Rivalry Reunion (Hazleton Area vs. Reading)

Written by: on Wednesday, January 17th, 2018


Their combined basketball traditions include generations of passionate eastern PA hoops followers.  Both schools are among the largest enrollments in the entire state.  And while the entire Reading community wildly celebrated their first-ever state championship after a 64-60 win over Pine-Richland last March, Hazleton Area fans again watched another stellar season abruptly end in the District 2/4 sub-regional tourney.  Following a hoops resurgence through the late 80s and mid 90s in which Hazleton was a perennial bracket-buster, the program has managed only two appearances into the playoff second round over the last 20 years.  This edition of the Cougars, 25 years removed from their magical Hershey-bound runner-up campaign, will be striving toward another state playoff trek.  The expectations have been lofty (#3 state-ranked 6A in CoBL) and, so far, Mike Joseph’s squad has delivered.  So what better time to reunite with an old rival – and to do so in one of the most storied hoops facilities in the state.  The Geigle Complex is a magnificent and unique place where standouts like Stu Jackson, Donyell Marshall, and all-time leading scorer Lonnie Walker excelled.  Few teams get the better of the Red Knights on their home floor.  But, for a team looking to prepare for the difficult and often-hostile environment seen on the playoff road, there is no better place to be on a mid-season Saturday evening.  Reading comes in as the top-rated District 3 big school.  They feature a superb junior guard in Wesley Butler (19.8 ppg with 29 triples).  He is a dynamic scorer and a real challenge for opposing teams.  RJ Dixon (senior guard, 10.3 ppg), Juan Matos (6-4 junior forward), Ricki Lopez (6-5 senior), Daniel Colter (6-3 junior forward), and Xavier Starks (6-2 senior guard) are also top contributors.  And the wild-card could be whether 6-1 senior guard Larry Wingo (transfer from Pottstown who averaged 19.6 ppg as a junior) sees his first action as a Red Knight this week.  Regardless of the outcome, these are the type of games that prepare teams for March runs.  Glad to see this one on the schedule.  The former Hazleton High school located at the top of Wyoming Street is known as The Castle.  Ironic that the Cougars will be visiting historic Reading High, also known as The Castle on the Hill.  Although it might sound a bit cliché, tradition never graduates at these hoops programs.  The more things change, the more you appreciate the ones that stay the same.              

The 7:30 pm matchup Saturday night is part of the 5-game Geigle Classic which begins at 1:30 pm.                                                                        

1:30 pm:  Berks Catholic vs. Octorara

3:00 pm:   Cedar Crest vs. Williamsport

4:30 pm:   York William Penn vs. Math, Civics, Science

6:00 pm:   Lancaster McCaskey vs. Central Dauphin East

7:30 pm:   Reading vs. Hazleton Area  


Hazleton Area vs. Reading

 1995  (Reading 37-36)

1995  (Hazleton Area 40-34) PIAA First Round

1996  (Hazleton 50-26)

1997  (Reading 57-47)

1998  (Reading 56-43)

1999  (Reading 72-48)

2000  (Hazleton Area 47-40)

2001  (Reading 71-42)

2002  (Reading 54-44)

2003  (Reading 59-44)

2010  (Reading 70-51) PIAA First Round



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2 Responses to “Rivalry Reunion (Hazleton Area vs. Reading)”

  1. Frank Balon says:

    Great job Jon K.
    I look forward to your updates through every week. Also follow you on Twitter.
    I just want to add three scores that i recall in the Hazleton-Reading matchup: Dec of 1992 First year of Hazleton Area Hazleton 29 Reading 24 in a slowdown game.
    Jan 13 2006 Hazleton 45 Reading 36 at Reading.
    During the previous year in Hazleton, Cougars won on a buzzer beating tip in by Senior center Andy Price. Score was something like 56-54.
    2005-2006 is the earliest you can see scores on Maxpreps.

  2. Jerry Shenk says:

    Complete Reading-Hazleton History up to 1995

    1917-18 Reading 24-24, Hazleton 29-22
    1918-19 Reading 37-29
    1920-21 Reading 32-27, Reading 28-26
    1921-22 Reading 23-20, Reading 30-22
    1940-41 Reading 22-17
    1944-45 Reading 33-28
    1978-79 Reading 57-55
    1989-90 Reading 50-41
    1990-91 Reading 78-64, Reading 62-41 – PIAA second round
    1991-92 Reading 65-40
    1992-93 Hazleton 29-24
    1993-94 Reading 57-48
    1994-95 Hazleton 53-38



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