The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

January 10, 2013

Jon Gerardi's column on boys basketball: Young Tigers optimistic about season

(Continued)

"I think all my guys (have led by example). I think the top eight, nine, 10 guys that I've been playing consistently throughout these 10 games have shown true leadership on and off the floor and set great examples for all the guys on the team," Anders said.

Jeremy Pannebaker is one of those guys who have stepped up. The junior has 35 points for East Juniata so far this season off the bench and is averaging 3.9 points per game thus far through the nine games he's seen minutes.

Maybe not phenomenal stats, but when you're playing alongside Lorenz (196 points, 17.9 ppg) and Coder (159, 14.1), your scoring won't necessarily leap out. Pannebaker and the rest of the Tigers bench are helping in other ways on the court though by creating scoring opportunities and rebounding.

And anyway, the bench and starters are looking ahead at getting East Juniata back into the playoffs and perhaps claim a TVL title, not just scoring points. But if last Thursday's match against Greenwood was any indicator of what they have to go through, it's easier said than done.

You see, Greenwood is traditionally good. The Wildcats are the reigning four-time TVL champions, and have claimed the title five of the past six seasons. As per usual, Greenwood's again at the top of the TVL, sitting with a 10-2 overall mark and 6-0 in the league, just one game ahead of East Juniata (9-2, 5-1).

While Josh Ferguson (152, 13.8), Tyler Fegley (119, 10.8) and Ryan Kerstetter (124, 11.3) all lead the Wildcats' potent offense, it's the defense that has helped them stay as successful as they are.

"At our level, we have to be able to play defense to stay competitive and then play as a team. You lean on the guys that came before you that bought into that theory and it's been pretty successful," Greenwood coach Kent Houser said after Thursday's TVL game. "But the truth is, we don't really pay much attention to what happened last year. We're focused on this year. Last year, year before don't win any games for us or score any baskets."

The Wildcats are just taking it one game at a time.

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.

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