Nolehi to lean on senior leadership
Members of the 2018-19 Northern Lehigh boys basketball team include, front row, from left, Zach Moyer, Alec Berger and Grant Olewine; middle, Brandon Hess, Nick Seier, Preston Kemery and Nate Keller; back row, assistant coach Alex Lurch, Kole Richards, Edge Kroll, Carter Smith and head coach Jeff Miller. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Jeff Miller has confidence in the fact that his Northern Lehigh boys’ basketball team is in “good hands” this season.
The Bulldogs’ head coach usually had the ball in the hands of those he trusts most.
This season, Miller has one of the most reliable guard duos in Brandon Hess and Preston Kemery taking control of handling the rock up and down the floor.
“With the guard tandem of Preston and Brandon, of course we will rely on them heavily during the season,” Miller said. “Brandon being our leading scorer, and one of the leading scorers in the area as well as the league coming back, it’s a big plus for us.
“And then Preston, as our point guard, has gotten a lot stronger, able to go to the basket with ease and is shooting the ball a lot better. So, obviously, as our guards go, you know we will go.”
And Miller has the outmost faith that he can rely on a supporting cast of Nick Seier and Nate Keller to handle the duties inside the paint this season.
It’s evident why Miller has complete faith in those Bulldogs even before the season starts.
Hess, Kemery, Seier and Keller are all seniors, and the four of them beam 14 years of varsity experience between them. Hess and Kemery have started every single game for the Bulldogs since their sophomore season. Three out of the four saw action in 90 percent of the 23 games played last season.
Hess led the Bulldogs with 17.29 points per game (third in the Times News coverage area last season), while Kemery returns after scoring 8.41 ppg. a year ago. Hess, a Second Team Colonial League All-Star, led the Bulldogs with 40 three-pointers (top 10 in the TN area).
In the front court, Miller believes that Seier and Keller will handle themselves well regardless of the Bulldogs’ area of concern - a lack in heighth underneath the basket.
“We’re going to rely on them to rebound for us,” said Miller, who enters his 10th season as head coach and 12th with the program. “They might not get us a lot of offense, though. But, we’re just asking them to rebound for us and get up and down the floor.
“They both have the ability to beat the other team’s big men down the floor. And, that’s how we got to play because of our lack of height.”
Adding to the mix of helping the Bulldogs get back into the postseason after a quarterfinal exit last year are Zach Moyer (Jr.), Edge Kroll (Sr.), Carter Smith (Jr.), Cole Richards (Jr.), Grant Olewine (So.), AJ Berger (Jr.), and Ardit Mujovic (So.).
Miller intends to turn up the intensity a bit on the court.
“We’re going to pressure more,” Miller said. “We’re going to try and get up the floor a little quicker, pushing the ball so to speak. Between pushing the ball and defensively applying a little more pressure, we’re hoping that helps with our lack of size.”
Miller is hoping that by the end of the season, the hard work and dedication will pay off for this senior-laden team. If so, the Bulldogs might just find themselves back in the postseason.
“Our goals certainly don’t change much from year to year,” Miller said. “Qualify for the Colonial League playoffs. Qualify for districts.”