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It’s been a rough few years for the Kutztown Area High School boys’ basketball program. The Cougars defeated Antietam, 54-47 on Jan. 15, exactly three years since their last Berks League victory - a 50-39 victory over Brandywine Heights.
Kutztown senior Andrew Gernert (a freshman at the time) played in that game in 2010, he scored just one point. Three years later he’s still playing for the Cougars and led the team with 18 points in the victory against Antietam. Then in the next game, at home against Fleetwood, Gernert scored a career high 27 points, including seven three-point buckets.
The Cougars are 1-4 in the league this season and 4-9 overall. Gernert has been a bright spot on the team, as he has done all he can to help his team get some victories. Gernert has a positive attitude about the season and hopes his attitude will rub off on the younger players.
“We just need to keep working hard at practice everyday and stay focused,” said Gernert. “If we do that, I feel we will have many opportunities to get some wins.
“Our team may have started the season a little slow, but we’re beginning to come out of our shell and show other teams how we can really play. As a team leader, I feel that hard work at practice and giving it all we have at the games are the keys to success for our team.”
Gernert is third in the Berks League in scoring, averaging 14.9 points a game. His outside shooting accounts for a lot of those points as he leads the league in three-point baskets with 39.
“I feel like I’ve had some pretty good success up to this point, but that is just a reflection of the play of my teammates and the work that we have put into this season,” said Gernert.”
Gernert doesn’t feel like he has to score in double figures every night for his team to win. He believes there are several other players who can put up some points on any given night, and there are other options. Jovan Kemp averages 8.9 points a game and Andrew Eintriken averages 8.8 points, though Eintriken has only played in eight of the 13 games.
Gernert only started playing basketball in eighth grade. By his second year he was getting some minutes on the varsity high school team. That gave him valuable experience which helped him in his sophomore season when he scored 129 points in 19 games played. That season he honed his outside shot, sinking 20 three-point buckets.
By his junior season Gernert improved his game enough to score 197 points, averaging just under 10 points a game. His best was a non-league game against Harrisburg Christian in which he scored 24 points.
This year will be even better as he has 194 points with seven games remaining. He gives a lot of the credit for his success to his teammates and coaches.
“I would have to say that my success is due to just being more aggressive on offense and defense, and from my teammates helping me get a lot more open looks.
“ I would also say all my coaches have had a lot to do with it, especially my current coaches. I was still relatively new to the game when I came to high school and I really learned a lot about basketball and being a team from them.”
Gernert will be attending West Chester University where he will play baseball.