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Talent returns to Blue Bomber roster

For close to a decade, the Palmerton boys’ basketball players have continued to buy into Ken Termini’s coaching style.

And don’t expect that to change this season, as Termini enters his eight season as head coach with plenty of talent returning on his roster.

It’s a successful style of play that has developed the Bombers basketball program into Colonial League and District 11 contenders’ year-in and year-out.

Last year was no different, as the Bombers capped the season with a 20-8 overall record (13-4 Colonial League).

The only downfall from the season was they fell a game short of the championship contest in both leagues and districts.

Entering the 2023-2024 season, the Bombers are without the presence of Chase Reph, Kendall Robinson, and Justin Sebelin due to graduation.

Still, Termini has the luxury of two First Team All-League selections back in his lineup, with senior guards Brayden Hosier (17.07 points per game) and Matt Machalik (16.39 ppg) back for the blue-and-white for one more season.

Fellow seniors Zach Anthony (F), Jacob Grammes (F), Aiden Leister (G) and Trace Stahler (F) also return to give the Bombers six experienced players.

Last year, Machalik (1,000-point scorer) and Hosier (close to reaching 1,000 points) finished as the team’s top two scorers.

For as talented as that duo is, the Bombers will need others to step up to fill the voids of Reph (7.04) and Robinson (5.18), who were next best in the scoring column.

“I think we have a program where guys are working their way up, learning our system, learning our way to play and even when we lose key guys, like Chase, Kendall and Justin Sebelin, we have guys that are just ready to step right in, and are hungry to step right in,” said Termini, who needs eight more wins to become the sixth in PHS history with 100.

“In addition, there are a lot of young guys that are going to be pushing our older guys. I mean obviously like guys like Machalik, Grammes and Hosier, those guys are pretty much entrenched as starters. But there are other guys that are going to be pushing people, and it’s going to be interesting. We’re going to be deep.”

Those Bombers looking to break the starting lineup include senior Filippo Scuccato (foreign exchange student), juniors Corey Serfass (G) and Mason George (F), as well as sophomores Jason Carelli (G), Cameron Pengelly (F), Brady Reph (F), Logan Anthony (F) and Beau Stahler (F, injured).

There are 21 players on the varsity roster, and Termini said a combination of depth, experience, and the ability to execute serve as the team’s strength.

“Having a lot of bodies is great, but if they’re not experienced or can’t execute, then it’s limiting,” he said.

Termini wants every one of his players to know they play a key role each time they enter the gymnasium for practice, or on game day when they slide on their Bomber jersey.

“The biggest thing we need to worry about is because we have so many dedicated, talented, hard-working kids, that you can’t play 14 kids on varsity,” Termini said. “They all can have varsity uniforms. They all may get in certain situations. But guys are going to have to accept their role, and they’re going to have to understand no matter what role they’re in, some day down the road very quickly they may be in a bigger role ... it’s okay to want more, but you’ve got to embrace your role and continue to work hard.”

Termini said the Bombers’ goals are the same as any other team.

“Everybody wants to win their Christmas Tournament,” he said. “Everybody wants to win their league. Everybody wants to win districts. Everybody wants to make states. Everybody wants to beat their rivals.”

Termini stressed that even if his Bombers were playing cornhole, they’re still going to want to win because “that’s just the way they’re wired.”

“I think what separates this group is that this group is driven from high goals for a long time,” Termini said. “The only thing this group is afraid of is mediocrity. They would rather aim high and fail than to except mediocrity. So, I think with this group, with the experiences we have had in the past, what we’re more focused on right now is the behaviors that it’s going to take us to achieve some of those goals.

“Like being a great teammate. Being a great student. Being a great communicator. Someone who embraces his roles. Someone who celebrates someone else’s success. If we embrace those behaviors and carry them over in the things we do on the court ... a lot of those goals are going to just take care of themselves.”

Members of the 2023-24 Palmerton boys basketball team include, front row from left, Beau Stahler, Mason George, Logan Anthony, Cameron Pengelly, Brady Reph, Jay Carelli, Corey Serfass; back row, head coach Ken Termini, Filippo Scuccato, Aiden Leister, Zack Anthony, Jacob Grammes, Trace Stahler, Matt Machalik, Brayden Hosier and assistant coach Art George III. LYNN SHUPP/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS.