High School Sports

Noah Jeffries is ‘heart and soul’ of Philipsburg-Osceola basketball team

Philipsburg-Osceola's Noah Jeffries passes the ball around Penns Valley's Marcus Woodford during the Monday, December 19, 2016 game.
Philipsburg-Osceola's Noah Jeffries passes the ball around Penns Valley's Marcus Woodford during the Monday, December 19, 2016 game. adrey@centredaily.com

His teammates say he’s the first player to dive on the floor.

Philipsburg-Osceola’s Noah Jeffries isn’t afraid to fly into the stands, either. Last season during a close game at Bellefonte, Jeffries launched himself into the Red Raiders student section to save a loose ball, then watched teammate Michael Durlin finish a layup on the other end to give his team the lead.

Jeffries couldn’t pass up the chance to “toy” with the rival fans dressed as superheroes — Batman was well represented — looking to the person next to him and saying, “What a game.”

“You got to have fun with everything you do,” Jeffries said.

The play showed both sides of Jeffries — the competitor known for his hustle and the kid who likes to joke around with his friends. Jeffries is the Mounties’ leader, providing constant encouragement to his teammates, getting them fired up before games and keeping them focused at practice.

Philipsburg-Osceola basketball coach Matt Curtis calls the senior the “heart and soul” of the team.

“He’s just the kind of kid that you want around,” Curtis said. “He’s not the most talented, but he makes up for everything with how hard he works and how much time he puts into everything.”

The coach first saw Jeffries’ dedication after he suffered two injuries in 2014.

Jeffries was playing basketball with his cousins outside in March. There was a piece of sidewalk in the way, and when Jeffries attempted to move it, he slipped on some black ice.

The sidewalk landed on his left hand and broke every finger.

“I crushed everything in my ring finger and it killed the nerves,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries said he had three or four surgeries to repair the damage, but he lost the tip of his ring finger. He was out most of the summer before being cleared to play football. One month later, he broke his leg during a collision on a kickoff return.

That sidelined him until the baseball season.

But he showed up to every basketball practice.

“I kept coming for just the love and just the brotherhood that we have because I’ve grown and played with these guys in almost every sport since we were younger,” Jeffries said.

Josiah Davis remembers his teammate remaining vocal at practices while he watched on his crutches. He’d offer praise, but he was also quick to remind them to stay focused.

Jeffries has maintained that balance between keeping things loose and serving as a leader.

He likes to have fun and jokes with his friends often. They’re always sharing a laugh in the halls at school, in classes and at the lunch table, and they take the same approach on the court.

He also knows when the Mounties need to set the jokes aside.

“If we’re messing around too much, he’ll tell us to stop,” Davis said.

He knows that’s part of his role along with doing the “dirty work.”

“He’s just one of those kids that you can’t replace,” Curtis said.

Ryne Gery: 814-231-4679, @rgery