District 2 Girls’ Hoops (WVC and LL Division Previews)
Written by: Jon K on Monday, December 27th, 2021
Welcome back to the Northeast Beat.
Today we’ll take a look at how District 2 Girls’ teams have been fairing through the first two weeks of the hoops season and see where teams might be stacking-up when division play begins in January.
Wyoming Valley Conference (DIVISION 1)
A quick glance across Division 1 reveals that several teams have lost significant chunks of their offensive scoring punch. And while Wilkes-Barre Area may be regarded as the preseason front-runner, there is plenty of balance throughout this entire division. So far, teams have combined for an impressive 31-9 overall record giving coaches lots of optimism heading toward conference play.
Speaking of Wilkes-Barre Area, the Wolfpack (5-1) will again be anchored by 6-1 senior forward Gloria Adjayi (14.6 ppg) who is joined by 5-9 junior forward Shelby Ardo Boyko (11 ppg). No issues in the post for WBA. It’s the backcourt where they need to fill in some missing pieces. Senior guard Danayjha Moore (12 ppg) has been steady along with senior Reagen Holden. They are also getting a combined 9 ppg from the perimeter via junior Mackenzie Evans and sophomore Emma Krawczeniuk. Their only loss on the season has been against perennial Lackawanna League powerhouse, Scranton Prep (61-50). Wins have been against West Scranton, Honesdale, North Pocono, Wallenpaupack, and Wyoming Seminary.
Dallas is another team that graduated some talent in the backcourt, but the Lady Mountaineers (5-0) bring back several key players that saw plenty of playing time last season when they dropped the district championship to Abington Heights. Victoria Spaciano (5-8 junior forward) has been leading the way with 17 ppg. In the backcourt, they feature senior Nadia Evanosky (10.4 ppg) and sophomore Elizabeth Viglone (16 ppg). Inside they have additional experience with 5-8 senior Audrey DelGaudio. They have notable wins over Honesdale and Holy Redeemer so far this season. The Lady Mounts play an exciting brand of hoops and have displayed some smothering defense at times.
Even though Wyoming Valley West (3-2) will be minus the contributions of 6-0 senior Kalia Saunders (8.5 ppg) who transferred out of PA, the Lady Spartans do have 6-2 senior Trinity Johnson (12 ppg) along with senior forward Brandy Varner. On the arc, WVW has experience with junior Haylie Oliphant and a pair of sophomores, Mackenzie Perluke and Gabby Marsola. Oliphant and Marsola have been contributing a combined 18 ppg. Valley West has notched back-to-back wins against Nanticoke Area and Valley View.
Hazleton Area (2-2) comes into this season without nearly as many question marks as they did a year ago. And maybe that’s a sign of good things to come for veteran head coach Joe Gavio because his Lady Cougars found themselves right in the middle of last year’s hotly contested division battle. HA has victories over Nanticoke Area and Williamsport. Their inter-district non-league losses were to highly regarded Nazareth and Cumberland Valley (combined mark of 10-1). Hazleton Area has a nice blend of senior leaders, versatile playmakers, and youthful talent. Junior guard Lacie Kringe will orchestrate the offense and is joined by junior Kaci Kilker. Brianna Kennedy (5-9 junior) has experience along with junior Taylor Kilker. Added backcourt support comes via a pair of freshmen, Olivia Williams and Sophia Shults. Lady Cougars love to let their patented defense get their offense going.
Another team that loves to rely on their defense to win ball games is Crestwood. So far, the undefeated Lady Comets (4-0) are surrendering less than 27 ppg and have wins over Nanticoke Area, Williamsport, and Valley View. They are paced by 5-9 senior forward Julia Glowacki (8.8 ppg) who can score from anywhere on the floor. She is joined along with a bevy of talented, experienced juniors led by guard Isabella Caporuscio and Grace Pasternick (8 ppg). Inside, they have 5-10 forward Cadence Hiller as well as 5-11 freshman Kate Gallagher.
Pittston Area (6-0), still amid a rebuilding phase, has been making steady progress and is off to a good start. They have back-to-back wins over Wyoming Area and Valley View. Junior guard Kallie Booth is averaging 16 ppg while freshman Daniella Ranieli is contributing 13 ppg. The duo has combined for 30 triples on the season. Added perimeter efforts come from junior guard Ava Callahan. Inside, the Lady Patriots have experience in seniors Amanda Fath (6-1) and Leah Zambetti.
Tunkhannock (4-1) returns their entire starting lineup and that definitely makes them a team to watch. But the Lady Tigers’ move back into Division 1 is going to challenge that experience. So far, they have noteworthy victories over Lakeland and Elk Lake. Tunk gets very balanced scoring provided a pair of seniors (Alaina Ritz and Hailey Long) and a quartet of juniors (Anna Williams, Lexi Corby, Sable Stephens, and Maci Iddings).
Berwick (2-3) graduated a pair of all-stars among their four starters. Junior guard Rachel Whitenight returns and that’s a great nucleus to build upon. But their non-league schedule has been daunting and has resulted in lobsided losses to Scranton Prep, Abington Heights, and Central Columbia. So far, the Lady Dawgs have been getting contributions from senior guard Sarina DeFinnis and sophomore Rae Ann Andreas (12 ppg). Inside they have sophomore Gabby Starr.
Conference play begins Monday, January 3.
Wyoming Valley Conference (DIVISION 2)
Less than a week into the season, one of the heavily favored division picks found their hoops schedule placed on pause for the remainder of December due to escalating cases of Covid. Could that impact how this race plays out?
Lake-Lehman (1-1) began their season with a 47-33 loss to undefeated Nazareth at the Hazleton Tip Off Tournament before rebounding with a convincing 71-35 victory over Williamsport in the consolation game. A few days later, the Black Knights athletic program was put on-hold, postponing one of the more competitive December schedules across District 2 this year. Matchups against powerhouse programs (Dunmore and Jim Thorpe) plus Scranton Prep and Western Wayne will hopefully all get new dates in 2022, but a holiday appearance at the Allentown Central Catholic event was cancelled. The Lady Knights feature an experienced lineup led by senior Chase Purdy, a versatile player who can score from anywhere on the floor. Equally a threat to score on any possession is 6-1 senior forward Claire Dougherty. Inside, they have 6-1 junior forward Hailey Kline. Added backcourt support comes from sophomore Brenna Hunt and newcomer freshman Ella Wilson looks capable of making an immediate impact.
Holy Redeemer, another team that plays a challenging non-league slate has wins over Blue Mountain, Selinsgrove, and Holy Cross. Losses were against Dallas (54-46), Abington Heights (60-40), and Williamsport (51-49). The Lady Royals (3-3) have plenty of returning experience in their lineup with senior guards Aubrey Curley (11ppg), Aleia Atherton, and Faith Sekol. Junior guard Jillian DelBalso and 5-10 junior forward Mia Ashton are both averaging 10 ppg. HR also has a pair of freshmen getting into the flow, guard Megan Albrecht and forward Brooke Kroptavich. The is limited height on the roster, a potential concern in some matchups.
Nanticoke Area dropped losses against Division 1 contenders Hazleton Area, Wyoming Valley West, and Crestwood, but the Trojanettes (2-4) have the potential to be a surprise in the division. GNA has returning seniors Riley Baird (guard) and Brooklyn Biehl (5-10 forward) along with sophomore forward Claire Aufiero. They also have senior guard Tiara Thomas along with junior guard Shaylee Heffron. They expect to be very competitive in this race.
There is a lot to like about the current direction of the Wyoming Area program. The Lady Warriors (4-3) have just one senior on their roster (forward Rosalind Tart) and they’re loaded with juniors. There’s experience throughout the lineup, but it’s consistency that is needed to help this group compete with the frontrunners. Morgan Janeski (6-0 forward) has been contributing 12 ppg while guard Jocelyn Williams nets 7.7 ppg. They also feature junior guards Halle Kranson, Olivia Rome, Anne Wisnewski, and Olivia Allen. WA dropped their two of their three losses to highly regarded Central Columbia and Riverside.
Hanover Area has a several reasons for renewed optimism. Roster numbers are headed in the right direction, they have some added experience on this year’s team, and the Lady Hawks (2-5) have already exceeded their win total from last season. A pair of seniors (multi-sport Kyleen McCance and Alley Sheridan) along with junior Hannah Salowski lead the way. They have wins over Forest City and Northwest Area.
Wyoming Seminary (0-4) is paced by a pair of sophomores, Lexy Litchenstein and Margaret Ganter.
MMI Prep (0-3) looks to get their program back in gear after sitting out last season due to Covid. The Lady Preppers have 9 players on their roster this season.
Conference play begins Monday, January 3.
Lackawanna League (DIVISION 1)
This is a division race that really catches your attention. Among the three expected frontrunners, they bring a combined overall mark of 12-2 into the holiday tournaments. And each squad is considered to be a top contender to compete for a district championship in the 4A, 5A, and 6A classifications.
Scranton Prep (5-0) comes into league play featuring a pair of returning starters, Maria Belardi and Lizzie Neville. The senior guard duo has been contributing a combined 25 ppg. Just as important as their offensive input is their stellar defensive play. They are joined in the backcourt by junior Gianna Cafarella and senior Gianna Dickson who saw playing time last year. Inside, 6-0 senior forward Avery McNulty is experienced and is complemented by 5-10 senior Maggie McGrath and improving 5-11 junior Rita Collins (9 ppg). Though Prep may be graduated some of their dazzle to the college ranks, they remain a very balanced, well-coached team. Wins have included Berwick, Wyoming Valley West, Villa Maria Academy (District 1), Wilkes-Barre Area, and Holy Cross (in the Lynett Tourney opening round).
Abington Heights will be a top challenger in the division race. The Comets (5-2) return a pair of outstanding seniors in guard Anna Scoblick (13.3 ppg) and 6-0 center Allison Dammer (12.8 ppg). After coming up short in a season-opening tourney in talent-filled District 1, the Lady Comets (5-2) have won five in a row, including wins over Holy Cross, Montrose, and Holy Redeemer. They have an upcoming holiday tilt against Riverside which promises to be a terrific matchup. AH also has balanced scoring along with plenty of height around the perimeter with 5-10 junior Caroline Murray, 5-10 sophomore Emily McDonald, and freshman Maggie Coleman. With ample depth and solid on-court synergy, it’s easy to see why there is plenty of excitement in The Summit this season.
Though coming into league play with a relatively youthful roster, Scranton (4-1) is giving their fans a clear indication of where their program is headed. The Lady Knights have a trio of sophomores in their backcourt, Finley Bittenbender, Kamryn Alers, and Kennedy Bittenbender. Freshman Maggie O’Shea has also been contributing. Inside, they have 5-10 junior forward Zaliyah Small along with 5-11 sophomore center Canyah Randle. Scranton has noteworthy victories over Holy Cross and Emmaus. In the opening round of the annual Lynett Tourney, they lost to powerful Dunmore, 65-30. This is a team this is going to gain a lot more experience and will can definitely impact this division race.
Valley View has no seniors on their roster. The Lady Cougars (2-4) have been competitive in losses to Crestwood and Wyoming Valley West. So far, they have been getting backcourt contributions from junior Molly Murphy, sophomores Giada Costa and Ella Cooper, along with freshman Isabella Rebar.
West Scranton has had their share of non-league struggles so far, mostly against teams contending for division championships. The Lady Invaders (1-7) have been relying on a quartet of seniors, Olivia Dougher (9.4 ppg), Madison Maloney, and Molly Donovan on the perimeter plus 5-10 forward Gianna Tallo on the inside.
League play begins Tuesday, January 4.
Lackawanna League (DIVISION 2)
Western Wayne comes into league play as the clear division favorite. The Lady Wildcats (2-2) return all five starters led by their dynamic senior-led, outside-inside combination of Kaeli Romanowski (27.5 ppg) and Kathy Shepherd (5-10 forward, 11 ppg). Plenty of backcourt experience is back from juniors Skylar Long and Jacque Morris along with sophomore Emily Romanowski. Additional post play will come from sophomores Brooke Kellogg and Leah Fedorchak. WW split their season opening games at State College before topping North Schuylkill in double overtime, 77-76. Last week, they got a last-minute game scheduled against Dunmore, but fell short against the powerhouse Lady Bucks, 57-47.
Honesdale has played a challenging non-league slate. After an opening win over Wyoming Valley West, the Lady Hornets (2-4) dropped four in a row before defeating Stroudsburg last week. They return three starters and have good balance on the floor. In the backcourt, seniors Rowan Murray and Katie Ludwig return. They will be joined by senior Kady Gianetti and junior Madison Meagher who both saw limited minutes last season. Inside, they have returning starter Chloe Lyle (5-11 senior forward) who will be joined by 5-10 junior forward Elyse Montgomery. Honesdale has plenty of upside for improvement this season.
Wallenpaupack has several players back this year. Senior forward Megan Desmet leads the way so far averaging 16.5 ppg. Forwards Devon Kiesendahl (senior) and Aviona Rosenthal (junior) contribute a combined 19.5 ppg. Grace Steffen (5-10 junior center) got playing time last year. Paupack has also been getting early contributions from freshman Ella Smith.
North Pocono graduated enough seniors to field almost two teams so they’re facing a significant rebuilding campaign this season. The Lady Trojans (1-5) have dropped five games in a row after an opening win over Notre Dame Green Pond. NP is led by junior guard Sam Polishan along with a pair of sophomore forwards, Kylie Mastilo and Abigail Lenchitsky.
Delaware Valley (0-5) returns senior guard Mackenzie Olsommer (10 ppg).
League play begins Tuesday, January 4.
Lackawanna League (DIVISION 3)
Dunmore took their show on the road to begin their season in the She Got Game DC Classic where they rolled to a pair of impressive victories. After getting by Western Wayne 57-47 last week, the Lady Bucks (4-0) advanced into the title game of the Lynett Tournament with a big 65-30 win over Scranton. Dunmore returns several key pieces this year, including their phenomenal inside-outside offensive juggernaut consisting of heavily recruited 6-4 junior center Ciera Toomey (27.6 ppg) and senior guard Moriah Murray (headed to Drexel, 18.6 ppg). Add in returning starter (senior guard) Mia Blume along with experienced junior guard Cadence Lewis and newcomer (freshman) Sophia Talutto (8.6 ppg) and it’s easy to see why this this team has their sights set on a division championship, and beyond.
Riverside graduated several key players, but having senior guard Kylie Lavelle back, one of the top players in the entire district, makes them one of the top teams in this division. Lavelle (also headed to Drexel) is averaging 26.3 ppg) and is joined by talented senior guards Morgan Antoniacci and Paige Olanovich. Inside, the Lady Vikings have 6-0 senior forward Kate Slaboda who contributes 12.7 ppg. Added backcourt support will come from junior Brielle Reed and sophomore Lilly Pon. The sole loss so far has been against Jim Thorpe as the experienced Olympians built a commanding halftime lead on their way to a 66-44 win.
Holy Cross is another team led by an outstanding senior guard. The Crusaders (2-4) graduated several top players, but Kaci Kranson (who also excels at softball) is back and netting 27 ppg. She is joined by senior Krista Carachilo who saw plenty of playing time last year. Inside, HC has some experience in 5-11 senior Caitlyn Bestrycki and 5-9 senior Julia Goetz. A pair of junior guards, Sarah Lyons and Molly White will see plenty of playing time. The Crusaders have played a challenging non-league slate, coming up short against Abington Heights, Holy Redeemer, Scranton, and Scranton Prep (in the Lynett Tournament).
Lakeland returns senior guard Skylar Arendt (11.8 ppg). She is joined in the backcourt by senior guard Angelica Nowak (10 ppg). The Lady Chiefs (1-4) defeated Honesdale and have been competitive in losses to Tunkhannock and Montrose. They will also rely on junior guard Jillian Contorno and sophomore forward Alexia Bauer.
Mid Valley has a solid pair of senior guards back in Kaylee Terranella and Katie Glinsky. The Spartanettes (5-0) have gotten off to a great start with a manageable schedule. They also have a frontcourt featuring senior Abby Merrifield and junior Grace Goetz.
Carbondale (0-0) is looking to finally get their season underway following a precautionary Covid pause that halted athletics and took academics virtual. The Chargerettes will rely on senior forward Mia Marrero and sophomore guard Sadie Gardus as the nucleus to build upon.
Old Forge is going to navigate through the season with a limited roster (9 players), but the Lady Devils (1-4) bring back several talented players led by 5-10 sophomore center Talia Pirages (16 ppg). In the backcourt, they have senior Brooke Arnold (10 ppg) along with junior Lauryn Olivieri.
League play begins Tuesday, January 4.
Lackawanna League (DIVISION 4)
Division 4 looks to be a three-team battle amongst Montrose, Elk Lake, and Lackawanna Trail. If you’re looking for a team that could surprise, Susquehanna Community could challenge for top honors.
Montrose brings back several players including senior guard Tangi Smith (11 ppg). She is joined in the backcourt by sophomore Aspen Smith. Versatile 5-11 junior forward Mia Snyder can hit triples. Inside, junior forward Haley Pompey returns along with Paley Adams (6-2 sophomore center) who saw some playing time last year. The Lady Meteors (1-3) always plays a challenging schedule. Their lone win so far came against Lakeland while losses were against Abington Heights, Valley View, and Riverside.
Elk Lake is anchored in the backcourt by returning senior guard Krista Jones (18.5 ppg). Inside the Lady Warriors also bring back 5-9 senior forward Lily Decker. They will also get contributions from a pair of junior guards, Delaney Curley and Megan Johns. They have a pair of wins over Wyalusing and Troy wrapped around losses to Northeast Bradford and Tunkhannock.
Lackawanna Trail has experience on the perimeter with senior guards Amaralis Thiel (10 ppg) and Megan Gatto along with sophomore Gretchen Rejrat. The Lady Lions (3-2) have been getting contributions from sophomore guard Mackenzie Schirg (6 ppg) along with a pair of juniors – guard Emma Oswald and 5-10 forward Nadia Toth. Trail has wins over Delaware Valley, Tunkhannock, and Old Forge.
Susquehanna Community has senior Mackenzie Decker and junior Lexi Iveson in the backcourt (each scoring 6.7 ppg). They are joined by senior Megan Decker who saw valuable minutes last year. Inside, 5-10 senior forward Meghan Kiernan has been scoring 17 ppg and is joined by junior Kerstin Dooley. The Lady Sabers (2-2) have wins over Hanover Area and Northeast Bradford. Their losses were to Wyoming Area (50-43) and Wyalusing (35-33).
Blue Ridge (0-3) is still looking for their first win on the season. The Lady Raiders return 5-11 senior center Lily Black and sophomore guard Libby Zick. They will rely on some of their younger guards to contribute, including Leigha McCain (sophomore) and Emma Button (freshman).
Mountain View (1-3) brings back 6-0 senior center Rachel Gerfin and junior guard Taylor Neri. Their win was against Notre Dame East Stroudsburg, 38-34.
Forest City (0-4) returns 5-7 junior forward Haylee Herrmann along with several guards that saw playing time last season, including junior Kim Graham and sophomore Emily Matoushek.
League play begins Tuesday, January 4.
See you in the bleachers !
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