Erik Timko as a senior isn’t that much different from Erik Timko as a sophomore.
He’s just taller.
In fact, Timko as a senior isn’t that much different from Timko as a fourth grader.
He’s just a lot taller.
“I’ve been with him since fourth grade,” Methacton High School senior center Jeff Woodward said of Timko, his close friend, classmate and teammate on the most accomplished basketball team in program history. “All along, you could see this happening.”
To Woodward, a 6-foot-10 force in the paint and Colgate recruit, it’s no surprise that Timko has developed from a player who spent almost his entire sophomore season on the junior varsity to a star on a team with a 25-2 record, the No. 5 spot in The Inquirer’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Top 10, and a berth in Saturday night’s District 1 Class 6A title game against Cheltenham at Temple University.
To Methacton coach Jeff Derstine and senior stalwarts Brett Eberly and Owen Kropp, it’s no shock that Timko probably is one of the most improved players in the state over the last two seasons.
They’ve witnessed his hard work. They’ve tracked his steady development from a skinny middle-schooler to a junior-varsity standout who was not quite ready for prime time to the top scoring threat for a team with serious state-title aspirations.
But this is worth noting: Timko has scored all 1,000-plus points of his career in two seasons for a team that has gone 49-10, won back-to-back Pioneer Athletic Conference titles, advanced to the PIAA state quarterfinals in 2019 and reached the District 1 final for the first time in school history.
“His climb has been pretty incredible,” Derstine said.
Timko led Methacton to an 81-54 win over Chester in the district semifinals Tuesday night at the Liacouras Center. He scored 25 in typically efficient fashion, with a mix of three-pointers, mid-range jumpers off the move, smooth drives to the rim and put-backs.
Timko made two three-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the third quarter, including a buzzer-beater that capped a 9-0 run that stretched the Warriors’ lead to 56-41.
“This was the first time in school history coming to Temple. We were all really excited,” Timko said. “We were a little bit nervous at the start. We got settled down and played our game.”
Timko averages a team-high 19.7 points. He’s shooting 69.4% from the field, which would be impressive if he were a paint-locked center who rarely strayed from the basket. But he’s also shooting 44.1% from three-point range and 93.3% from the foul line.
Timko also gets to the rim off the dribble and is a surprisingly effective rebounder as a thin, 6-3 shooting guard.
“He’s such an unselfish player,” Derstine said. “He’s not forcing anything out there. But if he’s open, he’s going to hit it. The way he’s been taking it to the basket and finishing strong, getting to foul line has been huge, too.”
Timko was basically the same player as a sophomore. Same deft ball-handling skills, same smooth stroke, same willing passer with keen court vision.
He also was 5-10, a growth spurt away from being ready to make an impact at the varsity level.
“I grew [five inches between sophomore and junior seasons] and just matured, got stronger,” said Timko, who has scholarship offers from NCAA Division II programs Holy Family and Bloomsburg, plus expanding interest from several other schools. “That made a huge difference.”
Woodward goes back with Timko to the time well before their sophomore season. They were together as 10-year-olds, and the Warriors’ big man said his old friend is pretty much the same player today as he was in those days.
That’s why he laughs when outsiders act as if Timko came out of nowhere.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Woodward said. “You always could see the skill level he had. He always was an incredible shooter, and he always was looking to expand his game.
“He’s a tireless worker who is never satisfied. For him, what he’s doing now is obviously incredibly impressive, but to me and to guys like Brett and Owen, it’s not a shock as much just everybody else finally realizing how good he is.”