Byers has plenty up sleeve for Lebanon Valley

His moves run gamut, earn him league honors



March 24, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

J.D. Byers has watched film clips of Pete Maravich in all his dribbling glory.

There were times this season when the junior guard from Westminster High would take Lebanon Valley College basketball fans briefly down "Pistol Pete" memory lane with a between-the-legs dribble or a three-point run, always getting a loud reaction from the crowd.

Byers established himself as the Commonwealth Conference's premier point guard, earning league Player of the Year honors. He not only led the league in assists with 5.03 a game, but amassed a school single-season record 100 three-pointers, 37 more than his closest Commonwealth competitor.

He needs only 17 more threes to become the school's all-time leader.

Byers was second in the league in scoring (18.8 a game), second in three-point field-goal percentage (41.8), second in free-throw percentage (88.1), and fifth in steals (1.86 a game).

On the NCAA Division III charts, the 5-foot-10 player was 14th in free-throw percentage, 17th in three-pointers per game (3.4) and 35th in three-point percentage.

"I've been practicing my shooting and ball-handling skills since I was 4 years old," said Byers. "My dad [Dave, a former Towson State basketball player who coached J.D. in high school] comes to every game and he's good to have around because he can spot flaws in my ball-handling and shooting techniques."

When Byers was a standout at Westminster, he had dreams of a career at Maryland and he talked to then-Terps assistant Billy Hahn about the possibility of being a walk-on.

"I have those thoughts out of my system now," said Byers. "There were no guarantees. I wouldn't have played down there and I love playing. I'm glad I came up here."

The one major goal that has eluded him is an NCAA Division III tournament berth. Byers and the Flying Dutchmen had to settle for an Eastern College Athletic Conference Southern Region tournament bid this season.

They did their best imitation of Maryland's ACC tournament performance, being seeded sixth yet pulling off victories over the top three seeds (Ursinus, Alvernia and DeSales) to win the region.

Byers was named the tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring 67 points in the three wins, and he was later named to the All-Middle Atlantic Region team.

Tiesi nearly untouchable

Sophomore pitcher Kelley Tiesi (Catholic) has not allowed an earned run through 64 1/3 innings for the Division II Shippensburg softball team. She has a 10-1 record - with the one loss coming 1-0 on an unearned run - has struck out 113, walked 11 and has recorded five shutouts, four saves, six complete games. She's yielded just 14 hits.

Tiesi had a win and a save in the same game against Southwest Minnesota State, starting and pitching four shutout innings before re-entering in the seventh. Her team's lead had been cut to 10-7 and runners were at first and third with two out.

Tiesi struck out the final batter, adding the save to her victory.

Et cetera

Senior Franklin & Marshall softball outfielder Jen Fried (Franklin), bidding for her third straight appearance on the All-Centennial Conference first team, leads the 1-3 team in hitting (.455) and slugging percentage (.727). Last year, she paced the Diplomats in hitting (.422), hits (35), doubles (10), slugging percentage (.566), stolen bases (14), and on-base percentage (.467).

Freshman lacrosse goalkeeper Michael Kruger (Calvert Hall) has a .529 save percentage and 45 saves through five games for Fairfield (3-2). Kruger made 18 saves in an upset victory over Penn State.

Queens (N.C.) lacrosse freshman Alex Tack (River Hill) has two goals and 13 assists for the early team scoring lead for the NCAA Division II school.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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