Jeremy Callahan’s role has fluctuated throughout at his basketball career at Wyoming Seminary.
At times, Callahan has been the team’s primary scorer, its defensive stopper or the protector of the basketball.
With games on the line in the fourth quarter of the first Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament, Callahan was all three at the same time.
With Callahan scoring in double figures – in the fourth quarter alone – on consecutive nights, the Blue Knights produced two comebacks to win the tournament. The effort resulted in the PNC Bank District 2 Boys Basketball Player of the Week award for Callahan.
Callahan’s scoring was at its best in a potentially exhausting situation in the second game of back-to-back playoff outings after having spent the entire game chasing Nanticoke’s Nate Kreitzer, one of the district’s most dangerous scorers who was coming off a 35-point effort in the tournament semifinal.
“It’s especially hard when we’re asking Jeremy most nights to guard one of the top scorers on the other team,” Wyoming Seminary coach Pete Moses said. “He’s spending tons of energy running off double screens and trapping and we’re asking him to be an offensive player on the other end.
“Jeremy is just the kind of the kid who can do that, so we’re lucky to have him.”
Scoreless in the game to that point, Callahan scored 12 points in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s championship game, leading the Blue Knights through a 25-10 quarter that produced a 53-43 championship game victory over Nanticoke.
After earning Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3 Player of the Year honors from opposing coaches as the team’s scoring leader in his freshman season, Callahan’s role has gradually evolved on a team loaded with scoring options.
The Blue Knights have won consecutive division titles and are the defending District 2 Class 3A champion along with last week’s WVC Tournament title. As they have succeeded, Callahan has taken on different responsibilities, but he said having a major defensive assignment does not stop him from being involved offensively.
“Playing defense sometimes ignites offense,” Callahan said. “You get a quick steal and you get something off of that.”
Callahan seemed to pick all the most important times to make his offensive contributions in the tournament.
During the two games he was 7-for-8 from the floor, including making all five 3-point attempts, and 3-for-4 from the line during the fourth quarters.
In the final, Callahan twice made game-tying 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter. His next 3-pointer expanded the lead from one to four, giving the Blue Knights the cushion they needed to stay in front for good. Then, as Wyoming Seminary was putting the game away, he scored the team’s last three points of the night at the foul line.
The night before, Callahan had 10 of his 20 points during the fourth quarter of a 56-50 semifinal win, including a burst of eight straight points in 65 seconds, putting the Blue Knights ahead to stay on drive with 2:40 left, then stretching the lead with consecutive 3-pointers.
Callahan said there was no hesitation to keep shooting at that point.
“Definitely, on the first one, I was not coming down looking at the clock,” Callahan said. “And, coach Moses has always told me if I’m open, I have the green light.”
Callahan put up a stop sign on Kreitzer, an earlier PNC Bank Player of the Week who had made seven second-half 3-pointers in Nanticoke’s semifinal rally over Crestwood.
Kreitzer went 21 minutes without scoring before finishing with 14 in the final.
“You just have to chase him around, get around screens and not let him get hot from 3,” Callahan said of his JB Hoops AAU teammate. “Nate shoots well and doesn’t need a lot of space.”
As Callahan showed in the weekend tournament, he does not either.
Callahan followed up his Player of the Year performance as a freshman by earning first-team WVC Division 3 all-star honors last season from both NEPABasketball.com and the division coaches.
By the time he joined the JB Hoops program in seventh grade, Callahan had already been playing basketball for years.
The same is not true of the other high school sport in which he excels.
Callahan took up golf as a freshman and by his sophomore year at Wyoming Seminary, he was a qualifier for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association East Regional. In the fall, he again qualified through the District 2 Class 2A tournament, then took advantage of a second East Regional appearance to make the state championship tournament.
Jeremy is the son of Bill and Laura Callahan of Hanover Township. His older brother, Seth, currently plays basketball at Susquehanna University.
The PNC Bank Players of the Week are announced each week on the John Bucci Show, which airs each Mondays at 6 p.m. on NEPA’s ESPN radio. This week’s show is available on demand at http://webca.st/147861.