CURWENSVILLE – One returning starter and four other letterwinners will form the nucleus for the 2007-08 Curwensville Area High School boys basketball team, which opens the season Wednesday against in a Moshannon Valley League home game.
Junior Ben McGary (66 points, 2.8 average) was a regular at guard, while senior forward Joey Palmer (155, 6.5) and junior guard David Kalgren (107, 4.5) came off the bench early in most games and logged many quality minutes.
Senior guard Ryan Gardner (35, 2.5) and junior forward Derek Dixon (18, 1.5) saw action in 14 and 12 games, respectively.
McGary, Kalgren, junior Andrew Starr and sophomores Sam Gardner and Jed Greslick give coach Matt Wassil a solid corps of guards.
Palmer, Dixon, junior Tyler Johns and sophomore Billy White are the only players taller than six feet, White the tallest at 6-3, so the Golden Tide will have to rely on pressure defense with its overall quickness.
A big plus is the fact that most of the Curwensville players are multi-sport athletes who have experienced success prior to and during their high school careers.
On most nights, inside and outside both the MVL and the Allegheny Mountain League, the Golden Tide will be going against bigger, veteran teams, making every game a battle and a high shooting percentage a must.
Wassil, 24-24 after two years at his alma mater, lost most of the offensive firepower and rebounding from the 2006-07 squad that finished second behind District 6 Class A runner-up Harmony in the MVL and PIAA Class A runner-up DuBois Central Catholic in the AML South Division.
A 41-36 loss at Cameron County in the first round of the District 9 Class A Playoffs set the Curwensville\’s final record at 14-10.
Seniors Philip Michaels, Craig Bartlett, Shawn Sopic and Brandon McDonald accounted for more than 70 percent of the Golden Tide\’s points.
Michaels, who was named to both the MVL and AML all-star teams, ranked 14th in District 9 with 344 points and a 14.3 average. A versatile, all-around player, the 6-1 guard also held his own with bigger rebounders.
Bartlett, the Golden Tide\’s main three-point threat, scored 257 points, a 10.7 average, with most coming from the wings and corners or on baseline drives. He was an MVL honorable mention selection.
Sopic (204, 8.5) and McDonald (183, 7.6) were a rugged inside tandem, especially strong around the boards.
Shane Pentz and Eric Johnson again are Wassil\’s assistant coaches.
All Golden Tide regular season games will start at 7:30 p.m. Tipoff for junior varsity games will be at 6.
The Curwensville roster, with (*) denoting letterwinners:
Seniors – Ryan Gardner (*), 5-8; Joey Palmer (*), 6-2.
Juniors – Derek Dixon (*), 6-1; Tyler Johns, 6-2; David Kalgren (*), 5-11; Heath McCracken, 5-11; Ben McGary (*), 5-10; Andrew Starr, 5-8.
Sophomores – Sam Gardner, 5-9; Jed Greslick, 5-7; Ben Johnson, 5-10; Billy White, 6-3.
* * * * * * * * * * *
The Curwensville schedule, with * denoting Moshannon Valley League game and # denoting Allegheny Mountain League South Division game:
5 – Glendale*
7 – at Elk County Catholic#
11 – Brockway#
12 – Clearfield
18 – Harmony*
21 – at West Branch*
26 – Penns Manor (7 p.m.) at Purchase Line Holiday Tournament
27 – Clearfield or Purchase Line (TBA) at Purchase Line Holiday Tournament
2 – DuBois Central Catholic#
4 – at Kane#
7 – at Moshannon Valley*
9 – Ridgway#
11 – at Sheffield#
14 – at Glendale*
16 – at Brockway#
18 – at Clearfield
22 – at Harmony*
25 – Kane
28 – West Branch*
30 – at DuBois Central Catholic#
1 – Johnsonburg#
5 – at Ridgway#
6 – Moshannon Valley*
8 – Philipsburg-Osceola