations entering every new season.

Delich, in his ninth year at the helm with a 108-88 career record, expects his team to be able to play with any team in the Colonial League, despite losing four starters and his first player off the bench from a team that lost to Allentown Central Catholic in the District 11 3A semifinals last season.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rich Oertner loves a challenge.

As the new head coach of the Lehighton boys basketball team, he definitely has one.

The former Northern Lehigh mentor takes over a program that has won just five games over the past four seasons, including a 1-21 mark a year ago. The Indians have also suffered 50 straight conference losses, and haven't had a winning season since the 2000-01 season.

Despite that, Oertner feels better days are ahead.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Lady Indians taking a positive approach

Talk to new Lehighton girls basketball coach Ray Bressi and the one word that jumps out is positive.

Within the sport though, positive can mean different things to different people.

For some, it's posting a certain number of wins. For others, it's reaching the playoffs. For many, it's simply improving from game-to-game, but for Bressi a longtime mentor and currently a disciplinarian at Panther Valley, it's about something else.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
RICH GEORGE/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Palmerton's wrestling team will include: Front, from left, Adam Moyer, J.D. Christman, Dillon Masington and Matthew Wolfe. Second row, Kelsey Eaton (manager), Zach Christman, Jacob Christman, Brandon Trauger, Josh Evans, Sam Oberlander, Daniel Russo and Vanessa Evans (manager). Third row, same order, assistant coach Mike Englert, Travis Wolfe, David Silverstein, Andrew Strauss, Kane Kralik, Cody Grohotolski, James Wooten, Joey Bubble, Bradley Shoop, Zachary Graver and head coach Dave Lavin.

When Dave Lavin took over as Palmerton's head wrestling coach two years ago, his first hurdle was to build a program that had a wrestler at every varsity weight class. And that hurdle is about to be cleared as the Blue Bombers anxiously await the start of the 2011-12 season.

With plenty of experience returning from a team that qualified for District Duals the first time in school history, this could be the season that the Bombers could finally find themselves in the upper echelon of not just the Colonial League, but District 11 AA competition.