PV boys want to continue improvement
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Panther Valley Boys Basketball team members for the 2009-2010 season include, front row from left, Kevin Dunn, Nick McArdle, Zack King, Thad Ogozalek and Joe Revell. Second row, manager Angie Mannino, Zach Stanko, B.J. Ahner, Mike Hadesty and manager Miranda Altemose. Back row, Tom Romanchick, Damian Lewis, Brock Mitchell, Logan Stano, Kyle Picht and Head Coach Patrick Crampsie.
For Panther Valley, the goal remains the same.
In fact, despite losing three key starters, head coach Pat Crampsie is hoping for added success.
After snapping an eight-year stretch without making the district playoffs, the Panthers enjoyed a 14-9 season a year ago and a trip to the postseason.
While a return trip to the D-11 tournament isn't a guarantee, the potential is there for PV to excel.
"Every year we want to improve on the year before," said Crampsie, now in his eighth season. "Our program has been going in that direction and we want to continue to do that. We want to get back to districts. Last year we made it to the last three days of the season and we were still alive for a league playoff berth. We want to be in that mix and hopefully we can even take it a step further.
"The kids coming back from last year are excited about the way we ended the season. They want to build on that. We worked hard over the summer and I think we're making strides."
If Panther Valley does take that next step, they'll need a big effort from their big men.
The Panthers boast a pair of 6-5 frontcourt players in senior Logan Stano and sophomore Brock Mitchell. The two twin towers will be looked to for offensive production.
"Logan is coming back and I feel this year he's going to be one of the best players in the Schuylkill League," said Crampsie, who loses starters Ryan Blasko, Bejtullah Mehmeti and Erick Trabal to graduation. "This is his third year starting and he had a great summer. Brock is a good athlete who saw some quality minutes as a freshman.
"It's nice to have those two big guys to stabilize us on offense and defense ... We want to play inside-out. We want to get Logan the ball and that will hopefully open other things for us. We want to look inside first and take advantage of the size we've got. Obviously teams are going to look at our big guys and focus on them. We're expecting that and we're prepared for that."
Besides Stano, who averaged 12.1 points per game last season, the only other returning starter is guard Zach Stanko.
"Zach is our best defender and he brings us experience and confidence," said Crampsie. "We're looking to get a little more scoring out of him and continue his role as defensive stopper."
Joining him in the backcourt will be Thad Ogozalek, a sophomore, who'll take over at the point. Seniors Damian Lewis, Kyle Picht and B.J. Ahner will also receive considerable playing time.
"Thad played JV last year and has worked hard and matured physically. The seniors have worked the last four years to get to this point and will hopefully help us this season.
"Defense is going to have to carry us. If we can continue playing defense like we did at the end of last year, we'll be successful. It has to start there. On offense we need to limit turnovers, play smart, and get our playmakers involved. The guys know their roles and if they play to their strengths I think we'll be in good shape."
The rest of the squad includes senior Tom Romanchick, junior Mike Hadesty, and sophomores Zack King, Nate Matthewson, Nick McArdle, Kevin Dunn and Joe Revell.