H.S. Girls Basketball Preview: Pittston Area, Lake-Lehman set to defend divisional titles

Dec. 4—All statistics are from regular-season games only.

Teams are listed in predicted order of finish.



Coach: Jeff Gregory

2021-22 WVC record: 12-2 Div. 1, 1st; 24-5 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-5A Playoffs — West Scranton, W 61-35; Wyoming Valley West, W 47-35; Abington Heights, W 38-3. PIAA 5A Playoffs — Bangor, L 40-39

State classification: 5A

District 2 titles: 1 (4A — 2015)

Key players lost: Ava Butcher; Amanda Fath; Leah Zambetti

Key players: Taylor Baiera, Sr., 5-7. 2.9 ppg; Kallie Booth, Sr., 14.0 ppg, 36 3s; Ava Callahan, Sr., 5-5, 4.5 ppg, 26 3s; Daniella Ranieli, So., 5-3, 13.2 ppg, 32 3s

Outlook: Pittston Area won 20 more games last season than the season prior as the backcourt duo of divisional MVP Booth and sensational newcomer Ranieli dominated. Both are sharpshooters from behind the arc and Ranieli is a superior ballhandler. Callahan also started and gives the Patriots the best backcourt in the WVC. However, some important role players other than Baiera have departed and there is a need to find people to do the dirty work inside.


Coach: Gary Ferenchick

2021-22 WVC record: 7-7 Div. 1, 4th; 10-11 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-5A Playoffs — Wallenpaupack, W 52-47; Pittston Area, L 47-35

State blassification: 6A

District 2 titles: 1 (3A — 1978)

Key players lost: Trinity Johnson; Brandy Varner

Key players: Haylie Oliphant, Sr., 5-8, 5.9 ppg, 18 3s; Kalia Saunders, Sr., 6-1; Claudia Siegfried, Sr., 5-7, 9.4 ppg, 35 3s; Gabby Marsola, Jr., 5-7. 5.2 ppg, 15 3s; Mackenzie Perluke, Jr., 5-7, 11.6 ppg; Kiersten Rinehimer, Jr., 6-0, 2. ppg; Alyvia McLaughlin, So. 5-4; Thalia Irizarry, Fr., 5-7

Outlook: Valley West will surly miss perennial all-star Johnson, who was one of the most dominant inside players during her career. However, Saunders returns after a year at a prep school and that will certainly help inside. The Spartans also have Marsola, Oliphant, Perluke and Rinehimer back to give them a very good mixture of ballhanding, perimeter shooting and size. Could be primed to make a jump in the win column if things come together.


Coach: Vince Bucciarelli

2021-22 WVC record: 6-8 Div. 1, 5th; 12-10 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-5A Playoffs — Crestwood, W 47-38; Abington Heights, L 55-32

State classification: 5A

District 2 titles: 1 (3A — 2003)

Key players lost: Audrey DelGaudio; Nadia Evanosky

Key players: Maddy Peaver, Sr., 5-9, 2.3 ppg; Victoria Spaciano, Sr., 5-9, 13.0 ppg; Chelcie Strobel, Sr., 5-1, 1.5 ppg; Jordan Porasky, Jr., 5-5; Elizabeth Viglone, Jr.., 5-5, 13.7 ppg, 30 3s

Outlook: Bucciarelli brings 32 years of head coaching experience at Abington Heights to the program. He inherits a team short on varsity experience. Spaciano and Viglone are returning starters who will anchor the lineup. A few others who came off the bench last season will contribute. There is talent in the lower grades and some of those players might see time. The Mountaineers are in a bit of a rebuild, but have a coach who knows how to construct winning teams.


Coach: Mary Mushock-Namey

2021-22 WVC record: 12-2 Div. 1, 2nd; 20-6 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2/4-6A Playoffs — Williamsport, W 46-21; Hazleton Area, W 45-24. PIAA 6A Playoffs — Methacton, L 56-44

State classification: 6A

District 2 titles: 2 (6A — 2021, 2022)

Key players lost: Gloria Adjayi; Reagan Holden; Danayjha Moore

Key players: Shelby Ardo Boyko, Sr., 7.5 ppg; Emma Krawczeniuk, Jr., 3.7 ppg, 12 3s; Mahogany Robinson, Jr.; Diamond Thorton, So.

Outlook: The absence of divisional player of the year Adjayi and Moore leave the Wolfpack in the need for some scoring punch. Their outside-inside combination accounted for over half the points last season. Ardo Boyko is a relentless inside player who battles every night. Krawczeniuk and Robinson bring some experience to the backcourt. Thornton is among a handful of players who could contribute. If WBA finds the necessary pieces it could contend for the division.


Coach: Joe Gavio

2021-22 WVC record: 9-5 Div. 1, 3rd; 13-8 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2/4-6A Playoffs — West Scranton, W 58-37; Wilkes-Barre Area, L 45-24

State classification: 6A

District 2 titles: 12 (6A — 2018, 2019, 2020; 4A — 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016)

Key players lost: none

Key players: Brianna Kennedy, Sr., 5-9, 9.9 ppg; Lacie Kringe, Sr., 5-9, 13.0 ppg, 15 3s; Mikayla Fay, Jr., 5-4; Haylee Klesh, Jr., 5-5; Diamond Macko, Jr., 5-3; Haley Yost, Jr., 5-7; Sophia Shults, So., 5-8, 8.5 ppg; Olivia Williams, So., 5-8, 1.6 ppg

Outlook: Hazleton Area didn't lose anybody to graduation, but three of its top six players from last season elected not to go out for the team. The Cougars, though, remain a legitimate threat for the divisional and D2-6A titles. Kringe, Kennedy and Shults return as starters for a team which lost four of its last five games in 2021-22. The Cougars also have nice size across the board, although they don't have a true big girl. Depth will be provided mainly from the junior class.


Coach: Don Hopkins

2021-22 WVC record: 3-11 Div. 1, tied 7th; 8-13 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-5A Playoffs — Dallas, L 47-38

State classification: 5A

District 2 titles: 0

Key players lost: none

Key players: Katelyn Bozinko, Sr., 5-6, 1.7 ppg; Camryn Collins, Sr., 5-4, 6.9 ppg, 14 3s; Julia Glowacki, Sr., 5-9, 5.4 ppg, 19 3s; Cadence Hiller, Sr., 5-10, 2.4 ppg; Grace Pasternick, Sr., 5-4, 6.6 ppg; MaryKate Banford, Jr., 5-5; Kate Gallagher, So., 5-11;Kendall Petrosky, So., 5-9; Jordan Andrews, Fr., 5-3; Keira Dougherty, Fr., 5-3

Outlook: Crestwood started last season with five wins, but things went south once the calendar flipped to January. There were several close losses, so with the experience coming back perhaps the Comets can change their fortunes. Five seniors will start headed by Glowacki, one of the WVC's top 3-point shooters. Hiller and reserve Gallagher give the team some size in the paint. Depth looks a touch better than last season. Could finish somewhat higher than predicted.


Coach: Bill Phillips

2021-22 WVC record: 4-10 Div. 1, 6th; 7-15 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-4A Playoffs — Dunmore, L 53-16

State classification: 4A

District 2 titles: 2 (3A — 1997, 1998)

Key player lost: Sarina DeFinnis; Sadie Zehner

Key players: Rachel Whitenight, Sr., 6.5 ppg, 22 3s; Rae Ann Andreas, Jr., 10.5 ppg, 16 3s; Lybbi Switzer, Jr. (injured — will not play); Gabby Starr, Jr., 8.9 ppg, 16 3s (injured — will not play); Carly Ochs, So., 3.7 ppg

Outlook: Berwick's season got off to an inauspicious start before the first practice. Starter Starr and potential starter Switzer won't play this year after suffering injuries during the soccer season. That leaves a team which would have been thin on experience even thinner. Andres, Ochs and Whitenight are the only players with significant varsity time. Some underclassmen will need to step up even more than expected.


Coach: Amanda Golden

2021-22 WVC record: 3-11 Div. 1, tied 7th; 6-16 overall

2021-22 postseason: Did not qualify

State classification: 4A

District 2 titles: 2 (4A — 1989, 1990)

Key players lost: Hailey Long; Alaina Ritz

Key players: Lexi Corby, Sr., 6.7 ppg; Maci Iddings, Sr., 5.4 ppg, 11 3s; Sable Stephens, Sr., 6.2 ppg; Anna Williams, Sr., 4.6 ppg, 14 3s; Lourianna Alston, 2.4 ppg; Erin VanNess, 3.7 ppg, 14 ppg

Outlook: After winning four of five to start the season, Tunkhannock struggled after Christmas and failed to make the postseason. The offense failed to crack 40 points on 10 occasions. Four senior starters are back and they like to push the ball up the court. There are some 3-point shooting ability, but the Tigers lack that sharpshooter from beyond the arc other teams have. Besides the two sophomores who will be in the rotation, the rest of the roster lacks varsity experience.



Coach: Charlie Lavan

2021-22 WVC record: 11-1 Div. 2, 1st; 21-5 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-4A Playoffs — Wyoming Area, W 51-22; Scranton Prep, W 44-28; Nanticoke Area, W 55-33. PIAA 4A Playoffs — Berks Catholic, W 39-37; Jim Thorpe, L 64-37

State classification: 3A

District 2 titles: 1 (2A — 1984)

Key player lost: Claire Dougherty; Chase Purdy

Key players: Lea Keefe, Sr., 3.5 ppg; Hailey Kline, Sr., 6.8 ppg; Brenna Hunt, Jr., 7.2 ppg; Molly Jenkins, Jr., 2.1 ppg;Ella Wilson, So., 8.4 ppg, 18 3s

Outlook: Replacing divisional player of the year Dougherty and all-star Purdy will be a tough task. Kline, Hunt and Wilson return as starters, although Hunt is still waiting to be cleared from an injury. Keefe played well when Purdy was injured late in the season. Jenkins is the only other player with varsity experience. Depth beyond those players is unknown as 12 of the 18 on the roster are freshmen. The starters, though, make Lehman a legitimate contender this season.


Coach: John Jezorwski

2021-22 WVC record: 10-2 Div. 2, 2nd; 13-10 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-4A playoffs — Nanticoke Area, L 60-56

State classification: 3A

District 2 titles: 4 (3A — 2008, 2009, 2017; 2A — 2016)

Key players lost: Aleia Atherton; Aubrey Curley; Faith Sekol

Key players: Mia Ashton, Sr., 8.5 ppg; Jillian DelBalso, Sr., 11.5 ppg, 19 3s; Irelyn Karnes, Sr.; Paige Kroptavich, Sr. (injured — will not play); Katie Quinn, Sr.; Paige Skibitsky, Sr.; Angelina Corridoni, Jr.; Lucie Racicky, Jr.; Megan Albrecht, So, 3.8 ppg; Brooke Kroptavich, So., 5.3 ppg

Outlook: Divisional all-stars DelBalso and Ashton return to a team seeking to reverse some close losses last season. Albrecht received honorable mention recognition. Corridoni, Brooke Kroptavich, Quinn, Racicky and Skibitsky bring experience and depth to the lineup. The Royals will probably be similar to last season with balance throughout the offense. Overall, Redeemer has a good shot at winning the division.


Coach: Ed Grant

2021-22 WVC record: 8-4 Div. 2, 3rd; 13-12 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-4A playoffs — Holy Redeemer, W 60-56; Dunmore, L 69-9; Lake-Lehman, L 55-33

State classification: 4A

District 2 titles: 9 (4A — 2017; 3A — 1983, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2006, 2007)

Key players lost: Kylie Albert; Riley Baird; Brooklyn Biehl

Key players: Shaylee Heffron, Sr., 4.5 ppg, 22 3s; Sophia Lukowski, Sr.; Grace Reed, Sr., 2.4 ppg, 12 3s; Claire Aufiero, Jr., 11.9 ppg, 31 3s; Caitlyn Majiros, So., 2.1 ppg

Outlook: Nanticoke Area won nine of its last 15 games last season, but will need to replace 1,000-point scorer Baird and a few others in the lineup. Aufiero and Heffron return as starters and along with Reed give the Trojanettes some fine shooters behind the arc. Lukowski will be looking to keep her final season injury free. Majiros also saw varsity time and will work inside. There are plenty of young but inexperienced players to chose from to fill in some gaps.


Coach: Mark Casper

2021-22 WVC record: 7-5 Div. 2, 4th; 12-11 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-4A playoffs — Lake-Lehman, L 51-22

State classification: 4A

District 2 titles: 0

Key players lost: Rosalind Tart

Key players: Olivia Allen, Sr., 2.4 ppg; Morgan Janeski, Sr., 12.0 ppg, 18 3s; Halle Kranson, Sr., 4.3 ppg; Joselyn Williams, Sr., 7.8 ppg, 15 3s; Anna Wisnewski, Sr., 6.9 ppg, 24 3s

Outlook: Casper moves up from an assistant position to take over a team with five returning starters. Wyoming Area, though, lost its last four games last season after a solid run through January. Janeski has been among the WVC's top scorers throughout her career. Williams and Wisnewski are athletic and can shoot the three. There is a smattering of experience coming off the bench. However, the Warriors are only 7-8 deep at this point. They could make some noise if things fall into place.


Coach: CJ Kersey

2021-22 WVC record: 4-8 Div. 2, 5th; 4-15 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-3A playoffs — Montrose, L 55-13

State classification: 3A

District 2 titles: 0

Key players lost: Teagan Jackett

Key players: Cassidy Skoranski, Sr., 5.2 ppg, 13 3s; Lexy Lichenstein, Jr., 7.4 ppg; Hayley Smeraldi, Jr.; Margaret Ganter, Jr., 2.8 ppg; Claire Griffin, So., 3.0 ppg; Avery Luksic, So.

Outlook: Kersey, the former boys coach, took over during last season and Seminary posted all four of its wins at the tail end of the campaign. Numbers have doubled from a roster of nine as some players came out who didn't season. Hope is the Blue Knights could move up a few notches in the competitive category. Skoranski was the team's top 3-point shooter. Ganter, Griffin and Lichtenstein also started last season. Luksic and Smeraldi also logged some minutes in 2021-22.


Coach: Marie Skrepenak

2021-22 WVC record: 2-10 Div. 2, 6th; 5-17 overall

2021-22 postseason: did not qualify

State classification: 4A

District 2 titles: 0

Key players lost: Riley Corbett; Kyleen McCrance; Ally Sheridan

Key players: Madison Elick, Sr.; Hannah Salwoski, Sr.; Amaya Shutes, Sr.; Brenna Slusser, Jr.

Outlook: Skrepenak becomes Hanover Area third new coach in four seasons. She take over a team which lost its main scoring threats. Elick, Salwoski, Shutes and Slusser are the only returning players with any real varsity experience. A few others elected not to return. Number are solid, especially in the sophomore class, so that bodes well for the future. The program can use some stability after a couple shaky seasons.


Coach: Terry Hartz

2021-22 WVC record: 0-12 Div. 2, 7th; 0-21 overall

2021-22 postseason: D2-A Playoffs — Forest City, L 42-29

State classification: A

District 2 titles: 0

Key players lost: none

Key players: Ava Putnam, Sr.; Angelica Jimenez, Jr.; Bria Kringe, Jr., 10.0 ppg, 38 3s; Chloe Allen, So., 3.6 ppg

Outlook: After the school canceled the 2020-21 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, MMI returned with a small roster and oftentimes had just five players available. A solid freshmen class has boosted the numbers, although they still aren't idea. Kringe carried an offense that averaged 19.6 points per game. She scored over half of the Preppers' points. Putnam, Jimenez and Allen also saw significant playing time.