Nick Stanek avoids discussing his basketball talents as effectively as he avoids defenders on the court.
The Spring-Ford senior prefers to let his game do the talking, and this winter it spoke volumes.
Stanek, a versatile 6-foot-4 forward, was the go-to guy for a Rams squad that enjoyed the most successful campaign in program history.
From the time he delivered a team-high 18-point performance in a season-opening victory over Central Bucks West, Stanek was a model of consistency.
Stanek scored in double digits in all but two games, highlighted by a career-best 31-point outburst against C.B. West in the District 1-AAAA seventh-place game.
He finished with a team-high scoring average of 18.2 and team-best rebounding average of 7.2 and was a leader of a senior-oriented outfit that soared to previously uncharted heights under first-year coach Chris Talley — earning Stanek the distinction of All-Area Player of the Year.
"Nick represented our school and basketball program with high character on and off the court,' Talley said. "His success this year didn't happen by accident, which is a credit to his drive and competitiveness.'
That competitiveness was evident throughout a season that saw Stanek help the Rams put together a school-record 9-0 start, run the table in Pioneer Athletic Conference play, bring home their first league crown in a decade, earn their first PIAA Tournament berth in program history and finish with a school-record 24 victories.
"Winning was what I took the most pride in,' Stanek said. "Putting my team in a position to win. In the overall grand scheme of things, it's not about me, it's about the team.
"I'd say the most rewarding thing about this year was definitely winning the PAC-10 and going undefeated in the league. And then, of course, going to the district quarterfinals and being the first Spring-Ford team to go to states was pretty awesome.'
Stanek, the son of Ed and Rhonda Stanek of Royersford, began playing at "5 or 6' and cut his roundball teeth in the Spring-Ford Youth League, like many of his high school teammates, before eventually transitioning to travel ball.
Mostly a JV player as a sophomore, he earned a starting spot the following season, averaging 8.6 points per game.
After an offseason chock-full of strengthening his frame and working on his game, Stanek was ready for the next level.
"I'd say I improved significantly,' he said. "I really did work at it.
"Last year I didn't get as many touches, but this year I knew my team was going to depend on me more and I was going to have a bigger role on the team.'
Rather than shy away from the spotlight, Stanek embraced it with a bevy of big-time performances.
He set the tone by dropping 28 points in a league-opening 64-62 victory over defending PAC-10 champ Perkiomen Valley and didn't let up from there.
A few of Stanek's major highlights were a 28-point effort in an epic 108-104 overtime victory over Pottstown, a 22-point night in a loss to eventual Berks Conference champion Wilson, and a 22-point performance in a 73-62 win over Owen J. Roberts to close out the regular season.
Once the postseason arrived, Stanek proved he could produce on that stage as well.
He turned in a tour de force with a 25-point barrage in a 56-48 victory over Methacton in the PAC-10 final, then followed that with a 24-point game in a District 1-AAAA opening-round victory over Kennett.
"The season Nick had was fun to be a part of,' Talley said. "Statistically he piled up the numbers on the offensive end, but his defensive presence was just as important. He was the anchor to our success in all facets of the game.'
Stanek got his 528 points — 55 shy of Mike Siuchta's single-season school record, set in 1997-98 — through a variety of ways.
When the Rams made a concerted effort to pound it down low on the baseline to Stanek he was tough to stop, whether finishing inside or going to the line, where he went 141-for-190. His relentless rebounding nature was rewarded with plenty of putbacks, and he could also knock down the mid-range jumper as well as 3-point shot (he finished with 36, second to guard Drew Kakareka's 55).
"I wouldn't say I expected to have the kind of year I did, but I definitely prepared to have that kind of year,' Stanek said. "I know how hard I worked and now I've seen how hard work pays off. My teammates found me; they looked for me and got me the ball a lot. It's obviously a team game, and we knew we had a good team coming back.'
Stanek, whose college choices include Division III schools Alvernia and Ramapo, said he'd like to improve his ballhandling skills in an effort to play at the next level. Judging by his body of work over the past couple of years, it would not be wise to sell him short.
"The best part about Nick is his work ethic,' Talley said. "Our coaching staff uses him as an example to the younger guys and we couldn't be more proud of his accomplishments.'
Accomplishments that have earned Stanek a spot among the Rams' all-time greats.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.