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Local Sports

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Panther Valley boys basketball team members for the 2010-11 season include, front row from left, Jon Santiago, Zack King, Kevin Dunn and Nick McArdle. Second row, Mike Hadesty, Joe Revell, Zach Stanko and Thad Ogozalek. Third row, assistant coach Charlie DePuy, Marley Mikovich (manager), Brett Kerschner, Nate Mathewson, Brock Mitchell, Joe Dalessio and head coach Pat Crampsie.

Teams rebuild. Programs don't.

After back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time in nearly two decades, Panther Valley has established the fact that it has what it takes to be a winning team.

Head coach Pat Crampsie thinks its time to show that Panther Valley is also a winning program.

"We're looking to build on what we've accomplished the past two seasons," said Cramspie. "We think the program is now in a spot where we can compete year in and year out."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Jim Thorpe boys basketball team members for the 2010-11 season include, front from left, Dean DiBonifazio, Treysean Marshall, Milton Moranta, P.J. Johnson; middle row, Edwin Valentin, Ben Moore, Dane Ciavarella, Michael Munoz; back, Darius Clark, JT Otto, Jaquan Brown, TJ Prontnicki and Alonzo McGill.

Whether it's fair or not, opponents and fans that see the Jim Thorpe boys basketball team may focus more on who's not on the floor rather than who does step onto the court.

And in a way, you can't blame them.

The Olympians put together another successful season a year ago, earning berths in both the league and district playoffs, while finishing with a 17-8 record.

Leading the way for that Thorpe squad were three quality players who are no longer part of the program.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Panther Valley wrestling team members for the 2010-11 season include, front row from left, Len Ogozalek, Nick O'Donnell, Brandon Gurka and Kory Lopata. Second row, Elijah Hibler, Joe Martonyak, Steve Snyder, Josh Vega, Alex Lorkowski and Gage Rohlfing. Back row, John Horvath, Paul David, Mike Weaver, Jared Eickhoff, Jake Dulaney, Richard Nase, Dustin Marblestone and Candice Tejera.

Panther Valley wrestling coach Tim Robb is excited about the upcoming season.

Robb's excitement is twofold.

First, he thinks the Panthers have several wrestlers capable of picking up individual honors once the postseason rolls around.

Second, he believes they have enough balance and depth to achieve some team goals before that starts.

Leading the way for the Panthers will be a pair of District 11 Class AA place winners from a year ago Nick O'Donnell and Mike Weaver.

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 1991 Scott Stevens pours in a game-high 29 points and Pleasant Valley rallies from an early deficit to gain a 61-58 win over Pen Argyl. The Bears, coached by Mark Allison, fall behind 18-6 after one quarter of play before starting their comeback. Dennis Donato contributes 15 points to the victory while teammate Jon Mack finishes with 14.

Monday, December 6, 2010
ED HEDES/TIMES NEWS The Palmerton wrestling team for the 2010-11 season will be made up of: Front, from left, Joey Bubble, Josh Evans, Sam Oberlander, Dillon Masington, J.D. Christman and Jacob Peck. Back row, same order, coach Brett Martinez, Cody Grohotolski, Kane Kralik, Travis Wolfe, Jarrett Kleintop, Andrew Strauss and head coach Dave Lavin. Jake Christman, Skyler Rosenberry, Cody Silfies and Tony Gardo are also team members.

Dave Lavin took over the Palmerton wrestling program last year with a couple of quality wrestlers and the ultimate task of trying to build a varsity squad that was used to having a lot of holes to fill.

This year, despite the losses of a couple of outstanding wrestlers in Mike Englert and Dan Costenbader, Lavin has noticed an increase of candidates in the wrestling room and likes that positive sign.

"Throughout the lineup, I think we have a little more consistency," Lavin said,. "We had a lot of inexperienced guys just filling in spots last year."

Monday, December 6, 2010
ED HEDES/TIMES NEWS Palmerton girls basketball team members for the 2010-11 season include: Front, from left, Gabrielle Alban, Sarah Graver, Morgan Hadinger, Michelle Rickert, Casey Rinfret, /gina Farquhar, Kristen Romano and Katie Reimer. Back row, same order, Kelsey Eaton, Emelie Meinhart, Joelle Reinhart, Morgan Mummey, Kelsey Hay, Lauryn Solt, Samantha Smith and Jennifer Snyder.

After making a run in the district playoffs last season before falling short against eventual champion Tamaqua, the Palmerton girls basketball team set sights on the 2010-2011 season.

Head coach Don Delich returns his entire team from last season and expectations haven't been higher among the Lady Bombers' program in quite some time.

Monday, December 6, 2010
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua girls basketball team members for the 2010-11 season include, front row from left, Ashley Walker, Kayla Hope and Caitlin Trainer. Second row, Maria Streisel, Kori Kabilko, Cassie Eroh, Christine Streisel, Alexandra Wagner and Amanda Solt. Back row, Allison Updike, Amy Zehner, Stacey Wallace, Danielle Weinburger and Taylor Urban.

The Tamaqua Lady Raiders have set the bar high for this season.

Topping Tamaqua's achievements from last year will be no easy task. The Raiders posted an outstanding 25-3 campaign, capturing their second straight District 11 Class AA championship and winning their first Schuylkill League title since 1977.

With four starters back, including All-State Second Team forward Amy Zehner, the expectations have not been diminished, even with Tamaqua moving up to Class AAA.

Monday, December 6, 2010
Ed Hedes/TIMES NEWS The Palmerton boys basketball team will be made up of the following for the 2010-11 season. Front, kneeling, from left, Joey Tyahla, Cody Geist, Brett Snyder, Tanner Gutekunst, Mike Horvath and Matthew Leaver. Back row, same order, Tyler Svetik, Kyle Ruch, Ryan Saylor, Jordan Reinhart, Brad Ehret, Ben Andrews and ehad coach Mike Snyder. Gabe Leon is also a member of the team.

Mike Snyder enters his second year as Palmerton head boys basketball coach with the same enthusiasm that he had when he took over the program last season.

The Bombers, who went 4-18 last year, look to improve on that mark with a host of underclassmen again.

Only seniors can be found on the varsity roster in Jordan Reinhart (6-3) and Joey Tyahla (5-8) so Snyder plans on using a group of juniors and three sophomores to build things around.

Monday, December 6, 2010
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua boys basketball team members for the 2010-11 season include, front from left, Jake Fegley, Spencer Bennett and Joe Rudy. Second row, Mike Streisel, Tyler Krell, Zach Lakitsky and Eric Bachert. Back row, Trevor Reinhardt, Jonathan Ansbach and Matthew Kurek.

For Tamaqua, the road back to respectability has been a long one.

The Blue Raiders went 6-16 last season, which was one more victory over their previous season. Their last District 11 playoff appearance was in 2003-04, when they finished 15-9 under Joe Ligenza.

The challenge for third year head coach Jay Daubert is to build on that while replenishing the Raiders' offense from a year ago.

Monday, December 6, 2010
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua wrestling team members for the 2010-11 season include, front row from left, Austin Smulligan, Nick Toth, Kyle Boyer, Derek Drum, Derek Hill, Colin Mashack and Alex Vincent. Second row, Jon Killaly, Zack Beller, Brandan Silkowski, Philip Christman, Kolby Mashack, Travis Veronsky and Evan Mashack. Back row, Assistant Coach Jon Mashack, Brandon Vigo, Zack Kabana, Robert Craigle, Matt Edmonds, Garth Lakitsky, Eric Weiss and Head Coach Jim McCabe. Randy Gilson is also a member of the team.

Wrestling teams that don't fill all of their weight classes often have it adversely impact their records.

That was the case with Tamaqua last season, when holes in the line-up contributed to its 5-16 mark.

"Last year we had three forfeits, and more at times with injuries," said Tamaqua head coach Jim McCabe, who is entering his 11th season at the helm. "In eight of our losses, we were right in those matches, even with 3-4 forfeits."

This season, the Blue Raiders have 21 wrestlers on their varsity roster and should be able to field a full line-up.