Ten area teams in quarterfinal round action
Marian’s Tyler Fritz lays up a shot in front of Lehighton defender Zach Hunsicker. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Ten Times News area basketball teams will have District 11 quarterfinal round games this week.
Boys Class 1A Quarterfinals
No. 5 Weatherly (7-15) vs. No. 4 Lincoln Leadership (7-13)
TIPOFF - Thursday, Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m. at Northwestern
COACHES - Weatherly: Corey Gerhart; Lincoln Leadership: Pernell Hosier
LEADING SCORERS – Weatherly: Scotty Zoscin (18.5), Antonio Colecio (9.7), Elijah Derr (7.7); Lincoln Leadership: Josh Gonzalez (16.3), Gilberto Rodriguez (13.6), Devin Wynder (10.3).
GAME NOTES ... Weatherly played Lincoln Leadership in the regular season. On Dec. 22, the Wreckers eked out a 71-69 victory over the Lions. Junior Josh Gonzalez had a big game for Lincoln Leadership in the regular season meeting ... Weatherly coach Corey Gerhart said doing a better job on Gonzalez will be a key. “He had 30 points against us,” Gerhart said. “We have to contain him a little bit better than what we did. Just try to keep them off-balance.” ... Weatherly began the year 4-3, but ended the season on a five-game losing skid .... It’s the Wreckers second consecutive district playoff berth. They lost to Nativity in last year’s first round.
QUOTABLE: “The kids are working hard. I was proud of them this year. We could have gotten a couple more wins, but back-to-back playoff appearances is something I’ll take, especially with the real young team we have. Hopefully we can make a run here in the playoffs.” – Weatherly head coach Corey Gerhart.
Girls Class 6A Quarterfinals
No. 5 Pleasant Valley (14-7) vs. No. 4 Parkland (14-8)
TIPOFF - Thursday, Feb. 21, 6 p.m. at Whitehall
COACHES – Pleasant Valley: Nadia Gauronsky; Parkland: Wes Spence
LEADING SCORERS – Pleasant Valley: Cameron Caffrey (13), Ashley Schwenck (6.9), Madison Rosenburg (6.6); Parkland: Clare Courter (11.7), Kassidy Stout (8.9), Lindsay Berger (8.7).
GAME NOTES ... Pleasant Valley faced Parkland once in the regular season. The two played on Jan. 19 at Parkland, with the Trojans prevailing, 55-40 ... The Bears are coming off one of the best performances of the season in a narrow quarterfinal round loss to eventual Eastern Pennsylvania Conference regular season and playoff champion Bethlehem Catholic. Bears junior Cameron Caffrey had a big game against Bethlehem Catholic, scoring 18 points ... This is Pleasant Valley’s fourth straight season in the district playoffs.
QUOTABLE ... “Parkland is very big, while we are more of a quick, athletic team. Hopefully we can have a better showing than we did the first time around. We got down pretty quickly in the first quarter, and then we battled back the rest of the game.” – Bears head coach Nadia Gauronsky.
Boys Class 2A Quarterfinals
No. 7 Marian (12-10) vs. No. 2 Executive Education (13-7)
TIPOFF - Friday, Feb. 22, 6 p.m. at Catasauqua
COACHES – Marian: John Patton; Executive Education: Ray Barbosa
LEADING SCORERS – Marian: Tyler Fritz (20.5), Brandon Sabulsky (11.1), Dante Agosti (8.8); Executive Education: Amari Mills (13.7), Jevin Muniz (13.7), Chico Whyte (9.4).
GAME NOTES ... Both teams have a pair of double-digit scorers that they run their offense through. For Marian, Fritz is the main perimeter threat while Sabulsky does his damage inside. For Executive Education Academy’, Mills and Muniz are part of a versatile and balanced attack ... Marian won four straight games to cap off the season. The Colts needed that late season run to earn their 14th consecutive District 11 playoff berth ... While Marian has a rich history of postseason success, including a D-11 title two years ago, this is Executive Education Academy’s first season fielding a scholastic basketball team ... A backlash over how EEA filled it’s roster with players who were at several other District 11 schools last season, resulted in most D-11 schools refusing to schedule them this year. Because of that, EEA’s schedule was comprised of primarily District 1 opponents. The lone D-11 opponent on their schedule was Lincoln Leadership, who EEA beat 85-43. Marian also played Lincoln Leadership and beat them, 66-64.
QUOTABLE: “We’re working on a lot of different things, Obviously, they’re a very talented, high-scoring team and they are also well-coached. So we’re preparing for just about anything Friday night.” – Marian head coach John Patton.
Boys Class 4A Quarterfinals
No. 5 No. Lehigh (15-7) vs. No. 4 Wilson (15-7)
TIP-OFF – Friday, Feb. 22 at Catasauqua High School, 7:30 p.m.
COACHES - Northern Lehigh: Jeff Miller; Wilson: Mike Glovas.
LEADING SCORERS - Northern Lehigh: Brandon Hess (16.43), Preston Kemery (13.87), Zach Moyer (8.48), Nate Keller (6.41), Nick Seier (6.29); Wilson: Robbie Swiatek (17.3 ppg), Derelle McKinney (9.9), Charbel Ghaleb (8.0).
GAME NOTES - The winner of this all-Colonial League matchup moves on to play either No. 1 seed Bethlehem Catholic or No. 8 seed Pine Grove in the semis ... Northern Lehigh and Wilson qualified for the CL playoffs, but both programs lost in the opening round ... It’s the second straight year the Bulldogs qualified for districts … Last year, the Bulldogs played in Class 3A …The last time Northern Lehigh won a district championship was 2007-08 ... The last time NL was in the PIAA State playoffs was 2012 … Northern Lehigh and Wilson played against each other on the last week of the regular season. The Bulldogs posted an 81-68 victory. In that game, the Bulldogs’ Brandon Hess (32 points) and Preston Kemery (27 points) both had hot hands, while so did the Warriors’ Robbie Swiatek (28 points) … Warriors’ junior forward Jihad Range did not play in that regular season CL game due to an injury … The Warriors have lots of height in Zachary Gillen (6-5), Jihad Range (6-3), Swiatek (6-3) and Ben Hindmarch (6-2) … Over its last 10 regular season games, NL has gone 8-2. In fact, since the calendar turned to 2019, the Bulldogs hold a 11-3 mark.
QUOTABLE - “We’re going to come out and continue to do what we have done most of the season. We were in districts last year. We were in the Colonial League playoffs this year. So, hopefully those playoff games have helped us. Obviously, the extra practice time we have gotten over the last two weeks will also help.” - Northern Lehigh head coach Jeff Miller.
Boys Class 4A Quarterfinals
No. 7 Jim Thorpe (9-13) vs. No. 2 ACC (15-7)
TIPOFF - Friday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. at Northampton High School.
COACHES - Jim Thorpe: Jason McElmoyle; ACC: Dennis Csensits.
LEADING SCORERS - Jim Thorpe: Nathan Rosahac (12.64), Zach Searfoss (8.05), James Adames (7.77), Caiden Hurley (6.55); ACC: Jayleen Green (11.4 at Catty), Nick Filchner (9.6), Chad Kratzer (7.9).
GAME NOTES ... The winner of this matchup moves on to play No. 3 seed Tamaqua or No. 6 seed Northwestern in the semis ... It’s the fourth straight year the Olympians have qualified for districts under McElmoyle, who is now in his fifth season with the program. That’s after missing five straight years prior to this run … In 16 district playoff appearance since 1991, Jim Thorpe has only moved past the opening round six times (’17, ’16, ’10, ’09, ’92, ’91) … Allentown Central Catholic qualified for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs, only to drop a quarterfinal round game to Emmaus … ACC moves down a class this season. A year ago, ACC made its mark in Class 5A, as it captured last year’s District gold with a 52-31 win over Bangor … Last season, Jim Thorpe bowed out in the opening round of districts to Tamaqua.
QUOTABLE - “We have seen them (on tape) a few times. Their guards (Filchner and Kratzner) are very good. So, we know it’s going to be a task. The guys are practicing hard and preparing hard. We have been in this situation before when we were the lower seed. Two years ago, we beat No. 3 Lehighton and No. 2 Salisbury to make it into the championship game. Our seniors were part of that team, so they know what it takes.” - Jim Thorpe head coach Jason McElmoyle.
Boys Class 4A Quarterfinals
No. 3 Tamaqua (15-7) vs. No. 6 N’western (12-10)
TIP-OFF – Friday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. at Martz Hall.
COACHES - Tamaqua: Jim Barron; Northwestern: Billy Hallman
LEADING SCORERS – Tamaqua: Braydon Knoblauch (17.05), Lucas Gregoire (16.55), Michael Bonetsky (8.09), Derian Stianche (7.18), Devon Zehner (5.41); Northwestern: Sam Yadush (14.59), Devin Thomas (13.55), Deven Bollinger (9.86), Sam Seyfried (5.18), Sean McCann (5.14).
GAME NOTES... Tamaqua and Northwestern scrimmaged early on this season, but didn’t face one another during the regular season. Barron said that even though his Blue Raiders are the higher seed, he feels it is an “even” matchup … The winner moves on to play the winner of No. 2 seed Allentown Central Catholic vs. No. 7 seed Jim Thorpe game in the semis ... Both Northwestern and Tamaqua just missed out on playing in their respective league playoffs. The Tigers missed the Colonial League playoffs by a single game, while the Blue Raiders missed a wild card spot in the Schuylkill League by two games … It’s the third straight year in the district playoffs for the Blue Raiders, and sixth time in the last seven years … It’s the second straight year for the Tigers after going nine consecutive years without qualifying for the postseason … Tamaqua made the state playoffs with a win in the district consolation game a year ago. Northwestern hasn’t reached states since 1998 ... The teams had two common foes this season in Lehighton and Kutztown. The Blue Raiders earned wins over Lehighton (69-46, 62-46) and Kutztown (60-55). The Tigers also earned a win against Lehighton (60-52) but lost a 59-58 decision to Kutztown … Both coaches are excited to be playing this contest at the “Mecca” — Martz Hall in Pottsvile, commenting on what a great location it is for a high school basketball game.
QUOTABLE - “We’re excited. We’re not looking into the future. We know if we win one game, it already qualifies us for the state playoffs again. So, this is a real big one for us. It’s either win or you go home or win and play for an extra two weeks. We’re anxious to play for Friday,” - Tamaqua head coach Jim Barron.
QUOTABLE - “We got over the hump by making it to districts last year. Now, we feel like this is where we should be. But we can’t be satisfied just qualifying. We want to compete. So, that’s where getting in for the second year in a row has now changed our mindset. We’re not happy just to be in. We want to go and win a basketball game.” - Northwestern head coach Billy Hallman.
Girls Class 4A Quarterfinals
No. 4 Northwestern (20-4) vs. No. 5 ACC (14-8)
TIP OFF: Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. at Northern Lehigh High School
COACHES: Northwestern - Chris Deutsch; ACC - Mike Kopp
LEADING SCORERS: Northwestern - Emily Sekerak (11.00), Sage Christopher (10.96), Sydney Sevrain (10.33), Alexandra Lister (6.88), Kailyn Jones (3.67); ACC - Jess Davis (13.3), Emily Vaughan (8.9), Julia Roth (6.6), Lizzy Szmigiel (3.6), Maria Traglia (3.1).
GAME NOTES ... The Tigers and Vikettes did not face each other this season, but Northwestern’s Deutsch has collected eight tapes of his opponent ... The teams have had three common opponents. Both teams beat Whitehall (NW def. Whitehall 51-42, ACC def. Whitehall 46-24 and 45-34); they both lost to Notre Dame of Green Pond (NW - 46-29, ACC - 34-31); and both teams beat Emmaus (NW def. Emmaus 50-34, while ACC def. Emmaus 50-25 and 42-25) ... The Tigers finished their regular season on a five-game win streak, and entered the Colonial League playoffs as the tournament’s No. 3 seed. Northwestern defeated Moravian Academy, 61-29, in the quarters, before bowing out to Southern Lehigh in the semifinals ... Northwestern has qualified for the District 11 tournament for the eighth straight season ... Central, as the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference tournament’s seventh seed, lost in the quarterfinals to Northampton ... Northwestern and Central Catholic faced each other last in the 2016-17 District 11 Class 4A semifinals, when Central’s Diana Kocsis hit a buzzer-beater to move her team on to the final ... Deutsch is concerned with Central’s top scorers in Jess Davis and Emily Vaughan, who are both good shooters. ... With three teams moving on to the state tournament in Class 4A, both sides are aware of this game’s importance.
QUOTABLE - “There’s a lot on the line in this game, because with a win here, you’re guaranteed two more games. In my opinion, this is the toughest bracket to play in out of the six classes, and every team needs to be ready to play.” - Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch.
Girls Class 4A Quarterfinals
No. 2 Jim Thorpe (24-0) vs. No. 7 Wilson (13-10)
TIPOFF: Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. at Lehighton High School.
COACHES: Jim Thorpe - Rob Kovac; Wilson - Sondrine (Glovas) Gutierrez
LEADING SCORERS: Jim Thorpe - Skyler Searfoss (18.88), Leila Hurley (12.54), Olivia Smelas (11.79), Natalia Richards (5.75), Kristen Scott (4.21); Wilson - Ashley Errico (16.3), Almond Goodman (9.4), Sydney Gillen (8.5), Ashley Crozier (3.8), Brielle Reidinger (3.8).
GAME NOTES ... The two teams will be facing off for the first time this season, with the Olympians playing in the Schuylkill League and the Warriors competing in the Colonial League. However, they did scrimmage prior to the start of the season ... Thorpe and Wilson had three common opponents in Pen Argyl, Palmerton and Mahanoy Area - both sides handled Pen Argyl and Palmerton well, but Wilson dropped a 63-30 decision to Mahanoy, while Thorpe defeated the Bears 53-51 in the Schuylkill League title tilt. .. Wilson was victorious in three of its final four regular season contests, before entering into the Colonial League playoffs as the tournament’s No. 5 seed (lost to Bangor, 44-37) ... Jim Thorpe is on a 24-game winning streak, and remained undefeated after taking the Schuylkill League championship for the first time in school history this past Saturday ... The Olympians top three scorers — Searfoss, Smelas and Hurley — are all freshmen ... Jim Thorpe coach Rob Kovac is impressed with Wilson guards Ashley Errico and Sydney Gillen ... Jim Thorpe has made the district playoffs in three of the last four seasons, but has never made the state tournament ... Jim Thorpe only has two district victories in school history (2002, 2012) ... Searfoss has had a remarkable debut season. In addition to leading the team in scoring she also averages 5.6 rebounds per game, 3.7 assists and 3.7 steals. Smelas is a strong inside threat with 9.7 rebounds. Hurley is the team’s leading outside threat with 44 triples.
QUOTABLE - “We’re very excited to begin the district tournament with the school and community creating an exciting atmosphere for us. We can’t wait to get back out on the hardwood and play Jim Thorpe basketball against a talented Wilson team.” - Jim Thorpe head coach Rob Kovac.
Girls Class 4A Quarterfinals
No. 3 Tamaqua vs. No. 6 Pine Grove
TIP OFF: Saturday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. at Martz Hall
COACHES: Tamaqua - Erika (Barron) Davis; Pine Grove - Bill Evans
LEADING SCORERS: Tamaqua - Emma Kuczynski (21.48), Emily Titus (9.48), Jamie Zuber (5.96), Jen Frederickson (5.87).
GAME NOTES ... Tamaqua and Pine Grove met twice during the regular season . On Dec. 18, the Raiders won, 53-35, and on Jan. 17, they won, 51-37 ... Tamaqua finished the regular season 19-3, with losses to only Jim Thorpe (twice) and Mahanoy Area, and ended the regular season on a five-game win streak ... The Raiders, who finished with a league mark of 12-2, moved on to the Schuylkill League playoffs, where they dropped a semifinal decision to Mahanoy .... The Cardinals, who finished with a league mark of 7-7, started the season 2-6, before winning seven of their next eight games ... This is the third straight season that the Raiders are competing in the district playoffs ... Kuczynski is having another brilliant season, adding 10.6 rebounds a contest, 3.2 assists and 4.5 steals in addition to her team-leading scoring average ... According to Davis, the two previous matchups between the teams were close, despite the final scores of each game.
QUOTABLE - “Offensively, we need to have good balance in scoring and take care of the ball. Defensively, we match up pretty well with Pine Grove, but we’ll have to play good fundamental defense and hopefully generate offense off of our defense. This is a new season for everyone, and they won’t be an easy match-up.” - Tamaqua head coach Erika Davis.