With 4 starters back, Thomas Jefferson boys poised for big season

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Sunday, December 3, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Thomas Jefferson’s boys basketball team has experience on its side for 2023-24.

“We have four out of the five starters back from last year and several good young players that need to step up for us,” coach Dom DeCicco said. “We expect to be competitive.

“For us to have success, we have to rebound much better than we did a year ago. If we do, we can be very good. If not, we will be average.”

Evan Berger, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard/forward, is a fourth-year starter for the Jaguars. Berger averaged 23.1 ppg last season and broke his own school record with a 43-point performance in a 105-100 section win in three overtimes against Peters Township.

“Our expectations include winning the section and making a deep playoff run,” Berger said.

The sharp-shooting Berger, who led the team in rebounding last year with an 8.3 average, has signed with Edinboro of the NCAA Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

“I’m excited for Evan,” DeCicco said. “I think it’s great for him and his family. He’s one of the best players to come out of TJ. Where he ranks will be determined by how he finishes his career.”

A first-team all-section selection, Berger also considered Washington & Jefferson and Allegheny before opting for the Fighting Scots, coached by Justin Jennings, who was hired May 30.

“Coach Jennings made my decision to go to Edinboro really easy,” Berger said.

Senior guard Noah Prosser (13 ppg) also averaged double figures a year ago. Prosser was a second-team all-section pick. He is being recruited by multiple Division III schools.

Prosser’s focus this season is one winning a WPIAL championship.

“Our ability to score is one of our strengths. Our offense is going to be pretty good this year,” Prosser said. “I think the young talent that we have adds a lot to the team and makes us a dangerous team in 5A.”

Berger and Prosser are joined in the lineup by senior guard Sean Sullivan and senior forwards Brody Evans and Kam Eggerton.

“I expect us to win the section then make a run to win the WPIAL championship,” Evans said. “We have good (team) chemistry and experience, and we have some depth this year.”

Two notable newcomers seeing playing time are junior guard Noah Kaszer and sophomore guard Nick Trklja.

In a unique twist, DeCicco listed all eight seniors on the team as co-captains: Berger, Eggerton, Evans, Prosser and Sullivan plus guards Hayden Feth, Joe Mendyk and Zac Rubinoff.

The Jaguars compete in Section 1-5A along with Bethel Park, Connellsville, Peters Township, Ringgold and Trinity.

Peters Township is the defending section champion. The Indians advanced to the WPIAL finals and PIAA quarterfinals a year ago.

“The team to beat this year has got to be Peters,” Prosser said, “because they won the section last year.”

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