Undefeated in the event, Allen capped off the day with a higjh octane 54-45 win over Paul VI in a game that saw Martin go down and with under two minutes left Williams came down off a mammoth
dunk, took two steps and cringed to the floor.
The anguish displayed indicated a possible season ending injury but Allen coach Doug Snyder was unconcerned. That's because Williams only had leg crams the same reason why Martin went down.
Ex-Hurricane Kaylin West to play at IMG Academy
Normally the Kachelries twins shoot the opponents lights out with 3s but on Saturday they attacked the basket with reckless abandon.
Emmaus coach Steve Yoder is glad he's going to another war with the twins.
For Allen it was a second straight defeat after playing excellent basketball.
"They ended our season last year in this round and beat us twice and this year we beat them twice," Yoder said. "I always laugh when I talk with Doug. I say. 'It's Allen and Emmaus and it's going to go down to the wire,' and of course it did.
"There is nobody I respect more than Doug. What he does for his kids and his program and the way they play. They are the class of the Valley and to have an opportunity to play them so much and beat them a couple times means a lot to me and our staff."
While that may be unexplained Csensits acknowledges the great three years Jennings had since transferring from Allen.
"He had a great career,"Csensits said. "I said to him that you've got nothing to hang your head at. It's been fun to watch his game evolve over the last two years because he went from being a shooter to being able to score in a lot of ways. It was fun to watch, to be a part of."
"When we've lost before, we've come back and played well so we'll see what happens," Spence said. "Each game is its own individual animal and you can take things from every experience you have.
Being in a champions game is a great environment to be in going into districts. You get the feeling of pressure against a good opponent. That's good experience going forward."
Becahi's DeAndre Tillett wins for
coach, brother Ray Barbosa
By Andre D Williams
Bethlehem Catholic senior DeAndre Tillett was
feeling it against crosstown rival Liberty, kinda of like his brother and Golden Hawks coach Ray Barbosa used to feel it.
Playing with the same flare as his older brother played with when he played at Allen against Allentown rivals, Tillett lit up Liberty for a game-high 19 points in leading the Hawks to an important 53-46 victory in a matchup of Eastern Pennsylvania Conference teams.
Because of Tillett's upbeat play and mighty
inside work by Kweku Dawson (11 points, 14 rebounds) Liberty (11-8, 8-3) seemed in an uphill battle all night.
It was their Senior Night and I thought they had more energy than us," Liberty coach Chad Landis said.
Playing for their EPC lives the Hawks (13-8, 6-7) led at the start of each quarter, led by Tillett, who was unopposed at the point because Liberty senior Jeremy Johnson violated school policy and was suspended for the game.
"He goofed up in school and couldn't play tonight," Landis said.
The way Tillett played it might have been tough for anybody to keep pace with him.
"He played well," Barbosa said. "He's been
playing well lately. He's going into games more focused and he's our leader. Like any leader Tillett only needed one signature moment to get him going. That happened in the second half.
"I was feeling it in the second half," Tillett said. "I didn't start shooting 3s until the second half. I hit one in the third quarter and then I hit another. I think I hit three." From the time he entered the gym Tillett had an edge about him and he unleashed his rage on, "I was real energized," Tillett said. "It was my last home game, senior night. I was just real energized, crosstown rival. I was just real excited for it." Nothing compares to coming into the gym everyday and being coached by your idol and older brother who brought the pride back into Bethlehem Catholic basketball
"I think he did really well," Tillett said. "We were 3-19 last season and now we're going into the EPC and we've made districts. That's my brother and not many people get this opportunity so I just take advantage of it."
Big Shot Cam shoots Liberty to 66-65 over Allen
Andre D Williams
It was a stage he had never been on before and Liberty's 6-foot-7 junior Cameron Hoffman handled it with poise.
And in the pivotal final seconds Hoffman faked, losing Allen's Tyrese Martin and then lined up and hit the shot of his life, a 3-pointer that lifted Liberty to a stunning 66-65 road win over in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference matchup.
It was Hoffman's third 3 of the night, capping off a career high 29-point, 11-rebound performance.
"I always shoot with confidence," said Hoffman, who's Liberty's leading scorer at 13 ppg. "I shoot and I think it's going in. It's just a matter of it going in or not."
The play was called for Hoffman and Big Shot Cam dropped it through the nets with 4 seconds left.
"Well we called ball screen for that and told Jeremy [Johnson] to get the ball to the pop guy and we knew that Cam was hot," Liberty coach Chad Landis said. "It didn't work quite as well as we thought. Cam had to do a little more to get that open look but yeah we were going for that shot and Cameron was good all night."
Better than Allen coach Doug Snyder had ever seen.
"He killed us on the boards in the first half and he hit three 3s in the second half so he did it inside and outside," Snyder said.
The victory is sort of misleading as to the type of seasons Liberty (8-8, 6-3) and Allen (12-6, 7-3) are living or is it?
"Our issues have been mental, not physical and we've just got to get smarter," Snyder said.
Liberty now has a new outlook on the season and Hoffman figures heavily into the plans.
Hoffman was definitely feeling good when he canned back-to-back 3s for a Hurricanes 56-55 lead in the fourth quarter with both teams exchanging baskets.
"It was a big game but there's more of that to come," Hoffman said.
Landis hopes so.
"We knew Cameron was capable of that," Landis said. "He's got a full complement of offensive skills. It was just a matter of him putting it all together on one night. He had shown signs of all the individual parts but tonight he put it all together and man did we need him too."
As the season is now entering the final stretch, there are several intriguing situations on the horizon.
-Ray Barbosa has done a very nice job leading Bethlehem Catholic. The Golden Hawks have played in several close contests and have been on both sides of the ending. These close games should give them valuable experience as we are sure they will be in more tight affairs during the playoff run. Beca has some favorable matchups this week and should build some momentum.
-Stroudsburg is starting to make their traditional January run. This program routinely starts slow, and picks up momentum after the new year. After a strong victory over Pocono Mt West, the Mounties are in excellent position to qualify for the EPC18 playoffs. Coach Baker states, "We are finding our niche and figuring out our identity in this process. I believe we are peaking at the right time and we truly have put ourselves in position where we can contend for the division title."
-Speaking of the EPC18 playoffs, there is a logjam for the potentially last three playoffs spot. Parkland, Emmaus, Pocono Mt West, Stroudsburg, and Central Catholic are in solid positions to qualify. The last three spots are up for grabs. Bethlehem Catholic, Freedom, Liberty, Whitehall, Nazareth, and Northampton all have an opportunity to reach the playoffs. There are several games against each other so things will certainly figure themselves out, however i'm predicting Bethlehem Catholic, Freedom and Liberty to qualify.
-Lookout for these pivotal guards to impact their teams in the last two weeks of the regular season:
"The Microwave" Micaiah Fraction- explosive combo guard that can heat up instanteously. Expect his role to increase as Beca pushes for playoffs.
Nick King- Freedom's swingman has shifted to the point guard position and it seems to be an instant hit. It makes plenty of sense to keep the ball in his hands as often as possible.
"The Catalyst" Lucas Hudson- is playing at an exceptional level and making plays for the Spartans. He may need to raise his play another notch to Coach Tannous squad in the hunt for a Colonial League birth.
Jack Reichenbach- the transfer student is starting to fill in nicely for a very good Salisbury team. If the Falcons are going to continue their winning ways, the super soph will have a big part in it.
Shon Wilson- The Stroudsburg's wing will dictate how good the Mounties can be. When he performs to his capabilities, his team is capable of beating most District 11 teams (22 points in win over PM West).
Jay Jay Winslow- Jay Jay has the athletic ability to lockdown any opposing player in the league. He also shows the confidence to make big plays in tough situations.
Rich Baker: Living the Dream
Dr. Martin Luther King stated in his ever famous “I Have a Dream” speech, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Rich Baker, head coach of his alma mater Stroudsburg High School, seems to be living out King’s dream, as well as his own.
It’s often a dream of a former star player to come back home and coach at their alma mater. Rich Baker’s road to coaching started as an all star guard at Stroudsburg under legendary coach Shawn Thornton where he won a District XI championship. Baker continued his career at Rider University, but later transferred and graduated from East Stroudsburg University. He burst on the scene on Brad Pensyl’s Pocono Mt West staff and later was granted an opportunity as head coach at East Stroudsburg South. Family and work obligations forced him into taking break from coaching until his high school coach, Shawn Thornton, resigned last year. It was a no brainer for Baker to evaluate the option of returning home.
My journey as a head basketball coach to Stroudsburg has been tremendous. I have the incredible support from administration and our community. I find it hard to believe that their support stems from my ethnic background. I truly believe that we as a staff have done a great job getting the kids to respond and buy into the direction we felt the program needs to take.
Coaching at the school where your name hangs on their championship and scoring banners can be a pressure filled obligation. Most would also consider that by adding the status as one of only two black head coaches in the EPC18 would bring on more pressure—not Coach Baker.
I don't believe there are any extra pressures to being a minority coach. Every coach’s job is to develop and teach our young men (white,black, brown,green) on and off the court discipline. We strive to do it the right way in which there is a universal way to teaching the game. I don't believe that my success or this team’s success at the end of the season will warrant hiring of minority coaches. I believe in the process of hiring the qualified candidates based on experience and knowledge, not on race.
Basketball has become the second most popular sport in the world. Players from all nationalities love the game and hoops is now a common ground where people from various countries can come together with the same goal. Basketball is a game played by many minorities. Is a coach who is more affluent dealing with diversity a better suited coach? Should former players of diverse cultures be given more of an inside track to coach the many minority players?
I feel that we do have a mass majority of minority players playing the game, but there is diversity within this game that has made it so special across the world. With the exception of soccer, basketball has been the sport that is known worldwide and is being played in every country. Are there certain rapports that I may be able to build with minority players that other coaches couldn't? Absolutely, but there are also advantages of me being young and able to relate to my players in other ways as well such as music, movies, apparel, certain trends, etc. . I truly believe the process works and hiring of the better candidates regardless of your color is the best way to hire. There's a big difference that needs to be noted here. Playing the game and teaching the game is not the same. We have guys that where great players with tons of talent, but to teach is such a different thing. I think that's the biggest discrepancy on this issue. Would it be nice to see more black coaches absolutely, but that does not discredit the coaches who are already coaching.
Rich Baker certainly seems to be living out Dr. King’s dream to the fullest. He’s a man full of character and equality for all races, not just blacks. Baker is fully aware of his stature and holds no regrets about anything.
I am a proud black male that was raised in a community, and I will never forget who I am or where I came from. I am fortunate to be able to represent and mentor our young men in ways that are universal in culture. I take pride in my craft and teaching my kids both on and off the court conduct. Stroudsburg is one of the most diverse places you will ever visit. I was blessed to be exposed to other cultures in races growing up. I am just trying to do my part to help my community and the kids in it.
Rich Baker, WE are blessed to have you represent Dr. King’s Dream.
Bethlehem Catholic (9-5, 3-4) is enjoying a much better season because the Hawks are pushing the tempo, strapping down on defense and riding Dawson inside the paint.
"Justin Paz, the freshman played well down the stretch," Barbosa said. "He controlled the tempo. Tony Jones, a sophomore who hasn't played that much, controlled the tempo and played well. So we've got numerous guys stepping up and they played well today and helped us pull out the win."
"We're athletic," Stellato said. "We get up and down the floor and we have to utilize our athleticism to get a few more offensive rebounds. I have an identity in mind. I don't know if they're playing to that role yet. We've got some guys who didn't play varsity basketball last season and they've got to get up with the speed of the game and once they get that down we better damn have an identity, getting up in people's faces and locking down as we did in the first half."
It had been a matcjhup of big vs. small, fast vs not as fast and speed won out. Liberty big men 6-8 Andrew Hudak (eight points) and 6-7 Cameron Hoffman (10 points) didn't score enough or keep pace.
2019 Justin Rockmore of Dieruff is the third of
Rockmore's sons to make a splash on a Lehigh Valley court. Tyler (Mac) was the first and Dante, a senior at Dieruff just 220 points shy of 1,000 points for his career, is the second. Justin will star
on the Huskies JV squad this season and may see some varsity time. We were impressed with Justin’s ability to take it to fearlessly take to the paint.
"As a father the experience has been great," Rockmore said. "Watching your kids do well on and off the court is very gratifying.”
7th Annual Muhlenberg Shootout
By Andre D
Prime talent invaded the Lehigh Valley recently for the seventh annual
Talking about guys who you'll likely see in the
NBA one day, like Nick Richards, a 7-footer from The Patrick School, who already has an NBA body and he's still in high school. Muhlenberg coach Scott McClary deserves much props for
assembling that much talent in one gym. "We tried real hard to get a mix of all levels," said McClary, who had ex-Parkland star Nick Rindock, ex-Freedom star Nigel Long and ex-Central Catholic
strongman Jean Lee Baez and other Muhlenberg players volunteering their time. "They're all varsity teams but we want to get a good mix of local teams, a good mix of out-of-town teams and our goal is
to get all 32 teams to play three games and matchup to whatever level they are." The result was Goliath vs. Goliath in some games, like the St. Pat's vs. Coastal Academy. Richards, who's got a long
list of school's, blocked a Coastal 3-point attempt to preserve victory.
"I usually do that a couple times a game," said Richards, who has been
offered by UCLA, Kansas, Stanford, N.C. State, Pitt, SMU and Syracuse. And about how he got so strong Richards said, "Pushups. However many I can do in a day." Richards really is a man-child, boasting unbelievable athleticism to be so doggone big.
"St. Pat's, St. Anthony's and Paul VI which has been here every year and Coastal Academy were the four most talented teams here but there were some really good teams even beyond them," McClary said. "Those are guys that you are going to see playing at major colleges and in some cases, beyond college."
St. Pat's also had 6-10 Bul Ajang (offers from Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Washington, Auburn and Pittsburgh), 7-1 Buay Koka and 6-0 Jamir Harris (offers from Seton Hall, Alabama, Rutgers, USC, Creighton, Minnesota).
Could you imagine Parkland trying to matchup with St. Pat's?
Impossible, right? You can't teach size. But what the Lehigh Valley
does have is sparkling shooters like Zay Jennings of Central Catholic and Emmaus' David Kachelries. Jennings, still nursing a bum ankle and Kachelries both put on shows,
displaying their jumpers and quickness. Central Catholic and Emmaus were winners as was Allen with a lean and more focused Talek Williams, who flashed dunks and an ability to dribble and find his teammates.
"They did really well," McClary said. "I'm not permitted to name any names in the
media because they are all considered prospects but I like bringing in the out-of-town teams so local teams can see that level of basketball but I also like bringing in the out-of-town teams so they can see our level of basketball in the Lehigh Valley."
Nick Richards (2017 The Patrick School) Richards is an incredible defender that protects the paint at a high level. Continuously offensive players had difficulty making any baskets while Richards was probing. Offensively he showed the ability to finish of the many nice passes from his teammates.
Jamir Harris (2016 The Patrick School) Harris proved why he is major conference guard. We really liked his defensive approach and his ability to make key plays down the stretch.
Jagan Mosley (2016 St Anthony) Committed to Georgetown, Jagan is a dazzling ball handler who's going to Hoyas-land sporting athleticism and a high motor. "My physicality, my athleticism and my will to win," Mosley said is what he's taking to Georgetown. His father was a track and field star, and Mosley is following his pops regime. Mosley was most impressive as a team leader as represented himself well on the court and on the bench.
VJ King (2016 Paul VI) The Louisville commit used his patent pull up jumper all afternoon. His long frame for a guard makes this move virtually unstoppable. King showed his versatility by handling point guard duties and setting up his teammates.
Jake Kuhn (2017 St Maria Goretti) Kuhn is a marksman with nice size for a wing- 6’5. Jake was impressive versus St Anthony where he almost led Goretti to an upset win by stroking 6 three pointers. Kuhn continued to impress in his following game by exclusively attacking the basket. Kuhn certainly proved to be one of the most impressive players in the entire shootout
David Kachelries (2017 Emmaus) Boasts offers from Holy Cross, Lafayette & Brown - A point guard with a fearless mentality, David has a first-step move that often loses the defender. He rolled up high numbers in each game."I've been working on my shot, my mid-range game and my pull-up," David said. "Near the end of last season my shot was off. Being the point guard I distribute the ball a lot."
Talek Williams (2017 Allen) Williams was electric throughout the afternoon portion of the event. He did his usual by dazzling the crowd with multiple high rising dunks; however his game is improving in other aspects. Williams was active in the passing lanes defensively, and made some eye popping passes for easy finishes.
Tyrese Martin (2017 Allen) Tyrese is a prospect that continues to improve in every outing. The 6’4 wing is an outstanding shooter, but he impressed this afternoon with his willingness to attack defenders at the rim.
RJ Blakney (2019 St Maria Goretti) RJ was the biggest difference maker as a freshman at the event. The lanky forward was very active. He banged inside with the older, stronger players; but also was a very tough matchup for perimeter players because of his length. Blakney is certainly a prospect to evaluate for the next 4 years.
Max Mahoney (2016 Ridge) Headed to Boston University carrying an all-around game
with him. This chiseled player is like a coach on the floor. "If everybody out on the floor is playing well then that will open me up for some individual matchups," Mahoney said. His coach stresses the importance of being fit.
Kyle Stout (2016 Parkland) After battling some injuries over the Summer, it was great to see the Lafayette commit back on the court. Stout showed his all around game by being a strong rebounder and using his length to defend multiple positions. Do not get it confused however; the primary weapon of destruction is his lethal jump shot.
Central Catholic senior Zay Jennings looked in total control of the Vikings’ offense. Playing with younger players, Jennings directed and led the Vikes to a 3-0 day.
All 2017 players- Central Catholic’s (Jay Vaughan, Kevin Kern, Shackyll Dezonie, Dat Lambert, and Aiden Ellwood), Liberty’s Alex Serrano, and Immaculata’s Jared Chambliss appeared very mature and certainly gained valuable experience as freshmen. They all had exceptional moments throughout the day.
Freedom transfer Tyler Muniz produced from the perimeter. Back to Freedom after a year at Bethlehem Catholic, Muniz looked comfortable and impactful. 2017 Nick King continues to prove he is one of the best juniors in the area. His all around game was on full display for the Patriots.
Northampton’s Morgan Heffelfinger displayed a workman’s attitude and good athletic ability in a win over Southern Lehigh.
East Stroudsburg North seems to be a team on the rise. They played aggressive and seemed to always be on the attack. Really liked the efforts of 2017 6’4 Darin Bellinger.
Hooprootz Lehigh Valley Skillcase
By Andre D Williams
Basketball players from the 5th to 10th grades will have the
opportunity to learn and be coached up.
It's going down from 8:30am--5pm in the second annual Hooprootz Lehigh
Valley Skillcase event at Dieruff High. The event is making its third straight year in Pennsylvana after
opening up in Montgomeryville. "They are getting three of the best basketball trainers around in
Marty Washington (Pro Skills Trainer) whose founder has trained Kobe Bryant and more," event organizer and Wall-to-Wall president Chuck Rockmore said. "As well as D1 workouts, the premier basketball trainers, so the kids will get good training and it should be some real good talent all levels when it comes to game time."
Oh yes there will be competition after guess speakers pump up the players. The guess speakers are Dieruff all-time leading scorer and current top assistant coach at East Stroudsburg University Anthony Ross and former 16-year Morning Call sports reporter and current lehighvalleybasketballrankings.com senior writer Andre Williams. Williams will speak about his rich history in basketball and about his
miraculous recovery from a major stroke five years ago. With basketball practices set to open soon this is an event people shouldn't miss. It's the type of event that basketball junkie Rockmore
didn't have the priviledge of attending growing up because nobody organized it as he's done.
"When I was growing up I went to the Lehigh Valley Big 5 and that was cool but no they didn't have any events like this or we just didn't know about them," Rockmore said.
Rockmore, who in his Wall-to-Wall organization caters to under priviledged kids, handling attittudes as welll as talent, poor as well as wealthy and he still finds a way to win games, will be inducted into the Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 21. His passion for the sport is limitless.
"Basketball is a passionate sport with so many life qualities," Rockmore said. "You have to love it.
SCBL Season VI
Player of the Week:
Isaiah Tyler ‘20
Jayden Walsh ‘20
(East Penn SD)
Recap: The regular season is over and the single elimination playoffs for the top 4 teams are set to begin this Sunday, October 25th. The Lehigh squad is the top seed with only one lost, while parity is definitely apparent with the other 3 seeds all at 3-2. Basically it’s the SCBL’s NCAA division version of the NFL’s NFC east. Meaning they all beat up on each other and you can throw records out the window when they meet. After this Sunday two teams will be heading to the 6th Annual SCBL championship. While two teams will be finishing up a very productive fall basketball season and resting up for their winter tryouts which are starting soon. #fallbballmatters.
SCBL Season VI
Player of the Week:
Sam Iorio ‘17
Terrance Noonan ‘16
SCBL Season VI (Week 4)
Mark Swedberg 12pts
Thomas Perrun 10pts
Michigan State 67
Kianoosh Mohadass 15pts
Julian DeJesus 21pts
Allen Young 20pts
Abel Saft 20pts
Player of the Week:
Kianoosh Mohadass ‘19
Allen Young ‘19
Charles Ervin 22pts
AC Kelly 17pts
Shack Dezonie 20pts
Jake Bartholomew 24pts
Dat Lambert 25pts
Joey White 27pts
Co-Players of the Week:
Joey White ‘16
Jake Bartholomew ‘18
SCBL Season VI (Week 3)
Kiaeem Comegys 12pts
Devon Boyko 21pts
Michigan State 65
John Blackledge 21pts
Chad Kratzer 11pts
Nick Filchner 15pts
Jevin Muniz 15pts
(Both of Lehigh)
Chris Dietrich 14pts
Recap: Week 3, although we were bracing for hurricane Joaquin since Thursday/Friday, no one could prepare for the storm that would be week 3 in the SCBL. The NCAA division got it poppin early with 3 sets of high intensity games. Villanova coached by former NBA & overseas pro Dallas Comegys, took the win over the Michigan Wolverines. Nova is a very well coached team and always plays the way Roman Catholic grad Comegys instructs them to on both ends. Expect Coach Mark Crable’s Michigan squad to bounce back next week. The undefeated MSU Spartans, coached by former Rider guard Jamil Newsome had their first taste of defeat in OT. The always tough Princeton Tigers coached by Craig Luska, DeSales graduate came away with the 66-65 victory. In the final contest of the NCAA division pitted Lehigh versus the emerging Georgetown squad. Georgetown was thinking upset all game and played their best game of the season against the undefeated Lehigh team. But in the end the Hoyas fell to the backcourt play of the Lehigh. The SCBL also would like to thank Mr. Andrew Johnson, Athletic Director of LCCC for coming to speak with the kids. #fallbballmatters
Talek Williams 16pts
Jake Bartholomew 14pts
J’von “JJ” Winslow 17pts
Zay Jennings 32pts
Justin Paz 23pts
Carlos Gutierrez 18pts
Recap: The NBA Division started out with the Knicks sneaking past the scary Lakers with their size, tenacity on defense and the coaching of Tyrone Wright. But the Knicks possess a two headed monster in the front court with Talek Williams and Tyrese Martin of Allen. The Lakers with Dyiel Stewart (Allen) and Jake Bartholomew (Parkland) along with others are a pretty formidable too. This looked like the Lakers would close it out but the Knicks held on to remain unblemished. In the 6th overtime game of the season the Cavs and the Spurs went toe to toe almost literally a few times. This game had the feel of Mayweather fight with some notables going head to head. The Cavs coached by Darnell Braswell fmr DeSales All-American feature Zay Jennings and Shack Dezonie of Central. Whereas the Spurs led by Sam Iorio (PHS), JJ Winslow (Allen) and making his season debut Lucas “The Catalyst” Hudson (Solehi). But it was the overall play of other contributors such as AC Kelly (Parkland) for the Spurs and Tyler German (Parkland) for the Cavs that was noted. Tyler Muniz (Freedom) and JJ Winslow (Allen) made some timely plays against the Cavs. In (OT) Jennings was fouled on a 3 ptr and made all three FT’s to give the Cavs a 1 point lead. But in the closing seconds Winslow was able to draw contact and hit two FT’s to come away with the win for the Spurs. The final game of the day would see the Bulls with Justin “JP” Paz (BECA) and Hector Morales (Allen) holding on to defeat the Sixers with Carlos Gutierrez (Allen) and Charles Ervin (Quakertown) both making nice contributions. This game was also well played and anyone will who knows anything about the sport knows you win with guard play and the Bulls had a little better play down the stretch on this particular Sunday. #fallbballmatters
At around the same time as the Philadelphia Eagles start most of their games basketball junkie Ed
Jennings has come up with an alternative game plan to prevent your mind from being scrambled over the
And it's with the rock.
Jennings, the father of Central Catholic senior shooting star Zay Jennings, is in his sixth season with the
Select Competition Basketball League or the SCBL as it is known in the LV hoops community. The SCBL
season runs from early September thru the first Sunday in November. Games begin at 1 p.m. every
Sunday last untill 7pm. Everybody who's anybody has toured the league held at the Swain School. The
league is patterned after the Hank Gathers and Sonny Hill leagues in Philadelphia as well as Five Star
camps. With the substitution pattern being a Hoop Group elite camp staple. Jennings a former assistant
at NCC, Central Catholic and now closed Pius X who in the early 2000’s played a national schedule
before anyone else ever considered doing so. "Through all my travels I've come to understand that this
game is simple," Jennings said. "I think people make it complicated”. For this area to catch the DC or
Philadelphia areas we've got to create a culture where we're not afraid to compete against each other.
We have to get better if this area is ever going to compete for a state championship." Hence, the idea of a
fall basketball league. But if it was not for Zay coming to Pops and telling him that he was done with
football and wanted to concentrate more on basketball and Swain’s rigorous curriculum the league might
not have been created since nobody else was interested in starting a fall league. "My motto is that fall ball
matters," Jennings said. "You can't get better just from working out with competing. You have to play
against some competition. You can't go from the end of August until December just working out. How
often do you see an Allen kid playing with a Parkland kid, a Palisades kid playing with a Dieruff kid. You
have to have a lot of diversity. The SCBL is definitely diverse. What you won't see is any loaded teams
just smashing opponents week after week. Jennings has coaches draft players from around the area and
that creates balanced and fair lineups. No more than one of the areas mega-players is on any team which
has led to highly competitive games. In the two weeks that the league has run Jennings has had four
overtime games including buzzer beaters. "You’ve gotta bring your lunchbox and go to work because
nobody is going to give you anything in the SCBL," Jennings said. "We demand that these guys play hard
The league is open to players of all caliber. A six-minute substitution pattern is enforced and there's only
11 players to a team. The substitution allows for players of the same caliber to be playing against each
other. The league mandates that every player play man-to-man. Zones are prohibited. There's two
divisions: NCAA (7th thru 9th graders), and NBA (10th thru 12th).
Area high school coaches such as Andy Stephens (Parkland), Doug Snyder (Allen), Ray Barbosa
(Bethlehem Catholic), Dennis Csensits (Central Catholic), Steve Yoder (Emmaus), Chad Landis (Liberty)
and many more have all have their players participating. Some of the young SCBL coaches include
Darnell Braswell, one of the top assistant coaches at Central Catholic, Danny Hargrove, local official and
graduate of East Stroudsburg University, Shahad Abdur-Rahkman, East Stroudsburg University legend
and an older distinguished gentleman, ex-Dallas Maverick Dallas Comegys.
They are afforded a mass talent group that includes Zay Jennings (Central Catholic), Sam Iorio
(Parkland), Talek Williams (Allen), Tyrese Martin (Allen), Dylan Belletierrie (Salisbury), Mike Martino
(Bangor), Shack Dezonie (CCHS), Hector Morales (Allen), Jacob Scarnulis (Emmaus), Cam Hoffman
(Liberty) as well as newcomers Mikey Esquilin (Whitehall) and Charles Ervin (Quakertown).
All those players have already made a name for themselves or are on the cusp of doing so. Jennings is
just as excited if not more excited about his NCAA and younger groups - the high school stars of
They are Nick Filchner (Northampton School District) who dropped 29 points last week; Devon Boyko
(Emmaus School District), a player with size and a high motor. He dives for loose balls and takes charges
- every coaches dream; Chad Kratzer (Liberty) a freshman who's around 5-10, 5-11 with nice feel and
good jump shot; Ryan and Brian Santana (Roberto Clemente School) twins who play with immense
confidence and who are very athletic. They get after it on both ends of the court - the envy of every
coach; Jevin Nunez (Bethlehem Area School District) a player with a nice handle, great feel for the game,
crafty and athletic; Allen Young (Allen) always seems to be in the right spot at the right time; Marcus
Tippens (Emmaus) a big body, lefty and a manic offensive rebounder, kinda like a throwback type of
player; Abel Saft (Palisades) is projected to be a real steady and dependable player once he reaches
high school; Sean Hutchinson (St Elizabeth Catholic School) is a player who has the Catholic schools
drooling over him; Kahleel Foster (Salisbury) already 6-1, 6-2 as a freshman, very long and lengthy - your
next dominant Colonial League center; Jayden Walsh (Emmaus) a typical Green Hornets player who
does a lot of things right.
"So many high school coaches support the SCBL," Jennings said. "You don't need any friction with them.
I'm just grateful that we have a chance to play fall basketball. I don't know what they
did before this. There was no fall basketball."
Lehigh Valley's Running Rebels won AAU tournament in Baltimore
LEHIGH VALLEY AAU PROGRAMS
The 2014-15 Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Boys Basketball teams, including each player’s school, height, class and scoring average.
Levan “Shawn” Alston, Haverford School, 6-4, sr, 19.4 ppg
Tony Carr, Philadelphia Roman Catholic, 6-4, jr, 12.8 ppg
Chris Clover, St. Joseph’s Prep, 6-3, sr, 20.7 ppg
Sammy Foreman, Martin Luther King, 6-1, sr, 14.2 ppg
Matty McConnell, Chartiers Valley, 6-2, sr, 29.5 ppg
Jahaad Proctor, Harrisburg, 6-3, sr, 24.4 ppg
Cole Constantino, North Allegheny, 6-2, sr, 23.4 ppg
Kobe Gantz, J.P. McCaskey, 6-4, jr, 17.8 ppg
Kason Harrell, Hempfield (D-7), 6-2, sr, 25.2 ppg
Amir Hinton, Abington, 6-4, sr, 19.8 ppg
Lamar Stevens, Haverford School, 6-7, jr, 18.3 ppg
Lonnie Walker IV, Reading, 6-4, so, 17.0 ppg
Derrick Woods, Pennsbury, 6-8, sr, 16.3 ppg
Nazeer Bostick, Philadelphia Roman Catholic, 6-3, jr, 12.5 ppg
Luke Connaghan, Archbishop Wood, 6-5, sr, 19.0 ppg
Ramon Creighton, Taylor Allderdice, 6-1, jr, 12.0 ppg
Jonny David, Mount Lebanon, 6-2, sr, 18.5 ppg
Gemil Holbrook, Philadelphia Roman Catholic, 6-4, sr, 13.9 ppg
David Krmpotich, La Salle College, 6-7, sr, 13.7 ppg
Jahaire Wilson, York William Penn, 6-4, sr, 18.1 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tony Carr, Philadelphia Roman Catholic
COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris McNesby, Philadelphia Roman Catholic
Milik Gantz, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, 6-4, sr, 18.3 ppg
Quade Green, Neumann-Goretti, 5-11, so, 17.8 ppg
Derrick Jones, Archbishop Carroll, 6-7, sr, 19.3 ppg
Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble, Neumann-Goretti, 6-0, sr, 14.5 ppg
Nehemiah “Bud” Mack, Susquehanna Twp., 6-0, jr, 14.1 ppg
Daron Russell, Imhotep Charter, 5-10, so, 16.5 ppg
Sam Allen, Lewisburg, 6-8, jr, 21.9 ppg
Tarojae Brake, Octorara, 6-2, sr, 22.5 ppg
Daylon Carter, Ambridge, 6-4, sr, 24.0 ppg
John Castello, Mars, 6-5 jr, 17.8 ppg
Zane Martin, Neumann-Goretti, 6-2, jr, 16.5 ppg
Riley Stapleton, Indiana, 6-4, sr, 13.1 ppg
Travis Blankenhorn, Pottsville, 6-2, sr, 16.6 ppg
Josh Creach, Beaver Falls, 6-6, so, 17.7 ppg
DaShon Giddings, Delaware Valley Charter, 6-4, sr, 16.5 ppg
Donovan Jeter, Beaver Falls, 6-5, so, 17.5 ppg
Dom Keyes, Steel Valley, 6-7, sr, 19.4 ppg
David Morris, Erie Strong Vincent, 6-1, so, 20.1 ppg
Tim Rose, Scranton Prep, 6-0, sr, 15.2 ppg
Josh Sharkey, Archbishop Carroll, 5-10 jr, 12.4 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Derrick Jones, Archbishop Carroll
COACH OF THE YEAR: Greg Lezanic, Indiana
Jair Bolden, Westtown, 6-4, jr, 17.0 ppg
Nelly Cummings, Lincoln Park Charter, 6-0, so, 24.5 ppg
De’Andre Hunter, Friends Central, 6-7, jr, 20.8 ppg
Stevie Jordan, Conwell-Egan, 5-10, jr, 16.8 ppg
Stephon McGinnis, Aliquippa, 5-9, sr, 17.0 ppg
Trey Staunch, West Middlesex, 6-5, sr, 23.6 ppg
Kyle Datres, Loyalsock Twp., 5-10, sr, 10.2 ppg
Noah Davis, Bellwood-Antis, 6-3, jr, 24.7 ppg
Tim Guers, Germantown Academy, 6-3, sr, 16.4 ppg
Jason Kenny, Mid Valley, 6-2, sr, 21.4 ppg
LaPri McCray-Pace, Conwell-Egan, 6-2, jr, 11.4 ppg
Ryan Norkus, Seton-La Salle, 6-3, sr, 18.1 ppg
Kody Trude, West Branch, 6-4, jr, 21.4 ppg
Julian Collazo, Lancaster Mennonite, 6-0, sr, 23.2 ppg
Vinny Dalessandro, Conwell-Egan, 6-7, jr, 10.5 ppg
Austin Gilbertson, Camp Hill Trinity, 6-2, so, 17.8 ppg
Sam Lindgren, Germantown Academy, 6-6, sr, 12.6 ppg
Matthew “Mookie” Miller, Upper Dauphin, 6-1, jr, 24.1 ppg
Romano Sebastiani, Greensburg Central Catholic, 6-4, sr, 22.7 ppg
Ben Sosa, Loyalsock Twp., 6-2, sr, 15.9 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Stevie Jordan, Conwell-Egan
COACH OF THE YEAR: Frank Sciolla, Conwell-Egan
Samir Doughty, Math, Civics & Sciences, 6-4, sr, 24.5 ppg
Ahmad Gilbert, Constitution, 6-7, sr, 17.6 ppg
Brandon Martinazzi, Bishop Carroll, 5-9, sr, 22.4 ppg
Malik Miller, Farrell, 6-3, jr, 20.0 ppg
Nate Sestina, Cameron County, 6-8, sr, 21.5 ppg
Kimar Williams, Constitution, 6-1, sr, 16.2 ppg
Chad Andrews-Fulton, Constitution, 6-7, sr, 11.0 ppg
Julian Batts, Jeannette, 5-11, sr, 22.4 ppg
Caesar DeJesus, Goodling Impact Academy, 6-3, sr, 23.4 ppg
Dane Jackson, Cornell, 6-1, sr, 28.0 ppg
Sagaba Konate, Kennedy Catholic, 6-8, jr, 16.1 ppg
Tyerell Mann, Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg, 6-4, sr, 23.0 ppg
Lavelle Rush, Monessen, 6-1, jr, 18.1 ppg
Kevin Anderson, St. John Neumann, 6-1, so, 19.1 ppg
Michael Bryja, Portage, 6-4, sr, 20.5 ppg
Bo Burleigh, North Penn-Mansfield, 6-2, sr, 18.3 ppg
Juwan Gooding, Goodling Impact Academy, 6-0, sr, 23.8 ppg
R.J. Laugand, Clarion-Limestone, 5-11, sr, 17.6 ppg
Nasza Short, St. John Neumann, 6-2, sr, 18.9 ppg
Jeff Yordy, Pottsville Nativity, 6-2, sr, 22.4 ppg
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ahmad Gilbert, Constitution
COACH OF THE YEAR: Robert Moore, Constitution
Jose Medina: The Greater the Struggle, the More Glorious the Triumph
Jose Medina, a Puerto Rican husband/father of three, is in his first season as the Head Coach of the reigning, defending District XI champions and our #1 girls’ team- Bethlehem Catholic. Medina’s road to this position was certainly not easy. After applying for a couple of head coaching opportunities in the valley and being passed over in favor of other candidates, some may have given up and moved on, but as Medina states- “The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.”
Like most coaches, Medina’s coaching journey started from the grassroots. You could find Jose coaching girls (including his oldest daughter, the sensational Taliyah Medina) at the South Bethlehem Boys’ and Girls’ Club.
My journey in chasing my passion to coach has been rewarding and arduous. I began at the South Bethlehem Boys and Girls Club coaching a team of 9/10 year old girls. It was a great experience working with kids from different backgrounds and getting them to practice, train and play together. From this, an opportunity to coach at Louis E. Dieruff High School opened up and I have not looked back since. I have been blessed to be able to coach at Freedom, Liberty, Emmaus and now Bethlehem Catholic. I have learned so much from being at each of these schools (dealings with parents, players, staff & philosophies) and it has really prepared, developed and diversified my coaching pedigree in building upon the strengths I witnessed at all those great schools.
Medina has accomplished a lifelong dream as being a head coach of a basketball program. However, he understands that his success could directly impact other minorities aspiring to coach.
I don’t feel any external pressures of being a minority coach in the area, but I have always told myself to keep persevering for myself and others behind me. If any team accolades/championships received help to open the doors for others, this is great for Lehigh Valley basketball. I am thankful to the Bethlehem Catholic administration and surrounding community for believing in me and the support they have provided.
Coach Medina’s patience may be attributed to his day “job” as a teacher. Jose doesn’t necessarily see it as a job, just more as a continuation of what he’s done his whole life- coach the youth. He does see some similarity in his teaching job and his presence as a Hispanic coach in a sport played by so many minorities.
I have an advantage in that I can relate to the struggle and adversity some of our children face. I have been a teacher for 11 years (Emotional Support, Learning Support and Math Teacher) and see firsthand some of the challenges our kids have to persevere through. For many of these students, the deck has really been stacked against them and sports is the release to the poverty and instability they face. I use myself as an example of being an athlete who was able to get a college scholarship and use it to attain my degree. In the end, I want to reach and relate to all my players and build a team that values everyone.
The grind for minorities to have an opportunity is a continuous battle. Medina feels blessed to be a part of the high school coaching fraternity and doesn’t feel he is treated or more scrutinized than other coaches, “I never felt this at any of the schools I was lucky to be a part of.” Coach also raised a great point about the hiring process. He states, “If there is one suggestion I would give moving forward, it would be for more diversity on hiring committees to better reflect the school and surrounding community.”
Jose Medina certainly has gone through some ups and downs in this profession. All these obstacles have made him a better father, husband, teacher, and LVBR friend. Now as he leads the #3 state ranked Golden Hawks in hopes of another District XI title and elusive state championship, he knows nothing will come easy. However, the inaugural EPC18 champion coach wouldn’t have it any other way because, as he beautifully states, “The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.”