PHILIPSBURG — The Philipsburg-Osceola boys basketball team completed it’s team rebuild last season, going 11-12 and making the District 6 playoffs for the first time since 2008.
This year, the Mounties hope to build on that by going even further into the playoffs and finishing over .500.
To do that, they will need to adjust to a new coach and a season that’s already been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic.
Philipsburg-Osceola kicks off the season on Saturday at St. Joseph’s Academy.
They’ll have seven returning letterwinners on the court in seniors Aaron Depto, Kyle Hahn and Ryan Whitehead, juniors Tristan Doyle and Jeremy Whitehead and sophomores Jake DeSimone and Oliver Harpster.
New head coach T.J. Anderson, who was hired in May to replace Matt Curtis, who became the school’s assistant athletic director, says he will be expecting big things from his letterwinners.
“We are expecting them to uphold our programs core values,” he said. “These values are accountability, discipline, responsibility, commitment, attitude and effort.”
The team will have to replace graduated seniors Tyler Doyle, Kaleb Richardson and Keegan Soltis, who missed much of the year with a foot injury.
Ryan Whitehead was the team’s leading scorer last season, averaging 16,5 points per game. He was a Progressland first teamer and played in all 23 games last year.
Third in scoring as a freshman was Jake DeSimone, who 8.6 points per game last season.
He also played in all 23 games.
Jeremy Whitehead averaged 6.3 points per game and played in 21 games.
Anderson said the team doesn’t have a set starting five, but that the letterwinners figure heavily in the mix.
“We are in the process of doing players evaluations and looking to reward some players a starting role.”
The team will still have some experience on the bench with at least two letterwinners coming on as subs.
Depth is good in certain areas, Anderson said.
“I feel we have a pretty strong group at some positions, but limited resources at other positions.”
Despite all of the precautions the team has had to take, including wearing masks during the length of practices, Anderson said he sees a lot of positives from the team.
“I feel they are starting to buy into the program and accept their rolls on the team,” he said. “This hasn’t been the best year so far but they continue to improve and get better each week.”
The team is still working on several things, including situations that may arise in a condensed winter season.
“I’m starting to look at different ways to be successful during these times,’ said Anderson. “Just learning as much as I can, to handle different situations that could come during our season.”
Anderson said the biggest goal this season is to improve daily. They’d also like to compete for the Mountain League championship and qualify for the PIAA tournament.
“Just looking to be the best team that we can on and off the court,” he said.
Anderson will be assisted by Braden Treaster, Maximilian Kennedy, Greg Whitehead, Halle Herrington, Matt Hertlein and Chris Mason.
The Mounties game against the Wolves begins at 3 p.m. Saturday and will be televised on the NFHS Network through St. Joseph’s Academy.
*Aaron Depto, *Kyle Hahn, *Ryan Whitehead.
*Tristan Doyle, Colby Hahn, Jacob Kosut , *Jeremy Whitehead.
*Jake DeSimone, *Oliver Harpster, Robert Kramer, Shane Parish, Logan Phillippi, Preston Putillion, Dawson Snyder.
Brandon Hahn, Nick Johnson.
*Denotes returning letterwinners.
9—at St. Joseph’s Academy, 3 p.m. 11—Bellefonte. 14—at Central. 16—Clearfield, 4 p.m. 19—at Clearfield. 22—at Bald Eagle Area. 25—Moshannon Valley. 26—Tyrone. 29—Huntingdon. 30—East Juniata, 6:30 p.m.
2—at Penns Valley. 5—at at Bellefonte. 9—Central. 12—Penns Valley. 19—at Huntingdon. 22—at Tyrone.
All games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.