The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 26, 2012

Jon Gerardi's column on boys basketball: The most wonderful time of holidays

— Hopefully all of our readers had a Merry Christmas.

Although Christmas may have been two days ago, that doesn’t mean all the presents have been opened just yet.

You could say good ol’ Santa Claus made an extra round to make sure area basketball fans have a happy holiday season.

Holiday basketball tournaments begin today, and they’re usually always full of exciting action for area fans to watch.

Personally, I think one of the best is up I-180 West a short way at the annual Montoursville Holiday Tournament. Yes, only one of our area teams is playing in it (Lewisburg), but if you take a gander at some of the teams in it, it’s more than good basketball.

Lewisburg opens the tournament against Jersey Shore and then plays in either a consolation or championship on Saturday. The Bulldogs are 2-3 going into tonight’s showdown to Lewisburg’s perfect 5-0 in this HAC crossover game. The Bulldogs have some good players on their squad, but perhaps they may be a bit outmatched against Lewisburg.

The Green Dragons are one of the more talented teams in the area. Senior Travis Conrad is one of the go-to players on the Lewisburg team. He has the ability to score often and is a great player to watch on the court, averaging 18.2 points-per-game.

The tournament host Warriors are a very solid team and Pierce Ranck has stepped up for them, having scored 26 points in his last two games. That Warriors squad faces Wellsboro, so those going to see Lewisburg may want to stick around to watch another sure-to-be-good game.

Both Shikellamy and Selinsgrove are traveling to Mifflin County today for the Holiday River Tournament, with the Braves taking on Octorara and Selinsgrove playing the host Mifflin County.

Anyone that has seen Shikellamy play the past week has obviously noticed the emergence of Ernie Tyler in the Braves’ offensive game. The senior guard played solid against Loyalsock this past Saturday scoring a team-high 24 and accounting for 15 of Selinsgrove’s 22 first-half points.

It also marked the third straight game that Tyler’s scored in double-figures. Tyler may be just starting to warm up and will likely showcase his scoring in the tournament.

The Seals have a nice squad led by Dillon Hoke’s 15.2 ppg and David Aurand’s 14.2, giving Selinsgrove a nice combination.

Don’t forget that you Juniata County Christmas Tournament tips off tonight, featuring East Juniata and Midd-West.

The Tigers’ Nick Lorenz is one of the best scorers in the area, averaging 18.1 ppg and having scored 127 points thus far. Teammate Bailey Coder (97) is also a nice addition for the Tigers offense and can do damage on the court. Both Lorenz and Coder are just part of the reason East Juniata’s at the top of the Tri-Valley League this season.

East Juniata will play Belleville Mennonite in the today’s late game at 7, while a 4 p.m. Midd-West-Juniata boys matchup follows the same girls pairing.

It really doesn’t matter what holiday tournament you go to watch, though, because you’re going to most certainly see good basketball.

Jon Gerardi covers boys basketball for The Daily Item. Email comments or questions to him at Follow him on Twitter at