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Teams are listed in predicted order of finish.

DIVISION I

1. HAZLETON AREA

Coach: Mike Joseph

11-12 WVC record: 12-2 WVC Div. I, 1st; 20-5 overall

11-12 postseason: Lost 54-47 to Delaware Valley in D2/4-4A semifinals.

State classification: 4A

Key players lost: Travis Buckner, G/F.; Adam Hauze, G/F.; Corey Joseph, G; Tyler Plaksa, G.; Frankie Vito, G.

Key players: Kurtis Wright, 6-1, Sr.; Brett Barron, 5-11, Jr.; Sal Biasi, 5-11, Jr.; Abel Felix, 6-1, Jr.; Jon Fogarty, 5-10, Jr.; William Hierro, 5-11, Jr.; Hunter Samec, 6-5, Jr.; Chris Woodring, 5-11, Jr.

Outlook: Hazleton Area has a solid chance to repeat as divisional champion but is probably a year away from reaching its full potential.

Biasi (11.8 ppg, 31 3-pt. FGs) is a dynamic player on both ends of the floor. He will certainly be the Cougars’ go-to player in many situations. Samec saw limited varsity time, but will bring size inside to match up with other bigs in the division.

As for the rest of the starting lineup, it could be a work in progress. About 10 other players have performed well in a couple scrimmages, so depth should be a major concern. Felix and Wright are a pair of seniors expected to get time. Expect some rough moment early and a better team come February.

2. CRESTWOOD

Coach: Mark Atherton

11-12 WVC record: 10-3 Div. I, 2nd; 14-11 overall

11-12 postseason: Won 49-37 over Pittston Area in D2-3A quarterfinals. Lost 49-38 to Abington Heights in semifinals.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: John Fazzini, G/F; Josh Jones, G.; Mike Judge, G/F; Jake Prohaska, C/F.

Key players: Steve Roberts, 6-1, Sr.; Brandon Cole, 5-10, Jr.; Chris Fazzini, 6-3, Jr.; Brady Gallagher, 5-8, Jr.; Brian Markowski, 6-2, Jr.; Cole Wasco, 6-1, So.

Outlook: The Comets reached double digits in the loss column for a second consecutive season, a rarity at the normally strong program. They did, however, turn things around after a 2-6 start.

Gallagher (6.6 ppg) will run the offense. He is also a solid shooter outside the arc and on the foul line. Fazzini (9.8 ppg) is the top scorer back and a solid all-around player. Roberts (8.0) had some strong games after gaining a starting spot midway through last season.

While that’s a nice nucleus, the Comets are young overall and will be relying heavily on underclassmen. They are about six guys solid right now, with hopes a couple players can step up as bench players.

3. WYOMING VALLEY WEST

Coach: George Reimiller

11-12 WVC record: 9-4 Div., 3rd; 11-13 overall

11-12 postseason: Lost 77-59 to Williamsport in D2/4-4A quarterfinals.

State classification: 4A

Key players lost: Jonathan Gimble, F/C.; Ryan Hoinski, G; James McCann, G.

Key players: Husam Abdurruzaq, 6-4, Sr.; Brett Good, 6-1, Sr.; Jaquan Ingram, 6-6, Sr.; Chris McCue, 5-10, Sr.; Lucky Williams, 6-1, Sr.; Larry Anderscavage, 5-7, Jr.; Mike Baur, 6-4, Jr.; Jamie Calloway, 5-11, Jr.; Steve Doroskewicz, 6-3, Jr.; Evan McCue, 5-11, Jr.

Outlook: Valley West returns just two starters. Ingram (11.2 ppg) is one of the top big players in the WVC. He’s not a wide-body, but has excellent athletic ability and is very active under the basket. Good (6.8 ppg, 14 3-pt. FGs) brings a physical presence to the team as well as solid shooting from the outside.

Chris McCue saw some time with the varsity and is penciled in as another starter. Baur and Williams will likely round out the lineup, but like Good, they were busy with football until recently. Plus, Williams hasn’t played since his sophomore year although the raw talent is there.

But nothing is etched in stone, as there are about a half dozen others battling for starting time. The two biggest holes are at point guard where McCann was one of the best, and inside where Gimble provided scoring balance.

4. TUNKHANNOCK

Coach: Dustin Babcock

11-12 WVC record: 8-5 Div. II, 2nd; 14-10 overall

11-12 postseason: Lost 45-30 to Abington Heights in D2-3A quarterfinals.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: A.J. Bevan, F/G.; Derik Franklin, F/G.; James Hawk, C.; Alex Zaner, G.

Key players:

Brett Christy, 6-1, Sr.; Jimmy DeWitt, 6-1, Sr.; Brian Stephenson, 6-2, Sr.; Adam Billings, 6-3, Jr.; Jordan Faux, 5-10, Jr.; Sean Soltysiak, 6-2, Jr.; Austin Yanora, 5-8, So.

Outlook: Obviously, the Tigers won’t be as big with 7-footer Hawk gone. But there is a strong group back that could be the surprise of the division.

Yanora (8.8 ppg, 30 3-pt. FGs) really developed nicely through last season. Faux (4.6 ppg, 12 3-pt. FGs) also returns to the backcourt. Stephenson (9.6 ppg) will often be the biggest Tigers on the court at 6-foot-2. Christy, DeWitt and Soltysiak logged some quality varsity minutes last season and will be counted on even more.

Depth could be a concern unless a few others step up. The lack of overall size will hurt against bigger opponents. Another team that could finish a couple games on either side of .500.

5. DALLAS

Coach: Doug Miller

11-12 WVC record: 8-5 Div. II, 1st; 16-10 overall

11-12 postseason: Won 64-58 over North Pocono in D2-3A quarterfinals. Lost 59-47 to Scranton Prep in the semifinals.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: Donnie Behm, G; Paul Brace, G.; Shane Dunn, F.; Bob Saba, G; Jason Simonovich, F.

Key players: Chad DeBona, 5-10, Jr.; Matt Saba, 5-10, Jr.; Allen Fell, 6-6, So.; Matt Ross, 6-0, So.; Suk Mathon, 6-7, Fr.;

Outlook: If Dallas is to repeat as a divisional champ, it will be in a different division and with an entirely new lineup. Four starters graduated and a fifth elected not to come out for the team.

The Mountaineers likely won’t have a senior in the starting lineup. The potential is there, however, especially among the sophomores and freshmen. Ross (2.7 ppg) played in all 13 league games as a freshman. Fell brings size and an excellent work ethic. Mathon is another big guy underneath who could develop in time.

Overall, Dallas appears a middle-of-the-pack team right now but could surprise as the season goes on.

6. COUGHLIN

Coach: Mike Day

11-12 WVC record: 4-9 Div. I, 5th; 7-15 overall

11-12 postseason: Did not qualify.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: Marcus Cobb, G; Devon Davis, G/F.; Eric Heffers, G/F; Phil Trout, G/F.

Key players: Conner Flaherty, 6-2, Sr.; Malik McDonald, 6-2, Sr.; Nate Oliver, 5-10, Sr.; Nick Cerep, Fr.;

Jose Rivera, Fr.

Outlook: The Crusaders won four of their last nine games last season and Day is hoping they can carry over the momentum. He admitted his first season in charge was a learning experience for all involved. Coughlin will be banking on three seniors to be big contributors. Oliver (11.5 ppg) played very well in the latter part of last season, finishing with 22 3-pointers in WVC play. Flaherty (7.8 ppg) contributed throughout, while McDonald (1.6 ppg) should contribute more in a starter’s role.

For the first time in recent years, Coughlin has some size. But depth is a concern entering the campaign.

7. PITTSTON AREA

Coach: Alan Kiesinger

11-12 WVC record: 6-7 Div., 4th; 13-10 overall

11-12 postseason: Lost 49-37 to Crestwood in D2-3A quarterfinals.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: Shaun McDermott, G.; Steve Sklanka, G.; Steve Stravinski, F.

Key players: Jayson Crawford, 5-11, Sr.; James Tobish, 6-2, Sr.; James Emmett, 6-1, Jr.; Mason Gross, 6-5, Jr.; Carmen Lobrutto, 6-0, Jr.; Hassan Maxwell, 5-11, Jr.; Justin Peterson, 6-3, Jr.; Michael Schwab, 5-10, Jr.; Michael Delaney, 5-9, So.; Tyler McGarry, 6-4, So.

Outlook: It will be a bit of a rebuilding season at Pittston Area. The Patriots lost about 50 points per game through graduation and other circumstances.

There are a couple strong building blocks. Gross (6.2 ppg) worked his way into the lineup and was playing very well late in the season. Schwab (1.9 ppg) also started a handful of games late. Add three more starters and the Patriots will have an entirely new starting five than the one that started last season’s schedule.

There will probably be a lot of shuffling of the lineup early on until the right combination is found. About 10 players are expected to contribute in one way or another and the Patriots have been working hard to get better.

Overall, Pittston Area looks like a team that could finish a few games on either side of .500.

8. BERWICK

Coach: Jason Kingery

11-12 WVC record: 1-12 Div. II, tied 4th; 3-19 overall

11-12 postseason: Did not qualify.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: Jimmy Gaizick, F; Mike Gensel, G; James Morrison, F; Jared Pierce, G.

Key players: Brian Bridge, 6-2, Sr.; Jeremy Clausen, 6-1, Sr.; Eric May, 5-10, Sr.; Will Morales, 5-9, Sr.; Zach Ladonis, 6-4, Sr.; Matthew Dalo, 6-2, Jr.;

Outlook: Kingery didn’t bring many wins in his first season, but he did bring much-needed stability. He was the fifth head coach in the past four seasons. The Dawgs are banking on a strong offseason, where they played about 40 games, to speed up the progress. The team is working hard to improve, but moving up to Division I will add to the challenge.

The defense improved last season, but the offense scored over 50 points only twice in WVC play. May (6.3 ppg) and Ladonis (5.7 ppg) are the top scorers returning.

DIVISION II

1. GAR

Coach: Paul Brown

11-12 WVC record: 12-2 Div. III, 2nd; 20-3 overall

11-12 postseason: Lost 42-40 in overtime to Riverside in D2-2A quarterfinals.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: Darrell Crawford, G; Zach Ellis, G.; Shaliek Powell, F.; Iawntye Ricks, F.; Matt Sharpe, G.

Key players: Christian Skrepenak, 6-10, Sr.; Willie Winstead, 6-0, Sr.; Isaiah Francis, 6-3, Jr.; Jahlil Harvey, 5-10, Jr.; James Holmes, 5-9, Jr.; Lamont Twyman, 6-0, Jr.; Darius Washington, 6-0, So.

Outlook: GAR lost its entire backcourt plus a starting forward, but Brown feels good about this group. He praised his team’s focus and teamwork, hinting those elements weren’t always present in the recent past.

Francis (9.9 ppg) is back after an outstanding sophomore season. Brown believes he could eventually earn a basketball scholarship. So far, Francis hasn’t done anything to dispel that. Skrepenak (8.6 ppg) is more at home on the football field, but he provides a huge presence under the basket.

Twyman has the most varsity experience among the other six players expected to see time, be it as starters or off the bench. The group gives the Grenadiers various options on the court to suit an opponent. GAR plays an extremely tough exhibition schedule, so its record going into the WVC season could be deceiving.

2. HOLY REDEEMER

Coach: Mark Belenski

11-12 WVC record: 7-6 Div. II, 3rd; 10-13 overall

11-12 postseason: Lost 38-34 to Scranton Prep in D2-3A quarterfinals.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: Will Cavanaugh, G.; Christian Choman, F; Ryan DeRemer, G.; Dalton Ell, F.

Key players: Kyle Gainard, 5-11, Sr.; Mike Morrison, 6-7, Sr.; Brian Banas, 6-3, Jr.; Mike Boutanos, 5-10, Jr.; John Kane, 6-5, Jr.; Chase Markowski, 5-11, Jr.; Mike Prociak, 6-8, Jr.; Shacheal Wallace, 6-2, Jr.; Lenny Radziak, 5-9, So.

Outlook: Redeemer suffered its first losing season in 2011-12 in it five-year existence. The 10 victories were less than half posted in the previous two seasons. The defense was solid, but the offense struggled to score over 50 points on a consistent basis.

The Royals have a solid three to build around. Prociak (5.5 ppg) gives the team a strong presence inside. Wallace (9.8 ppg) is coming off a very good season and his ability to play different positions provides flexibility. Boutanos (4.5 ppg) played well down the stretch as part of the backcourt.

Redeemer has nice depth, with about six others expected to contribute from time to time. A key could be finding a go-to player, something the Royals lacked last season. No matter how the offense shakes out, they are GAR’s biggest – and perhaps only – threat to the divisional title.

3. LAKE-LEHMAN

Coach: Brian Cutter

11-12 WVC record: 7-7 Div. III, 4th; 12-10 overall

11-12 postseason: Did not qualify.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: Kevin Bohan, F; Chris Connor, F.; Jared Novitski, G; Cody Poepperling, G.

Key players: Bill Hillman, 6-0, Sr.; Jared James, 6-2, Sr.; Pete Borum, 6-6, Jr.; Adam Dizbon, 6-0, Jr.; Cody Paraschak, 6-4, Jr.; Vinnie Williamson, 6-1, Jr.; Mike Symeon, 5-10, So.

Outlook: Lehman snapped a streak of 18 consecutive losing seasons by winning two of its last three games. The Black Knights ran hot and cold last season, going on small winning and losing streaks throughout. Still, the breakthrough season was much needed.

The Black Knights have three players back who will provide stability. Dizbon (3.8 ppg) will run the show from the point and tossed in a team-leading 12 three-pointers in WVC play. Borum (14.1 ppg) excels on the football field as a lineman, but is rather nimble for a 300-pounder. James (8.4 ppg) has battled knee issues throughout his career, but was very solid last season. Depth, though, could be a problem.

The program got over a huge hump last season. Still, there’s more progress needed to become a contender for the division title.

4. NANTICOKE

Coach: Ken Bartuska

11-12 WVC record: 5-9 Div. III, tied 5th; 7-15 overall

11-12 postseason: Did not qualify.

State classification: 2A

Key players lost: Brian Bevan, G.; Luke Casey, F (transferred); Zak Matulewski, G; Evan Reakes, G.; Joey Yudichak, G; Kevin Zaykoski, F.

Key players: Nate Seise, 5-7, Sr.; Cairee Walker, 6-4, Sr.; Mike Malshefski, 6-2, Jr.; Tyler Myers, 5-9, Jr.; Nick Valenti, 6-7, Jr.

Outlook: Nanticoke lost its top eight players from last season. The returners have combined for one start and 19 varsity points, so it’s obvious a huge rebuilding season.

The backcourt has the most experience – if it can be called that – with Myers and Seise. The duo totaled 12 points in WVC play last season. Malsheefski, Valenti and Walker provided size, although their combined varsity experience is less than either Myers or Seise. There about a half dozen players vying for time off the bench. A few freshmen might figure in the mix as well.

Still, Bartuska is pleased with the work ethic and enthusiasm of the team. Those factors might not add up to victories, but should ensure the Trojans are a better team by the end of the season.

5. WYOMING AREA

Coach: Al Brogna

11-12 WVC record: 1-12 Div. II, tied 4th; 2-20 overall

11-12 postseason: Did not qualify.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: Joe Adonizio, G.; E.J. Driving Hawk F.; Matt Klus, G/F; Dan Newhart, G; Lou Vullo, G.

Key players: Mike Carey, 5-10, Sr.; Bart Chupka, 6-2, Sr.; Derek Dorman, 6-0, Sr.; Trent Grove, 6-2, Sr.; Ron Robinson, 6-5, Sr.; Erik Walkowiak, 6-2, Sr.; Jordan Zezza, 6-1, Sr.; Evan Musto, 6-0, So.; Jeremy Zezza, 6-1, So.

Outlook: The Warriors lost about 85 percent of their offense to graduation. That number is a bit skewed because Chupka (8.4 ppg) missed a good portion of last season with a broken arm. Brogna believes Chupka has the talent to be a force in his senior year. Carey (5.6 ppg, 14 3-pt. FGs) is also back as is Jordan Zezza (4.8 ppg). Carey started at the point, but will be counted on to score more. But after those three, there are question marks throughout the lineup.

Grove returns to the team after sitting out last year. A football standout, he’ll add toughness inside. Walkowiak saw limited action last season in his first time playing basketball since junior high. Robinson will give the Warriors a big guy, but is in his first year playing. Dorman brings a street-style game, while Jeremy Zezza and Musto got a taste of varsity play as freshmen.

Wyoming Area should improve on last season, but finishing close to .500 will be challenging.

DIVISION III

1. MEYERS

Coach: Pat Toole

11-12 WVC record: 14-0 Div. III, 1st; 24-3 overall

11-12 postseason: Defeated Holy Cross 51-36 for the D2-2A championship. Lost 66-51 to Imhotep Charter in PIAA Class 2A tournament second round.

State classification: 2A

Key players lost: Dominic Johnson, G.; Eugene Lewis, G/F; Alex Pape, G; Fabian Smith, G.

Key players: Anthony Havard, 6-2, Sr.; Michael Kendra, 5-9, Sr.; Ryan Krawczeniuk, 6-3, Sr.; Teaguen Labatch, 6-4, Sr.; Rasheed Moore, 6-6, Sr.; C.J. Szafran, 5-9, Sr.; Matt DeMarco, 6-2, Jr.; Dominic Pittman, 6-1, Jr.; Tyler Smallcomb, 6-1, Jr.; Tyriek Steward, 6-4, Jr.

Outlook: Simply put, Meyers is by far the top team in the division and arguably the best team in the WVC. Krawczeniuk and Moore are four-year varsity players who are among the top-five players in the WVC.

Krawczeniuk (14.3 ppg, 19 3-pt. FGs) is a gym rat who can adept to any style of play be it halfcourt, run-and-gun or street ball. Moore (13.2 ppg) can jump through the roof and rebounds with authority. He has developed many dimensions to his game over the past two years.

As for the other three starters, they’re very solid. Szafran was the first ballhandler off the bench last season and showed plenty of promise. Steward missed time with a broken ankle, but he’s another guy who can play above the rim. DeMarco proved to be quite an athlete on the football field. Now he needs to carry it over to the hardwoods.

Depth is a concern, so if the Mohawks stay healthy they could have a very good season.

2. HANOVER AREA

Coach: Steve Harnischfeger

11-12 WVC record: 8-6 Div. III, 3rd; 10-13 overall

11-12 postseason: Lost 72-56 to Lakeland in D2-2A quarterfinals.

State classification: 2A

Key players lost: Austin Bogart, G; ShaQuille Rolle, F; Martin Steve, C.

Key players: Troy Everetts, 5-10, Sr.; Nate Hemsley, 5-10, Sr.; Ethan Hoolick, 6-1, Sr.; Muhsin Sharif, 6-1, Sr.; Jorge Colon, 5-7, Jr.; Jake Barber, 6-0, So.; Bob Kerestes, 6-4, So.; Thomas Kriton, 6-1, So.; Tony Marcincavage, 6-2, So.

Outlook: It will be a bit of a rebuilding season for Hanover Area. The Hawkeyes lost about half their offensive output, their size and their top player to graduation. However, there are some promising prospects in the sophomore and freshman classes.

Colon (10.4 ppg) and Barber (9.4 ppg) are the most experienced players back. Colon has contributed since his freshman season and plays with grit and confidence. Barber came on late last season and provided a scoring threat from beyond the arc.

Although Hanover Area is expected to rely heavily on underclassmen, seniors Everetts and Hoolick had some big offensive games last season. The Hawkeyes won’t catch Meyers, but could be the divisional runners-up if things come together.

3. NORTHWEST

Coach: Jerry Blazick

11-12 WVC record: 5-9 Div. II, tied 5th; 8-14 overall

11-12 postseason: Did not qualify.

State classification: 2A

Key players lost: Christian Foley, F.; Jeff Nelson, G.; Dalton Tomko, G.; Garret Yustat, G.

Key players: Kyle Cragle, 6-0, Sr.; Devon Mazonkey, 6-2, Sr.; Alex Sirak, 6-2, Sr.; Charlie Margelewicz, 5-6, Jr.; Arlo Maurer, 6-0, Jr.; Josh Piestrak, 5-9, Jr.; Bruno Walkowiak, 5-10, Jr.

Outlook: The Rangers will be road warriors this season, with only eight of 22 games at home. No matter where they play, things will run through Mazonkey (16.0 ppg). Mazonkey is one of the top players in the WVC. He is an inside-out player and will be instrumental in Northwest’s success.

Cragle (5.8 ppg) and Sirak bring experience inside the paint, although neither has much size. Mauer will be a swingplayer. The Rangers are hoping Margelewicz can develop into a solid point guard to take that responsibility away from Mazonkey at times. In reality, the hope is that if Mazonkey isn’t required to do too much he will actually be more effective.

The Rangers have the pieces to be a good team and if they come together they could hover around .500 overall. But like everyone else, they won’t touch Meyers for the division.

4. WYOMING SEMINARY

Coach: C.J. Kersey

11-12 WVC record: 5-9 Div. III, tied 5th; 8-14 overall

11-12 postseason: Did not qualify.

State classification: 2A

Key players lost: Sam Hwang, F.; Josh Lefkowitz, G.

Key players: Jason Ellis, 5-8, Sr.; Ander Gonzalez, 6-0, Sr.; Zach Wise, 6-3, Sr.; Alex Barilla, 6-3, Jr.; E.J. Flippen, 6-2, Jr.; Brad Sedor, 6-0, Jr.; Seth Callahan, 5-11, So.

Outlook: The Blue Knights return six letterwinners from a team that lost 12 of its last 15 games. However, there were some cases where the outcome could have been different.

Ellis (6.1 ppg) is back for his third year as a starter, while Flippen (9.8 ppg) and Callahan (10.5 ppg, 21 3-pt. FGs) also started last season. Barilla (5.6 ppg) and Sedor (3.5 ppg) also logged significant varsity minutes.

Gonzalez saw limited time as a junior and projects as the sixth man. Wise adds height but is in his first season of high school basketball. Anything after those seven falls into the unknown category.

Despite an overall lack of size, Kersey believes his team will be better on the defensive side of the court. That could help pick up the tempo on the offensive end. If things come together, a second-place finish is achievable.

5. MMI PREP

Coach: Joe Flanagan

11-12 WVC record: 0-14 Div. III, 8th; 4-18 overall

11-12 postseason: Lost 42-39 to Susquehanna in D2-A semifinals

State classification: A

Key players lost: George Gera, G; T.J. Wenner, F.; Alex Van Hoekelen, F.

Key players: Tim Connors, 6-1, Sr.; Aaron Kollar, 5-7, Sr.; Charlie Karchner, 5-10, Jr.; R.J. Kupsho, 5-9, Jr.; Jesse Plaksa, 6-0, So.; Cory Rogers, 6-1, So.; Ed Herbener, 5-7, Fr.

Outlook: The Preppers played some WVC teams tough last season, tougher than their overall record indicated. But two problems – size and depth – were prevalent and will be once against his season.

Kollar (6.3 ppg) returns for a third season running the offense. Connors (2.5 ppg) is MMI’s big guy at a mere 6-foot-1. Karchner (5.1 ppg), Kupsho (2.2 ppg) and Rogers (7.8 ppg) saw playing time last season and project as starters. Plaksa will also see time.

After that bunch, the Preppers will rely heavily on freshmen to fill in the gaps. MMI won’t be the most talented on the court on many nights, but the Preppers have shown they won’t roll over for anybody no matter what the odds. They could end up with a couple upset victories along the way.


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