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Sun-Gazette All-Star selections

April 5, 2008 - Chris Masse
A short while back a letter to the editor was written concerning the selection of the Sun-Gazette boys basketball all-stars and I wanted to clarify some things as I understand where this gentleman was coming from.

The point made was that even though players like Jersey Shore's Jon Boob and Montoursville's Travis Heap were First Team CSC-I all-stars they were only honorable mention on the Sun-Gazette's team. A further point made was that while players like Shikellamy's Brantley Osborne, Selinsgrove's Mike Ritter and Danville's Curtis Klein were first team CSC-I all-stars they were "snubbed" by the Sun-Gazette.

I'd like to address those issues on both fronts.

While Osborne, Ritter and Klein are terrific players they do not play for Sun-Gazette coverage area teams. That is why they are not included. If they were in the Sun-Gazette coverage area all three would have received some kind of recognition.

Second, while the CSC-I is a strong conference it is only one of many conferences included in the Sun-Gazette coverage area. We also cover the CSC-II, the Mid-Penn, the NTL and independent Williamsport. Neumann's Caleb Foust was the Mid-Penn Player of the Year, North Penn's Jessie Kriner was the NTL-West Player of the Year, while Mansfield's Tim Berguson was a first team NTL-West all-star and Williamsport's Isaiah Twine was one of the best all-around players in the district. They are only four of the high quality players in our area and all were on our first team so choosing a first team all-star squad is an arduous task when you have a quartet like that in addition to several other outstanding players from different conferences.

All together, the Sun-Gazette covers 25 boys basketball teams so there are first teamers in all the Sun-Gazette conferences that sometimes do not make our all-star team.

As the gentleman that wrote the letter said, all-star teams are a matter of opinion and that leads me to the Coach of the Year Award. While many conferences give the Coach of the Year to the coach of the league champion I like to look at how teams have progessed throughout the year and how teams exceeded expectations and things like that.

Williamsport was projected by many to struggle this season and many thought the Millionaires might not make the playoffs, especially after losing several talented players in the preseason. Still, Williamsport won 19 games, reached the state playoffs and nearly upset Class AAAA state champion Chester in the first round. I felt for that reason, Allen Taylor was Coach of the Year even though Nick Tagliaferri was the CSC-II Coach of the Year and also did a stellar job in leading Hughesville to its second district championship in three years. The difference for me was that Williamsport was supposed to struggle and Hughesville was expected to be a district title contender during the preseason. Again, though, it's a matter of opinion and those will vary but I wanted to explain the rationale behind my reasoning.

The all-star selection process is a difficult one and I try to see every team play, while also talking to coaches throughout the area for their thoughts. Not everyone will agree but one of the great things about sports is the debate it generates and when it comes to all-star teams there are always some great debates.


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