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Weatherly boys should show improvement

The seeds have been planted.

The question that remains is ... are the fruits about to become bountiful?

Weatherly and its band of rabid basketball fans have had a passion for the sport for what seems like eons. But recently, the results on the court haven’t been what that base has hoped to see.

Weatherly has had just two winning seasons in the last 11 years and hasn’t won more than five games in any of the last four seasons. A year ago, the Wreckers went 2-20 overall and 0-13 in the Schuylkill League.

But there is hope that this year will be better, especially when considering that Weatherly returns its top two scorers from a year ago in Zach Moon (12.2 points per game) and AJ Knepper (5.9 ppg.).

Moon surely will be a key, but after incurring an ACL tear last season, he is currently still on the mend with the date for his return still up in the air.

But the Wreckers do have some seasoning to give Knepper help until Moon returns.

Gary Buck (4.2 ppg.), Joel Hinkle, Chad Obert, Mason Gerhart, Elijah Derr, Gabe Miller and Julian Miller all have varsity letters on their jackets with plenty of experience in the tank. Toss in two other potential contributors in Steph Yurchak and Johnny Arthur, and the nucleus is there for improvement.

“We’ve got some really good players coming back, and we’ve got a (cast) of other potential players that could fit in and help us as the season goes on,” said second year coach Gary Gerhart.

Freshman Scotty Zoscin is one of those other “potential players.” Toss in classmates Antonio Colecio, Trevor Lowman, Ethan Breskowski, Jacob Solonoski and Tyler Veasie and the numbers are encouraging. They may not be household names just yet, but they are the future of the program after winning 32 games the past two years on the junior high level.

“We’ve told those youngsters they are now going to see a whole new game,” said Gerhart. “They’re now going up against juniors and seniors ... players who are bigger, stronger and know how to play.”

Gerhart and his staff have been spoon-feeding the newcomers, but there are other top headliners. The 6-5 Yurchak, and the 6-2 Buck, are the keys to the rebounding that makes the defense and offense flow.

“They have been working very hard,” said Gerhart of his two inside bigs. “Our goal is to get out and win some early games. We lost a couple of close games last year. We need to win those types of games this year for confidence and to get some momentum to build upon.”

Where the strength of this team lies is on the perimeter.

“We have a lot of guards who are going to have to swing and help out in all phases of the game,” said Gerhart.

That translates into an up tempo style of play. The Wreckers will push the ball up the floor, pressure with full court man and zone defenses, and get everyone involved in the offense.

“What we’ve been stressing in practice is defense, team leadership and a winning attitude,” said Gerhart. “Sure we’ve got some players, but we need to be on the same page and put it all together in order to be successful.

“Naturally, we want to make the playoffs. We’re also up in class (2A) from the past years.”

It helps that there is talent to help with the jump in class.

And if it all comes together, the cold winter nights in Weatherly will be a lot warmer this season.

Members of the Weatherly boys basketball team for the 2017-18 season include, front row from left, managers Jillian Bartel and Huntyr Gebhart. Middle row, Jacob Solonoski, Tyler Veasie, Scotty Zoscin, AJ Knepper, Antonio Colacio, Elijah Derr, Trefor Lowman and Chad Obert. Back row, coach Fritz Herling, Ethan Broskoskie, Julian Miller, Mason Gerhart, Gary Buck, Steph Yurchak, Joel Hinkle, John Arthur, Zach Moon, Gabriel Miller and head coach Corey Gerhart. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS