Robert Pontius
Name: Robert Pontius
Team: Wilmington
Number: #15
Grade: 10
Height: 6' 2''
Weight: N/A
Position: F
By Clayton Sauertieg
New Castle News

Robert Pontius’ stock is rising for the Wilmington High boys basketball team.

The sophomore forward is the second-leading scorer for the Greyhounds at 8.4 points per game, and his offensive versatility makes him a nightmare for opponents to defend.

His 18-point-performance Friday night against Greenville, which led Wilmington to a 49-40 win that snapped the Trojans’ 28-game regular season win streak, earned him Washington Centre Physical Therapy Athlete of the Week honors, voted on by the New Castle News sports staff.

At 6-foot-2 with a sweet shooting stroke, Pontius is an ideal forward for Wilmington coach Mike Jeckavitch’s offensive system.

“We can play him anywhere from the three to the five and he brings a lot of different qualities,” Jeckavitch said. “He has the ability to go inside or outside. He can shoot the three extremely well. He can post smaller players up. So his ability to really go in and out and run that stretch-four position that we want really helps and he’s done a great job.”

As the sport moves away from interior players that use a strictly back-to-the-basket style, Pontius’ game becomes even more valuable. He ranks second on the team in 3-pointers made with 26 and his length and quickness allows him to switch pick and rolls on the defensive end.

“He’s really developed as a player,” Jeckavitch said. “He’s a guy that shows up and he puts the work in. Sometimes we have to get on him a bit to shoot the basketball more and every time we’ve started to get on him he’s risen to the occasion.”

According to Pontius, his physical game has developed in tandem with a surge in confidence he’s felt as the season has gone on.

“I’ve started to see the floor a little better. Things are starting to slow down,” he said. “I’ve had a lot more confidence and that’s really opened things up for me. I can go outside or inside and that’s why defenses sometimes have a hard time against me.”

Pontius added that he feels he and his team are peaking at the right time, as the win against Greenville gave the Greyhounds 12 wins in 14 games as they approach playoff time.

“We went in there with confidence and I was able to see a couple of shots fall early and things just started to roll,” Pontius said. “Everyone’s just playing together right now as team and things are starting to feel really good.”

Pontius was one of 11 players on the Wilmington roster who also played for the Greyhounds’ football team that made the PIAA semifinals, meaning they didn’t join the basketball squad until days before the team’s first game.

“Yeah, none of us really got a lot of shots in because of football season,” he said with a chuckle. “We just needed a bit of time to get familiar with each other again on the court and now that we’ve done that things are starting to feel comfortable again.”

Jeckavitch noted that it’s Pontius’ ability to remain cool under pressure that sets him apart from most underclassmen.

“We saw last year as a freshman in the playoffs that the moment is never too big for him,” he said. “So this year coming in we knew that he would bring that ability not to be afraid of the big moment.”

With two years remaining in high school career, Pontius has developed into one of District 10’s most dangerous players.

“We want him to go out there and have confidence and want to score,” Jeckavitch said. “He’s improving with every game and if he can continue to put all that together he can really be one heck of a player.”

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