Coming into this season Darius Garvin knew Notre Dame's success would hinge on his ability to lead the team offensively.

Despite being a sophomore its a role he's embraced and the Crusaders are sitting undefeated just a few games away from an IAC Large School South Division title.

"I know I'm the go to guy," Garvin explained. "I just have to keep producing for us to do good. We have a lot of other guys who can score but if I can get mine and everyone else contributes we can do good."

He is putting up just under 20 points per game (19.8) but that doesn't tell the whole story. Garvin also sees his job as a distributor, too.

"On offense I just try to get everyone involved," he remarked. "When I need to score I can score."

Last season Garvin was more of a role player but still looked to get his offense going.

"It's the same as its always been," he said about his mindset. "If I can get to the basket, great, but a jump shot's fine. I just take what I can get."

Despite being 12-0 the Crusaders have had their share of adversity. Their toughest opponent this season has been the injury bug as leading post player Tom Agan went down several weeks ago for the rest of the season but the Crusaders are still thinking positive.

"It's going good as long as everyone stays healthy from here on out," Garvin remarked. "We lost Tom, one of our leading scorers, and Devon (Jackson) is out right now. We're hoping he can get back really soon."

The Agan injury hurt the Crusader's on the defensive side especially.

"Tom played great defense," Garvin remarked. "He did a lot of things for us."

But Notre Dame is a deep team that's showed with their success so far this season. Yet, they still have two tough games left with Watkins Glen and Waverly.

"They're two good teams," Garvin admitted. "If we can just play good defense our offense will come. They're on the road and its always tough to win at both those places."

That's not all they are playing for this season as they have a Section IV, Class C title to defend.

"We keep that in the back of our mind," Garvin explained. "But right now were just focusing on the next game. Were not looking too far into the season yet. Hopefully we can end the season with wins and when we get into sections have homecourt advantage."

GIRLS PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Hannah Manwaring, Tioga

Manwaring's big week propelled the Tigers to a 2-1 record.

She started off with nine points and eight boards in a blow-out win over Newark Valley but had 18 points and 11 rebounds in a tough loss to Notre Dame.

Then in Tioga's come from behind win against Wyalusing Manwaring hit five threes for 20 points overall while grabbing 13 boards.

BOYS PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Patrick Bronson, Waverly

The post player had a big week for the Wolverines.

In their win over Odessa-Montour Bronson had 20 points and eight boards. Then in their victory against Candor Bronson had 15 points and six rebounds.

The two wins keep Waverly's hopes of an IAC South title alive.

GIRLS TEAM OF THE WEEK

Sayre Redskins and Wellsboro Green Hornets

Two co-teams for the same reason, they kept the league races wide open.

Sayre defeated Athens early in the week to give them their first league loss.

Adrienne Malorzo led a total team effort with nine points while fellow frontcourt mate Kelsey Young added eight.

Now Athens, Sayre and Wyalusing all have one league loss while Northeast Bradford sports two.

The Redskins also beat Canton later in the week as Mollie Robinson recorded a triple double.

The Green Hornets gave Williamson their first league loss of the season behind 15 points from Makenzie Marple while Kim Acorn stepped up to pour in 12 points.

Wellsboro and Williamson now have one league loss each while Mansfield has two.

BOYS TEAM OF THE WEEK

Sullivan County Griffins

The Griffins went 3-0 during the week as they kept pace with St. John Neumann.

They started off the week with a big win over South Williamsport 52-46.

Derek Wilkins had 18 points and six boards while the backcourt defense of Kelby Mullen and Lucas Hatton made life difficult for the Panther's top scorer Zach Mrozek.

In their 70-38 win over Benton, Zach Meyer had six threes for 18 points while Wilkins added 22 points going 9-for-11 from the field.

Kelby Mullen added 12 points with eight assists.

Their final game was an 81-50 blowout of Bucktail where Conner Wylie went off for 37 points.

Sullivan still sits one game back of St. John Neumann in the division standings.

GAMES OF THE WEEK

Tuesday, January 22

Girls

Northeast Bradford at Sayre, 7:30 p.m.

In final round of the first half of the NTL schedule sits this crucial game.

The Panthers need a win here to stay in the NTL title hunt. With two league losses one here will make it next to impossible for them to stay in the running.

A win here for Sayre keeps them even in the loss column with Wyalusing and Athens while a loss would drop them one game behind.

Angelia Laudermilch (15.6 ppg) continues to be the Panthers most consistent player while anyone of their guards (MaKaylah Holbert, Maddy Johnson and Calla Martin) can put up points.

Sayre's starting five (Mollie Robinson, Elyse Skerpon, Kelly Villanti, Kelsey Young and Adrienne Malorzo) may be the most balanced group in the area. Robinson (11.3) and Villanti (11.1) lead them in scoring but Skerpon (8.9) isn't far behind while the two frontcourt players are capable of big games as well.

It will be contrast of styles as Sayre's slow it down offense will meet NEB's frantic pace. Whoever can control the pace of the game will likely pull out the win.

Wellsboro at Wyalusing, 7:30 p.m.

The Green Hornets have come back from the dead.

At one point they were 2-7 and looking like a long shot for districts but after a 5-1 run in league play they're back in the running not only for districts but the NTL West title.

Mackenzie Marple (17.1) continues to be one of the area's most prolific scorers but Kim Acorn has chipped in, averaging 10 points per game over the last two.

The Rams are coming off a tough loss at home to Tioga but could use this as a pick me up game before they start the second half of NTL East play.

MacKenzie Martin (16.2) and Kasey DeVoir (11.2) lead Wyalusing in scoring.

Wednesday, January 23

Boys

Troy at Towanda, 7:30 p.m.

With a healthy roster the Trojans will be looking to make one big push for a possible district berth.

They boast three players averaging double figures (Evan Polly at 13.8, Brandon Mattocks at 13.8 and Jed Wright at 10.8) and are coming off a win over North Penn.

The Black Knights have niched themselves a spot as the number two team in the NTL East behind Athens.

Dave Rodenhizer (14.8) and Noah Huff (13.9) lead a young but improving squad that is playing their best basketball as of late.

Athens at Canton, 7:30 p.m.

The Wildcats will be looking to end their first run through of NTL East play undefeated.

After a loss to Johnson City last week they refocused for big wins over Sayre and Northeast Bradford and hope to continue that momentum into this week.

Garrett Clark (15.4) and Brandon Fauver (13.3) lead Athens in scoring but the secret to their success is their big frontcourt and rebounding prowess.

Canton's two best threats are on the perimeter with Emmett Watson (16.4) and Eddie Larcom (15.2). They're coming off a close loss to Sayre where they were up by as much as 14 points in the first half before the Redskins rallied.

They will need to be on to pull off the upset while inside play from Wes Moore and Tim Bassett will be key, too.

Thursday, January 24

Girls

Towanda at Sayre, 7:30 p.m.

This was a close game last time these two met with Sayre winning 31-29.

Towanda's front court of Laci Manning, Alaina Wickwire and Kaitlin Hallabuk scored 22 of Towanda's 29 points in that contest. Frontcourt play will be crucial again for the Black Knights.

In their last meeting Sayre showed off the depth in their starting unit as nobody had more than eight but not less than five, either.

Williamson at Galeton, 7:30 p.m.

A meeting of two teams headed to districts.

The Warriors won their last meeting 70-54 but this will show a young Galeton team how much they've improved since then.

Kim Daugherty and Lori Horton combined for 50 points in the win.

Latascia Shadle has been Galeton's go to scorer the past six games averaging 18 per while Andi Leach has put 14 a game in the same time span.

Friday, January 25

Boys

Towanda at Sayre, 7:30 p.m.

In their first meeting the Knights came from behind to pull out a 53-47 win.

Nate Williams had 22 in the meeting and continues to be a prolific scorer while Marshall Higley has added a deep threat to the Redskin attack. He's averaging 14 a game over the last three, mostly off threes.

Dave Rodenhizer had 25 in the win while big man Joel Miller had his best game of the season with 16 points. Noah Huff has come on strong lately averaging 15.8 per game over the last four.

A win here by Towanda keeps them within one game of the Wildcats for the NTL East title.

Waverly at Watkins Glen, 7:30 p.m.

A crucial game for both teams as a win keeps the IAC South title hopes a live while loss shuts the door.

The Wolverines need this win, then a Notre Dame loss, then to beat Notre Dame in the regular season finale to force a playoff.

Watkins Glen won the first meeting 54-48 but Waverly is a different team since then.

They didn't have Chris Raupers, who is now averaging 15 points per game over his last three. Patric Bronson has been on fire recently, putting up 18.8 ppg over his last five.

They will need everything they have to beat Jesse Teeter and the Senecas on the road.

Saturday, January 26

Boys

Athens at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m.

A rematch of their title game at the Holiday Inn Classic Joel Stephens Division.

Despite losing Tom Agan in the first half Notre Dame went on to win 66-55.

Darius Garvin continues to fill it up, averaing 21.8 points per game over his last four while deep threat Jonas McCaig helps space the floor for Garvin. Garvin had 32 in their last meeting.

The Crusaders defense has been strong this season, allowing just over 43 points a contest.

Athens will be looking for revenge.

Curt Moore had strong showing with 16 points in the loss to the Crusaders while Garrett Clark added 15. They will be playing with a shot clock so it will be important that they adjust early or else it could be a long night for the Wildcat offense.

Girls

Danville at Athens, 6:30 p.m.

Back in the valley the Lady Wildcats will be playing Danville with the winner taking the lead for the top seed in the District IV playoffs.

Both teams come in at 10-2 and this could be a preview for the Class AAA final. The Lady Ironmen also knocked Athens out of the playoffs last season.

Christin Dunkling continues to lead the Wildcats in scoring at 15.1 per game while Monica Dougherty came alive against NEB with 22 points in their last outing.

Danville is coming off four straight wins of 15 points or more and last loss to Milton 43-40 back on Jan. 9.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

At Northeast Bradford's home game against Canton Angelia Laudermilch had a rarity for a high school player: her own cheering section.

Rooting her on was her former teammates at North Rome Christian School. The whole team showed up with blue shirts, as part of Northeast Bradford's 'Blue Out' for Autism Awareness, and a sign to cheer on 'Gia'.

Laudermilch spent 7th-10th grade at NRCS before transferring to Northeast.