Hampton’s Peter Kramer eager to return to playoff action

Saturday, February 10, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Hampton standout senior guard Peter Kramer is hoping to go from an ineligible postseason to an indelible one.

After being forced to sit out last year’s playoffs due to PIAA transfer rules, Kramer is excited to be joining his teammates in this postseason in a bid for a deep run.

“It definitely was hard for me to sit out last year and watch my guys play,” he said. “It just adds fuel to the fire for this year, and I’m just ready for the playoffs.”

Once again, Kramer has guided the No. 2-ranked Talbots (17-3, 9-0 as of Feb. 8) to a near-flawless regular season. They clinched their second consecutive outright Section 1-4A title with a 56-48 victory at Knoch on Feb. 6. Kramer, a 6-foot-5 Lehigh recruit, is averaging 22.6 points and helps a Talbots defense that ranks No. 1 in the WPIAL Class 4A in points allowed (45.3 ppg). The Talbots’ only defeat since Christmas was a 55-52 loss to Class 6A Butler on Jan. 23.

“As the season wears on, you want your needle pointing up,” Hampton coach Joe Lafko said. “I think this team is on an upward trajectory.”

Kramer, who transferred from Shady Side Academy before his junior year, sat on the bench during last season’s playoffs while his teammates reached the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals and earned the program’s first PIAA victory since 2014. Kramer, who led Hampton to a 20-2 regular season and its first section title in 12 years, was able to participate in practices and attend the playoff games, but he watched the postseason wins — and losses — in street clothes.

It was a difficult spot for Kramer, who as a sophomore at Shady Side Academy was a key part of the school’s first WPIAL championship since 1999.

“(Sitting out) was definitely tougher than I anticipated because I had put it to the side in the regular season and just played with my guys,” Kramer said. “But once the time came, it was definitely difficult.”

Said Lafko, “I know it bothered him last year. He just never let that be a distraction to the team. I give him a lot of credit for that.”

Hampton, which starts five seniors, is expected to earn a No. 2 seed when the WPIAL pairings are released Feb. 12. Last season, Hampton received a No. 4 seed, with Kramer’s absence playing a role in the downgrade. The WPIAL Class 4A first-round games are scheduled to begin Feb. 15-17.

Hampton prepared for the postseason with a rugged nonsection schedule that included Shaler (18-2), Butler (15-4), Moon (16-3), Peters Township (14-5) and Allderdice (16-3).

“Our nonleague schedule, in my opinion, is one of the most challenging in the WPIAL,” Lafko said. “There is a level of execution that you have to attain in those kinds of games. You have situations that emerge in those games that require a high level of focus. I think when you get to the postseason, you recognize the intensity of the game and the focus that needs to be there.”

Another factor in the Talbots’ season has been the contribution of the scout team. Senior Brady Andrews, junior Brandon Grossman and sophomores Luke Claus, Jonas Cupps, Hunter Richardson, Luca Romero-Lauro and Mikey Solomon have “done a fantastic job” helping the Talbots prepare for opposing offenses and defenses, Lafko said.

Added Kramer, “Our scout team has been very good. I don’t think they get enough credit for what they do in practice.”

For sure, the scout team doesn’t make life easy on Kramer. Lafko will sometimes use all seven scout team players on the floor against the five-man Talbots to simulate the quickness of opposing defenses.

“You can stick two guys on one player on the defensive end,” Lafko said. “There are many practices where Peter Kramer is going through practice being guarded by two.”


More Basketball

Belle Vernon hires former Shaler, Gateway coach to lead girls basketball program
20 years later, Roundball Classic continues to evolve
PIAA sets 2025-28 state championship sites for basketball, wrestling, swimming
Chartiers Valley poised to hire Corey Dotchin as boys basketball coach
Penn Hills notebook: Basketball alumnus Daemar Kelly heads to St. Francis