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Local Sports

Thursday, December 5, 2013
ED HEDES/TIMES NEWS Palmerton's boys basketball team for this season will be made up of: Kneeling, from left, Jared DePuy, Seth Andress, Dominic Shivone, ty Achtermann, Zsch Svetik, Mike Stasko and Joey Suto. Back row, same order, Zach Buck, Nick Frey, Logan Lesher, Mark Quinn, Ben Weber, Spencer hay and Steven Ruger.

Wins have been hard to come by for the Palmerton boys varsity basketball team lately.

One win last season and 19 spread over the last six years hasn't been much to smile about.

That's why first-year head coach Leigh Keenan is looking at the present and future for the program he took over as the fifth mentor in the last four years.

The last time the Blue Bombers made the district playoffs was back in 2001-02 when they finished with an overall record of 13-13.

What Keenan inherited was eight of the top nine scorers back along with four of five starters.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Photo by Bob Ford  Panther Valley wresting team members include, front row, from left, Jesse Thomas, Matt Buss, Michael Lazar, Darren Goida, Lenny Ogozalek, Tristan Strunk. Middle: Dylan Moyer, Hunter Davidyock, Zach Glassic, Grant Lorkowski, Collin Heydt, Devon Herman and Troy Margerum. Back: Czar Founds, Pat Iezonni, Zach Turner, Richard Nace, Lucas Mika and Rian Shubeck.

Tim Robb has coached the Panther Valley wrestling team for the past 21 seasons.

That makes him more experienced than many of his peers.

But it doesn't make him any less enthusiastic than a rookie coach.

The Panthers are coming off a successful season that saw them in the mix for a Schuylkill League title, qualify for and then win a match at District Duals, and have two individuals grab District 11 Class AA silver medals.

The opportunity to build on those accomplishments has Robb very optimistic heading into this season.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
ED HEDES/TIMES NEWS Members of the Lehighton wrestling team for this season include, front row from left, Ezra Neff, Antonio Lorenzo, Cody Semmel, Zach Kemmerer, Tegan Durishin, Grant Wetzel; middle row, Josh Gornick, Kerry Galanos, Anthony Yerger, Chris Kurdziel, Chris Clay, Anthony Farano, Dustin Koons; back row, Tyler Cann, Dominik Mystkowski, Connor Frey, Perry Didyoung, Logan Berger, Erik Scrinkosky, Alexander Smith and Joel Kuneck.

Youth and experience.

In the sports world, those two words are rarely found together.

At Lehighton, however, they're the perfect combination to describe this year's wrestling team.

Blessed with a talented sophomore class, the Indians and head coach Dan Williams are looking forward to a successful season.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Special to the TIMES NEWS Members of the Marian boys basketball team for the 2013-14 season include, front row from left, John Woitko, Matt Karnish, Dominic Mussoline, Austin Paisley, Ethan Kuczynski, Christian Legath, Nico Agosti; back row, Patrick Latham, Anthony Agosti, Kyle Swetz, Nick Wesner, John Inama, Mike Vercusky, Chris Weber and Ian Myers.

Marian head coach John Patton doesn't believe in the concept of "rebuilding," but take one quick glance of this year's roster and you'll quickly realize that an extreme makeover is coming to Colt Country.

If you're looking for familiar names, you won't find many.

If you're searching for experience and statistics, you'll find even less.

At this point, there are more questions than answers surrounding this year's team, which makes Patton's job of finding an "identity" for his program all the more difficult.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Members of the Lehighton boys basketball team for the 2013-14 season include, front row from left, manager Jarred Rehrig, Jordan Knappenberger, Tanner Zwetolitz, Ben Cordova, Kris Knappenberger, Max McCandless, manager Tyler Manogue; middle row, Coach D. J. Rossino, Tyler Crum, Tyler Williams, Anthony Rossino, Tom Ruzika, Jose Ortiz, Donovan Buchinsky, Coach Bobby Hahn; back row, Head Coach Richard Oertner, Vince Mele, James Farano, Nick Skrincosky, Hunter Greene, Nick Chambers and Coach Matt Oertner.

Depending on your viewpoint, the Lehighton boys basketball team could be in trouble this season or they might surpass the success they achieved a year ago.

And honestly, there are arguments for both cases.

The pessimist can look at early-season injuries, a tough league schedule, and a lack of depth as evidence the Indians may struggle.

The optimist, though, will point out the return of many starters, a balanced offensive attack, and an upswing in the program as reasons for a winning record and a return to the district playoffs.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Special to the TIMES NEWS Members of the Marian girls basketball team for the 2013-14 season include, front row from left, Lindsay Nemeth, Emily Sofranko, Gabby Green; middle row, Vanessa Whitecavage, Monica Baranko, Brenna Karnish, Emily Fannick, Kaylee Mahon, Paige Nilsson, Ashley Fannick; back row, coach Matt Murphy, coach Abbie Malloy, coach Vinny Vella, Abby Whilden, Brianna Raabe, Ericha Holman, Savanna Krusinsky, Madison Stoyer, head coach Paul Brutto and coach Jeff Onushco.

Marian head coach Paul Brutto has been around basketball long enough to realize that games, yet alone championships, are not won and lost on paper.

However, like any successful puzzle, if all the pieces are there and they can fit together perfectly, a masterpiece can be created.

Such may be the case with this year's Marian girls basketball team, where talent is plentiful and expectations are at an all-time high.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.) has been named the Big Ten Conference's Thompson-Randel El Freshman of the Year, giving the Nittany Lions consecutive winners of the honor.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Photo by Bob Ford Panther Valley girls basketball members include, front row, from left, manager Emiline Markovich, manager Rachel Knoblauch, Megan Marouchoc, Jessica Jacobs, Sam Jones, manager Christina Dacey, assistant coach Chris McLaughlin. Middle row, assistant coach Jim Barron, Chloe Markovich, Taylor Vance, Amy Corby, Brianna Picht, head coach Brad Hurley. Back row, Johnna Weaver, Madison Blasko, Jamey Mikovich, Kailee Smith, Macey Markovich.

The Panther Valley girls basketball team ended a decade-long District 11 playoff dryspell last season.

Rookie coach Brad Hurley sees that accomplishment as a starting point for the Panther program, not an arrival point.

"The girls we have returning laid a foundation," said Hurley. "But they aren't satisfied and I'm certainly not satisfied.

"I talked to all the players after I was named coach and the one constant that I took away from the meetings was that these girls want to get back to districts. They want to keep building the program."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 4, 1959 Reno Marcon scores a game-high 18 points, including four in overtime, to help lift Summit Hill to a 58-51 victory over Lehighton. The Hillers trail by seven points heading into the fourth quarter but rally to tie the game on Don Schlemmer's basket. Marcon opens the OT with a field goal and his team never trails again. Al Leonzi contributes 15 points to the winning effort while Dom Santo chips in with nine. For the Indians, Don Fratzer tallies a team-high 12 points.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Photo by Bob Ford Panther Valley boys basketball team members include, front row, from left, manager Kelsey Van Horn, Jake Szczecina, Kyle Ferryman, Mike Horan, Pat Owens, manager Jessica Wiese, Corigan Crampsie. Middle row, head coach Pat Crampsie, Mike Weng, Anthony Micholik, Jake Kusko, Cee Keo, Back row, Luke Stano, Ethan Vermillion, Matt Hudicka, Chad Dubosky.

Pat Crampsie wasn't happy with last year's boys basketball season and he's not afraid to admit it.

Crampsie, who is in his 12th year as head coach of the Panthers, said he was disappointed with his team's defense, it's record, and the fact that it didn't contend for a district playoff berth.

One thing Crampsie was happy about, however, was that his team was playing its best ball at the end of the season, winning four of its last seven games, including a season-ending victory over playoff-bound Tamaqua.