The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 2, 2013

Jon Gerardi's boys basketball column: Looking back at first month


Daily Item

---- — Mother Nature decided we needed snow last week and it ruined all sorts of tournaments and coverage plans.

Sadly, that being said, I haven't had the chance to cover many games recently. Thankfully, that will change in the coming days.

But for now I'm a little low on column ideas, so I took a page from Scott Dudinskie's playbook and will put out a column about the first month of boys basketball. Unlike Dudinskie's column though, I don't have an awesome Nipsey Russell reference to work in, but that's life, right?

One of the fun parts of this job -- albeit a little time consuming -- is looking at the box scores at the end of each shift and going through and putting the stats together. Obviously it allows me to keep track of area scorers, but it also is fun stumbling upon interesting statistics that most likely you'd miss otherwise.

For example, Southern Columbia has a nice trio of players right now averaging at least 15 points per game.

Bryce Parry (16.0 ppg), Matt Klock (15.3) and Mike Klebon (15.0) are all leading the Tigers offense and that is a nice scoring combination to have. It's more impressive when you realize the only other school in the area with three players averaging more than 10 points per game is Shamokin, who has Kevin Carsto (11.4), Austin Stine (11.0) and Dan Delbaugh (10.2).

No other school has more than two averaging double figures.

The Tigers (1-1 HAC-II) right now are only one game behind the division leaders of Loyalsock, Lewisburg and Montoursville (all 2-0).

The Indians (1-4, 0-2 HAC-I) have a young squad and a first-year coach in Chris Zimmerman, but they could make some noise if they start clicking at the right time.

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The Allegheny Christian Athletic Association doesn't always get a lot of love, but if you look at the stats, you see they can play.

Sunbury Christian's Blake Spangler-Jones leads not only the ACAA with 185 points, but that is more than anyone even locally in District 4. East Juniata's Nick Lorenz leads area District 4 scorers with 159 and Line Mountain's Bill Breinich has 156.

Some may make the argument that the level of play isn't the same between the ACAA and the HAC and, granted, it probably holds some weight, but either way, you still have to make the baskets. Spangler-Jones is averaging 18.5 points through 10 games so far and both Meadowbrook Christian's Graham Feaster is averaging 15 through seven games.

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In our high school basketball notebook the other week, we mentioned the emergence Shikellamy's Ernie Tyler, although I guess that could be a little bit misleading. Granted yes, Tyler is emerging for the Braves recently, but he has been a starter since day one.

Either way, that doesn't take anything away from him.

The Braves' C.J. Tyler, Ernie's younger brother, has been one of the main focal points of their offense and one of their top scorers with 98 points, averaging 12.3 per game and also has been a constant threat from outside, hitting an area-high 19 3-pointers (tied with Lewisburg's Travis Conrad).

However, within the past two weeks, it's been Ernie who has helped compliment his brother offensively and help Shikellamy put up points.

Ernie has gone five consecutive games now with double figures and had a streak of back-to-back 20-plus point performances during that span, including scoring a team-high 23 against Loyalsock. That offensive spurt also has helped put Ernie near the top of District 4's area leaders, scoring 114 points through seven games, and surpassing his brother's averaging with 14.3 ppg.

n Jon Gerardi covers boys basketball for The Daily Item. Email comments or questions to him at jgerardi@dailyitem.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Jonidial.