t's rare that a 15-year-old freshman gets to take the reins of a prominent high school basketball team, but that's exactly what happened to Jesse Krasna at Pennsbury High School this season.
With two guards nursing injuries, the muscular, 5-foot-11-incher was named starting point guard during the season's opener — and given the task of controlling the offense on the court.
"My first game, I was a little bit nervous," he admitted. Nevertheless, he managed to score seven points and help his team earn a win against Council Rock High School South.
With Krasna serving as a starter for much of the season, the team didn't miss a beat, winning 26 games and losing just five, according to various news reports.
"It's a lot of fun. We have so many guys who can do everything out on the court," reported Krasna. "The games come easy when you're playing with great players around you."
Krasna sites a Dec. 21 match-up against St. Joseph's Preparatory High School as the point when he began getting in sync with the team.
"I hit a few big shots down the stretch," said Krasna, who finished with 11 points in the 57-52 win. "That game really gave us confidence early on in the season."
Even though he was thrust into a leadership role, the teen felt like he had the confidence of coach Frank Sciolla behind him.
"The coach treats me like one of the other guys. He tells me he doesn't see me as a freshman," said Krasna.
'One of Them'
As a kid, Krasna dreamed of having such success at Pennsbury.
"Ever since I was 5 [and going to watch Pennsbury games], I've looked up to the players, never thinking I'd be one of them," he acknowledged. "It seemed so far away because I was so little, and they were so big."
Krasna's also played on Maccabi teams as a youngster, and recently made the Philadelphia roster to participate in the JCC games in Orange County, Calif.
As Pennsbury entered the season's stretch run — and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs — the health of the team's two starting guards improved, and thus took Krasna's starting spot. His inspired play during the season, however, earned him significant minutes off the bench.
The team eventually lost in the second round of the PIAA playoffs on March 14.