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Bombers want to reload, not rebuild

Koby Kratzer, Owen Buck, Tyler Stuck, Alex Whitney, Austyn White, Hunter Connell, Dylan Frank, and Braden Bates.

Over the past few years, they helped form the current stats of the Palmerton boys’ basketball program.

Last season, Kratzer was a 3A all-state choice, as he averaged 20.5 points, grabbed 140 rebounds, recorded 28 steals, and handed out 80 assists. He finished with 1,307 career points for the Blue Bombers, and he took his talents to DeSales University.

Their season ended last season in a gut-wrenching, buzzer-beating, 60-57 loss to Notre Dame in the Class 3A semifinals. Based on their play, it was a game certainly the Blue Bombers didn’t deserve to lose.

But Palmerton’s version of their “Phab Five” and “Elite Eight” have left the building. They produced a 29-14 record over the last two seasons.

“Those kids were responsible for turning this program around,” said always loquacious Plamerton head coach Ken Termini. “We had winning records over the last four years.

“They were very determined and focused. Their work ethic and will to success was exceptional. It was a special group that will leave a mark in this program for years to come.”

Temini will begin his sixth year at Palmerton in a transition one. However, the loquacious head coach still has a good feeling about his process despite not having an initial promising picture. .

“You want to build your program to where you don’t have to rebuild,” he stated. “We think of it as reloading instead of rebuilding.

“But we did lose eight seniors, and we lost about 80% of our minutes from last year. We really have two guys back who got some meaningful minutes last year. We don’t have a lot of experience back. We played 44 games over the summer and early fall. We wanted to get our guys as involved as possible, as we see it as valuable experience. We always have played a lot over the summer, and it really has helped us down the stretch.”

Termini will look to sophomore guard Matt Machalik and senior guard Kyle Sebelin, both of whom were starters last year, to help begin the transition process.

“Machalik started as a freshman, and he is just a very talented kid,” said Temini. “Kyle is a tough 5-8 point guard. He has been in the program for a long time, and he knows what has to be done.”

Termini will also look to sophomore guard Brayden Hosier and junior forward Chase Reph to be major contributors, as they logged major minutes last year.

Senior forward David Tworkowski, juniors guards Justin Sebelen and Kendall Robinson and forward Dalton Rumfield, along with sophomore forwards Zach Anthony and Jacob Grammes will look to form a new nucleus.

Termini also has liked what he has seen from sophomores guard Aiden Leister and forward Trace Stahler, who both will be double rostered on JV and varsity this winter.

“We’ll need some guys to step up,” added Termini. “We feel good about this group, and the biggest thing holding them back is experience. They had a good summer, and they have seen what has been accomplished over the past couple of years.

“They are anxious to get out there and make their mark.”

Termini was pleased with his team’s showing in scrimmages against Schuylkill Haven and North Schuylkill and Pocono Mountain East and Brandywine Heights, as he gave his team looks against squads they likely won’t see during the season.

The Blue Bombers will open Dec. 10 with Lehighton in the 177th meeting of Route 248 Trophy game in which the two teams have split the last four games. Palmerton leads the series, 115-61.

Termini has been appreciative of the support from assistant coaches Art George III, Brett Snyder, and Miguel Acevedo, all of whom have played integral roles in the program.

“These three guys are invaluable,” he said. “They are just so dedicated to the program. They are a big reason why we are where we are right now.”

As for his team’s current status, Termini isn’t concerned with their early showing.

“We don’t have to be perfect in December,” he stressed. “We have to be ready to compete in February and March.

“We have a lot of new faces, but we’ll sort it out.”

Palmerton boys basketball team members are, first row, from left, David Tworkowski, Kyle Sebelin and Jordan Almodovar. Second row, Chase Reph, Aiden Leister, Corey Serfass, Trace Stahler, Dalton Rumfield and Brayden Hosier. Third row, Nate Steinmentz, Kendall Robinson, Jacob Grammes, Justin Sebelin and Zach Anthony. Fourth row, Matt Machalik and David Figueroa. Coaches, clockwise from bottom right, head coach Ken Termini, Brett Snyder, Miguel Acevedo and Art George III. LYNN SHUPP/SPECIALTO THE TIMES NEWS