School: Hanover Area
Sport: Boys Basketball
All in the Family: Jake is the son of Chip and Tina Barber of Hanover Twp. He has two sisters, Kaili - who is currently attending college and Gillian - a freshman on Hanover Area’s soccer team and his younger brother Matthew is on the fifth-grade basketball team in the Hanover Area school system.
Statistically Speaking: Barber, already among the top seven scorers in the Wyoming Valley Conference and the second-leading scorer in Division III, tossed in 55 points over two games to help Hanover Area stay alive in the race for a division title. He popped in 30 points as the Hawkeyes cruised past Wyoming Seminary, then came up with 25 more during Hanover Area’s overtime upset at Meyers on Friday.
Shooting star: It’s not just the ability to put the ball in the basket that makes Barber special, although he does that with incredible consistency. It’s the way he handles trying situations that’s won the appreciation of his teammates and helped 13-7 Hanover Area win nearly twice as many games as it has lost. Barber had 22 baskets over the two games, hitting a pair of 3-point field goals in each to raise his season total to 20 treys. But the way he handled the ball with nary a turnover, especially against an aggressive Meyers defense, was critical to Hanover Area pulling within a game of first place in Division III entering the final week of the regular season. It also didn’t hurt that Barber, only a 58 percent free throw shooter on the year, converted seven of his nine foul shots including four-of-five during crunch-time against Meyers.
Coach’s Corner: “You can’t just measure the things he does on the court by a box score,” Hanover Area coach Steve Harnischfeger said. “Number one, he’s just a great kid, just a special kid who leads everybody in practice. He has a complete game, offense, defense, he can post up. He’s our number one leader on the team. Just unbelievable, the two games he had, especially that Meyers game. To do it against that talented team was just unbelievable, and he had a couple great passes along with it. He gives everybody else a chance to score with his passing.”
Did you know? One way or another, it’s hard to keep Barber off the court. He spends his weekends serving as an official for Biddie basketball games, which is one reason why he thinks twice about giving the refs any lip when he’s playing high school games. “I try to stay away from that,” Barber laughed, “just so they can be on my side.” Don’t think his success as a player at Hanover Area exempts him from hearing criticism from the stands when he’s an official. “Oh yeah, all the time,” Barber said.
From his angle: “Meyers was probably our biggest game of the year,” Barber said. “Meyers had that 60-game winning streak, they lost it the other night, but usually, we don’t play well against Meyers. But we played in their home, on senior night and came up with a big win. It was huge. Usually when we get down on ourselves, we’re not able to get right back up. When someone gets down, I don’t like to insult them, I help them get right back up. I love encouraging everybody else.”
Week in review: Wrestlers in the PIAA Class 3A state team tournament had a little problem getting up when they ran into Wyoming Valley West’s Cody Cordes. The Spartans’ 160-pounder opened states with a 5-0 decision during a team loss to Boyertown, then dropped his Jersey Shore opponent in 1:59 in a Spartans victory and added another pin in 1:54 against Spring Ford for career win No. 100. His Valley West teammate Travis Roper was just as impressive at 132, starting with an 18-3 technical fall, added a second-period pin in the victory over Jersey Shore and finishing with a 9-0 major against Spring Ford. Nathan Cheek posted three major decisions of 15-4, 10-2 and 16-5 against Valley West’s three state opponents at 145 and James Donovan opened the PIAA tourney with a second-period pin against Boyertown. Meanwhile, Lake-Lehman’s Austin Harry warmed up for the upcoming District 2 individual tournament with a 17-second pin against Berwick in his 132-pound match. …
Looks like Wyoming Seminary’s Seth Callahan is working into position to be the team’s go-to guy in the upcoming District 2 boys basketball playoffs. Callahan scored 31 points against Hanover Area, hit for 31 more against Lake-Lehman and poured in 24 during a victory over Tunkhannock — all well above the season average of 16.6 points he brought into last week’s action. In Sem’s loss to Lake-Lehman, Black Knights’ big man Pete Borum used a 21-point night to score his career 1,000th point and, up the road a bit, Crestwood’s Chris Fazzini hit his career 1,000th point by scoring 12 in a victory over Coughlin. Tunkhannock’s Austin Yanora was the week’s high scorer with a 40-point game against Dallas, which rode 29 points from Allen Fell to victory. Cory Rogers of MMI Prep also scored 29 in a victory over Weatherly. …
Alexis Lewis continued to carry Holy Redeemer through a perfect regular season in the WVC Division II while serving notice she’ll be difficult for teams to deal with in the postseason. Lewis scored 21 points in a victory over Lake-Lehman, let loose with 41 in a win over MMI Prep and scored a game-high 28 in an anguishing, two-point loss to state power Allentown Central Catholic. Crestwood’s Maddie Ritsick led Crestwood to the brink of a WVC Division I title by scoring 27 points in a victory over Coughlin and hitting all 20 of her points - including the winning free throw - after the halftime horn sounded in a 52-51 victory over second-place Pittston Area to give the Comets a two-game lead entering the final week of the regular season. Quieterriua Gross spent last week trying to power Meyers to better positioning for the upcoming District 2 Class 3A playoffs, scoring 23 points in a key victory over Nanticoke and adding 20 in a win over Wyoming Area. Lake-Lehman’s Cayle Spencer shot out Wyoming Seminary’s lights with 30 points, while Nanticoke Area’s Heidi Kile nearly brought Nanticoke all the way back from a late double-digit deficit with 25 points against Meyers. Alyssa Sitch kept Hazleton Area in front of Wyoming Valley West in the fight for seeding in the district Class 4A playoffs by scoring 27 points in a victory over the Spartans. …
Wyoming Valley West All-American boys swimmer Ed Zawatski began preparing for what’s expected to be a big postseason run by winning four times in a victory over Scranton Prep. Zawatski captured the 200 IM, 200 backstroke and fueled the winning 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams. Tunkhannock’s Matt Miller spearheaded a victory over Dallas by winning the 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly and swimming on the two winning freestyle relay teams. And Lake-Lehman’s Andrew Herrick proved he’s willing to go the distance, capturing the 100 freestyle and 500 freestyle individual events and sparking the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams to victory against Coughlin. …
Pittston Area’s Mia Nardone continued making a splash in the girls swimming pool, winning the 200 IM, the 100 butterfly and swimming on the winning 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams in a victory over Lake-Lehman. Lehman’s Julia Baur and Hanover Area’s Bryanna Eichler were really freestyling this week. Baur won the 100 and 200 individual freestyle events and swam on the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relays in Lehman’s victory over Coughlin. Eichler touched the finish line first in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle while swimming on the two winning freestyle relay teams in the Hawkeyes’ victory over Berwick. Meanwhile, Tunkhannock’s Morgan Manglaviti proved to be a do-it-all swimmer against Dallas, winning the 200 IM, 100 butterfly and pacing the two winning 200 relay teams to victory.