WVC coaches also pick all-star teams and top coaches for all three divisions
By John Erzarjerzar@timesleader.com
Edited for GNA by GNA webdesign

Division II first team : Sean Bieski, Nanticoke; Bernard Edmonds, Wyoming Area; Myer Messinger and Pat Murray, Dallas; and Tyseane Whitt, GAR. Nanticoke’s Ken Bartuska was named Coach of the Year.
Joining Alvarado on the Division III first team were: Tyler Breznitsky, MMI Prep; Evan Byers and Gary Robinson, Seminary; Mike Eckman, Lake-Lehman; and Kyle Hillard, Northwest. Seminary’s C.J. Kersey was selected Coach of the Year.
Second-team selections were:
Division I – Jared Berry, Coughlin; Jack Crossin and Justin Pacovsky, Wyoming Valley West; Carl Stravinski, Pittston Area; and Keith Whitenight, Tunkhannock.
Division II – Rich Colorusso, Hanover Area; Joel Fetterman and Josh Niewinski, Nanticoke; Breon Phillips, GAR; and Frank Trinisewski, Meyers.
Division III – Kyle Angeli and Billy Winter, Northwest; Jayme Bronson, Lake-Lehman; Matt Swaback, Wyoming Seminary; and Eric Tomcho, West Side Tech.
Division II honorable mention selections were: Peter Alexis, Mike Bedrin, Greg Sam and Bob Konarski, Holy Redeemer; Mike Serra and Rob Kokinda, Hanover Area; A.J. Magda and Adam Wayman, GAR; Henry Messinger, Dallas; Dave Mizzer, Wyoming Area; Mike Burns, Meyers; and Kevin Corley and Jesse Stine, Nanticoke.
Lake-Lehman’s Bruce Mosier, MMI’s Justin Yakubowski and Seminary’s Max Saidman were Division III honorable mention selections. There were no honorable mention selections made in Division I.

Nanticoke playoff run ends

Valley View had a fourth-quarter spurt which gave the 5th seede Cougars the win.
The Trojans lost 48-41 and were forced to play without their top scorer Sean Bieski who was out with an injury.
Nanticoke ends their run at 17-10.
Josh Niewinski and Joel Fetterman let Nanticoke with 17 and 15 respectively.

Nanticoke 54, Western Wayne 44 - Playoffs

Joel Fetterman scored 13 points to lead fourth-seeded Nanticoke in a Class 3A first round game. Josh Niewinski scored 12 points and Josh Olzinski added 11.
Nanticoke will play No. 5 Valley View on Monday, February 18th at a site and time to be determined.

Nanticoke now 2-0 in second half
Trojans top the Mountaineers to avenge earlier defeat, stay on top of Division II.
By John Erzarjerzar@timesleader.com

Sean Bieski grabbed a free-throw rebound on the defensive end of the court. The Nanticoke senior emerged from the clawing for the ball and dribbled downcourt, nearly losing his balance briefly.
At the other end, Dallas’ 6-foot-6 Myer Messinger forced Bieski to adjust his three-point attempt.
Nothing but net with two seconds left. Exciting finish for some, but a typical game for the upstart Nanticoke Trojans.
Bieski’s basket gave Nanticoke a 49-47 victory over Dallas on Tuesday night, avenging a loss earlier in the season and keeping the Trojans in first place in Division II of Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball.
Nanticoke, the unexpected winner of the first-half title, improved to 2-0 in the second-half season and 13-6 overall. The Trojans stayed tied with Hanover Area (2-0, 6-13), which hasn’t played the front-runners yet.
“Sometimes these games are all right,” said Bieski, who scored eight of his team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter. “But every so often, a 20-point win would be nice.”
The victory was Nanticoke’s fifth by three points or less. Moreover, it avenged a 64-51 loss to Dallas (1-1, 12-6) on Jan. 4.
“I told the guys during the timeout that we were going to win this game,” Nanticoke coach Ken Bartuska said. “I honestly believed that, and they believed it too because we’ve been in a lot of tight games like this.”
Dallas called a timeout immediately after Bieski’s basket and hoped to get at worst a shot off from its offensive end of the court. That never happened as Henry Messinger had to whip a desperation shot from the defensive side, an attempt that wouldn’t have counted if it had gone in because time expired before the release.
“(Bartuska) told us to stay in front of them, basically, and keep it out of Myer’s hands if they throw it deep,” said Nanticoke’s Jesse Stine, who is listed at a suspicious 6-2 and spent a good portion on the game guarding Myer Messinger. “Just stay in front of anybody in the front court.”
Bieski’s basket was the 11th lead change of the game. Early on, though, the contest resembled the last matchup in which Dallas led for most of the game.
Dallas opened a 15-6 lead late in the first quarter on consecutive three-pointers by Myer Messinger and Pat Murray, who finished with a game-high 20 points.
However, Myer and his brother, Henry, a 6-4 junior, weren’t able to dominate like the first meeting. They had some very impressive moments Tuesday – like Henry’s rabble-rousing, two-handed dunk off an inbound pass – and combined for 23 points, but it was 10 fewer than in the earlier victory over the Trojans.
“They are tall, plus they are talented,” Bartuska said of the Messingers. “They aren’t stiffs that will go sit on the block. They can do so many different things, and we really don’t have a good matchup with them.”
Dallas didn’t have an answer for Nanticoke three-point ace Joel Fetterman, either.
Fetterman tied a school record with eight treys in a 56-53 victory over GAR on Friday, and his three consecutive three-pointers in the second quarter snapped the Mountaineers’ momentum. Neither team was able to gain much of an edge the rest of the way.
“I thought we had some chances to get a bigger lead,” Dallas coach Ted Jackson Jr. said. “We took some bad shots. Give credit to Nanticoke. They played tough defense the whole game.”

Fetterman ties Nanticoke record with eight 3-point goals
By Steve Bennett - Citizens' Voice

Either the Nanticoke Area basketball team needs to do a better job of listening or Ken Bartuska must find a different way to get his point across.
With the Division II first-half championship tucked away, the Trojans opened the second half at home Friday night against GAR.
Prior to the game, Bartuska explained that the target on the team’s jersey is rather large. With that in mind, he wanted the team to play as if it trailed. What he forgot to stress was not to get behind.
But with Joel Fetterman knocking down 3-pointers and a little second half defensive adjustment, the Trojans were able to outlast the Grenadiers, 56-53.
“I told them before the game that we are going to get everybody’s best shot,” Bartuska said. “We told them to play like they were behind, I don’t think they understood. I think they may have thought we wanted them to get behind and then play like that. They got it done at the end.”
The victory improved Nanticoke Area to 12-6 overall and 1-0 in the second half. It also allowed the Trojans to sweep the season series from the Grenadiers.
“We always play bad but we spark ourselves somehow,” said Nanticoke Area’s Joel Fetterman, who tied a single-game school record with eight 3-pointers. He tied the mark held by Sean Carey who set the record during the 1996-97 season. “I think we play down to a lot of teams and once we realize they are beating us we have to play harder and we do.”
Both teams seemed content to win the game from beyond the arc. GAR made seven 3-pointers while the Trojans countered with a total of 10.
“With our guys we try to tell them to attack the basket but they seemed to get drawn to that magnetic arc,” Bartuska said. “Eventually we knew they would make them.”
GAR had success in the first half penetrating the lane and when the defense switched to help, the guards would dish the ball to Breon Phillips who scored six of his 12 points in the opening half. To start the second half, the Grenadiers scored the first nine points of the third quarter to take a 35-29 lead.
Bartuska changed the defensive strategy in the second half telling big man Jesse Stine to stay with Phillips down at the low block and the move worked, particularly late in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.
Nanticoke Area held a 53-50 lead with 1:15 left in the game but GAR tied the score after Adam Wayman converted a three-point play with 40 seconds left. Josh Niewinski made the front end of a one-and-one to put the Trojans up by a point and GAR’s Tyseane Whitt had a chance to put his team back on top when he drove the middle of the lane.
Stine stayed with his man and took away the pass forcing Whitt to put the ball up. The attempt was off the mark and Sean Bieski made two foul shots with six seconds left to seal the win. A.J. Magda’s 3-point attempt from the right corner as time expired bounced off the rim.
“I consider that to be the game-winner,” Brown said of Whitt’s drive to the basket. “We had the ball and were down one. We put the ball in our best player’s hands, I let him call the play. He had three options and he decided to take the ball to the basket we he has been successful with. I thought it was a good choice.”

GAR (53)

GAR 11 15 18 9 — 53
Nanticoke Area 11 18 8 19 — 56

New Attitude
By Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice

Ask Josh Niewinski who the greatest basketball player in the history of Nanticoke Area is and he will quickly tell you Paul Guffrovich. Sean Bieski will give you the same answer.
In a way, every player on the Nanticoke Area basketball team has a feel for the program's history. To get that, all they have to do is look at the banners in the gymnasium.
However, no player on the team has had a chance to experience the good fortune the teams of the past have.
There have been no magical runs through the playoffs for the Trojans. They haven't played in front of many packed gymnasiums, and loses outnumbered wins.
But this group is out to change all that, and winning the Division II first-half championship is a step in the right direction.
With a championship comes a target, and now,every team in the division will be looking to knock them off.
The Trojans welcome the challenge.
Prior to the start of the season, the Trojans were lumped with those "other" teams to watch. Holy Redeemer and GAR were seen as the the favorites.
"You always try to be good and I knew we had a lot of kids coming back with a lot of experience," coach Ken Bartuska said. "It was not totally out of the question for us to be where we are at."
The Trojans opened some eyes when they began the regular season with a win at GAR. They put the division on notice by beating Holy Redeemer in overtime.
But for Bartuska and Bieski, it was an overtime exhibition win against Pittston Area that showed they were ready to turn the corner.
"The Pittston Area game was a big win for us," Bieski said. "After that we felt we could play with anyone."
Bartuska goes to great lengths to educate the team on just how good the program once was and its great tradition.
Nanticoke Area, which owns 14 district and 12 WVC titles, has not won a championship in basketball since winning the league and district title in 2003. This group has never played a game in Pottsville's Martz Hall in March and Niewinski, a senior, said he doesn't need more than two hands to count the number of victories the program has had in his previous three years with the varsity.
"The teams here in the past weren't always big but they had heart," Niewinski said. "We are not very big, we are undersized, but we are still finding a way to win."
Nanticoke Area has relied on its three-guard offense led by Bieski, Niewinski and Joel Fetterman.
Jesse Stine, listed at a generous 6-foot-2, is the team's tallest player. Stine and Kevin Corley are considered the post players.
"Our guard play has been very strong," Bartuska said. "That is tough for teams to match up with. All three can do different things and our rebounding has been very strong."
Depth can also be an issue with the Trojans typically going just seven deep.
Bieski, Niewinski and Fetterman are the top three scorers on the team, all averaging in double figures.
"I think a lot of teams look past us because we don't have a lot of size and they don't think we can play with them," Bieski said. "They have been blowing us out the last four years, it feels good to come back and knock them off."
Teams will no longer be looking past the Trojans.
"It is just a different attitude," Bieski said. "The way I think about it is that it is not where you start but where you finish. We have to play even harder because everyone wants to knock us off."

Trojans pull off win
Nanticoke Area players take coach’s advice literally, come from behind to nip GAR.
By John Erzarjerzar@timesleader.com

Maybe the message was misconstrued, joked Nanticoke boys basketball coach Ken Bartuska.
With the Wyoming Valley Conference Division II first-half title in hand, Bartuska wanted his Trojans to approach the second-half season as if they were playing from behind … figuratively, not literally.
Nanticoke did both Friday against GAR, playing hard with the lead, but more importantly, playing just as hard when its advantage evaporated. The result was a 56-53 victory over the Grenadiers in the second-half season opener for both teams.
“We told them in the beginning of the game that every game we’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” Bartuska said, “so play like we’re behind. I think maybe they thought I wanted them to get behind and then they would play like that.”
Senior guard Joel Fetterman led Nanticoke’s comeback from a 35-29 deficit midway through the third quarter. Fetterman finished with 26 points, dropping in five of his eight three-pointers down the stretch. The eight treys tied a record set by Sean Casey during the 1996-97 season.
“We always play bad and then spark ourselves somehow,” Fetterman said. “We always find a way to win; that’s how it happens.”
Nanticoke (1-0 Div. II, 12-6 overall) found its shooting touch from behind the three-point arc, hitting four in a row in the latter minutes of the second quarter. The Trojans had 10 three-pointers among its 19 field goals.
“We tell them to attack the basket,” Bartuska said. “They seem they are drawn to the magnetic arc out there. Eventually, we knew they would make them.”
Eventually, Nanticoke overtook GAR (0-1, 11-8) when Fetterman hit a three-pointer for a 50-48 lead with 2:59 left in the fourth quarter. The Grenadiers tied the score 53-53 on Adam Wayman’s three-point play with 40.9 seconds left, but then missed a couple of chances to take the lead.
The first came after Nanticoke’s Josh Niewinski sank a free throw for a 54-53 Trojan lead with 27 seconds left. GAR worked the clock down and had guard Tyseane Whitt drive the lane. His shot rolled off the rim and Nanticoke was awarded the ball after it went out of bounds during a scramble.
Nanticoke’s Sean Bieski then hit two free throws with six seconds left, allowing GAR enough time to launch a three-ponter. A.J. Magda’s shot from the right corner hit off the rim and time expired.
“We shot the ball very well there for a bit,” GAR coach Paul Brown said. “I personally thought it was a great effort from our kids. We came out in the third quarter and did what we had to do defensively and offensively and got the lead.”
Magda scored four points in a 9-0 run to start the third quarter as GAR took a 35-29 lead. The Grenadiers connected on five of their first six shots to start the period. Nanticoke pulled within two points, but Whitt knocked down a three-pointer and Breon Phillips scored on a rebound as GAR took a 44-37 lead into the fourth.

Trojans claim first-half title
By Steve Bennett - Citizens' Voice

As the first half of the regular season came to a close Friday night, several scenarios existed in Division II.
One had the possibility of a four-way tie for first place. Another had a two-way tie and the third — the one favorable for Nanticoke Area — had the Trojans winning the first-half championship.
In order for that to happen, Nanticoke Area first had to defeat Hanover Area and have Holy Redeemer beat Dallas. The Trojans held up their end and got exactly what they needed from the Royals.
Joel Fetterman scored a team-high 18 points and Sean Bieski chipped in with 13 as the Trojans downed the Hawks, 55-43, at Hanover Area. Add in Holy Redeemer’s win at Dallas, the Trojans walked away with the first half title. The Trojans improve to 11-5 on the season and 5-1 in the league.
“It is something that is always a goal of ours, to win a league championship and the first half is a step in the right direction,” Nanticoke Area coach Ken Bartuska said. “Until you win the whole thing, this is something to fall back on. I’m happy with the way we have matured as a team. We are playing pretty well right now.”
The win gives the Trojans their first championship of any sort since the 2002-03 season when Nanticoke Area won the league and District 2 championship. Against the Hawks, the Trojans used effective shooting from the perimeter and an outstanding effort on the boards, particularly on the offensive end.
Hanover Area held an 11-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Nanticoke Area came out and hit its first six shots of the second period to open a 24-14 lead. Hanover Area abandoned its man-to-man defense and switched to a zone and was able to close the quarter on a 7-0 run to get within three at the half. By hitting its first six shots, Nanticoke Area was able to set up its full-court press. The press did not manufacture many turnovers but it did force Hanover Area to work for everything it got.
For as hot as the Trojans were at the beginning of the quarter, they were equally cold to close it. The Trojans missed their final six shots of the period, going 4:46 without any points.
“We closed the second quarter on a 7-0 run and we came out in the third and score but didn’t stop anybody,” Hanover Area coach Bill Callahan said. “We scored 14 points in the third quarter and that is good for us. They got 17 and hit some shots when they needed to.”
Nanticoke Area outrebounded Hanover Area 12-2 in the third quarter but nine came on the offensive end.
“We were spread out to play the shooters and when they did miss they had a guy unattended underneath,” Callahan said. “And he seemed to get the rebound all the time.”
Nanticoke Area opened a 10-point lead with 5:52 left in the game and the closest Hanover Area could get was nine. Bieski and Kevin Corley each had five points in the fourth for the Trojans who spread the floor and worked the clock over the final five minutes of the game.
“The last couple of games we have been shooting the ball well from the outside,” Bartuska said. “We wanted to create tempo because we knew coach Callahan would want to play more under control. Hanover Area did a nice job trying to play their game. Once we got a little bit of a lead on they had to come out and take chances. We were fortunate to find the open man and hit some shots.”


Nanticoke Area 10 14 17 14 — 55
Hanover Area 11 10 14 8 — 43

3-point goals: Bieski, Niewinski, Fetterman (4), Serra, Colorusso.

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