By Tom Robinson
WILKES-BARRE – JB Hoops alum Blake Gearhart is headed to Clarkson University in upstate New York to continue his basketball career on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III level.
Gearhart was the leader of Delaware Valley championship teams in two sports.
After earning Lackawanna League Division 2 Player of the Year honors from NEPABasketball.com for leading the Warriors to a division title, he used his jumping ability to be a force at the net as an outside hitter on the school’s Wyoming Valley Conference volleyball champions this spring.
Gearhart, who was a first-team division all-star as a senior, was able to score inside and outside on the basketball court. He led the Warriors in 3-point baskets each of the last three seasons and was the team’s leading scorer the last two seasons.
On the volleyball court, Gearhart showed his ability to perform in the clutch, providing the kills for two of the final three points when Delaware Valley won a regular-season-ending battle of WVC unbeatens, 25-22, 25-20, 25-21 at Holy Redeemer to end the Royals’ streaks of five straight championships, 78 straight WVC wins and 96 straight wins within District 2.
“We lost to them for the last three years and we were sick of it,” said Gearhart, who had 19 kills, 14 digs and 4 aces in the title-clinching win. “We wanted that. They took that league championship from us
Gearhart started in volleyball as a sophomore, then spent a year away from the sport while concentrating on basketball. Even while continuing to prepare for his senior basketball season and college career with JB Hoops last summer, Gearhart was also getting together with his volleyball teammates.
“We all decided collectively that this was our year; get in the gym in the summer and get in the weight room all year,” said Gearhart, who remained around the volleyball team as much as possible when not playing as a junior.
After claiming another championship in high school, Gearhart is back to a basketball emphasis as he prepares for college.
Clarkson plays in the Liberty League, a 10-team conference of strong academic schools based in upstate New York. It went 6-19 overall last season, including 5-13 in the conference, which was won by Skidmore and also includes St. Lawrence, Hobart, Ithaca, RPI, Bard, Vassar, Union and RIT.