Trojan Basketball


A Look at the High School Basketball Season

Coach: Zach Pientka

2018-19 WVC record: 13-5 Div. 2, 1st; 22-8 overall

2018-19 postseason: D2-4A Playoffs – Hanover Area, W 65-45; Tunkhannock, W 49-48; Scranton Prep, L 47-41. PIAA Class 4A Playoffs – Montoursville, W 57-35; Bonner-Prendergast, L 70-52

State classification: 4A

Key players lost: Nate Kreitzer; Trahjan Krupinski; Dylan Szychowski

Key players: Colby Butczynski, Sr.; Collin Brown, Sr.; Andy Kozlofski, Sr.; JJ Bielecki, Jr.; Jake Krupinski, Jr.; Luke Myers, Jr.

Outlook: Assistant Zach Pientka takes over for John Beggs, who is taking the season off for health reasons. The Trojans have two major holes. Nate Kreitzer was a dynamic playmaker and perimeter scorer, while Trahjan Krupinski was one of the toughest guys in the paint. Butczynski and Jake Krupinski bring experience, but others will need to succeed in bigger roles as the Trojans play bigger schools this time around.

Boys Basketball Preview
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area
Head coach: Zach Pientka

Looking back: Finished 22-8, lost to Scranton Prep, 47-41, in the District 2 Class 4A championship game; lost to Bonner-Prendergast, 70-52, in the PIAA second round.

Players to watch: Luke Myers, J.J. Bielecki, Colby Butczynski, Collin Brown, Jake Krupinski, Andy Kozlofski, Joe Fox III, Sincere Shiloh.

What to watch for: The Trojans need to replace their best defender, one of the top rebounders in the conference last season, and the program’s fourth all-time leading scorer. They do return two starters from last year in Butczynski and Krupinski. That is a nice start. Butczynski can score and Krupinski is just a solid all-around player. This is going to be another team that is going to need to have someone step in be another scorer. The Trojans can’t depend on Butczynski to do it all himself. Opponents are going to attempt to take him away, and when that happens someone is going to need to be there to help pick up the slack. There are plenty of players on the roster who have been a part of some big games, and there is something to be said for that. Especially when conference play begins.

Butczynski, Krupinski return to lead Trojans

Colby Butczynski was the only underclassmen named to the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 first-team all-stars by last season.

Butczynski returns, along with second-team division all-star Jake Krupinski to provide the on-floor leadership for the Nanticoke Trojans, who will be operating this season under the guidance of Zach Pienkta, who has moved up from assistant coach with John Beggs missing the season for health reasons.

Beggs was’s choice as division Coach of the Year each of the past two seasons when Nanticoke won titles.

The return of Butczynski and Krupinski, along with some key role players, makes Nanticoke the top-ranked Big School boys team in the preseason Astra Wealth Advisors Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams. Butczynski is a senior and Krupinski is a junior.

The Trojans will be put to the test with the WVC’s move from three to two divisions pushing the Trojans into Division 1.

“We graduated some very good players last year, but our returning guys have been working hard and competing at every practice,” Pientka said. “We will focus on building and growing as a team throughout the season.”

Nanticoke finished 22-8 after a busy postseason in 2018-19.

The Trojans won Division 2 in a playoff, putting them in the first WVC overall playoffs where they won once before losing in the title game. Nanticoke then made it to the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza where it finished as District 2 Class 4A runner-up. It won a first-round Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association game before going out in the second round of the state playoffs.

Junior J.J. Bielecki and senior Andy Kozlofski played many important minutes along the way.

Juniors Luke Myers, Sincere Shiloh and Joe Fox and senior Collin Brown also got considerable varsity experience.

Senior Tyler Rushton and junior John Chernowsky are also in contention for key spots on the team, which is trying to replace all-state guard and school record-setting, 3-point shooter Nate Kreitzer, who is now playing at Misericordia.