New coach takes over Bomber's program
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.
Junior Mark Quinn, the team's leading scorer, who averaged 9.41 per game a year ago returns, along with senior guard Logan Lesher (6.95), sophomore Spencer Hay (6.05) and senior Nick Frey (3.85).
Matt Leaver, who was the other starter, averaged 8.18 points her game and has graduated.
"It's actually been really good," Keenan, in his first stint as a head coach, said of the team's work ethic since he took over at the beginning of last summer. "The guys have responded really well. I'm big on the team aspect. We want to be like a family here. They're hard working and I get to teach what I want to teach. As a head coach, I don't have to learn anyone else's system and we get to play under my philosophy."
Keenan has 14 players on the varsity roster and won't pinpoint one player as someone he is counting on more than another.
"Every player can see time on any given night," he said. "We have five guys, but we also have very strong bench players who I feel can contribute. They all have varsity experience, which helps me. They're not timid or afraid and have been very dedicated so I'm very confident with the guys we have.
"There are some players that are skillfully better than others, but as a unit I won't single anyone out because they all work together as a team. We have a rotation that is very useful."
Senior Ty Achtermann will play point guard, along with sophomore Zach Svetik and freshman Joey Suto. Junior Dominic Shivone adds depth at shooting guard, while junior Ben Weber, sophomores Zach Buck and Seth Andress, along with freshman Mike Stasko are power and strong forwards.
Seniors Jared Depuy and Steven Ruger are also power and strong forwards.
The Bombers will look to run when necessary, but Keenan would like to see them execute more than anything.
"To understand our offense, you have to execute," he said. "I let the point guards call the plays and I let the big guys call the defenses. Whatever you see as far as offense goes, it's what the point guard is calling. He'll have full control."
Defensively, the Bombers have some athleticism and height so Keenan would like to run a man defense to start, but will also play some zone to try and throw people off.
"These kids only won one game last year, I'm a new coach with a new team, a new offense, and a new defense," said Keenan when asked what it's going to take to have a successful season. "I think we will be very competitive this year. but what I want us to do, is defend home court. Any time we play here, I want to win. If we can get some wins on the road that can only add to our confidence."
It's no secret that the Palmerton community has been starving for wins. Hopefully the Northampton and Kean University graduate can turn things in that direction.