Co-MVPs Lorenz, Coder top local All-Star selections
COCOLAMUS – Six local boys basketball players were honored by their respective conferences as league All Stars.
East Juniata coach Brock Anders was awarded Tri-Valley League Coach of the Year for guiding his team to a 16-0 TVL mark and the top scoring offense in the league (67.4 points per game).
“This means a lot to me personally,” Anders said. “I have to credit coach (Brian) Dressler and coach (Steve) Madden for sticking with me the last few years. This was important to me and the players.”
The biggest honor went to East Juniata seniors Nick Lorenz and Bailey Coder, who were named the Tri-Valley League’s Co-MVPs for their outstanding play as East Juniata finished the regular season unbeaten.
“I think it showed the dedication they’ve shown,” Anders said. “It shows the evolution of their games as all-around players.”
Lorenz averaged 24.6 points on the season and 23.9 in Tri-Valley League play, leading both his team and the league in scoring.
The supplement his scoring, he added 65 assists during the conference slate, which was tops in the TVL and 7.75 rebounds per game against TVL competition, which was good for seventh in the league.
The Tigers coach also pointed to both players sharing top honors in each statistical category across the board.
Lorenz led the way in scoring and assists and Coder was best in rebounding and blocks.
Lorenz’ value was shown through his absence in some of East Juniata’s closest games including when he fouled out in a two-point victory over Mount Union and the Tigers’ only loss of the season, a double-overtime district playoff opening loss to Southern Columbia.
“In some games, it showed that Nick was the most outstanding player in the league,” Anders said.
Coder averaged 20.2 points per game during the season, but ramped that up to 21.4 per game during conference play, which was second to his teammate in both categories.
A third Tiger, guard David Brantley, was named an all-league second-team selection.
Brantley finished regular season play at an 11 points per game clip, which was third best on his team and led the conference in steals (51).
Anders saw several strengths that led to Brantley’s selection, including his improvement, late-game play, his presence as a third-leading scorer and his defensive prowess.
“David led the league in steals,” Anders said. “I think the coaches noticed that.”
Greenwood joined East Juniata with two players on the league’s first team.
Seniors Adam Harrison and Tyler Fegley were honored for their outstanding play for the Tri-Valley League runner-up.
Harrison and Fegley were both stout defensively and lifted Greenwood to the top of the league in scoring defense, at 37.5 points per game and a state tournament berth.
“We would be nowhere without them,” Greenwood coach Kent Houser said of Harrison and Fegley. “They were out No. 1 and No. 2 scorers. Without them we wouldn’t have any offense.”
Harrison averaged 10.8 points per game which was tops for Greenwood and blocked a team-best 19 shots.
“He really was our leading scorer most of the year,” Houser said. “He’s a great defender and a great rebounder. He’s just an outstanding all-around player.”
Fegley ended up fifth in steals (35) during league competition and was also Greenwood’s second-leading scorer and ran the team efficiently from the point guard position.
“He’s a terrific defender,” Houser said. “He sets the tone defensively. The kid goes out and plays his heart out every night.”
The East Juniata and Greenwood duos on the first team were joined by Mackenzie Ney of Upper Dauphin.
“All five of the kids on the all-league team had a great career,” Houser said. “The coaches really understood how good all those kids are and how important they were to their programs.”
After increasing its win total from four in 2012-13 to 11 in 2013-14 under first-year coach Al Ream, no Juniata boys were honored by the league.
“They have a lot of young players and a lot of players with a lot of potential,” Anders said. “I think that in the future, they will have a chance to receive that recognition.”
Midd-West guard Ascher Marks was named to the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference second team for his play this season.
Marks led the Mustangs in scoring with 12.0 points per game, while adding 38 assists and only 17 turnovers.
“I think the big thing for Ascher is that he was an unknown coming into this year,” Midd-West coach Aaron Ettinger said. “By the end of the year, he was being double teamed and getting the other team’s best defender and still putting up those numbers. I think part of his selection was that he had become such a complete player by the end of the year.”
Marks was a young player on a very young team and was the bright spot for the Mustangs.
“He was a huge reason why we were able to stay competitive,” Ettinger said. “Every big game, he seemed to step up. By the end of the year, he was able to finish around the rim with contact and was scoring from all over the floor.”