Berkey voted Outstanding Senior
By BRADLEY KEIM
Daily American Sports Writer
Thursday, April 6, 2006 12:44 AM EDT
Shanksville-Stonycreek senior Jeff Berkey helped take the Vikings to back-to-back Western Pennsylvania Athletic Conference championships and to three consecutive state playoff berths while climbing the ladder to fifth place on the list of Somerset County's all-time boys' basketball scoring leaders. All that made it no surprise that he was named Outstanding Senior when CDM Sports Radio Network presented the 2005-06 Somerset County All-County Basketball Team during CDM's annual banquet Wednesday at Oakhurst Tea Room. Shade-Central City head coach Wade Fyock was named Coach of the Year after guiding his team to its first home playoff game in almost two decades as well as into state playoffs.
The county was well-represented as players from all but one high school were named to the first or second teams. With 10 players honored and 11 public schools, there was no way to have every school represented.
“It's the first year,” said CDM Sports' Jack Dickey, “that to the best of my knowledge and remembrance there was one person from 10 different schools on the first two teams.”
Upon receiving the award, Berkey said many people played a role in his success and he saluted his fellow all-county team members.
“I thank everyone,” he said, “my coaches, my family, fans, other coaches and players. It's been lots of fun playing against these guys. I wish all these guys the best of luck in the future ... keep working hard.”
Berkey said working on his game year-round is the key to his success, noting that during the bqnauet Windber coach Kevin Charney said as much.
“Like (Winder) Coach (Kevin) Charney said, it's not just a three-month season. It definitely is an all-year sport. I put a lot of time in during the summer trying to perfect my game. It's far from perfect. I had to straighten out all my weaknesses and maintain my strengths. A lot of hard work in the offseason, then the season is just a lot of focus and dedication.”
Berkey scored a Somerset County high 799 points (27.6 per game) for the 21-8 Vikings, while also setting school records for most career and single-season three-point field goals with 218 and 91 respectively. Berkey became the fifth all-time boys' player from Somerset County to score 2,000 points and finished his career with 2,118. He grabbed 710 career rebounds and, Dickey noted, academically is ranked first among Shanksville seniors.
Even though he has been a key player for four seasons, Berkey said he did not really become a team leader until this season.
“As a young high school player, I was learning the ropes. By the time I was a junior, I was a junior on an all-senior team, so I wasn't really a leader yet,” he said.
“This year, I got the chance to step up and be a leader. ... My teammates were very good at leaders as well because we had a lot of seniors this year. I played with a great group of guys.”
While opponents knew controlling Berkey was their main objective when playing Shanksville, he still averaged more than 26 points during the Vikings five postseason games.
“Some games I struggled. My teammates did a great job getting me the ball when I had a hot hand,” said Berkey, adding that his coaches were another important factor.
“My coaches have been fabulous.”
Berkey was a first-team all-county selection as a sophomore and junior and earned honorable mention as a freshman. He also topped this year's Associated Press Class A Pennsylvania boys' high school basketball team.
Even though Shade beat Shanksville once this season, the 18-10 Panthers fell two other times to Shanksville, including during District 5 playoffs, prompting Fyock to say it will be different next season, not having to account for Berkey.
“I'm not going to miss coaching against Jeff,” Fyock said.
Three more seniors, Berlin's Donnie Zeigler, Shade's Kevin Kozlick and Windber's Matt Wilson, joined Turkeyfoot junior Nathan Glass and Berkey on the first team.
Fyock said Kozlick has been a big part of the Panthers.
“He's like the lead dog in the sled,” he said.
“Without the hard work of players like Kevin, we would not have had the season we did. They set the bar high.”
As for his award, Fyock said it was a surprise.
“It's a pretty humbling experience to be voted on by your peers as Coach of the Year,” he said. “I didn't expect to be here.”
Even though Shade, 2-21 two years ago in Fyock's first season, showed dramatic improvement in making its playoff run, Fyock said he thought Shanksville coach Wayne Long would get the award.
“Coach Long had an excellent year and got my vote,” he said.
Like Berkey, Fyock saluted the first and second team players and told them to keep improving.
There are certainly no surprises. ... Every one of these guys deserves to be here,” he said.
“Be proud of your accomplishments. ... Work hard.”
Somerset senior Conlan Walsh, Conemaugh Township senior Toby McIlwain, Rockwood junior Seth Foreman, Meyersdale junior Matt Stahl and Salisbury sophomore Shane Knopsnyder made up the second team.
At least one player from every county school received honorable mention. Those players were Berlin's Jake Zorn and Ethan Suder; Conemaugh Township's Nathan Bates, Mike Muir and Kevin Byer; Meyersdale's Mike Courtney; North Star's Dave Kavar and Corey Shaffer; Rockwood's Cody Sanner; Salisbury's Mike Podlesnik; Shade's Ben Leonard and Joel Kaminsky; Shanksville's Jonathan Maust; Somerset's Austin Ankney and Drew Shaulis; Turkeyfoot's Cody Colflesh; and Windber's Matt Dello and Joe Swinger.
Sanner joined Berkey as the only other four-time all-county selection, also having earned honorable mention in 2003 and 2005 and was on the second team in 2004.
Other repeat honorees were Zeigler (HM, 2005); Kozlick (HM, 2004, 2005); Wilson (HM, 2005); Glass (HM, 2005); Walsh (HM, 2005); Foreman (2nd team, 2005); Stahl (HM, 2005); McIlwain (HM, 2005); Zorn (HM, 2005); Bates (HM, 2005); and Kavar (HM, 2005).
(Bradley Keim may be reached at email@example.com.)
The 2005-06 CDM Sports All-Somerset County Basketball Team was honored at a banquet Wednesday at Oakhurst Tea Room near Bakersville. The teams were selected by Somerset County high schools boys' coaches and CDM Sports Radio Network broadcasters.
Jeff Berkey, Shanksville-Stonycreek, Sr.
Donnie Zeigler, Berlin Brothersvalley, Sr.
Kevin Kozlick, Shade-Central City, Sr.
Matt Wilson, Windber Area, Sr.
Nathan Glass, Turkeyfoot Valley, Jr.
Conlan Walsh, Somerset Area, Sr.,
Shane Knopsnyder, Salisbury-Elk Lick, Soph.
Seth Foreman, Rockwood Area, Jr.
Matt Stahl, Meyersdale Area, Jr.
Toby McIlwain, Conemaugh Township, Sr.
Outstanding Senior Berkey
Coach of the Year Wade Fyock, Shade-Central City
Berlin Brothersvalley - Jake Zorn, Sr.; Ethan Suder, Jr.
Conemaugh Township - Nathan Bates, Sr.; Mike Muir, Jr.; Kevin Byer, Soph.
Meyersdale - Mike Courtney, Jr.
North Star - Dave Kavar, Jr.; Corey Shaffer, Sr.
Rockwood Area - Cody Sanner, Sr.
Salisbury-Elk Lick - Mike Podlesnik, Jr.
Shade-Central City - Ben Leonard, Sr.; Joel Kaminsky, Fr.
Shanksville-Stonycreek - Jonathan Maust, Jr.
Somerset Area - Austin Ankney, Soph.; Drew Shaulis, Jr.
Turkeyfoot Valley - Cody Colflesh, Sr.
Windber Area - Matt Dello, Sr.; Joe Swinger, Sr.