SEASON PREVIEW: B-A boys get new start under Mertiff


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Junior Caleb Beiswenger is one of the top returners for the Blue Devil basketball team this season.

Tighe Eaken Jr., Staff Writer

Coming off a 10-13 season, the Bellwood-Antis boys basketball team is looking to improve this season and come back bigger and better than ever under new head coach Tyler Mertiff.

Coach Mertiff has been coaching for 12 years now, with his past coaching experience being an assistant coach for the Tyrone boys varsity basketball team. 

Mertiff is no stranger to competitive sports. While playing for Tyrone during his high school days, he was a 1,000 point scorer in his career, and was named the Altoona Mirror’s Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the 2002-2003 season. Mertiff also went on to play quarterback at IUP after high school.

Even after losing some key players from last year’s senior class such as last year’s top point leader, Sean Mallon (SF), long with Kyler Sweigert (G), Dawson Miller (F), and Connor Gibbons (G), the boys team is able to keep some important returning players.

Returning players include the following seniors: Caleb Beiswenger (PG), Brayden Wagner (SG), Canyon Neyman ( C ); juniors: Chance Schreier (PF) and last year’s rebound leader Corry Shanafelt (PF).

Returning letterman senior Caleb Beiswenger is more than excited to get the season started and improve over last year under the team’s coaching change.

“We have a lot of talent, and the team’s chemistry is very strong. We are looking to win the conference and make a deep playoff run,” he said,

Having lower than expected numbers this year, coach Mertiff is looking for the seniors to step up this season and lead his team to win the ICC championship and District 6 titles.

“Having lower than expected numbers this year, we will be looking for everyone to contribute, relying on the senior leadership to lead us to the next level,” Mertiff said. “This season we want to compete to win the ICC and District 6 titles. I believe we have the athletes to do that, so we need to continue to get better each and every day.”

The team opens up at Cambria Heights on Wednesday, December 7, at 7:15pm to kick off their 2022-2023 season.