POTTSVILLE BOYS BASKETBALL

2011-2012 Season Overview

"TIDE NATION "

"Coach Of The Year"

Dave Mullaney

   The Coach of the Year is Pottsville's Dave Mullaney. Despite losing several key components from last year's Class AAAA state qualifying squad, Pottsville (22-3, 12-0 D-I) won its third consecutive division and league titles, beating Pine Grove 38-31 in the championship game Feb. 17. The Crimson Tide finished undefeated in the division for the second straight year and have now won 31 consecutive regular-season division games.
 "Crimson Tide buy into Mullaney's philosophy" Mullaney demands all of his players play defense, even stars like Nick Schlitzer, who graduated last year with 1,844 career points and just completed a successful first season at Philadelphia University. Stressing defense came for Mullaney, while he was playing at St. Vincent from 1997-2000 under coach Bernie Matthews, who amassed 501 career wins in 33 seasons for the Bearcats. Mullaney's schemes aren't complicated: Straight-up man-to-man, attempting to shut down passing lanes and stressing help defense. The defense was going to be even more of the focus this season. Pottsville (25-3 in 2010-11) not only lost Schlitzer to graduation but Bobby Schappell (9.6 pgg) and Casey Guers (6.1), too. Senior Jake Tobin and junior Bobby Witman were also lost to injuries suffered during the football season."We knew it was even going to be more important this year just to stay in games and be competitive," Mullaney said. "We really didn't think we were going to be offensively great. That was going to be a work in progress. "Pottsville finished as the best defensive team in the league, allowing 33.4 points per game during the regular season and 34.4 overall. Mullaney credits 6-7 senior Shavinski Thomas, who became one of the league's top shot blockers, as one of the keys to that success. The offense did struggle at times, especially with turnovers, and averaged 48.9 points per game. Scoring points became more of a committee approach. Junior Brandon Bridy (12.1 points per game) did develop into one of the top guards in the league, while freshman Travis Blankenhorn (11.0) is a rising star. Thomas (8.8), Tyler Heffner (3.2), Ryan Coyle (6.5), Zach Wile (3.4) and freshman Eli Nabholz (3.0) also contributed key minutes. While Mullaney's philosophies have turned the program into what it is today, he gives tons of credit to his players and assistant coaches, such as John Toomey, for the success the Tide has had and likely will in the future."We have kids that want to be part of this program," Mullaney said. "They are great kids, they work hard and they commit to us year-round. "Five years ago (Mullaney's first season) there was so much pressure on me, because I felt like I was doing everything for the program. Now, I just feel like I am one of the 30 people involved in this thing because so many people are doing different things."

"Tide Players Named to All-Area Team"

Pottsville's Brandon Bridy was named to the First Team All Area and Shavinski Thomas was named to the Second Team All-Area team, Also Pottsville's Freshman Travis Blankenhorn was named Co-Rookie of the Year for the All-Area Team.

"Tide Nation"

22-3

Great Season!!

Good luck to Our Seniors

Chevy, Tyler, Alec and Jacob!!! 

North, South to clash in 38th Charity Bowl
Published: April 13, 2012
    A break in the spring scholastic sports schedule typically signals an indoor spring tradition:The Senior Charity Bowl.For one final time, the Schuylkill League's senior basketball stars will take the hardwood for the 38th annual boys' and girls' all-star games at Penn State Schuylkill. The girls' contest is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. with the boys' game following 15 minutes after the conclusion.Tonight's games are sponsered by the Pottsville Lions, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs. Tickets are $5 and proceeds benefit the service organizations.
   The North girls' roster includes: Panther Valley's Brittany Cunfer and Olivia Markovich, Mahanoy Area's Emily Davidson and Taylor Finneran, North Schuylkill's Caitlyn Deeter and Chrissy Semanchik, Tamaqua's Kayla Hope, Shenandoah Valley's Kristina Kelly, Minersville's Lauren Leshko and Marian's Kaysi McLaughlin, Kelly Shober and Danielle Tristani.Their opponents from the South feature: Pottsville's Audrey Burke and Steph Sweat, Pine Grove's Barbie Dimon and Miranda Smith, Blue Mountain's Jillian Grapsy, Elizabeth Kerns, Shanelle Koch, Anne Schu and Alyssa Starr, Nativity's Bridget Holohan, Tri-Valley's Rayne Newswanger and Schuylkill Haven's Erin Pernick.
    In the nightcap, the North boys' roster includes: Shenandoah Valley's Josh Dombrosky and Marc Twardzik, Tamaqua's Jake Fegley, Mahanoy Area's Mike Gaval and Neal Goodman, Minersville's Jake Kopinetz and Cole Weachock, Panther Valley's Nate Mathewson and Brock Mitchell, North Schuylkill's Brandon McCloskey and Jake Rakowsky and Marian's Anthony Pilla.The South roster is comprised of Nativity's Bill Birosik, Pine Grove's Kyler Burke, Chris Rossi and Larry Zimmerman, Blue Mountain's Jake Cryts, Kyle Laughlin and Nate Yost, Tri-Valley's Mike Fortune and Zach Wasilus, Pottsville's Tyler Heffner and Shavinski Thomas and Schuylkill Haven's Scott Moyer.Both South teams won last year's games, with the girls taking a 72-69 decision and the boys winning 88-76.

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2012 Schuylkill League Champions

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Easton eliminates Pottsville


ORWIGSBURG - For a little over 25 minutes Saturday, Pottsville went toe-to-toe with Easton.

Then the Red Rovers picked up the defensive intensity. Their shots started to drop, too.

From that point, the game, and the season, slipped away from the Crimson Tide for good.

Lincoln Holley scored eight of his game-high 13 points in the fourth quarter as Easton captured a 43-30 victory over Pottsville in a District 11 Class AAAA quarterfinal at Blue Mountain High School.

In a tight, defensive contest from the start, the Crimson Tide's Brandon Bridy tied the game at 25 on a 7-foot, turnaround one-hander in the lane with 6:51 left in the game.

"We did exactly what we wanted to do for three quarters," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "Everything was right where we wanted it."

The Rovers took over from there.

DeVante Queen, who finished the night with 12 points, drained a 3-pointer from the wing on Easton's next possession, starting a 10-0 run.

During the spurt, No. 3 seeded Pottsville (22-3) turned the ball over three times and missed both of its shots from the floor. Meanwhile, Holley hit 1-of-2 from the foul line, Ryan Walsh scored on a 15-foot jumper, Queen rolled in a 7-foot jumper and Holley finished off the run by scoring inside on a layup.

The spurt put Easton ahead 35-25 with 4:02 remaining.

The Crimson Tide cut it to 5 on a 3-pointer from Tyler Heffner and two free throws from Travis Blankenhorn with 3:04 left. The foul shots were Pottsville's last points as Easton went on an 8-0 run from there to seal the Tide's fate.

"They are just so athletic," Mullaney said. "They came out and really turned up the pressure. It was difficult for us to even make a pass and get into a set. They completely took us out of everything we were trying to do."

Overall, Easton hit 6-of-7 shot from the field in the fourth after shooting 10-for-33 (33 percent) over the first three quarters. Meanwhile, Pottsville was 2-of-7 from the floor in the quarter and committed seven turnovers.

With the victory, the sixth-seeded Rovers (19-6) advance to Wednesday's semifinals against No. 2 Pocono Mountain West (20-4). The Panthers beat Whitehall 59-46 on Saturday.

"We made some shots and we got a little excited," Easton coach Jim Hutnik said. "Defensively, we turned it up a notch. DeVante hit that 3, that was a huge bucket. We had couple of others that just fell in."

The loss ended Pottsville's season, a campaign that included its third consecutive Schuylkill League Division I and overall league titles. It came on the heels of last year's third-place finish at districts and a trip to the state playoffs.

"We are very proud of our guys and the whole season," Mullaney said. "We accomplished a lot with this group."

Blankenhorn led Pottsville with nine points while Bridy added eight. Shavinski Thomas also scored six points, grabbed seven rebounds and had five blocks for the Tide.

Pottsville's second, and final, lead of the night came with 1:55 left in the first half on a Bridy pull-up jumper that made it 16-14. The Rovers led 19-18 at halftime and held a 25-21 advantage at 3:51 of the third quarter after a pull-up jumper by Queen.

Blankenhorn cut the deficit to 2 with 1:07 left in the third, scoring on a drive.

For the Tide to have chance Saturday, they needed to play much better than they did during their 60-57 overtime win over Stroudsburg in last Wednesday's first-round game. Pottsville did just that.

"We said coming in that if we didn't play Stroudsburg on Wednesday, we'd be in big trouble," Mullaney said. "We thought that was perfect preparation for this game. They did a lot of the same things defensively, switching screens and trapping. Our guys handled it much better tonight."

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"Tide Nation "

22-2 on 2/22

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Pottsville escapes Mounties' upset bid

As the buzzer sounded, Pottsville's Brandon Bridy did chest bumps with a couple of teammates and then hugged Shavinski Thomas at the waist.

"We are moving on," Bridy said.

The Crimson Tide had reason to celebrate following their 60-57 overtime victory over Stroudsburg in the opening round of the District 11 Class AAAA playoffs Wednesday at Martz Hall.

The victory advances the third-seeded Crimson Tide (22-2) to Saturday's quarterfinals, where Pottsville will face No. 6 Easton (18-6), a 51-31 winner over Pleasant Valley, at 7:30 p.m. at Blue Mountain.

Wednesday's game, however, turned into one of Pottsville's toughest of the season.

Despite holding a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, Pottsville couldn't put away the No. 14-seeded Mountaineers. The Crimson Tide led 43-33 with 2:57 to go in regulation, but Stroudsburg closed the fourth quarter on a 16-8 run to force overtime.

"I was surprised at that point that we couldn't hang on," Crimson Tide coach Dave Mullaney said. "They just made a ton of plays at the end and got it to overtime."

Still, Pottsville found a way to advance.

"I am happy that won, and that is what it is all about right now," Mullaney said.

Bridy finished the night with a game-high 23 points, with seven coming in overtime.

After Langston Northern gave Stroudsburg (8-16) just its second lead of the game on a layup to make it 51-49 at 3:33 of the extra period, Bridy tied it on the Crimson Tide's next possession, scoring on a drive from the wing.

He then gave the Tide the lead for good on Pottsville's next trip down the floor, knocking down a 10-foot, turnaround jumper over a defender with 1:48 left in the game.

The Mountaineers cut the deficit to one twice, the final time coming on a Northern 3-pointer with 25.9 seconds left. But Bridy converted 3-of-4 from the foul line over the final 17 seconds to finally seal the win.

Bridy finished the night 13-of-16 from the foul line.

"We made a lot of big plays in critical situations," Mullaney said of overtime.

Ryan Coyle added 11 points and Tyler Heffner netted 10 for Pottsville, while Thomas scored eight points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Northern had 20 points to pace Stroudsburg, with David Clowney adding 12 and Jacob 10. Clowney tied the game on a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in regulation. Northern scored 16 of his points in the second half and overtime.

"We really showed something there," Stroudsburg coach Shawn Thornton said of the comeback. "You always hope that kids make plays when needed and they did."

Stroudsburg's defense, whether it was straight-up man-to-man, a half-court trap out of man-to-man, or a full-court press, frustrated Pottsville all night. The Crimson tide shot 59 percent (16-for-27) from the floor in the game but turned the ball over 20 times.

"They disrupted us the entire game," Mullaney said. "They were switching everything or trapping everything every single possession and we couldn't run a lot of our sets offensively. It took us a while to adjust."

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   Barn Burner in Martz Hall, The Crimson Tide was pushed to the limit tonight by Stroudsburg Mountaineers 60-57 in overtime.  Brandon Bridy's free throws down the stretch helped the Tide to improve their record to 22 and 2, with the Tide playing it's last home game of the season the Mountaineers battled back to send it down to the wire. The Tide held a 15-5 lead after the first quarter and a 25-19 led at the half. The Mountaineers cut the lead to 34-30 at the end of three quarters. The Tide were outscored 19-15 in the fourth quarter to tie the game 49-49 at the end of regulation. The Tide's Brandon Bridy led the Tide in overtime with 7 of the Tide's 11 points with hitting clutch free throws when the Tide needed it. Ryan Coyle added a big three and finished with 11 points followed by Tyle Heffner with 10 points, Chevy Thomas added 8 points included was a one hand put back slam in the first quarter, Travis Blankenhorn rounded out the scoring with  8 points.

   The Tide will travel to Blue Mountain High School on Saturday to meet the Easton Red Rovers.

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Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

3 Peat

Back to Back To Back

Pottsville Crimson Tide defeat Pine Grove 38-31

To Win their Third Schuylkill League Championships in a Row.

 

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"Crimson Tide A Favorite For The Long Haul" 

I will admit I was one of the doubters in just how good the Pottsville boys’ basketball team was going to be this season.
I knew the Crimson Tide wouldn’t do a complete 180 degree turnaround in the wrong direction. But there were too many questions that needed to be answered when I started putting together the preview for the upcoming season last December. I even got some lighthearted guff for putting Pottsville at No. 7 in my preseason power poll.
Good thing that power poll doesn’t mean a thing.
Despite the turnover from last season, Pottsville earned its third straight Schuylkill League title Friday night with a hard-fought 38-31 win over Pine Grove at Martz Hall.
With the victory, the Crimson Tide became the first team since Shamokin (1996-98) to win three consecutive league titles.
“The kids completely buy in to (what we are doing).” Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said of the three-peat. “Our coaching all the way down through has done a great job running our system and teaching it. When guys get up (to varsity) they are ready to play in our system. The coaching staff we’ve been able to assemble here has been one of the biggest reasons as well.”
Pottsville has certainly set itself up for what could be even more potential league championships down the road as a solid core of players will be returning next season. In addition, Pottsville’s 7th, 8th and freshmen teams went a combined 53-6 this past year.
“I hope every year we can compete for a title,” Mullaney said. “We have a lot of good young kids who are skilled. When you win championships and every young kid wants to be a part of that, it makes the coaches’ job so much easier because you have all the best athletes who want to be part of your program. We get have so many good role models in our program. You have a Nick Schlitzer and people want to be like him. You get a Brandon Bridy and people want to be like him and then you get a Travis Blankenhorn and people want to be like him. It’s keeps going on an on.”
For now, Pottsville turns it attention to the District 11 Class AAAA playoffs. The Crimson Tide be seeded No. 3 thanks to its league championship and should host No. 14 seed Stroudsburg on Wednesday at Martz Hall.

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The Crimson Tide will enter District XI Play on Wednesday at Home against Stroudsburg. Come out and support the Crimson Tide in their run for a District XI AAAA Title.

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Tide runs league title streak to 3 straight

Pottsville's Brandon Bridy jumped into the air after the final buzzer, smacking hands with his teammates and then piling on top of the hardwood with the rest of the Crimson Tide.

The crowd chanted "Three-peat! Three-peat!" as the three scoreboards at Martz Hall lit up with the final score: Pottsville 38, Pine Grove 31.

Bridy just smiled after a Schuylkill League championship medal was draped around his neck. In his three years at Pottsville, the junior remains unaware what not winning the league title feels like.

"Playing in a big game like this, it was a lot like last year," said Bridy, who scored a team-high 13 points. "But you still get nervous playing in a big game like this."

Bridy admitted he was especially nervous with 29.9 seconds left in the game when Pottsville led 33-31 - after the Cardinals rallied from an eight-point deficit. The junior was set to shoot two critical free throws, and Tide coach Dave Mullaney called a timeout.

The fifth-year head coach spoke in hushed, calm tones to his team about continuing to play defense and covering Pine Grove's Kyler Burke, who ended up with a game-high 18 points. Mullaney didn't even mention the free throws.

"I knew he'd hit them," Mullaney said matter-of-factly after the game.

Bridy walked to the black stripe and wiped his sweaty palms - "Yeah, they're always kinda bad," he added - on his shorts. He took a deep breath and sent his first attempt straight through the net. He walked to toward the basket, pumping his fist, and then nailed his second attempt.

"I just wanted to make it a two-possession game," he said, "and I was a little nervous."

Pine Grove responded by missing a long, off-balance jumper, and freshman Travis Blankenhorn grabbed the rebound before being fouled. He also sank his two free throws and ended the game with 12 points. Pottsville then led 37-31, and one of Bridy's friends in the crowd yelled to get his attention.

Bridy glanced up. "That's a three-peat!," yelled a student who had his chest painted.

The eyes of Pine Grove coach Dave Archer were a little red after the emotional contest. This was his team's second close loss in as many years to Pottsville in the league title game. He was the last to walk into the locker room.

He said he thought when Bridy hit those pair of free throws, that this was just like last year - when Pottsville led, Pine Grove clawed back and the Tide won anyway. Still, he remained proud of his team.

"We have 20 fighters on this team, between the players and the coaches," Archer said. "We wanted to hold them under 40 (points), and we did the job defensively. Offensively? Give credit to Pottsville. ... The shots we took were all contested."

The Cardinals held Pottsville to just three points in the first quarter and entered halftime with a 13-10 lead. The Tide shot just 25 percent (4-of-16) in the first two periods.

"We were intimidated by the big stage," Mullaney said of the standing-room-only crowd of 3,325 people. "I hate to say it, but you could tell by the shots. We were missing, and we were missing badly. We figured once we settled down, we'd make those."

The Tide seemed to shake the case of the nerves at halftime. They shot 7-of-11 from the field in the second half, while the defense held Pine Grove to a 5-of-19 effort.

Still, Pottsville didn't reclaim the lead until late in the third when Bridy converted a layup to put Pottsville in front 20-18. About a minute later, Tyler Heffner found a wide-open Blankenhorn in the corner to hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that put the Tide ahead 23-18 after three quarters.

"Yeah," Bridy screamed, smacking Blankenhorn's hand after the five-point lead. "That's how you do it!"

The crowd climbed to its feet and grew the loudest between quarters. The student section spelled out "P-O-T-T-S-V-I-L-L-E," and Mullaney said he could feel the momentum shift.

"That was the biggest shot of the game," Mullaney said of Blankenhorn's 3-pointer. "Going into the final quarter with a five-point lead, we felt pretty confident."

Pine Grove climbed back into the contest, thanks to a run of Pottsville fouls, and Burke drained a 3 to cut the deficit to 33-31 with just 29.9 seconds left. But that's when Bridy iced it at the free-throw line.

"I didn't have much doubt," said the junior, who went 6-of-10 from the stripe. "I knew they were both going in."

Huge turnover doesn't prevent Tide's 3-peat


 When the net-draped Schuylkill League boys' basketball championship trophy was handed out at the end of the game, Pottsville senior Tyler Heffner was first to get his hands on it.

It's only fitting, since Heffner is the only link to the Crimson Tide's 2010 league championship team.

He got to celebrate a three-peat Friday after Pottsville beat Pine Grove 38-31 in a hard-fought contest at Martz Hall to earn its third consecutive league championship.

There's been a huge turnover for the Crimson Tide over the past three seasons. In fact, Heffner is only remaining player who started for Pottsville during its 49-25 victory over Marian for the league championship three years ago.

Heffner, Nick Schlitzer, Eric Leymesier, Josh Whalen and Bobby Schappell were the starting five the night the Crimson Tide downed the Colts. Last year, Brandon Bridy, Schlitzer, Schappell, Heffner and Casey Guers were the starting five during the Crimson Tide's 51-49 victory over the Cardinals.

Friday, the only two returning starters were Heffner and Bridy.

Through it all, the Tide's success continues, no matter who is on the floor.

"I think this one is special," Heffner said. "It's my senior year, so obviously it's a little bit more special. Coming into this year, people really didn't consider us for this chance. I think we proved some people wrong. That means a lot."

Added Bridy: "I think this is better because nobody expected us to be here, kind of like a sleeper

throughout the season. This was one of our goals going into the season and we accomplished it."

Perhaps it is easy to see why Pottsville wasn't exactly the favorite to win its third straight title when the season started.

Schlitzer was a big part of the Crimson Tide's identity the past two years. But his 1,884 career points, the most in Pottsville's history, graduated. So did Schappell's 3-point shooting ability.

Jake Tobin and Bobby Witman, two other players who were expected to contribute this year, were lost before the season began with knee injuries suffered during football.

"Coach (Dave Mullaney) made it an emphasis to prove people wrong," Heffner said. "He wanted us to show that our defense could win championships. I think we really bought into what coach said."

New faces, such as freshman Travis Blankenhorn, along with junior Ryan Coyle and senior Shavinski Thomas, along with Bridy, have stepped up offensively, making this year's team more of a committee approach on that end of the floor.

What hasn't changed from last season is Pottsville's ability to play defense.

Last year, the Crimson Tide allowed 34.7 points per game. They came into Friday's game allowing 33.1 per game and Friday's victory marked the 19th time this season Pottsville has held a team under 40 points.

"This was a year where a bunch of guys just worked hard on the offense and defensive ends," Bridy said. "We have a lot of great guys who can play."

That's the identity of this year's team. They are a team. It's a big reason by Pottsville was able to three-peat despite the roster turnover.

"The coaches have been outstanding," Heffner said. "I think the system they give to us and the defense we play, that's been a key part to our success the past couple of years."

"Schuylkill League Finals on TV"

Follow the Crimson Tide as they go for The Schuylkill League Title on Friday Night at Martz Hall, The game will be covered by WQMY- FOX on Comcast Channel 19

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Defending champion Pottsville advances to league final


Pottsville's Brandon Bridy whips a pass during Tuesday's Schuylkill League boys' basketball semifinal victory over Lourdes.

Pottsville freshman Travis Blankenhorn acknowledged the butterflies lasted a little longer during Tuesday night's Schuylkill League boys' basketball semifinal at Martz Hall.

It didn't seem to show.

The Crimson Tide's rookie guard finished with a game-high 16 points - a nice complement to his game-high 12 rebounds - to propel his squad past Lourdes 43-26 and into Friday's league championship game against Pine Grove.

The rematch of last year's league final - won 51-49 by Pottsville - will be at 7:30 p.m. at Martz Hall.

"Blankenhorn, he was tough," Lourdes coach Pete Long said. "He's going to take them a long way."

Blankenhorn seemed to step up when the Tide needed him most. He helped spark a critical 19-2 first-half run by accounting for seven points over that span. And, when Lourdes began to rally in the final period after Pottsville failed to score on four straight possessions, he nailed a layup to again shift the momentum.

"He was great. He's been great for us all year," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "He has the ability to score from the outside and to score off the dribble. He's a great athlete."

Blankenhorn clapped along with rowdy student fans - the loudest he's ever experienced - after the final buzzer and patted teammate Zach Wile on the back. The pair accounted for five treys and helped crack Lourdes' pesky 2-3 zone defense with strong perimeter shooting.

The Red Raiders, who have no starter taller than 6-foot, hoped to control the boards and stop the Tide from scoring in the paint. For the most part, they achieved that goal. But they didn't count on four of Pottsville's first six field goals coming from beyond the arc.

"For the majority of the game we were shooting 3s," Mullaney said, "and that's not normally how we want to do it."

The Tide (20-2) took control of the contest late in the first quarter. Pottsville turned up its intensity on defense and forced Lourdes to take some low-percentage shots. During Pottsville's 19-2 run, which spanned about 13 minutes, the Raiders went just 1-of-11.

Pottsville took a 22-8 lead after that. And Lourdes (13-9) played catch-up the rest of the way.

"Their half-court defense was the difference," Long said. "We hung in there for three quarters with the best team in the area. I'm proud of our guys. We lost to the better team tonight."

Pottsville, which hasn't dropped a league game since February 2010, was without arguably its best forward. Shavinski Thomas, who stands 6-foot-7, sat out for breaking an unspecified team rule but is expected to be in the lineup for Friday's title game.

Eli Nabholz, at 6-5, picked up some slack on the boards and finished with six points and six rebounds. But it was Blankenhorn (6-1) who surprised his team - and even himself - by grabbing seven of his team's 12 first-half rebounds. Pottsville won the rebound battle 25-16.

"How many?" Blankenhorn asked again as his eyebrows shot up. "That's the most I ever had."

Pottsville kept Lourdes at arm's length after halftime. The closest Lourdes came was within seven points in the third, when Tyler Heffner responded by making 1-of-2 free throws and Blankenhorn added a short-distance jumper.

The Raiders started catching up by opening the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to put the score at 32-24.

After Pottsville missed its first two shots, Blankenhorn reclaimed the momentum with a layup. The Tide went 3-for-3 from the field the rest of the way, in addition to 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

"Blankenhorn made some big shots for them tonight," Long said. "When we cut it to eight in the fourth, he hits one. And he's just a freshman."

 

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"Tide Scrambles To Defeat Lourdes 43 - 26"

   The Crimson Tide started on its trek to win a third Schuylkill League Title, The Tide defeated the Lourdes Red Raiders tonight at Schuylkill League semi-final game held at Martz Hall. The Tide will defend it's title Friday night against Pine Grove Cardinals who defeated Division III leaders Mahanoy Area Golden Bears. This will be a rematch of last years final where the Crimson Tide defeated Pine Grove by the score of 51- 49 to win the 2011 Schuylkill League Championship.

    The Tide faced a Lourdes Team that never gave up and battled the Tide for four quarters.The Tide lead 8-6 after the first quarter and led 22-11 at half time. The Tide stretched the led to 32-17 at the end of the third quarter and battled a determined Lourdes team to a 43-26 victory.

   The Tide was led by Travis Blankenhorn's 16 points and Zach Wile 11 points which were a season high for Zach. Brandon Bridy posted 7 points, followed by Eli Nabholz 6 points and Tyler Heffner rounding out the scoring with 3 points.

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Crimson Tide Regular Season Comes To The End.

The Crimson Tide regular season has ended with the cancellation of the Muhlenberg game. The Tide will now put it's effort into defending it's Schuylkill League Title. The game will be played Tuesday. The Crimson Tide will host Lourdes at 7:30 and Mahanoy Area will host Pine Grove at 6:00 pm in the Schuylkill League Semi-Finals Games. The winners will play on Friday at 7:30 at Marztz Hall to determined the Schuylkill League Champions.

44 GameWin StreakAgainst Schuylkill LeagueOpponents 
DATEPLACEOPPONENTW/LSTREAK
1/15/2010HOMEJim Thorpe
L
0
1/19/2010AWAY@  Panther ValleyW1
1/22/2010AWAY @  Blue MountainW2
1/26/2010HOMETamaquaW3
1/29/2010AWAY@  Pine GroveW4
2/2/2010AWAY@  Schuylkill HavenW5
2/5/2010HOMENorth SchuylkillW6
2/12/2010HOMEPanther ValleyW7
2/9/2010AWAY@  Jim ThorpeW8
2/17/2010PLAYOFFWilliams Valley-semi finalsW 9
2/19/2010PLAYOFFMarian - Sch League-finalsW10
2/27/2010PLAYOFFPanther ValleyW11
3/2/2010PLAYOFFJim ThorpeW12
     
DATEPLACEOPPONENTW/LSTREAK
12/21/10HOMEBlue Mountain  W13
12/23/10HOMEPine GroveW14
12/28/10HOMESchuylkill HavenW15
12/30/10HOMENativity BVM W16
1/4/11AWAYPanther ValleyW17
1/7/11AWAYTamaquaW18
1/11/11HOMEJim ThorpeW19
1/14/11AWAYNorth SchuylkillW20
1/20/11AWAYBlue Mountain  W21
1/24/11AWAYPine GroveW22
1/27/11HOMEPanther ValleyW23
1/31/11HOMETamaquaW24
2/3/11HOMEJim ThorpeW25
2/7/11HOMENorth SchuylkillW26
2/15/11PLAYOFFMARIAN - PLAYOFFW27
2/18/11PLAYOFFPine Grove - PlayoffW28
     
12/20/2011AWAYBlue MountainW29
12/23/2011HOMEPine GroveW30
12/27/2011AWAYSchuylkill HavenW31
12/29/2011HOMENativityW32
1/4/2012AWAYPanther ValleyW33
1/6/2012HOMETamaquaW34
1/10/2012AWAYJim ThorpeW35
1/13/2012HOMENorth SchuylkillW36
1/19/2012HOMEBlue MountainW37
1/23/2012AWAYPine GroveW38
1/26/2012HOMEPanther ValleyW39
1/30/2012AWAYTamaquaW40
2/2/2012HOMEJim ThorpeW41
2/6/2012AWAYNorth SchuylkillW42
2/14/2012HOMEMarianW43
2/17/2012HOMEPine GroveW44
     
     

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Bridy the best in the league?

Pottsville wrapped its Schuylkill League Division I schedule Monday with a hard-fought, intense 46-43 victory at North Schuylkill. The Tide, which clinched the division title last week, finished undefeated in the league for the second consecutive year.
“It’s great accomplishment,” Bridy said. “Most people didn’t think we’d be in this situation we are in so it is just great that we did it.”
Junior forward Brandon Bridy has been one of the many players to step up for the Tide this season and fill the offensive void left by the graduated Nick Schlitzer and Bobby Schappel. A starter a year ago, Bridy averaged seven points per game. He came into Monday’s game averaging 12.
He had 12 points against the Spartans, including five in the fourth quarter. One of his field goals came with 3:33 left in the game when we worked his way out of a Spartans’ triple team underneath the Tide basket and scored on a left-handed shot. It gave the Pottsville a 42-40 lead.
Bridy has also developed into one of Pottsville’s best defensive players and his performance Monday, as well as the entire season, drew high praise from North Schuylkill coach Kurt Ziegmont.
“This is what I believe but I think he is the best player in the league,” Ziegmont said of Bridy. “That sounds crazy but I am being honest with you. There are some great players out there. If there was fantasy draft, that kid would be my first pick. Credit to him. He’s only a junior yet, too. He’s tough and he’s a great kid, too.”

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Pottsville finishes perfect in league

FOUNTAIN SPRINGS - As Pottsville's starting quarterback the past two falls, Tyler Heffner knows a thing or two about getting hit.

There certainly weren't any bone-jarring collisions during the Crimson Tide's 46-43 win over North Schuylkill on Monday, but the game itself was an intense one with a lot of contact.

"They had a lot to play for and anytime we come here it is a tough place to play," Heffner said. "We knew it was going to be physical. We just had to match their intensity. I think we did that pretty well."

Brandon Bridy had a game-high 12 points for Pottsville (19-2, 12-0 D-I) in its Schuylkill League Division I victory. The Crimson Tide wrapped up the Division I championship last week and North Schuylkill, which is in a battle with Blue Mountain and Pine Grove for the league wild card during the final week of the regular season, had much more riding on the game.

But Pottsville did, too, and with the victory, the Tide wrapped up their second consecutive undefeated season in the division and stretched their regular-season league winning streak to 31 games. Pottsville's last division loss was to Jim Thorpe on Jan. 15, 2010.

"This was supposed to be what people said was a rebuilding year," Heffner said. "To come out and prove people wrong, it just shows that our defense and coaching staff does a great job. No matter who comes in they step up and do a great job."

Ryan Coyle added nine points for the Tide, while Shavinski Thomas had seven points and seven rebounds and Eli Nabholz contributed seven points.

The game was tight from start to finish and featured 11 ties and eight lead changes. Thomas gave Pottsville the lead for good with 1:05 left in the game, scoring on a putback off a Travis Blankenhorn missed 3-pointer. Bridy then hit 1-of-2 from the foul line with 14 seconds to go to set the final margin.

Brandon McCloskey had 10 points and five rebounds to pace North Schuylkill (15-6, 7-4), while Damon Meyer added nine points and three assists, Jake Damiter had eight points and four steals and Jake Rakowsky totaled five assists and four steals.

The Spartans had two chances with under 30 seconds to tie the game, but the bounces didn't go their way.

Meyer missed a 5-footer with 23 seconds to go as the ball bounced out of the rim twice. With time running down, Rakowsky fired up a 3 from the corner but it hit the back of the iron.

"The ball bounced," North Schuylkill coach Curt Ziegmont said. "That one shot missed twice in the same position. It's a game. Someone has to lose and it's a shame someone had to lose. That was an awesome basketball game, and I think we gave them everything they could handle.

"We gave them our best punch and they took it. They are good."

The Spartans entered the night controlling their own fate for a spot in the Schuylkill League playoffs, and wins Monday and Thursday at Blue Mountain would have given them the wild card. Now, North Schuylkill needs a win Thursday to force at least a tie, depending how Pine Grove does in its division finale at Panther Valley on Thursday.

North Schuylkill, which beat Blue Mountain 47-40 in an earlier-season meeting Jan. 17.

"We are not out but yet we need a little help," Ziegmont said.

Ziegmont felt the Spartans gave Pottsville at least four points off turnovers in the first half. Coyle also a hit a long 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the third quarter to give Pottsville a 37-34 lead.

But North Schuylkill came right back.

Rakowsky converted a three-point play on its first possession of the fourth quarter. Meyer then gave the Spartans a 40-37 lead on a 3 at the 6:55 mark.

After Pottville built the lead back to 3 on a Thomas foul shot, a Bridy bucket inside through a triple-team and another foul shot by Coyle, Meyer tied it one last time on a 3 with 2:50 left in the game.

"We did everything we possibly could," Ziegmont said. "I am proud of my guys. We didn't back down."

   

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"Tide Goes Undefeated in Division 1"

   The Crimson Tide went undefeated in the Schukylkill League Division1 for the second year in a row. The Tide record went to 12-0, after a hard fought victory over The Hard Charging North Schuylkill Spartans tonight by the score of 46-43. The game was tied 15-15 after the 1st quarter and the Tide held a one point led at halftime 23-22. The game continued back and forth in the third quarter with the Tide increasing it's led to 37-34. The fourth quater was a nail bitter with each team scoring 9 points a piece. The Tide held on to its 3 point victory. Brandon Bridy led the Tide with 12 points, followed by Ryan Coyle with 9 points and Eli Nabholz and Shavinski "Chevy" Thomas adding 7 a piece. Tyler Heffner chipped in 5 points and Travis Blankenhorn and Zach Wile with 3 each.

The Crimson Tide will be playing Friday at Muhlenberg, and then Next week in the Schulykill League Playoffs against either Minersville or Williams Valley. The Tide will be seeking it's Third Straight Schuylkill League Championship.

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Tide rally falls short in loss to Emmaus

Instead, the Crimson Tide almost pulled off a miraculous comeback against perhaps the top team in the Lehigh Valley.

What does it mean for Pottsville's chances in the District 11 Class AAAA playoffs? That remains to be seen.

The Tide's Brandon Bridy scored a game-high 14 points, but Pottsville couldn't convert late opportunities and Emmaus' free-throw shooting sealed its 43-36 non-league victory.

Pottsville (18-2) entered the fourth quarter down by 13, but went on a 16-4 run to cut the deficit to 36-35 with 1:46 left in the game. The Tide got no closer.

With under a minute left, Ryan Coyle had a jump shot blocked and rebounded by Emmaus' Steve Gigler while Travis Blankenhorn missed a 3-pointer. The Hornets hit 5-of-7 from the foul line in the final minute - and 7-of-11 in the fourth quarter - to win their seventh in a row.

"I was really happy with the way our guys hung in," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "We had a real opportunity there at the end if we could have hit a shot or two, maybe we could have pulled it out. It was a learning experience for us."

The defeat was Pottsville's second consecutive loss to a non-league opponent after it was upset at Governor Mifflin 42-39 a week ago. Saturday was the Tide's only opportunity to get a look at a potential opponent in the district playoffs.

They showed, at least in this game, they can play with one of the top teams in the district.

The Hornets (17-3), who were ranked 10th in the state in the latest Class AAAA rankings, were playing on about 16 hours rest. Emmaus routed rival William Allen 68-39 on Friday evening, clinching the Lehigh Valley Conference West Division title.

"We were in the game and it does give us confidence moving forward into districts," Mullaney said. "I also think us making it into the state tournament last year gave us confidence in this setting, too. We knew how good they were and we were hoping it was going to be a tight game. Obviously, we are disappointed with the loss."

The Tide had some difficulty adjusting offensively to the athletic Hornets, hitting 6-for-26 (23 percent) from the floor over the first three quarters. Pottsville also turned the ball over 13 times.

Nate Tannous and Gigler had nine points apiece for Emmaus, which hit seven 3-pointers in the game. The Hornets built a 20-12 halftime lead and started the second half on a 10-2 run to open up a 30-14 advantage.

"They have the capability to go off into big spurts," Mullaney said. "The problem was we helped them out too many times with turnovers. I think our guys were trying to do the right thing, but we have to realize against a team like that you have to work just a little bit harder and be a little bit crisper. I think we learned a lot from the game."

Pottsville seemed to learn it by the fourth quarter.

Trailing 32-19, Blankenhorn gave the Tide hope with a 3-pointer 14 seconds in the period.

It started the 16-4 run as Tyler Heffner and Coyle both hit 3s, Shavinski Thomas scored inside and Blankenhorn hit another 3 from the corner with 2:42 left in the game that sliced Emmaus' lead to 35-33. After the Hornets' Ryan Fatzinger hit 1-of-2 from the free-throw line, Thomas made it a one-point game, scoring inside on a move around Fatzinger.

That made it 36-35 with 1:46 to go.

Gregory Bobal pushed the lead back to 3 on a drive during Emmaus' next possession. Bridy got the deficit back to 38-36, hitting the front end of a 1-and-1 at the 1:06 mark.

However, the comeback stopped there and Derek Tannous made two free throws with 9 seconds left to seal it.

"Overall it was just a matter of getting used to their athleticism and strength," Mullaney said. "After we did that we were able to get more comfortable and execute our sets a little better."

Blankenhorn added eight points while Thomas grabbed eight rebounds.

Wislely, Emmaus' leading scorer at 11.1 points per game coming in, was held to two. Steve Bitto, the Hornets' second leading scorer at 10.9 per game, scored four..

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"Emmaus Hornets sting the Tide"

   The Crimson Tide lost a hard fought battle against Emmaus Green Hornets today at Emmaus. The Tide record goes to 18-2 for the season, The Tide has two more road games to play. The first is against North Schuylkill at North Schuylkill and A away game against Muhlenberg on Friday night. The Tide trailed by the score of 20-12 at the half time break and trailed 32-21 at the end of the third quarter. The Tide closed the gap to 38-36 late in the fourth quarter after a Brandon Bridy foul shot, The Hornets pulled ahead, after a couple of Tide misses led to the Tide having to foul in order to close the gap. The Green Hornets made 5 foul shots to close out the Tide. The game was a physical game all four quarters of play.

   Brandon Bridy led the Tide with 14 points, followed by Travis Blankenhorns 8 points and Shavinski "Chevy" Thomas 6 points. The Tide will be preparing for the Schuylkill League playoffs which start in Ten days, where the Tide will be going after it's Third League Title in a row,

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Tide Slams Jim Thorpe" 

  The Crimson Tide improved it's record to 18-1 tonight with a 67-33 victory over Jim Thorpe. The 67 points was the most the Tide scored this season. The Tide played it's usual tough defense tonight and also clinched the Division 1 title with an 11-0 record for the third season in a row. Pottsville's well balanced scoring was led by Brandon Bridy with 14 points and Travis Blankenhorn's 14 points followed by Shavinski "Slamming" Thomas with 14 points, 6 which came on 3 massive dunks that brought the crowd to it's feet.. Ryan Coyle added 12 points to the total.

   The Tide travels to Emmaus on saturday for a big game with the East Penn League leaders.

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"Tide Bounces Back Against Tamaqua" 

  The Crimson Tide bounced back tonight with a win against Tamaqua Blue Raiders by a score of 60-33. The Tide was back to playing it's tough team defense. It was an all around team win with everyone playing. The Tide was led by Brandon Bridy's 17 points and followed by Shavinski "Chevy" Thomas who had 10 points and 14 rebounds and a couple of blocked shots. Travis Blankenhorn and Tyler Heffner each contributed 8 points a piece to the offense total, Eli Nabholz and Jake Plachko chipped in 5 points a piece. The Tide held a 29-17 led at half time and a 41-23 third quarter lead.

    The Tide will play it's last Schuylkill League Home game against Jim Thorpe,Thursday night which is also Senior Night for Alec Adams, Tyler Heffner, Shavinski "Chevy" Thomas and Jacob Tobin.  Come out to the game to support the Seniors as they play their final Home game.

WNEP 16 Boys BB

RANK

TEAM

RECORD

PREVIOUS RANK

1

POTTSVILLE

18-1

1

2

MEYERS

14-2

4

3

GAR

14-1

5

4

DANVILLE

14-2

6

5

POCONO MTN. WEST

15-3

7

6

MAHANOY AREA

16-3

3

7

SCRANTON PREP

12-4

--

8

RIVERSIDE

15-1

--

"Tide edged at Governor Mifflin"
  The Crimson Tide losses it's first game of the season, 42-39 to Governor Mifflin tonight. That ended Potsville run of 16 straight games.The Tide held a 22-18 halftime led at the break, and a 28-27 led at the end of the third quarter. The game hinged on a flagrant foul call which give Governor Mifflin two foul shots and the ball, Governor Mifflin was 18 for 23 from the foul line with their last 12 points coming from the foul line and Pottsville was 4 for 9 from the foul line. Pottsville had a finally shot at the buzzer to tie the game, but it went off the rim to end the game. The Tide will travel to Tamaqua on Monday Night to continue its quest for the Schuylkill League Championship. Ryan Colye led Pottsville with 13 points followed with "Chevy Thomas with 10 and Brandon Bridy added 8 points.

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   The Crimson Tide rolled to it's 16 straight victory tonight at Martz Hall. Brandon Bridy led the Crimson Tide with 14 points and at one point was the leading scorer for Panther Valley as well. Brandon tipped in a basket for Panther Valley in the first quarter, The Tide scoring was followed by Shavinski "Chevy" Thomas and Travis Blankenhorn's 11 points a piece, with Tyler Heffner adding a season high 7 points along with Ryan Coyles 7 points coasted to victory.

   The Tide will travel to Governer Mifflin on Saturday to continue its winning streak.

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   The Crimson Tide improves to 15-0 with a hard fought 43 - 33 victory over the Pine Grove Cardinals at Pine Grove tonight. The game was 16- 13 at half time, with the Tide holding a small lead, the Tide out scored Pine Grove in the second half by a 27 - 20 margin. The Tide was led by Brandon Bridy's 11 points and Shavinski "Chevy" Thomas and Ryan Coyle 9 points a piece, with Travis Blankenhorn contributing 7 points, Eli Nabholz 4 points and Tyler Heffner rounding out the scoring with 3 points.

   The Tide will continue it's season on Thursday night verus Panther Valley Panthers at Martz Hall. 

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Unbeaten Pottsville stifles Pine Grove

PINE GROVE - Pine Grove entered Monday's game boasting the Schuylkill League's second-best offense.

The Cardinals walked off the court staring at their feet - maybe in shock, maybe in disappointment - as Pottsville's defense simply outmuscled them.

The Crimson Tide, allowing just 31.4 points per game, controlled the tempo from start to finish in a 43-33 victory over Pine Grove in a Schuylkill League Division I boys' basketball contest.

Pottsville didn't allow a Pine Grove field goal for a 10-minute stretch of the first half and held Kyler Burke - who averages 16.1 points - to just seven as the Crimson Tide (15-0, 8-0 D-I) remained unbeaten with their 15th straight win.

"I don't know if it's our best defensive effort of the season," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said, "but any time you can hold a team like Pine Grove to 33 points, that's obviously pretty good."

While Pottsville's defense shined, its offense sputtered early. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Tide clung to a miniscule 24-22 lead and Pine Grove's red-and-white sardine can of a gym echoed with cheers and screams in response to the close score.

But that noise didn't last long.

Ryan Coyle opened the final quarter with a critical 3-pointer, smiling and shaking his head after the basket. The bomb sparked the Tide to a 9-1 run.

Pine Grove coach David Archer called Coyle's 3-pointer the game's turning point. In Mullaney's opinion, that turning point occurred about four minutes later.

At the end of Pottsville's run, forward Shavinski Thomas made one free

throw and missed his second. Freshman Travis Blankenhorn grabbed the offensive rebound and sank the putback to put the Tide up 33-23.

"We felt comfortable after that," Mullaney said. "I think it was our game to lose at that point."

Added Brandon Bridy, who finished with a team-high 11 points: "That was huge. Travis is a great player, and to see him get that rebound was just great. I mean, this was probably one of the tougher games we played so far. They have a crazy crowd; it's probably the first-hardest or second-hardest game this year."

The crowd grew loudest in the third quarter. In Pine Grove assistant Bob Pond's opinion, Thomas was the source - for both the noise and the shift in momentum.

Midway through the third quarter, Thomas grabbed a pass under the basket and converted a one-handed dunk that sent a ripple of groans through the Pine Grove faithful. The crowd leapt to its feet, and Pottsville's bench was seen grinning ear to ear.

For the first time Monday night, the Cardinals (10-5, 4-3) appeared a little despondent.

"A dunk like that, it can just deflate a team," Pond said. "You don't see that often in our league. And I think our kids pressed a little bit after that."

Thomas, who barely seemed exhausted following the game, said he came in wanting to dunk in Pine Grove's smaller gym - "I wanted to dunk to hear the crowd," he added - but he and Bridy didn't seem to think it was a big deal.

"Nah, it's really not," Bridy said with a laugh. "I got used to him dunking. It's just another dunk for Shav." 

 

 

   Pottsville Crimson Tide "soars" to it's 14th victory tonight defeating Blue Mountain Eagles by the score of 47-36, tonight at Martz Hall. Brandon Bridy led the Tide with 18 points followed by Shavinski "Chevy" Thomas who had 13 points. Four of them coming on two "Monster Dunks" to bring the crowd to its feet. The Tide played its usual tough defense to hold Blue Mountain to 36 points.

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Thomas 'slams' Eagles

One could feel the anticipation throughout Martz Hall of what was coming.

Pottsville had broken Blue Mountain's press as the Crimson Tide's Travis Blankenhorn headed to the basket. He then spotted Shavinski Thomas open underneath, passed it to him and Thomas threw down a jam with authority.

Pottsville's bench came to their feet, as did the Crimson Tide fans with thunderous approval.

It was the second slam dunk of the night for Thomas and typified the game the Crimson Tide had offensively in a 47-36 Schuylkill League Division I victory over rival Blue Mountain on Thursday evening.

That throwdown came late in the third quarter and gave Pottsville a 36-23 lead. Thomas' first dunk was late in the first half when Ryan Coyle beat an Eagles double team at the top of the key and passed to Zach Wile on the wing, who went inside to Thomas for a two-handed dunk.

"It makes me want to do it again," Thomas said of the energy he gets from the crowd after he dunks. "Every time, every possession. I love the crowd."

Added Pottsville's Brandon Bridy: "It's a big energy lift. Once he dunks it, everyone goes crazy."

With Thursday's win, Pottsville (14-0, 7-0 D-I) remained undefeated and got the second half of the division schedule under way in impressive fashion. The Tide lead North Schuylkill (10-4, 5-2), which beat Tamaqua 65-52 on Thursday, by two games, are now 2½ up on idle Pine Grove (10-4, 4-2) and three ahead of Blue Mountain (10-4, 4-3).

"It's a huge win," Bridy said. "It gets us one step closer to the Schuylkill League playoffs. We just have to keep moving on from this win."

The dunks indeed bring energy and excitement but they started with patience and discipline, something Pottsville showed plenty of Thursday.

The Crimson Tide turned the ball over 14 times but took what the Eagles' defense gave them, working the ball around for open shots. Pottsville ended up shooting 17-of-37 (46 percent) from the floor on night, including a 10-for-15 (67 percent) showing in the first half.

"(Blue Mountain) came out and played physical but for the most part we handled their pressure well," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "Our guys are very unselfish and the other part was there wasn't a lot of shots to be had. We had to work for those shots."

Bridy and Thomas led the way offensively, combining for 31 points. Thomas scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half, while Bridy dropped in 15 of his team-high 18 over the final 16 minutes.

"I was more aggressive, trying to get to the basket and get to the foul line," said Bridy, who was 7-of-10 from the foul line in the half. "Just my teammates looking for me."

Blankenhorn added nine points while Thomas pulled down six rebounds and Tyler Heffner dished out five assists.

Jake Cryts had a game-high 19 points for Blue Mountain as the Eagles fell to fourth place in the division. Blue Mountain was on an eight-game winning streak to start the week but now has dropped two in a row after a 47-40 loss to North Schuylkill on Tuesday.

The Eagles were 10-for-27 (37 percent) from the floor Thursday and turned the ball over 14 times.

"Shots aren't falling," Blue Mountain coach Dustin Werdt said. "We've just played two of the better defensive teams we are going to see all year. You have to tip your cap to them for the way those teams are playing and making us miss shots."

Cryts scored 13 of Blue Mountain's 16 first-half points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 24-16 at the break. On the Eagles' first possession of the second half, Nate Yost scored inside off a Brynn Schafer assist to make it 24-18.

That's as close as Blue Mountain got the rest of the way. Bridy hit a jumper from the wing at 6:04 to make it 26-18. He had five more points in the quarter, while Wile scored on a put back and Thomas finished the third with his second dunk of the night.

"You have to credit Pottsville," Werdt said. "They felt that moment, too, and bounced right back. They defended, hit some shots and made some plays.".

 

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Werdt speaks on Tide’s defense

It seems like every time I’ve covered Pottsville this season, the theme of the game story has been the Crimson Tide’s defense. In the gamer for Pottsville’s 47-36 Schuylkill League Division I victory over Blue Mountain on Thursday, I focus on the Tide’s offense, especially Brandon Bridy and Shavinski Thomas, who combined for 31 points in the win.
But Pottsville’s defense was impressive again, just as it has all season.
The Tide were close to once again holding a team to under 30 points for the seventh time this season until the Eagles scored seven points over the final 2 minutes of the game to reach 36.
Still, Pottsville held a team to under 40 for the 13th consecutive game (Danville scored 59 points in the season opener). Overall, the Tide have allowed 31.4 points per game this season.
Blue Mountain’s defense is pretty good as well as the Eagles (39.7 points) are one of the three teams in the league who allow under 40 points a game. The other is Mahanoy Area (36.7).
After Thursday’s game, I asked Eagles coach Dustin Werdt as to why he feels the Tide’s defense has been so good this season. Both Thomas and Bridy come up in his remarks.
“(Overall) they are quick and they are strong,” Werdt said. “Their guards are strong. You look at Bridy, even on the offensive end it shows up, he goes at the rim, he likes to post up, they are strong, physical kids. They can overplay because they have the 6-foot-7 guy (Thomas) behind the rim, too.
“You beat their first line, which is very difficult to do because they will body you up, but if do get by them, they have (Thomas) waiting there behind them. It’s a deadly combination. You are trying to get the kids to go by them and then when they do, you are running into a big wall.”

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Unbeaten Pottsville stops Spartans

Pottsville's bench rose to its feet seconds before the buzzer sounded, applauding as the players on the court gave each other a few high-fives and lined up to greet their opponents.

It's been a familiar sight following Crimson Tide games this season.

Coming off a Schuylkill League championship and a trip to the PIAA Class AAAA state playoffs, Pottsville was supposed to field a good team this season.

A perfect start over the first 13 games been a pleasant surprise.

Shavinski Thomas had a game-high 13 points while the Tide's defense was stellar as usual in a 39-26 Schuylkill League Division I victory over North Schuylkill on Friday evening at Martz Hall.

Brandon Bridy added 12 points for Pottsville (13-0, 6-0 D-I), which overcame a sluggish first half offensively and used a 22-10 run over the first 11 minutes of the second half to put the game away.

With the victory, the Tide moved 1½ games ahead of second-place Blue Mountain (9-2, 4-1) and took a 2½-game advantage on North Schuylkill (7-3, 3-2) and Pine Grove (7-4, 3-2).

"We always thought we were a pretty good team," senior guard Tyler Heffner said. "Defense wins a lot of games. We work a lot on our defense. That pays off and contributes to our start so far."

It did again Friday.

Pottsville entered Friday's game allowing a league-best 31.5 points per game. The Tide held the Spartans to 9-of-31 shooting

(29 percent) from the floor while North Schuylkill turned the ball over 18 times, with 10 coming on steals.

The defense kept Pottsville in the game in the first half as the offense struggled. But the Crimson Tide turned it up a notch in the second half and ended up holding an opponent to under 30 points for the sixth time this season.

"In the first half our defense was good, but in the second half it was really good," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "We not only were slowing them down, but we were creating some turnovers and contesting every pass. In the first half we really weren't."

Thomas had eight rebounds, three blocks and the night's offensive highlight, slamming home a Bridy missed shot with 2 minutes to go in the third quarter.

Ryan Coyle also had five assists for the Tide.

Friday was the second straight loss for North Schuylkill. The Spartans battled their way back from a 7-2 deficit in the first quarter to take a 12-11 lead on Damon Meyer's 3-pointer from the corner with 1:34 left in the first half, but things fell apart in the second half for the second consecutive game.

During Tuesday's 47-37 loss at Pine Grove, the Spartans led 21-19 at halftime but were outscored 28-16 over the final 16 minutes.

North Schuylkill coach Curt Ziegmont didn't have much to say after the game and Spartans don't have much time to think about it. They travel to Tri-Valley for a non-league game this evening.

"We have to keep plugging away and hopefully learn from our experiences," Ziegmont said.

"Defensively I thought both teams played phenomenal. They made more plays down the stretch. That's what you do when you are the two-time Schuylkill League champs."

Pottsville turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter, but converted two steals from Bridy and another from Thomas into five points to go up 7-2 at the end of the period.

Coyle found Travis Blankenhorn on the baseline for a layup with 47.8 seconds left in the first half to up for good 13-12.

Pottsville protected the ball much better in the second half and patiently worked for open looks both inside and outside. The Tide shot 10-for-22 (45 percent) in the second half.

"Once we settled down a little bit and ran our stuff, we got some better looks," Mullaney said.

 

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Being perfect not a priority

With it’s 39-26 victory over North Schuylkill on Friday at Martz Hall, Pottsville has fought its way through the first half of the Schuylkill League Division I schedule with a perfect mark of 6-0.
Now only are the Crimson Tide undefeated in the league, but are 13-0 overall, something they weren’t at this point last season when they finished 25-3.
After Friday’s win, led once again by the defense, I asked Pottsville head coach Dave Mullaney if finishing the regular season 22-0 is something that’s talked about among his coaches and players.
He just shook his head.
“It’s never been brought up and to be honest with you, it probably won’t happen,” Mullaney said. “We have some really difficult games coming up. That’s never been a goal and it’s not a goal of ours at all. I have bunch of our goals written down on a board. There’s about seven of them and it’s not on there anywhere.”
I felt the Crimson Tide’s only loss in the regular season last year to Wilson West Lawn 46-38 at the Pottsville Showcase on Jan. 2 made them a better team. Pottsville got to see what it needed to work on and the Tide went on to win their second straight league title and finished third in the District 11 Class AAAA playoffs, qualifying for states.
As for the rest of this season’s schedule, Pottsville has the second half of its league schedule, starting with Blue Mountain at Martz Hall next Thursday, as well as non-league games at Muhlenberg (6-3) on Jan. 21, at Governor Mifflin (0-12) on Jan. 28 at Emmaus (10-1) on Feb. 4.

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" 13 on the 13th "

   The Crimson Tide continued, it's winning ways, defeating North Schuylkill 39 - 26. The Tide earned their 13 victory on Friday the 13th.

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Tide Rolls 66 - 39 
 The Tide continues it's winning ways defeating Jim Thrope 66-39 at Jim Thrope tonight. Tide's perfect 12-0 record will be put to the test on Friday verus North Schuylkill Spartans.

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"Pottsville rolls an Eleven "

      The Crimson Tide continued their winning ways by defeating the Tamaqua Blue Raiders at Martz Hall by the score of 51-29, Pottsville once again played team defense to ensure the victory. Pottsville defense is rank number one in the Schuylkill League, Great defense leads to winning ways for the Tide. The Tide was led by Brandon Bridy's 14 points followed by Travis Blankenhorn and "Chevy" Thomas with 10 a piece. The scoring was rounded out with Eli  Nabholz 6 points, four of which came on a rare 4 point play, with Eli hitting a "3" and followed it with a foul shot.

The Tide travel to Jim Thrope for it's next Game.

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   The Crimson Tide improved it's record to 10 - 0, defeating the Panther Valley Panthers by a score of 34-19. After a hard played defense battle in the first half, which was 9-9 at half-time, the lowest scoring half of the year for the Crimson Tide. The Tide regrouped, still playing good solid defense in the second half, producing a couple of turnovers for the Panthers, The Tide turn them into offense points and outscored their opponents by the score of 25 to 10 in the second half to seal their 10th victory of the year.

    Brandon Bridy led the Tide with 14 points and was followed by Shavinski "Chevy" Thomas with 8 points, two of which came on a "power Jam". Travis Blanenhorn and Ryan Coyle each contributed 6 points apiece. The Tide will meet Tamaqua on Friday night at the "Mecca" Martz Hall.

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Crimson Tide rolls into 2012 unbeaten


SCHUYLKILL HAVEN - It was one of those halves when a high school coach could simply watch contently as things unfolded.

The Pottsville boys basketball team had a non-league game Tuesday night at Schuylkill Haven, and the Crimson Tide needed only a few minutes to take firm command. The Tide had a double-digit lead before too long, but it didn't put things into cruise control.

With Tide coach Dave Mullaney substituting liberally Pottsville remained undefeated with a 53-17 win over the rebuilding Hurricanes.

As different players came in and out, Pottsville kept running in a smooth fashion.

"We wanted to play a lot of these guys tonight because we knew we had games tomorrow and Thursday," Mullaney said. "For the first half everyone who stepped on the floor maintained the intensity we wanted."

Just about everybody on the roster scored with Travis Blankenhorn and Ryan Coyle leading the Tide with 10 each.

With a week of non-league games completed - capped by a 49-23 win over Nativity Thursday night - Pottsville enters the new year with a 9-0 record.

"Our coaching staff is really happy with where we're at so far," Mullaney said. "We had a pretty difficult schedule, and to be (undefeated) right now says a lot about our kids. We might not have that one guy that scores 20 points a game, but everybody is stepping up and contributing."

That one guy would be Nick Schlitzer, now a freshman at Division II Philadelphia University. He's averaging 18.3 points through his first 10 games under coaching legend Herb Magee.

Back in Pottsville, fans might notice that the Tide's gameplan looks almost exactly the same. The starting five of Tyler Heffner, Shavinski Thomas, Brandon Bridy, Zach Wile and Coyle continues to move the ball around like a machine until somebody is open for a shot.

"We haven't changed a thing," Mullaney said. "We run our exact same system. Losing a guy like Nick, he's hard to replace. But he played right within our team concept. He wasn't a selfish kid at all.

"You watch us play, and it's similar to the way we've been. Our shots might be spread out a little more, instead of one or two guys."

Indeed, a look at the team's stats shows a pretty even distribution of scoring with Blankenhorn coming off the bench to lead with 13 points per game.

That's good news for Pottsville, which is trying to return to the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs. It qualified last year after finishing third in District 11.

"Overall, we're going to have to improve if we want to compete on the district Quad-A level to be where we were last year," Mullaney said. "That being said, the district is down a little bit, and there's an opportunity for a lot of people to step in there, win a couple games and go to states."


League jammin' in season's 1st month

So far, the Schuylkill League boys' basketball season has gone as expected.

For the most part, the games have been competitive. There is parity overall, too.

The results of a couple of games over the Christmas holiday show that: Minersville picked up its biggest win of the season so far by beating Shenandoah Valley 64-50 on Tuesday. The Blue Devils responded by downing North Schuylkill 51-39 on Thursday.

One area, however, that wasn't given much thought during the preseason was the number of dunks in the league at this point in the season.

So far, I've seen two: Shenandoah Valley's Josh Dombrosky against Mahanoy Area on Dec. 16 and Pottsville's Shavinski Thomas on Thursday against Nativity. That's more than I saw all of last year.

There have been six other dunks reported to The Republican-Herald in the league this first month.

Dombrosky had two and teammate Bill Moyer another against MMI on Dec. 10, Blue Mountain's Kyle Laughlin threw two down against Tamaqua on Dec. 22 and Jim Thorpe P.J. Johnson had one against Lehighton on Dec. 17. There might have been more. These are just the ones that have been reported to us.

Perhaps the number of dunks shouldn't be surprising.

During the preseason, Blue Mountain coach Dustin Werdt, Shenandoah Valley coach Rob Miller and Jim Thorpe coach Brian Carroll all mentioned how athleticism was one of the strong points of their teams.

The size of these players obviously makes a difference, too. Dombrosky, who's headed to California University of Pennsylvania next fall, is around 6-foot-5. So is Laughlin. Thomas is 6-6. The exception is Johnson, who is 5-9. But like the other three, he also is a great athlete.

The ability to dunk may not be a big deal to some, but the fans certainly love seeing it.

The crowd was fairly subdued during the Crimson Tide's Battle of the Hills game with Nativity at Martz Hall on Thursday before Thomas' two-handed jam on the baseline off a pass from Zach Wile brought out one of the loudest roars of the night.

The others came when Thomas had back-to-back swats of two Nativity shots during the second quarter.

Seeing players in the league dunk is just something else to look forward to as the season progresses.

Updated stats

A complete list of updated stats will appear in Wednesday's paper. Stats will then be published every week throughout the regular season.

Defense keys Tide's perfect start

Pottsville athletic director Eric Rismiller gave me some "grief" for the Tide's No. 7 preseason Power Poll ranking.

Pottsville's 9-0 start now has them at No. 1.

One of the big keys is the Tide's defense, which has allowed an average of 32.3 points per game so far this season.

Pottsville was really impressive last week.

The Tide allowed just 59 total points in wins over Schuylkill Haven (53-17), Northwestern Lehigh (58-19) and Nativity (49-23) on consecutive nights.

Granted, the combined record of these teams is 5-17. But to hold to two varsity teams to under 20 points - and give up just one point in the first half to Schuylkill Haven - while almost doing it to another is quite an accomplishment.

(Carnahan is The Republican-Herald boys' basketball beat writer)Boys' power poll

Through Dec. 31

Team W-L Pv.

1. Pottsville 9-0     (7)

2. Mahanoy Area 8-0 5

3. Shen. Valley 5-2 2

4. North Schuylkill 5-2 6

5. Blue Mountain 6-2 3

6. Pine Grove 4-3 1

7. Tri-Valley 5-1 NR

8. Minersville 4-2 4

9. Williams Valley 5-2 10

10. Jim Thorpe 5-4 9

- Compiled by Mike Carnahan

Unbeaten Tide boys cruise by Nativity

Pottsville's starters watched most of the fourth quarter of Thursday's game from the same spot they did the last two nights.

On the bench.

The Crimson Tide didn't need them on the floor.

Brandon Bridy scored a game-high 16 points while Pottsville's offense came to life in the second half in its 49-23 victory over Nativity in the Pottsville Lions Holiday City Classic Tournament "Battle of the Hills" at Martz Hall.

Bridy scored seven of his points in the third quarter while Travis Blankenhorn and Shavinski Thomas each added four points in the period as Pottsville (9-0) held a 16-4 scoring advantage in the third to put the game away and win by 25 or more points for the third time this week.

The Tide struggled in the first half against the Hilltoppers' defense, which came in allowing 44.8 points per game. But a halftime suggestion turned the game in the Tide's favor as they remained perfect on the season.

"Nativity is really well coached and they had a good game plan," Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney said. "They used their press to kind of dictate the tempo of the game and try to slow us down.

"(Assistant) coach (Tom) McGeoy made a suggestion at halftime for us to be more aggressive. That changed us in the second half and got us going."

Blankenhorn finished

the night with nine points while Ryan Coyle and Thomas had six apiece. Thomas also finished with eight rebounds and four blocks and added a two-handed, baseline jam off a Zach Wile assist with 3:25 left in the third quarter, giving Pottsville a 34-12 lead.

While the offense struggled early, the Tide's defense led the way again.

Pottsville held the Hilltoppers (3-4) to 11-of-36 (31 percent) from the field in the game. Nativity also turned the ball over 15 times, with 10 coming in the first half.

The Hilltoppers were able to do what Pottsville's last two opponents couldn't: Crack 20 points. The Tide hammered Schuylkill Haven 53-17 on Tuesday and Northwestern Lehigh 58-19 on Wednesday.

"It's the type of pressure you can't really prepare for," Nativity coach Chris McLaughlin said. "They are really up the line and denying the wings. It's something the kids need to see first hand to really understand what it is like."

Zach Gasper had seven points to lead Nativity, which hung around in the first half.

Thomas scored on a layup for the first points of the game at the 5:25 mark but a Bryar White layup tied it on Nativity's next possession.

Coyle then hit a 3-pointer from the corner at 3:54 to make it 5-2. The Hilltoppers took the lead when White put in another layup and Bill Birosik scored inside to make it 6-5 with 2:09 left in the period.

"Defensively all year we've been pretty good," McLaughlin said. "Their guard play is very good and they shoot the ball really well. Our keys going in were to get out to their shooters and put pressure on them. I think that bothered them a little bit and took them out of their rhythm early."

The Tide took the lead for good at 8-6 with 1:42 left in the first when Blankenhorn knocked down a baseline 3-pointer off a Tyler Heffner inbounds pass. At 1:03, Heffner found Bridy for a layup off another inbounds play.

After Bridy scored on a three-point play at 7:26 of the second quarter, Nativity got within 13-8 when Connor Holohan scored on a steal and layup.

But that's as close as the Hilltoppers got the rest of the game.

Pottsville went on a 28-4 run from there that lasted into the fourth quarter and ended with Coyle's second 3 of the game with 6:35 remaining.

"Their press was not causing us to turn over the ball, it was just slowing down the game," Mullaney said. "We were content with just breaking the press and setting up an offense. Once we made that adjustment, got the ball in the middle and attack off of it, it got us going a little bit. We got a few easy baskets off of it and we got our energy up."

 



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Photo by John Liddle

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Photo by John Liddle

  

" Nine Is Devine". Tide Improves to 9 - 0

Pottsville Crimson Tide moved to 9-0 defeating Nativity Green Wave 49-24. The Tide were led by Brandon Bridy's 16 points and Travis Blankenhorn 9 points. Once again Tide's B & B led the way. Along with the Crimson Tide wave of defense led the Tide to another victory to posted a perfect 9-0 record.

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By Johm Liddle

 

Shavi ignites Martz Hall crowd

The crowd was rather subdued for the Pottsville and Nativity’s boys’ contest, the final game of the Pottsville Lions Holiday City Classic Tournament “Battle of the Hills” on Thursday at Martz Hall.
Perhaps it was the fact that Martz Hall, which comes to life during the Schuylkill League playoffs, might not be the best place to watch a regular season game due its size (It’s still my favorite place to watch a game. And I love the new scoreboard).
Or maybe it was the game itself, which was close for most of the first half but turned into a 49-23 Crimson Tide rout.
However, two moments involving 6-foot-7 Pottsville senior center Shavinski Thomas brought the loudest cheers from the crowd on the night.
The first came late in the first half when Thomas blocked a shot by the Hilltopper’s Bryar White and then followed that up with another swat of a shot by Bill Birosik.
The second came midway through the third quarter when Zach Wile passed to Thomas along the baseline, who then thew down a two-handed jam. Even the Crimson Tide bench stood up and applauded Thomas’ dunk.
Thomas finished the game with six points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

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Photo By Johm Liddle

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Photo By Johm Liddle

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Photo By Johm Liddle

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Photo By Johm Liddle

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Photo By Johm Liddle

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Photo By Johm Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

Pottsville Crimson Tide Tames the Northwestern Lehigh Tigers

The Crimson Tide rolls to it's 8th victory by the score of 58 - 19, Once again, shutting down the opponents with tough defense along with a well balance offense. Ryan Coyle led the Tide with 15 points followed by Travis Blankenhorn's 13 points,  Brandon Bridy's 8 points  and Thomas Shavinski with 7 points and Zach Wile's 6 points.

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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Photo By John Liddle

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