Neast Beat: District 2 Girls Division Preview
Written by: Jon K on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
DISTRICT 2 GIRLS DIVISION PREVIEWS
WYOMING VALLEY CONFERENCE
- Crestwood (Ed Stepanski) 5A
- Hazleton Area (Joe Gavio) 6A
- Pittston Area (Kathy Healey) 5A
- Dallas (Kelly Johnson) 4A
- Wyoming Valley West (Gary Ferenchick) 5A
- Wilkes-Barre Coughlin (John Quinn – 1st year) 5A
Rivals Hazleton Area and Crestwood should be on a collision course for Division 1 honors. Both teams return several key players that make things happen on the court. Crestwood returns a dynamite pair of senior guards in floor leader Sara Hopkins (19.4 ppg with 14 triples) and Julia Makowski who has been scoring over 20 ppg. The Lady Comets have depth around the perimeter with juniors Riley Magin and Kristen Andrews. Sophomore guard Sarah Richards has been contributing 5.2 ppg. Inside, Ed Stepanski will rely on 5-9 senior forward Andea Shipton (5 ppg) and 5-10 junior center Bella Termini. And 5-8 freshman forward Helena Jardine is adding 7.8 ppg. This is a team that has terrific on-court synergy, often a much-needed intangible to win a championship. Hazleton Area is going to right in the mix behind the senior leadership of guard Maddie Mrochko. The Lady Cougars also feature great height inside along with several talented underclassmen that are going to keep their program poised for future success. A pair of 5-11 sophomore forwards, Marissa Trivelpiece and Faith Grula (7.2 ppg) could give HA a decided advantage in the middle. Joe Gavio has plenty of options with juniors Virginia Yurchak and Katie Lipinski along with sophomore Kyra Antolick. The Lady Cougars have rattled off four straight wins after stumbling a bit in their tip-off tourney. Pittston Area and Dallas will both be in this race as each has a talented guard and a strong inside player. The Lady Patriots have established a winning program that has carried over following graduation of a pair of premier players. Alexa Noone, their senior point guard has been outstanding so far, hitting 17.3 ppg and connecting on 18 triples. And inside, 5-11 sophomore center Leah Hodick (13.5 ppg) has been equally effective. PA will look toward other seniors such as guard Mary Silinskie and forward Andrea Ruby to get into the offensive flow. Dallas also graduated a pair of stellar guards, but returns a trio of seniors who have been providing great balance. Hanna Johnson, Kendra Saba, and Olivia Johnson score a combined 17.5 ppg with Johnson being a good long-range shooter. Junior guard Gianna Centrella has been impressive netting 10 ppg so far. Inside, the Lady Mounts have a pair of versatile sophomore forwards in Lauren Charlton (17.5 ppg) and Morgan MacNeely (7.3 ppg). Both can confidently pop a triple. Wyoming Valley West, a perennial contender, was depleted through graduation. But, despite those losses, they have the potential to be a sleeper team here. They will be tough in the paint with 6-2 senior center Gracie Giza (8.3 ppg) and 5-11 junior forward Andi Blasko (5.2 ppg). Depth is provided by 5-11 junior Karaline Stelma. On the perimeter, the Lady Spartans have several talented underclassmen – sophomore Tori Amato (15.2 ppg with 15 treys) plus juniors Nicole Boutanous (11.7 ppg) and Lindsey Gruver (6.8 ppg). Gary Ferenchick may have the makings of another title run next season. Wilkes-Barre Coughlin has certainly had their share of roster challenges and this year gives the Lady Crusaders more of the same. After going winless last season, they did pick up a December victory over crosstown rival GAR. They are led by a pair of junior guards, Ajalaya Butts (6.4 ppg) and LeJune Berry (5.4 ppg). Sophomore Ariana Brittingham adds 4.2 ppg. Teams plays each Division 1 opponent twice and each Division 2 team once for a total of 16 games.
- Holy Redeemer (John Jezorwski) 3A
- Berwick (Bill Philips) 4A
- Nanticoke Area (Alan Yendrzeiwski) 4A
- Wyoming Area (Chad Lojewski) 4A
- Lake-Lehman (Charlie Lavan) 4A
- Tunkhannock (Joe Reno) 4A
The race in Division 2 is going to be a close one between Holy Redeemer, Berwick, and Nanticoke Area. And Wyoming Area definitely has the pieces to contend. Holy Redeemer, minus last year’s combined 21 ppg from guards Sam Rajza and Irelyn Jannuzzi due to injuries, still gets the slight edge. The Lady Royals will rely on junior guard Julia Andrejko (15.2 ppg) with additional perimeter depth coming from senior Lauren Wasiakowski (7.8 ppg), junior Sara Kuderka (7.8 ppg), and sophomore Cameron Marcinkowski (7.8 ppg). John Jezorwski has been getting 13.6 ppg inside from Samantha Yencha. The Lady Royals (4-1) plays a difficult non-league slate and have come away with wins over Lackawanna League contenders Scranton Prep, Abington Heights, and Holy Cross. Their sole loss was to powerhouse Dunmore. Berwick has one of the premier senior guards in Reese Mensinger (21.5 ppg with 14 triples). She is joined by senior Mallory Pinterich (3.2 ppg) and freshman Renny Murphy (5.0 ppg). Inside, the Lady Dawgs feature 6-0 junior forward Megan Dalo (10.6 ppg) along with 6-1 senior center Roni Isenberg. Another freshman guard making her appearance known is Katie Starr (2.7 ppg). Nanticoke Area, one year removed from their juggernaut 26-2 campaign, is adjusting to the graduation of a pair of standout guards (and the 31 ppg they produced). The Trojanettes have a terrific blend of junior and senior players and always create opportunities on both ends of the floor. Senior guard Lisa Radziak is their top scorer along with junior Alyssa Lewis at 13.4 ppg. Radziak also has 15 treys so far. Their backcourt also gets a combined 8 ppg from senior Katie Butczynski and junior Amiah Lukowski. Junior forwards Jilann Baron (6-1) and Bella Czeck provide GNA with 11 ppg. So far, their only loss has come against North Schuylkill. Wyoming Area, currently undefeated at 5-0, has a superb outside-inside combination in 4-year starter senior guard Sarah Holweg (18 ppg with 16 treys) and 5-11 senior forward Addison Orzel (11.8 ppg). A trio of sophomore guards – Cassidy Orzel, Nicole Silinskie, and Ellie Glatz – net a combined 14.4 ppg while senior guard Aleah Kranson adds 6.8 ppg. The Lady Warriors are well on their way to another winning season. Lake-Lehman, bolstered by an early season upset over Hazleton Area, is definitely poised to make a division run, but more likely next season. They feature several talented underclassmen. Junior guard Savannah Purdy leads the way with 12.4 ppg. She is teamed up on the perimeter with junior Corinna Scoblick (8.8 ppg) and sophomore Sarah Salus (10.2 ppg). Madison Borum (junior center) scores 11.4 ppg. The Black Knights (2-3) have played a challenging schedule with losses to Marian Catholic, Scranton Prep, and Harrisburg. Tunkhannock is another team that returned a bunch of their top players and should continue to have a good season. The Lady Tigers are paced by their junior guard, Abby Ritz, with 14.2 ppg. Junior Rebecca Avery adds 9.2 ppg while senior Kelly Barber chips in 4 ppg. Inside, Tunk features senior forwards Jessica Ell and Samantha Generotti who net a combined 12 ppg. As has been both praised and panned by some coaches, the Division 2 schedule continues to have teams playing every Wyoming Valley Conference team once for a total of 17 games.
- Northwest Area (Scott Miner – 1st year) 2A
- Hanover Area (Chris Parker – 1st year) 3A
- Wyoming Seminary (Abbey Rodway) 2A
- Wilkes-Barre Meyers (Mary Mushock) 3A
- Wilkes-Barre GAR (Hattie Caruso) 3A
- MMI Prep (Cy Fulton – 1st year) 1A
Division 3 should be a very competitive battle between Northwest Area, Hanover Area, and Wyoming Seminary. Northwest returns their entire lineup behind the leadership of junior guards Brenna Babcock (16 ppg) and Trista Babcock (7.2 ppg) along with sophomore guard Reagan Harrison (11.4 ppg). The Lady Rangers also have ample height and depth with seniors forwards Jordan Harrison and Danielle Bowman, junior Hannah Wisniewski, and sophomore Tess Edwards. Hanover Area, under first year head coach Chris Parker, has the pieces to make a run for the title. The Lady Hawks are led by senior guard Genesis Rodriguez (14.8 ppg). She is joined by talented underclassmen Sara Whitesell (junior, 3.8 ppg) and Sarah Tuzinski (sophomore, 8.2 ppg). Inside, 5-11 forward Victoria Benning contributes 10.8 ppg. Wyoming Seminary, with lots of youth in their lineup, will also challenge for the division. So far, a pair of soph guards have been their go-to players, Ally Vezendy (6.8 ppg) and Alex Wesneski (10.5 ppg). Junior guard Annemaakie Reitsma has been netting 3.3 ppg. Inside, the Blue Knights are paced by senior forward Julia Gabriel and junior forward Mia Raineri (4 ppg). Wilkes-Barre Meyers could be a sleeper team. The Lady Mohawks have been getting balanced scoring in the backcourt from senior Erin Morris (7.2 ppg) and junior Bella Skaff (5.8 ppg). In the frontcourt, Mary Mushock has forwards Amanda Gray (senior, 4.2 ppg) and Allycia Harris (sophomore, 9 ppg) along with senior center Sarah Bottger (5 ppg). Wilkes-Barre GAR has had their share of roster issues. Head coach Hattie Caruso is looking toward several underclassmen to provide program stability. The Lady Grenadiers are led by senior guard Khira Cook (10 ppg with 13 treys), senior forward Jada Redditt (4.7 ppg), and freshman guard Hannah Cook (3.4 ppg). MMI Prep is back with their varsity girls program under the guidance of experienced head coach Cy Fulton. Six freshmen help get things going in the right direction with senior guard Maddie Perchak providing leadership. She is joined by juniors Jessica McClellan (a forward) and Bailey Slusser (a guard). Teams play each Division 3 team twice and each Division 2 team once for a total 16 games.
- Abington Heights (Deanna Klingman) 5A
- Scranton Prep (Bob Beviglia) 4A
- Scranton (PJ Hughes) 6A
- West Scranton (Leo Ciullo) 5A
- Valley View (Rob Martin) 4A
Division 1 looks to be a terrific race between Abington Heights and Scranton Prep, but don’t discount Scranton as the Lady Knights have height that can cause havoc for any team. Abington Heights has a strong backcourt and will benefit from the return of Cassandra Kzaizek who missed all of last season to an ACL injury. Senior guards Hannah Kowalski (10.2 ppg) and Sharon Houlihan (9.1 ppg) have a combined 24 triples. Ksaizek, a 6-0 senior forward, has been playing excellent with 12.4 ppg. The Lady Comets have also been getting contributions from junior guard Hannah Hughes and freshman guard Clair Marion (combined 7.4 ppg). AH (5-4) has played a very challenging non-league schedule with losses to Dunmore, Holy Cross, Holy Redeemer, and Harrisburg. Scranton Prep has been getting balanced scoring, and early on, it’s been a pair of freshmen guards providing the spark for the Classics. Rachel Rose (15.6 ppg) and Cecilia Collins (7.3 ppg) have teamed up for 14 triples. Junior guard Kathleen Rose nets 5.9 ppg while senior guard Claire Szymanski has been adding 4.7 ppg. Inside, Prep relies on 5-9 senior forward Holly Daveski (a great outside shooter) and 5-10 junior forward Elisa Penetar who combine for 14.6 ppg. Scranton has the luxury of having three players over 6-feet tall and that puts them squarely in the thick of the division race. On the flip side, replacing an all-star guard who averaged 19 ppg takes time. So far, Shelby Funchess (6-0 senior, 14.4 ppg) and Colette Mulderig (6-2 sophomore, 13.4 ppg) have been spectacular. Kristin Hart, their 6-1 junior forward, has been adding 4.1 ppg. In the backcourt, senior guard Erin Barrett (9 ppg with 16 triples) and sophomore guard Sophia Glogowski (5.6 ppg) have steady for PJ Hughes. West Scranton is poised to secure another winning season. The Lady Invaders return a pair of super sophs in Tatum Rephis (10 ppg) and Nya Johnson (10 ppg). Junior guard Nevaeh Ross, a great outside shooter, adds 5.5 ppg. Inside, Leo Ciullo has seniors Raven Rozina (5-10 center, 3.8 ppg) and Nadya Brown (5-8 forward, 5 ppg). Valley View (6-3) has already eclipsed their 5-win total from last season. The Lady Cougars have a great blend of experienced and younger players on their roster. Abby Pigeon, their 5-10 senior forward, has been solid with 10.2 ppg. On the perimeter, junior Tori Duffy and senior Jenn Nguyen have both been hitting 5.6 ppg. Depth in the backcourt comes from junior Arianna Nardelli ( 4.8 ppg) and sophomore Mia Rudalavage (8.4 ppg). Head coach Rob Martin also has a pair of 5-10 forwards in sophomore Mackenzie McHale and freshman Skylar Bianchi. If the younger players develop quickly, Valley View could pull a few surprises before the season ends. Teams play a total of 13 games, Division 1 teams twice and Division 2 teams once.
- Wallenpaupack (Roy Gibbs – 1st year) 5A
- North Pocono (Corey Valvano) 3A
- Honesdale (Pilar Beam) 4A
- Western Wayne (Natalie Winters – 1st year) 4A
- Delaware Valley (Lindsay Baker) 6A
Division 2 looks to be another great showdown between Wallenpaupack and North Pocono. Honesdale and Western Wayne will both be much-improved but probably a notch or so below the leaders. Wallenpaupack has a nice blend of backcourt talent and inside power. A trio of junior guards lead the Lady Buckhorns – Megan Guerrieri (13.6 ppg), Hannah Smith (14 ppg), and Rachel Tirjan (8.8 ppg). Inside, first year head coach Roy Gibbs has seniors Erin Worzel (5-11 center, 7.6 ppg) and Tabitha Boyd (5-8 forward, 6.6 ppg). But right on their heels will be North Pocono. The Lady Trojans are going to be a force with several promising young players. Senior 5-9 forward Sarah Kaneski (8.6 ppg) is joined by 5-7 junior Izzy Pehanick (7.3 ppg). Sophomore guards Jenna Montana and Lila Gaughan combine for 12.9 ppg. Junior guard Brianna Ruby adds 5.8 ppg. Corey Valvano also has a freshman guard, Carena Colo, who nets 4.5 ppg. Honesdale, like North Pocono, has a bunch of promising youth on their roster. In their backcourt, senior guards Sarah Keast and Courtney Varcoe score a combined 17.2 ppg while junior guard Camden Bannan hits 6.8 ppg. The Lady Hornets have a pair of junior forwards in Alexa Jones (12 ppg) and Nicole Longman (5.8 ppg). Western Wayne features junior guard Gracie Guarino (13.5 ppg) and senior guard Hannah Roedel (11.4 ppg with 18 treys). The Lady Wildcats also have 5-11 sophomore forward Coral Swoyer (3.3 ppg), one of several up-and-coming sophs on their roster. Delaware Valley is looking to establish a competitive program and things are definitely starting to look up for the Lady Warriors. Shelby Brittain (5.5 ppg) and Faith Fucetola (3.3 ppg) are their senior guards. DV has some noteworthy height in 5-8 senior forward Ciera Cavallaro (4.7 ppg) and 5-11 junior Elizabeth Bobo (3.7 ppg). They also have 5-9 junior forward Amber Recksiek (4.5 ppg) and 5-11 freshman forward Brooke Acoveno (5.2 ppg). Teams play a total of 13 games, Division 2 teams twice and Division 1 teams once.
- Dunmore (Ben O’Brien) 3A
- Holy Cross (Barry Fitzgerald) 3A
- Mid Valley (Vince Bucciarelli) 3A
- Old Forge (Ron Stacchiotti) 2A
- Riverside (Jack Mekilo) 3A
- Lakeland (Amanda Vitzakovitch) 3A
- Carbondale (Will Reckless) 3A
There might be some drama in Division 3 this season, but after Dunmore has won 32 of their last 34 games going back to last season, it’s their title to lose. But, the way crosstown rival Holy Cross has been playing so far this year, the Lady Crusaders may be in this race before things finally get settled. Dunmore, with wins over Abington Heights, Holy Redeemer, Scranton, Wallenpaupack, and Mount Carmel, remained a perfect 8-0 through December. Their guard combo of Kelly Quinn (senior, 11.1 ppg with 13 triples) and Lisa Tallo (junior, 10.7 ppg with 11 treys) has been superb. Equally effective inside, Victoria Toomey (6-1 junior center, 20.3 ppg) and Gianna Delfino (5-10 junior forward, 9 ppg) give the Lady Bucks a formidable lineup. Add in a couple freshmen guards like Alexis Chapman and Anna Talluto (4.6 ppg) and it’s easy to see why this team continues to be a district powerhouse. Holy Cross, a team that also graduated their all-everything playmaker, has been able to successfully make the adjustment. The Lady Crusaders feature a terrific senior guard in Lexi Walsh (17.4 ppg. She is joined by senior Molly Burda and junior Abby Sempa (10.4 ppg). Backcourt depth is ample with junior Caroline Kranick (3.8 ppg) and freshman Abbey Lentkowski (6.3 ppg). In the paint, Barry Fitzgerald has 5-8 senior Ally McGee and 5-7 junior Haley Bestrycki (10 ppg). Mid Valley, Old Forge, and Riverside should be posturing for middle division positions. The Spartanettes have a solid backcourt anchored by junior Emily Morano (13.3 ppg). She is joined by senior Lauren Owens (11.1 ppg) and junior Morgan Harfele (4.4 ppg). Inside, Vince Bucciarelli relies on 6-0 senior forward Kiana Williams (8.9 ppg) and 5-10 junior forward Morgan Bialy. Old Forge has terrific guard play this year behind the leadership of senior Alexandra Nocera (11.8 ppg) and Anna Osieski (3.7 ppg). Lindsey Welsh, their super sophomore, has picked up where she left off, netting 13.7 ppg (and 14 triples). Another young guard, freshman Olivia Ciullo, has been scoring 4.4 ppg. Inside the Lady Devils have 5-10 senior center Jen Regan (2.6 ppg). Riverside (4-4) has played a challenging exhibition slate. The Lady Vikes get 2.4 ppg from senior guard Natalie Sottile. Their junior guard, Julia Antoniacci, is off to an incredible start with 19 ppg including 20 triples. Another junior guard, Haley Tilberry adds 6.3 ppg. Jack Mekilo also has a duo of freshmen making an immediate impact, Emily Taylor (8 ppg) and Kayla Rose (11.9 ppg). Lakeland is led by seniors Jordyn Flynn (6 ppg) and Haley Clauss-Walton (5.7 ppg). Junior guard Cheyenne Dippre nets 4.8 ppg while 6-0 junior forward Mikayla Marino contributes 9 ppg. Freshman Colby White averages 4.3 ppg. Carbondale has several senior players including standout Amelia Zazzera (10.8 ppg with a dozen treys). Other guards include senior Maddie Kelly, junior Emily Wall, and freshman Delana Mancuso who hit a combined 12.2 ppg. Inside, the Chargerettes have senior forwards Christina Carachilo and Kaitlyn Savage (combined 7.6 ppg). Division 3 retains half play and the two crossover games against a Division 4 opponent do not count in the standings.
- Susquehanna (Errol Mannick) 1A
- Forest City (Mike Courtright – 1st year) 1A
- Mountain View (Ashley Kilmer) 2A
- Montrose (Todd Smith) 3A
- Elk Lake (Kevin Tewksbury) 2A
- Lackawanna Trail (Lauren Sheakoski) 2A
- Blue Ridge (Paula Finn) 2A
Division 4 appears to be leaning towards Susquehanna Community. After that, it could be a scramble for many of the remaining division spots. Susquehanna is led by sophomore guard Taylor Huyck (13.6 ppg). She is joined by Bethany Maby (a junior scoring 6.6 ppg), senior Emily Lawrenson (4.6 ppg), and sophomore Mackenzie Heath (1.2 ppg). Inside the Lady Sabers have 6-2 sophomore center Mackenzie Steele (8.4 ppg) and 5-8 senior forward Skyla Wilson (4.2 ppg). Despite their 1-4 start, Forest City should have the talent to challenge Susquehanna. The Lady Foresters are led by senior guard Mackenzie Hartman (11.2 ppg). She is joined on the perimeter by junior Maggie Kowalewski (4.8 ppg) and sophomore Emily Kelleher (2 ppg). Skylar Fortunar, their 5-10 senior forward, nets 6.8 ppg. She is joined by 5-8 senior forward Erin Urban (3.2 ppg). Mountain View might be able to make a run for title behind the play of senior guard Erica Freely (17.2 ppg). The Lady Eagles also have Lucy Adams (5.8 ppg) and Devin Burney (1.7 ppg) in their backcourt. Sydney Newhart (5-10 junior forward) needs to get into their offensive flow. Forwards Samantha Jones (senior, 4 ppg) and Makenzie Bell (junior, 5.2 ppg) also return. Montrose is led by junior guard Harper Andre. Inside, the Lady Meteors have good height with 5-11 senior Radville Vaicuilyte (6.6 ppg) and 6-0 senior center McKenzie Newhart (3.7 ppg). Elk Lake is paced by a trio of senior forwards, Abigail Johns (8.4 ppg), Eliza Bosscher (6.4 ppg) , and Rose Warner (7.4 ppg). Added frontcourt depth comes from Maddie Tewksbury (5-10 junior, 3.9 ppg) and Mercedes Zajaczkowski (5-9 sophomore, 2.6 ppg). Freshman guard Tamara Voda hits 4.9 ppg while Lucy Ives (junior guard) adds 2.4 ppg. Lackawanna Trail has senior guard Lexie Kwaitkowski who nets 10.6 ppg with 12 triples. The other senior guard is Allison Decker (5.6 ppg). The Lady Lions also have a trio of junior guards – Cali Fauquier (1.6 ppg), Samantha Baltrusaitis (1.1 ppg), and Rachel Beemer (5.6 ppg). In the paint, LT is paced by 5-8 senior forward Laurelann Penn (6.3 ppg). Blue Ridge, a sleeper team, has a terrific 5-10 senior center Abby Hartman (10.2 ppg) and 5-10 junior forward in Danielle Goff (7.5 ppg). Guards Gwen MacConnell (senior) and Ashley Torres (sophomore) add a combined 8.5 ppg. Division 4 retains half play and the two crossover games against a Division 3 opponent do not count in the standings.
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