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Lehighton boys will rely on defense

An effective way for a basketball team to create offensive production is with its defense.

That’s exactly what Lehighton is looking to do as the Indians will bring an aggressive half court style of man-to-man defense to the hardwood this season.

“I think our roster is built to play some pretty good defense. I think this is the best defensively we’ve looked since I have been here; we’re rangy, we’re pretty athletic and we can get out in transition,” said Lehighton head coach Trevor Miller. “This is going to be a much different style team than we had last season.

“I think we can be much better in turning teams over in our man-to-man. We’re still going to play our 3-2 zone and also some other zone stuff when the match-up presents itself, but we’re going to be predominantly a man-to-man team.”

Lehightion is coming off an 11-10 campaign in 2020-21 and will need to replace a majority of its scoring.

Because of that, current seniors Jack Lorenz (6.4 ppg) and Mason Costenbader (5.4 ppg) will be expected to contribute on the offensive side of the ball right away. Lorenz proved himself to be effective in the transition game last season, while Costenbader has nice size at 6-2 and can bang inside, but also can step out and be a serviceable jump shooter.

“Those are the two guys coming back with the most experience, so we’re going to need them to take that next step and be assertive right from the start of the season,” said Miller. “They’re going to need to give us valuable minutes along with Brayden Lutz. I would say all three of those guys are going to see a lot of time on the floor for us.”

Others expected to make an impact include Tyler Rehrig, Luke Blauch, Nick Hawk and Thomas Hoke.

“We’re going to need inexperienced guys to step up and score for us. I think that’s why creating offense with our defense will be so important for us this season,” said Miller. “I think we have some guys that once they settle in can do some nice things. Rehrig, I think will be a nice three-point threat for us and Blauch will serve as our center when he rotates in. The nice thing about all of our guys is that they run the floor well, even our big guys.”

Lehighton will also be counting on some youngsters not only early on, but throughout the season to play significant minutes and play a significant role on the team as it has two freshman that could potentially crack the starting lineup. Freshmen Brayden Johnson and Joe Roth both played exceptionally well over the summer and impressed the Indians coaching staff.

“We feel real good about the freshman. They played really well for us during the summer and did some good things,” said Miller. “Johnson can shoot it and is getting acclimated to the speed of the varsity game and Roth is a really good athlete that is at full health after battling some injuries during his middle school playing days. I think they can really help us and they will need to get after it defensively as well.

“I like the way this team is constructed and our goals do not change. We want to get better every day and look to qualify for the district playoffs.”

Members of the 2021-22 Lehighton boys' basketball team include, back, from left, Assistant Coach Will White, Assistant Coach Jeff Miller, Luke Blauch, Mason Costenbader, Assistant Coach JC Dietz, Head Coach Trevor Miller; middle, Jack Lorenz, Thomas Hoke, Joe Roth, Brayden Lutz, Tyler Rehrig; front, Jonathan Porambo, Nicholas Hawk, Brayden Johnson, Zane Smith, Lucas Schatz. RICH SMITH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS