The Wyoming Seminary Blue Knights are headed back to the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza and Jeremy Callahan is one of the big reasons why.
The JB Hoops AAU player’s role has fluctuated throughout his high school career at Wyoming Seminary where he is a junior guard.
Callahan has increased his scoring during the postseason, averaging 15 points, 5 more than during this regular season.
The Blue Knights go into Thursday night’s District 2 Class 3A championship game rematch with Holy Redeemer as not just the defending champion and top seed in the tournament, but also as the first Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament champion.
Callahan made sure of that.
At times in three high school seasons, Callahan has alternated being his team’s primary scorer, its defensive stopper and the protector of the basketball.
Callahan was all three at the same time with games on the line in the fourth quarter of the first WVC Tournament, earning PNC Bank District 2 Boys Basketball Player of the Week from NEPABasketball.com for his efforts in the week ending Feb. 17.
With Callahan scoring in double figures – in the fourth quarter alone – on consecutive nights, the Blue Knights produced two comebacks to win the tournament.
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 the Feb. 16 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 regular-season titles. 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,” said Callahan, who had 14 points in comfortable Wyoming Seminary wins in the first two rounds of the district tournament last week. “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 conference 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 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.
The son of JB Hoops 11th-grade team coach Bill Callahan, Jeremy has been playing in the AAU program since he was in seventh grade.