Cougar cage star Kringe to be
enshrined in HA Sports Hall of Fame
info sent by dave burman, 3/20/11
Terry Kringe's eye-popping numbers
and individual accolades merit his inclusion in discussion of the Hazleton
area's all-time best basketball players.
However, his remarkable consistency,
his uncanny poise under pressure, Hazleton Area High School's unprecedented
success with him as the starting point guard and his productive career at
Northeastern University were just as important in earning Kringe his permanent
place in the Hazleton Area Sports Hall of Fame. He was one of 14 individuals inducted during a banquet on
Sept. 19 at Genetti's Ballrooms.
His 1992-93 team, the very first
Cougar team which advanced all the way to the PIAA Class AAAA championship
game, also was enshrined.
Kringe, the only four-year starter
in the Cougars' proud history, was a gangly freshman when head coach Bruce
Leib inserted him into a starting lineup with Hazleton High holdovers Chris
Long, John Dacostino, Hassan Abdullah and Paul Shershen in December 1992.
Together, they led a newly formed
student body and area basketball fanatics on an unforgettable journey that
old-timers hadn't seen since the 1940s.
After dropping their first game to
Carlisle, the Cougars ran off 29 straight wins, including two white-knucklers
over Wyoming Valley Conference rival Bishop Hoban which all but assured them
of WVC Division I supremacy, a 20-point rout of Tunkhannock for the District 2
title and impressive interdistrict victories over Upper Darby, Lancaster
McCaskey, Upper Merion and Chester.
A 41-30 loss to Erie Cathedral Prep
in the PIAA final spoiled their state title dreams, but it didn't diminish
Although Kringe's primary role that
season was to distribute the ball to his more experienced teammates, the
freshman made his presence felt at more than a few key moments. He made the
game-winning basket and game-saving steal in overtime against Bishop Hoban
before a packed house of 3,500-plus, probably the largest crowd ever to watch
the Cougars at HAHS.
Fast forward to the Class 4A Eastern
final, when Kringe penetrated the heart of Chester's trapping defense and
delivered a clutch three-point play late in the fourth quarter of a tummmy-turning
As his game evolved over the next
three seasons, Kringe displayed more and more of his offensive repertoire
while he continued to direct the Cougars' offense and maintain his defensive
tenacity. His leadership skills also quietly began to bubble to the surface.
Bishop Hoban outlasted Kringe and
the Cougars for the WVC crown during his sophomore season, when he earned
all-conference first-team recognition for the first time. They then hit their
stride during the District 2 playoffs, repeating as district champions and
easily handling Plymouth-Whitemarsh in their interdistrict opener. But an
off-court incident on the night of that game led to the suspension of many of
his front-line teammates for the Cougars' next game against District 1 power
With only a handful of seasoned
players and a few mainly junior varsity players surrounding him, Kringe
stepped up with a career-high 24 points and kept the Cougars close most of the
way until Cheltenham pulled away for a 68-56 victory.
Kringe and the Cougars had to
elevate their games the following season when they fought off a talented
Coughlin team to capture both the WVC and District 2 championships. He was
named the WVC Division I Player of the Year and a repeat member of the
conference's all-star team.
After surviving Coughlin's slow-down
tactics in the 1995 district title game and coming from behind to defeat
Reading in their first interdistrict test, the Cougars faced one of their
greatest challenges before or since: Kobe Bryant and Lower Merion in an area
classic. The game at Bethlehem Liberty High School was tied toward the end of
regulation when Bryant had the ball in his hands at the top of the key, a
sight that would become quite familiar for NBA fans and an opponent's worst
nightmare in the years that followed. But as Bryant made his move toward the
basket, Kringe stripped the ball away and denied Bryant a chance to be the
hero. The Cougars went on to hold Bryant and the Aces scoreless in overtime
and advance with a 64-59 victory.
Hazleton Area put on a clinic in its
next win, a 61-53 decision over York at Reading, that sent the Cougars back to
the Eastern final for the second time in three seasons. But after jumping
ahead of Williamsport 21-4 early on at Pottsville's Martz Hall, the Cougars
weren't able to hold on as the Millionaires pecked away and finally overtook
the locals 62-56, denying them another trip to Hershey. The Cougars finished
with 28 wins, and their point guard was named to the Associated Press
Pennsylvania Big School All-State fifth team.
With Kringe, three other returning
starters and a group of talented underclassmen in the fold, Kringe's senior
season began with much promise. He played in the prestigious Sonny Hill League
in Philadelphia that summer, when another returning all-stater overheard
Kringe telling another player where he was from. "Hazleton, I owe y'all one,''
said Bryant, who went on to lead Lower Merion to the state Class AAAA title in
When Kringe wasn't playing on his
own, he and his Cougar teammates were showing their stuff at summer team camps
and in tournaments throughout the Eastern part of the state, creating a stir
of excitement throughout the area.
Despite a nagging ankle injury and a
brutal non-conference schedule that included the likes of Reading,
Philadelphia's Simon Gratz and a Paterson (N.J.) Catholic team with future NBA
players Tim Thomas and Kevin Freeman, Kringe led the Cougars to another
successful season. He earned WVC Division I Player of the Year honors for the
second consecutive year as the Cougars repeated as WVC champions, and he
eventually was named to the AP's Big School All-State first team, the only
Cougar boys basketball player to receive the honor.
Kringe's all-state honor somewhat
eased the disappointment of the Cougars' upset loss to Abington Heights in the
opening round of the District 2 tournament, which ended Hazleton and Hazleton
Area's amazing district title streak at 12.
Kringe finished his brilliant Cougar
career with a then school record 1,247 points (suprassed only by Russ
Canzler's 1,261), 456 assists and 170 steals.
Even more impressively, Hazleton
Area went 99-17 in Kringe's four seasons as the starting point guard, all
while he kept the same expression on his face. With Kringe, no one knew if the
Cougars were up by 15 points or behind by 15. Leib once said that he'd never
want to play poker with Kringe, whose stoic, boyish looks and polite
mannerisms off the court belied his fierce, competitive desire with a
basketball in his hands or if he were defending another player with the ball
in his hands (see Bryant).
After graduating from Hazleton Area
in June 1996, Kringe earned a full athletic scholarship to Northeastern
University in Boston. There, he was the Huskies' starting point guard for four
seasons and was a member of the America East conference's All-Rookie Team in
1997, a member of the Lobo Classic All-Tournament Team in 1998 and the
Huskies' Most Valuable Player in 1998.
He still ranks eighth at
Northeastern for career three-point field goals (137) and career assists. He
is tied with the late Reggie Lewis for the most consecutive points scored in a
single game by a Northeastern player with 19 against Marquette in 1998.
Kringe received a bachelor's degree
in sociology from Northeastern in 2000. He's worked in both juvenile detention
and domestic relations.
He currently works as a juvenile
probation officer and lives in Drums.