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Many Parts Have Contributed To Wyoming Seminary’s Success

February 12, 2019 GMT

KINGSTON — The schedule, challenging. The players, talented. The leaders, unquestioned. All of that, according to first-year head coach Pete Moses, has Wyoming Seminary playing some of the best basketball in District 2. Here’s a closer look at some of the elements that have Sem, at 20-2, with the best overall record in the district, as well as a division title and a No. 1 seed in the upcoming Class 3A playoffs. The schedule Being a member of WVC Division 3, Sem already had a number of built-in opponents, including Holy Redeemer, Nanticoke Area and GAR. But outside the league schedule, Sem opened the season by going 5-1 with wins against East Stroudsburg South, Selinsgrove, Crestwood, Susquehanna and Dallas. “These guys wanted to play great competition, they wanted to play tougher games,” Moses said. “We went out and got those games.” As it turned out, two of Sem’s greatest wins happened in December: a 61-49 win at Crestwood and 65-32 blowout at Dallas. The Blue Knights’ only non-conference loss was a 52-50 defeat at home against reigning Class 5A state champion Abington Heights. “It was obviously a tough game; we were up 13 at one point,” said senior Dimitri Gnall. “We wish we could have gotten that one. But after that, coach told us it’s how we respond to that game and how we come back the next game and end the season.” Sem responded by winning 11 games in a row, losing once at Redeemer, and then building another win streak currently at four games. The players Led by Gnall, an all-state forward, Sem has one of the best starting lineups in District 2. Gnall’s averaging 18.6 points per game, followed by Nick Ganter at 9.6 ppg; Jeremy Callahan 9.4; Todd Phillips 8.3; and Jake Koretz 7.6. Koretz, a sophomore, is the only first-year starter. Everyone else started for last year’s team that won the District 2 Class 3A championship. “I knew we were going to have a good team this year,” Gnall said. “We lost Tyler Maddock, our starting point guard, but we replaced him with Jake, who takes control of the point and orchestrates everything we’re doing. He moves us around. I thought we were in good hands there. So, I had high hopes for our team at the beginning of the season.” Gnall delivered one of this season’s top moments in local high school basketball last month, when he scored his 1,000th career point on the same night he made a game-saving block at the buzzer in a 45-43 win against Redeemer. Two weeks later, Gnall scored 25 points and Callahan, a former division MVP, had a season-high 21 in a key 67-59 win at GAR. Meanwhile, Ganter is one of the most reliable post players in the conference; Phillips, one of its most underrated players; Koretz, one of the top first-year starters. The leaders The 6-foot-5 Ganter and 6-3 Gnall command the respect of any opposing defense. The two seniors also have the respect of their teammates, as they are the Blue Knights’ captains. “People lead in all different sorts of ways,” Moses said. “These guys, uniquely, happen to lead in all several different ways. They lead with their play on the floor. But they also are vocal leaders and the kids on the team respect them. This is our leading scorer and our second-leading scorer. This is our two leading rebounders. ... Not only are they vocal and not only are they leaders, but they actually lead in the categories that matter.” Having each started for multiple seasons, Ganter and Gnall are two of Sem’s more experienced players. But they’re still always learning, even if it’s from one another. “It’s absolutely awesome. I love playing with (Gnall),” Ganter said. “He throws so many assists to me. I love it. He’s always there to help coach me and he really gets the best out of me.” The unknown There are many different ways this season could end. Coach Moses and his staff of assistants — Rich Musinski, Bill Burke, Myer Messinger — are hopeful it ends with a few more celebrations. Unless Division 3 foe Holy Redeemer gets into this week’s four-team conference championship tournament, Sem will be the most rested team. Possible opponents GAR, Nanticoke Area, Hazleton Area and Crestwood are still battling for division titles. “It’ll be fun to see how it all plays out and what happens,” Gnall said. “I think it’s a cool idea.” The WVC semifinals are scheduled for Friday with the championship Saturday. Ganter added: “I’m really looking forward to having a Wyoming Valley Conference champion, instead of having the three divisions.” After the WVC champion is crowned, Sem’s scheduled to play its first District 2 Class 3A playoff game one week from today. From then on, Moses hopes to see his team play at its highest level in hopes of realizing success the Blue Knights have envisioned since Moses was appointed head coach in May. Former coach C.J. Kersey stepped down after last season, allowing Moses to leave Wyoming Area and take the top job at Sem. “I was blessed to have a talented group of kids that want to get better every day and they want to be coached, they’re a very coachable group,” Moses said. “I think the team chemistry is excellent and I think it continued to get better. (The players) embraced me and the staff, and they allowed us to come in and they weren’t opposed to change. They weren’t opposed to having new coaches here. I thought they handled the situation very maturely.” Contact the writer: mbufano@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2060; @CVBufano on Twitter