Bombers facing a learning experience
ED HEDES/TIMES NEWS The Palmerton boys basketball team consists of: Front, from left, Ryan Kleintop, Brett Snyder, Christian Marcin, Derek Furry, Derek Haas and Ben Andrews. Second row, same order, Joey Tyahla, Zach Freed, Brad Eaton, Mike Horvath and Gabe Leon. Third row, from left, Jordan Reinhardt, Mike Svetik, Kyle Ruch, Cody Geist and Tyler Kravetz. Back row, Head coach Mike Snyder and assistant coach Mark Maholick.
It's been a long time since the Palmerton boys basketball program has done anything successful to brag about.
In the past 10 years, the Blue Bombers have had one winning season and one .500 season. In the past five years, the varsity has won 24 games and lost 94.
Mike Snyder, who coached the Blue-and-White for two years and compiled a 21-29 record, is back on the bench replacing Ridge Hughes, who guided the team the past two seasons. Last year, the Bombers finished just 2-20.
One of Snyder's biggest challenges will be trying to replace 22 points a game of offense that averaged just over 40 points a game last season.
Gone via graduation are Matt Falcone, Brice Snyder, Brett Gildner, Lee Arner, Jeff Beers, Cody Sallada and Randy Eaton.
The new coach will try to build a team around returning starters Tyler Kravetz, a 6-6 senior and 5-10 junior guard Christian Marcin.
"We just want to play a more ball controlled intelligent game," said Snyder when asked what he was looking for this team to do this season.
"We can't run-and-gun. We have to play defense with offense and vice versa. We have to be patient."
Snyder is also counting on junior Zach Freed, a 6-0 junior who started last season and juniors Derek Furry (5-7) and Joey Tyahla (6-7), who
saw quality time as JV's last year and came off the varsity bench.
Then Snyder looks at a group of sophomores, who played together on a successful freshman team last season to gain some valuable experience on the varsity level and get better each time they step on the floor.
Ben Andrews (6-0), Tyler Svetik (6-0), Cody Geist (5-10) and Brett Snyder (5-8) lead that group with Kyle Ruch (5-11), Mike Horvath (5-9) and Gabe Leon (5-8) also expected to see playing time.
"All of the kids are very coachable and want to learn and go out and try the things we're teaching them as coaches," said Snyder. "We're also working on their basketball I.Q. They have to know what is a good shot and what is a bad shot to take when we're on offense."
Snyder is also counting on Jordan Reinhardt, a 6-2 junior, Derek Haas, a 5-10 senior, Brad Eaton, a 5-9 senior and Ryan Kleintop, a 5-11 senior off the bench.
The coach looks for Notre Dame of Green Pond and Wilson to battle it out for the league championship, but sees quite a few other teams who can contend.
"The key right now is to stabilize the program and get everyone on the same page," said Snyder, who has former Lehighton head coach Mark Maholick on his staff. "We We want to be competitive and win games that we're capable of winning.
"The program is broke, but it can be fixed."