WVC boys basketball ready to start season

By John Erzar - [email protected] | December 17th, 2017 7:08 pm

After two weeks of games not figuring into the Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball division races, the teams finally get into conference play this week.

The WVC regular season was set to start on Friday, but four games have been moved to Thursday. The other four remain on Friday.

The league then takes a break until Jan. 3, but the teams don’t. Most of them will be busy over the holidays with non-conference games. Those games, though, count toward the District 2 playoffs.

Division 1 Overview

Either Hazleton Area or Crestwood has won nine of the last 10 Division 1 championships. Hazleton Area goes for a three-peat and has an excellent chance of accomplishing it.

Hazleton Area should be strong again, with the point guard the only opening in the lineup. Crestwood should be next in line, although the Comets lost four starters. Dallas brings back a solid group and could figure into the divisional picture.

Pittston Area will likely slot behind those three. Coughlin and Wyoming Valley West were hit hard by graduation, so a shot at the division seems unlikely.

Division 1 teams play each other twice and cross over with Division 2 teams once for a 16-game regular season.

Division 2 Overview

This could be the most competitive division in recent WVC history. Not much separates all six teams. An argument can be made for any of them finishing first … or last.

Defending champ Meyers returns Times Leader Player of the Year Jawane Buckner, but the slick guard will be surrounded by new starters. GAR and Nanticoke also have excellent guards — GAR with Will Johnson and Nanticoke with Nate Kreitzer — who will lead their teams.

Berwick’s backcourt is loaded, but there are some questions in the paint. Wyoming Area returns a nucleus of players that can make some noise. But the biggest jump could be made by Tunkhannock.

The Tigers finished in last place last season and in last place in a nine-team Division 1 in 2015-16, but with a strong group returning many coaches have points to Tunkhannock as the possible divisional frontrunner.

Division 2 teams played every WVC team once for 17 conference games.

Division 3 Overview

Holy Redeemer is favored to defending its divisional championship, with Wyoming Seminary expected to be the Royals’ biggest concern.

Northwest has been building the past two seasons, but might be a year away from contention. MMI Prep should improve and for the first time the Preppers have some size inside. Hanover Area and Lake-Lehman are likely too inexperienced to battle for the top spot.

The Division 3 teams play each other twice and play Division 2 teams once for a 16-game regular-season.

Home away from home

Meyers will be played all but two of its home games at Coughlin High School due to an issue with one of the exits near the gymnasium.

The Mohawks will be on their real home court only on Jan. 3 against Northwest and Jan. 13 against Wyoming Seminary.

Changing classes

The PIAA will begin a new two-year cycle for the 2018-19 season using recently submitted enrollment figures. The effect was minimal on District 2 boys basketball.

Lake-Lehman is the only WVC team which will be changing classes, dropping to from 4A to 3A. Two Lackawanna League teams will be moving. Honesdale will go from 4A to 5A. Susquehanna will jump up to Class 2A, leaving MMI Prep as the only Class A squad.

Playoff format

District 2 will use the same power-ranking formula to determine seedings. All games, not just those in WVC or Lackawanna League play, will factor into the formula.

All three District 2 teams plus District 4’s Williamsport will make the 6A field. Eight of nine teams make the 5A playoffs.

Eight of 12 teams make the 4A playoffs. All eight teams in Class 3A and all eight in 2A make the playoffs.

One of two D2-A teams, either MMI Prep or Susquehanna, is guaranteed a spot in a six-team subregional playoff with District 1. Both teams could make the playoffs based on power rankings.

The championship games will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township for a third consecutive season.

Jawane Buckner, the Times Leader Player of the Year last season, returns to the Meyers lineup, but he’ll be playing with four new starters.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/web1_sem_my4_faa-1-.jpgJawane Buckner, the Times Leader Player of the Year last season, returns to the Meyers lineup, but he’ll be playing with four new starters. Fred Adams file photo | for Times Leader

By John Erzar

[email protected]

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar