NTL league play starts
As usual the holiday tournaments provided exciting basketball for local fans.
Waverly swept Sayre during the Third Annual Waverly Christmas Tournament while on the boy's side Notre Dame defeated Athens for the Joel Stephens Regional bracket in the Holiday Inn Classic. Also at the North Penn tournament Canton topped their hosts for the title.
While the Wellsboro Green Hornets didn't win the Montoursville title, they did show that they were for real by giving Lewisburg a real fight in the championship. The Green Dragons, along with always tough Loyalsock, are considered the favorites for the Class AA boy's district title.
GIRL'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sabrina Bowman, Waverly
Bowman led the Wolverines to their Christmas Tournament title in exciting fashion.
After scoring 20 points, and hitting four threes, in Waverly's win over Tioga in the opening round she put on a fourth quarter show against Sayre.
With the Redskins cutting what appeared to be an insurmountable 10 point lead down to four Bowman went to work. She hit back to back threes en route to scoring 11 points in the final period to lead the Wolverines to the title.
She also had a combined nine assists, seven steals and eight boards over the two games.
BOY'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Darius Garvin, Notre Dame
When Notre Dame's Tom Agan went down in the first half of the Joel Stephens Championship game, it looked the Crusader's chances of taking the title were slim.
That's when Garvin stepped up, scoring 32 points while grabbing seven boards to lead Notre Dame past Athens 66-55 for the team title. Garvin also had four steals, three assists and two blocks in the game.
He had 11 points in Notre Dame's 52-45 win over Edison in the opening round.
GIRL'S TEAM OF THE WEEK
Wellsboro Green Hornets
Despite going 1-1 in the Montoursville tournament they played some of their best basketball this season.
In the opening round the Hornets put a scare into quad-A Williamsport, falling 42-40. They out scored the Millionaires in the fourth quarter 17-14 as Mackenzie Marple led Wellsboro with 19 points while Sarah Ingerick chipped in with 11.
Then in the consolation game they pulled away from Troy 49-22, out scoring them 41-14 in the final three quarters.
Marple had 17 while Hannah Zuchowski and Jada Jackson chipped in with eight each. Marple was also named to the All-Tournament team.
At 3-7 The Hornets will need all the momentum they can get if they want to reach .500 and qualify for districts.
BOY'S TEAM OF THE WEEK
The Warriors had an impressive showing as they took home the North Penn Holiday Tournament title.
Emmett Watson was named MVP after averaging 20.5 points in the two games while teammate Eddie Larcom was also named to the All-Tournament team.
The Warriors held off a pesky Galeton team in the opening round 52-42 behind 19 from Watson and 18 from Larcom.
Then in the final they out scored North Penn 18-0 in the fourth quarter to win 55-41. Watson had 22 while Larcom added 13.
The two wins push them over .500 on the season at 5-4 and just in time for NTL East play.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Thursday, January 3
Sayre (5-1) at Towanda (3-2)
The Redskins will be coming off their first loss of the season while Towanda looks to find some consistency.
Once again this season the 3-ball has been one of Sayre's key offensive weapons. They're averaging nearly five threes a game and were up above six before only hitting one against Waverly.
Kelly Villanti (12.3 ppg) leads the team in scoring while Mollie Robinson (11.8) is the team's most well rounded player.
Towanda will need big games from their two forwards Kaitlin Hallabuk (14.2) and Alaina Wickwire (14.0). The key for Towanda will be keeping their turnovers down as Sayre's offense feeds off steals.
Williamson (5-2) at Athens (5-0)
The lone undefeated team in the NTL, the Wildcats could be put to the test this week.
While they travel Wyalusing on Saturday first up for them is a tough Williamson team.
The Warriors boast a big front line with 6-footers Lori Horton (15.7) and Kim Daugherty (15.1) while also getting some perimeter scoring from Cheyenne Jones (9.9).
Both of their losses (54-49 to Northeast Bradford, 42-34 to Sayre) have been close.
Athens comes in after being off over the holidays.
They have their own tough post player in Christin Dunkling (17.2) who is surrounded by good three point shooters in Danielle Dougherty (12 threes) and Monica Dougherty.
Friday, January 4
Sayre (6-2) at Towanda (4-3), 7:30 p.m.
The Redskins are coming off a loss to Waverly in the Waverly Christmas Tournament title game while the Black Knights took the holiday off.
Both teams rely on their young talent.
Nate Williams (21.9) leads the area in scoring and is the Redskins biggest scoring threat. Jeremy Kyc (6.5) inside and Nick Skerpon (6.1) outside have also helped out when needed.
The Black Knights have more balance with Noah Huff (14.7) and Dave Rodenhizer (12.9) while 6-foot, 7-inch center Joel Miller has started to come along recently (7.8 ppg in last three).
This will be a key game for both teams if they are going to challenge for the NTL East title this year.
Watkins Glen (6-1) at Notre Dame (7-0), 7:30 p.m.
A winner here gives them a leg up for the IAC Large School South title.
The Crusaders are led by Darius Garvin (18.7) while Jonas McCaig (16 threes) is their key outside threat. Everything may hinge on whether post player Tom Agan (11.7) is healthy enough to play after suffering an injury against Athens last week.
The Senecas are beginning to hit their stride. They recently avenged an early season loss to SVE (65-34)
They've just come off winning their own tournament title, beating previously unbeaten and state ranked Clyde-Savannah 69-56.
Jesse Teeter, Josh Teeter and Brady Myers are the players to watch for the Senecas.
Saturday, January 5
Towanda (3-2) at Northeast Bradford (6-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Panthers will be looking to continue their strong season.
Angelia Laudermilch (15.9) has been Northeast Bradford's most consistent player and not just with her scoring but also on the boards and on defense.
Calla Martin (13.6) has flirted with triple-doubles this season while the Northeast Bradford guards have done a good job forcing turnovers.
For the Black Knights this will be another test for their guards this week as controlling the pace of the game will be key.
Athens (5-0) at Wyalusing (5-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Rams are coming off a close loss to the Redskins last week.
They are led by big scoring guards Mackenzie Martin (15.7) and Kasey DeVoir (12.0) but how well Arielle Kneller plays (8.0), particuarly her defense on Christin Dunkling and rebounding, will be crucial for the Rams.
It should be another tough contest for the Wildcats.
Danielle Stopper's (8.0) ability to not just score but also create for her teammates will be key, especially to take some pressure off of Christin Dunkling.
Both teams have hopes of claiming the NTL East title this season and a win here would be a good first step towards that.
Mansfield (5-2) at North Penn (3-5), 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers start their league schedule with the best record of any team out West.
They boast three scorers in double figures, seniors Emily James (13.0), Molly Wood (11.4) and Jackie Hillson (10.1) while freshman Ali Hillson (9.3) isn't far off.
Both of their losses have been close (in OT to Athens and 50-48 to Wyalusing) and will be difficult match-up for any NTL West foe.
Despite North Penn's sub .500 record their youthful talent has shown promise this season. Their sophomores Mariah Berguson (12.3), Kaitlyn Garverick (10.4) and Whitney Holdren (seven threes) are a heady group and they've played with some of the top teams in the area for stretches at a time.
If they can put forth the effort needed for an entire four quarters they could pull off the upset.
Galeton (6-3) at Williamson (5-2)
The newly independent Tigers have started the season strong.
Lead by Latascia Shadle (12.0) and Andi Leach (9.8) they've given themselves a good chance at qualifying for districts this season.
This will be a class of styles as guard oriented Galeton will have to find a way past the size oriented Warriors. Not giving up offensive rebounds will be key for the Tigers while keeping control of the basketball will be important for Williamson.