The Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball coaches met Sunday to select their divisional MVPs and all-stars as well as the seniors for the WVC All-Star Game on April 1 at Holy Redeemer High School.
The Times Leader will select an All-WVC boys basketball team at a later date.
Here are the coaches’ selections:

Division III
Nanticoke senior Cael Evans made the first team after averaging 14.3 points. He finished second in the division in scoring average and field goals (80).
The coaches also selected the seniors for the 42nd annual Senior All-Star Classic set for 8 p.m. Friday, April 1, at Holy Redeemer High School.
Selected to the East team were: Coughlin’s Chris Grullon; Crestwood’s Dave Piavis and Jonathan Wojnar; GAR’s Mike Polakoski (injured, will not play); Hanover Area’s Cory Dickson and Bilal Floyd; Hazleton Area’s Danny Fogarty and Dwaine Gilley; Meyers’ Nahjee Brown, Ross Lavan and Keyton Winder; MMI Prep’s Ryan Forte and Fran Swankoski; Nanticoke’s Cody Bukowski and Cael Evans; and Pittston Area’s Joe Coyne.
Coughlin’s Joe Caffrey, Crestwood’s Mark Atherton and Meyers’ Pat Toole will coach the East.

Scoring Touch

Cael Evans received a nice surprise when he began his sophomore basketball season at Nanticoke Area.
He was afforded the luxury of sitting in the stands during the junior varsity games because thanks to all his hard work in the offseason, he earned a spot as a starter on the varsity.
Now, as he works his way through his senior season, his third as a starter, Evans is one of the top scorers in the Wyoming Valley Conference and the leader on a team that lacks varsity experience around him.
"He came right up from the freshman team," said Nanticoke Area head coach Ken Bartuska. "He never played a minute of junior varsity and he is one of the rare people to do that."
Evans jumped at the chance to be a starter. He paid attention to detail and took advantage of every opportunity to presented to him. Whether it was extra time in the gym working on his moves around the basket or popping out to hit the mid-range jumper, Evans worked at his craft and the hard work has paid off.
Even if the good news came as a bit of a shock.
"I was shocked to start my sophomore year," Evans admitted. "I worked hard to get it. It was just going hard, giving 110 percent. I tried to improve my game in every way."
Evans was one of the top scorers on the team last year as a junior and this year he leads the team, averaging 17 points per game. He is also the team's leading 3-point shooter, connecting on 10 shots from beyond the arc.|
Although it's nice to have that dimension to his game, Bartuska, for obvious reasons, likes to keep him on the low block where he can use his 6-foot-6 frame. "I like to see him around the basket because it's a higher percentage shot," Bartuska said. "He does have a good touch and can step out and hit the mid-range jumper and shoot the three. He's our leading 3-point shooter. Around the basket he has a nice touch with the drop step and his jump hooks."
That may be where player and coach have a slight disagreement.
"I love shooting the 3, there is nothing better than seeing the ball swish through the net," Evans said. "Sometimes I get a little carried away and coach tells me to go back to the post."
Evans and the coaching staff do an effective job of taking advantage of his versatility. If the opponents have a bigger man on him, he move outside and open things up for the rest of his teammates. If there is a smaller player guarding him, Bartuska prefers to park him in the lane and let the guards feed him the ball.
Either way, when the Trojans run their offense, they make sure to get Evans at least one touch each time down the floor.
And on some nights that is pretty difficult.
"Every game there is a lot of pressure going into it," Evans admitted. "Every time I catch the ball I'm getting double and triple teamed. When that happens I will just kick it back outside or ask for it back. Sometimes I try to make a strong move to the basket and try and draw the foul."
The Trojans got off to a 1-0 start in the regular season and Evans sees the team improving every day at practice. In his mind, it's just a matter of taking it to the next level on game night.
"Before every game I make a speech to try and get the guys involved," Evans said. "When we play as a team we can do good things. We just have to get to that point. We need to get everyone going, communication is a big part of it. We're starting to look better as a team. The chemistry is growing and we're making things happen."

Boys Basketball Capsule
Times Leader

Coach: Ken Bartuska

09-10 WVC record: 6-7, 4th; 7-16 overall

09-10 postseason: Lost 50-46 to North Pocono in D2-3A first round.

State classification: 3A

Key players lost: Jarad Kmietowicz, Zak Morgis, Jake Myers.

Key players: Cody Bukowski, 5-10, Sr.; Cael Evans, 6-8, Sr.; Josh Decker, 6-3, Jr.; Brandon Kairo, 6-4, Jr.; Mike Murtha, 6-0, Sr.; Jeff Jezewski, 6-2, Jr.; Zak Matulewski, 6-1, Jr.; Kevin Zaykoski, 6-2, Jr.

Outlook: Only two starting spots were set entering the exhibition season. Evans, one of the WVC’s better and more versatile big men, is back after being a Division III first-team all-star last season. Bukowski returns and will anchor the backcourt. After that, the Trojans had to sort things out. They have a lot of good athletes who have been competing intensely for the other three starting spots. Bartuska figures there are about a dozen in the mix for the final three jobs.

The one thing for certain is Nanticoke will have depth and be able to go with a big lineup when needed or a quicker one when the situation dictates. As expected, the Trojans were a little shaky starting exhibition play, but if they put it together they could be tough over the second half of the season.

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