The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 20, 2013

H.S. boys basketball: Lewisburg's Travis Conrad is Daily Item's Player of the Year

(Continued)

For Vaji, it was the fact he was essentially a coach on the floor, and that leadership was key for Lewisburg.

"He did what we expected and he sort of expected he was just going to go head out and do whatever we needed to try to win basketball games," Vaji said.

"I think he did (embrace the leadership role). He just works so hard in the offseason from a conditioning and weight lifting standpoint, working on his game."

Anytime Lewisburg faced a tough opponent with a solid go-to player, Vaji had the confidence in Conrad to step up defensively and shut down anyone. That included Holy Cross standout Josh Kosin, a 6-foot-6 senior.

"That's the thing, he understood the game. We could put him on some of the team's better offensive players," Vaji said. "At times we tried to keep him fresh offensively, but at crunch time, we could put Travis on them on the perimeter and we could feel pretty confident he'd get the job done defensively as well."

The Green Dragon ended his career with 871 points. He started only the last two seasons after contributing as a sophomore.

Conrad is heading to Lebanon Valley after graduation.

"We were expecting big things from him this year, and he gave them to us," Vaji said.

n Coach Of The Year

After Milton celebrated the win over Athens in the District 4 Class AAA semifinals and the players had left the court and mingled in the stands with friends and family, Milton coach Steve DeLong walked back to his coaching chair, sat down and started to cry.

It was an emotional moment for sure.

After struggling to six wins a year earlier, DeLong had guided Milton to the district championship game in just his third season.

That turnaround alone put him into the Coach of the Year discussion, but winning the title against Shikellamy -- Milton's first District 4 crown since 2007 -- sealed the deal.

DeLong earned The Daily Item's Boys Basketball Coach of the Year honor.

"For me to get that means that we had a successful season, and that's really all that mattered to me," DeLong said of the honor.

Not many expected Milton to be anywhere near as successful as it was this season. Milton ended the year 16-9, winning more games this season than the past three combined.

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