Quaker Valley boys flying under radar after massive graduation losses

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Sunday, December 4, 2022 | 11:01 AM


The Quaker Valley boys basketball team faces a tall order in 2022-23.

The Quakers are the defending WPIAL Class 4A and Section 2-4A champions. They posted a 14-0 section record and 27-1 overall mark last season after advancing to the PIAA championship game.

It was a banner season to say the least, but coach Mike Mastroianni is undaunted.

“We have the same expectations every year,” Mastroianni said, “to maximize our potential and compete for a section championship or a WPIAL and PIAA playoff position. As a young team and having a number of first-year players, our goal is to stay patient as we develop as a unit.”

Last year’s team was led by a talented group of seniors consisting of guard/forward Adou Thiero, now a freshman at Kentucky, forward Markus Frank, who is continuing his career at Shippensburg, and guards Wil Dunda and Jack Gardinier.

Dunda played soccer this fall for Geneva College, where he was coached by his dad, Gary Dunda. A freshman midfielder, Will Dunda was named PAC Newcomer of the Year and second team All-PAC.

Gardinier is playing basketball at Susquehanna College.

“We lost four starters from last year’s team that we leaned on in so many areas,” Mastroianni said. “We are young in game experience and expect to grow as the season moves forward.”

The lone returning starter is Daniel Bartels, a 6-foot-2 senior forward. who said he is looking forward to his final basketball season at QV.

“The goal every year is the section, WPIAL champions and PIAA champions,” Bartels said. “Compared to last year, I would say outside expectations are a lot lower, and I think that gives us a bit of an edge and a lot more confidence because we don’t have as many expectations as we did last year.”

Bartels also plays on the QV baseball team in the spring.

“We will lean on Dan for leadership and setting the level of expectation for our program,” Mastroianni said.

Also aiming to make contributions for the Quakers this season are senior guard Troy Kozar, junior guard Joey Coyle, senior forwards Noah Jordan and Jackson Kerley, junior guards Charlie Griffith and Israel Emerson, sophomore forward Dana Kromah, sophomore guard/forward Rocco Luchette and freshman guard/forward Zach Washington.

Mastroianni is looking for Kozar and Coyle to make an impact in the QV backcourt.

“Troy and Joey will be our floor leaders, and we expect the both of them to have outstanding seasons,” Mastroianni said. “They both have worked hard and are excited for the opportunity.”

The Quakers have moved into Section 4-4A this year, joining Avonworth, East Allegheny, Montour, South Allegheny and West Mifflin.

“The new section will be challenging,” Mastroianni said, “and 4A as a whole has a number of high-caliber teams that return a number of key starters. Our section parallels that with outstanding teams across the section.”

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