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4/4/2006
Byorick and Acker make Pa. All State squad
By lsokolowski@leader.net

Aly Byorick was leaving school on Monday when her cell phone rang. It was her father, telling her that she was selected first-team all-state for Class 3A.
“I was very surprised to hear I actually made the first team,” the Greater Nanticoke Area junior said.
Byorick, a 6-foot forward, has 1,657 career points, leaving her 15 points shy of breaking Ruth Maley’s school record set in 1983. Byorick finished the season with 67 three-pointers, tying the school record for threes in a season.
She helped lead the Trojanettes (29-1) to the second round of the PIAA Class 3A tournament, where they fell to Oxford, 39-35.
“I’ve always wanted it,” said Byorick, who was named to the third team as a sophomore. “First-team all-state is such an accolade to have. It’s been a dream of mine, and I got it this year.”
Teammate Sarah Acker, a 6-2 junior center, was named to the third team.

4/4/2006
Citizens' Voice

Named to the first-team are Nanticoke Area’s Aly Byorick, 5-11 junior guard/forward in Class AAA, Trojanette junior center Sarah Acker, 6-3, made the AAA third team.
All honorees made The Sunday Voice’s Super Seven team with Byorick cited as Player of the Year. Byorick and Acker guided coach Jack Rentko’s club to its first District 2 title since 1999. Nanticoke was ranked 10th in the USA Today East Regional poll, going 29-1 overall. Byorick, a third-team all-stater last season, averaged 20.2 ppg. and made 36 of 49 free throws. She led the WVC’s Division II with 28 three-pointers. Aly hit 88 percent of her free thows and averaged 8.7 boards, 3.7 steals and 2.5 assists.
Acker averaged 18.6 ppg., grabbed 15.6 rebounds and had 5.4 blocks an outing. She and Byorick have been teammates since their biddy days.
“Aly deserves everything she gets,” said Rentko. “She’s a hard worker and plays 12 months out of the year. That’s why Division I schools are looking at her. She’s dedicated. Sarah carried us and she deserved the honor as well. She has over 1,200 points and 1,100 rebounds. She’s 6-foot-3 and still growing. Just like Aly, Division I schools are interested in her. Sarah plays year-round.”

4/2/2006
Times Leader girls basketball Player of Year
New world nears for Byorick
GNA’s junior star is looking ahead as 13 top-ranked colleges court her.

By LISA SOKOLOWSKI
lsokolowski@leader.net

Jack Rentko was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief Saturday. He no longer is Aly Byorick’s public relations agent, the liaison between the basketball star and college coaches.
As of Saturday, coaches could finally call Byorick.
She’s only a junior at Greater Nanticoke Area, and NCAA rules prohibit coaches from contacting juniors – by means other than e-mail or letters – before April 1.
The coaches could come to the game, watch Byorick, and then chat with Rentko, blowing up his ego while handing him business cards and basketball schedules.
It was up to him to return missed calls and become a large part of the recruiting process.
“Mr. Rentko always says I have to pay for all his phone bills,” Byorick said jokingly.
Byorick is being recruited by Stanford, Penn State, Boston College, Xavier, Saint Joseph, Delaware, Bucknell, Syracuse, Towson University, Ohio University, George Washington, SUNY Binghamton and the University of Massachusetts.
“It’s neat though,” said Byorick, the Times Leader girls basketball Player of the Year. “I like seeing who’s interested.”
Her first e-mail came from the University of Maryland.
But there are a couple of state schools that have always caught her eye.
When she was 12, her father took her to her first college basketball game – Villanova against Penn State.
“It’s neat to be getting info from them,” she said.
She’s been offered a full ride from Delaware, Bucknell, Xavier and Binghamton.
Her father made her sign up for a weekly three-hour SAT prep course every Sunday. He wants her to keep her options open, he said. With Byorick’s ability, it’s easy to assume she’ll go to college on a full athletic scholarship. But, she’s not sure what the future holds.
“Right now, the dream hasn’t come true yet because I haven’t signed. But, I’m living my dream. This is what I wanted to do. It’s something I wanted to since the first time I ever touched a basketball.”
The early years, when she was playing with the Newport Biddy All-Stars, were just an indication of the player she would be.
She has 1,657 career points, leaving her 15 points shy of breaking Ruth Maley’s record set in 1983. She finished the season with 67 three-pointers, tying the school record for threes in a single season. She has 115 career three-pointers, 75 away from the record Ashley Makarczyk set this year. It seems like that’s a stretch, but she could wind up second. Right now, second is held by Jennifer Blasi, who finished with 150 in 2000.
On paper, she’s impressive. And she holds that up while she’s playing.
It earned her accolades, but also complaints from parents of opposing players. They yell that Byorick is in the game too long when, actually, she’s hardly playing.
“It does get stressful, but you just try to do your best,” Byorick said. “You always have your critics. You’ve just got to learn.
“When I sit back and think of it, I laugh because it’s the furthest thing from the truth. We only play, about, two quarters.”
It’s a small amount of playing time for the starting five. They work in practice just like anyone on any other basketball team. And they scrimmage each other just like other teams. It’s usually so they can beat the competition.
But, when Nanticoke runs roughshod in the first quarter, the junior varsity kids come on to finish the game.
“It’s always frustrating. All five of us used to hate to come out and let the (junior varsity squad) play. They see more time than us. … We’re playing against each other more than other teams.”
One of the rare games when the starters saw limited bench time was in a PIAA Class 3A Eastern quarterfinal game against Oxford. Nanticoke lost 39-35.
It was as devastating for Byorick as for any of the seniors on the squad.
“It still hurts,” Byorick said two weeks after the loss. “We were all watching the state championship game, and texting each other saying, ‘That should be us.’”
Byorick has one year left. One more chance to win the state title she’s never earned. And she’s already thinking about it.
The returning players are already preparing themselves to spend some quality time in the weight room, and they’ll play in summer leagues.
It’s to prevent a repeat of this year.
“I don’t want my senior year to end like my junior year did”

3/26/2006
Courting a bright future
BY JILL SNOWDON STAFF WRITER

The place to be following a Nanticoke Area basketball game this season was in front of the locker room door.
The closer the better.
It was the best chance to get first dibs at talking to head coach Jack Rentko.
Media and college scouts gathered around to ask the veteran coach questions, many of which centered around two of the top players in the state — Aly Byorick and Sarah Acker.
The junior tandem guided the team to an undefeated regular season, its first District 2 title since 1999, a 10th place ranking on the USA Today East Regional rankings, and a 29-1 overall record.
For their efforts, both have been selected to The Sunday Voice’s Super 7 All-Star team, with Byorick earning Player of the Year honors.
The 5-11 guard/forward wrapped up another outstanding year, averaging 20.2 points per game during the regular season and connecting on 36-of-49 free throws. She also led Division II in scoring with 28 3-pointers.
Those gaudy statistics, according to Rentko, are the result of Byorick’s approach to basketball.
“Coaches call me all the time about her,” Rentko said. “I tell them the best part of her game is how hard she works. The player that she is...she works at that constantly.”
Rentko is quick to follow with Byorick’s other on-court attributes that have helped her become the best player in the Wyoming Valley Conference the last two seasons.
“She’s a very good scorer. She puts the ball in the basket,” Rentko said. “She shot 46 percent from 3-point range our last four games. And she’s not greedy. She takes about 15 or 16 shots a game and she works really well with the team.”
Byorick’s numbers dipped when the Trojanettes reached the state playoffs.
“I struggled shooting the last two games, that’s no secret,” Byorick said. “But I was happy because we were winning (against Selinsgrove) and when you have five or six other players scoring I don’t feel pressure to score.”
Byorick also doesn’t feel pressure when she knows there are college scouts sitting in the bleachers, watching her every move. Schools such as Boston College, Penn State, Delaware, University of Massachusetts, Bucknell, Syracuse, Kansas and Kansas State have shown interest.
“I played in front of a lot of college coaches last summer, so I’m comfortable with it,” Byorick said. “I always want to do well, but I also try to stay relaxed and have fun.”
Byorick’s size and versatility make her a perfect candidate for the college game. She has the strength to play underneath and the ball-handling skills and shooting touch to play in the backcourt.
She’ll play as a guard this spring and summer for the Philadelphia Bells AAU team and plans to focus on her dribbling and pull-up jump shot. The Bells travel the East Coast during the summer.
This year, she’ll be in good company. Acker is a newcomer to the team and Byorick feels the more time they spend on the court together, the better.
“I love playing with Sarah. We’ve been playing together since Newport biddy all-stars,” the daughter of Dan and Trish Byorick said. “We’re a good one-two punch. We want to come out and have a great senior year and make the best of it because it’s our last year playing together.
“And who knows, in college we could end up playing against each other.”

3/16/2006
Nanticoke’s dream season ends
BY JILL SNOWDON STAFF WRITER

On paper, Nanticoke Area had a clear height advantage over Oxford.
On the court, that made little difference.
What Oxford’s players lacked in size, they made up for by taking it right to the heart of Nanticoke’s defense en route to a 39-35 win in the second round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.
The loss ends Nanticoke’s run as well as its undefeated season at 29-1. Oxford (23-4) advances to meet Villa Maria Academy on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
“We thought we could push the ball and beat them up and down the floor,” Oxford coach Brian Ulrig said. “(Nanticoke) is a heck of a team, but we had better tempo.”
The Hornets also had better shooting and made better passing decisions.
Nanticoke’s outside shooting in the first half was non-existent. The Trojanettes didn’t hit a single jump shot but, fortunately, had Sarah Acker there to pick up the scoring slack.
Acker scored 14 of Nanticoke’s 16 first-half points allowing for the Trojanettes to stay within three points at halftime, 19-13. But the Trojanettes had other troubles going into the locker room. Acker and forward Kaitlyn Malshefski each had three personal fouls at intermission and forward Aly Byorick had two.
“Our plan was to key on three people,” Ulrig said. “We wanted a body on 51 (Acker) and 15 (Byorick) every time they got the ball and we wanted pressure on their guard, 21 (Abby Gesecki). We just keyed on them possession after possession.”
With Nanticoke’s front court forced to play conservative defense, the Hornets took full advantage. Ashley Palmer drove the lane for six points in the third quarter and Allison Hostetter added a pull-up jumper to keep their team ahead by one going into the fourth. And when they weren’t pushing it inside on Nanticoke, the Hornets slowed theoffense down around the perimeter to take time off the clock.
“We went to our zone,” Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko said. “That was smart coaching against us. When they had the ball we had to go out and get them.”
Meanwhile, Nanticoke’s cold outside shooting continued. The Trojanettes managed a 33-31 lead with 2:56 left in the fourth, but 17 missed field goals throughout the second half stung just as much as the Hornets’ pesky offense.
The Trojanettes suffered another blow with 2:47 left in the game when Acker picked up her fourth personal, followed by a technical foul, sending her to the bench for the rest of the game.
Hostetter finished the Trojanettes with five free throws in the final minutes and Meghan Tait hit a base-line 3-pointer for a 39-33 gap.
Aside from their foul troubles and poor shooting, Nanticoke struggled with its passes and ball-handling as it posted nine turnovers in the second half.
“We had a lot of open looks in the first half, but we didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight,” Rentko said. “Palmer really hurt us. We had to step in and stop her. But, our shooting was just not there.”
Palmer and Hostetter finished with 14 and 13 points respectively for Oxford. Acker scored just four points in the second half but finished with a game-high 18, while Byorick had nine points.

OXFORD (23-4)
Tait 1 0-0 3; Herb 1 0-0 3; Palmer 7 2-8 14; Hostetter 4 5-6 13; Bogan 0 0-0 0; Ruggear 0 0-0 0; Rucci 0 1-2 1; Pinno 1 1-2 3; Totals 15 9-18 39.

NANTICOKE AREA (29-1)
Gesecki 0 1-2 1; Byorick 3 2-2 9; Makarczyk 0 1-2 1; Malshefski 3 0-0 6; Acker 7 4-6 18; Rentko 0 0-0 0; Dembowski 0 0-0 0; Totals 13 8-12 35.

Oxford 10 9 8 12 — 39
Nanticoke Area 6 10 10 9 — 35
3-point goals: Tait, Herb, Byorick.

3/15/2006
Nanticoke Area girls will have height advantage
BY JILL SNOWDON STAFF WRITER

Nanticoke’s PIAA Class AAA first-round game last Saturday was far from thrilling.
The Trojanettes grabbed a 25-3 first quarter lead, emptied their bench by the start of the fourth quarter and coasted to a 69-25 victory over Selinsgrove.
While the Trojanettes height-advantage was obvious and their overall talent clearly evident, there were plays in between that some may have missed as they skipped out early to enjoy the day’s spring-like weather.
In such a lopsided game, some players might take advantage of the many breakaways and open looks from long range to pad their scoring stats. The Trojanettes, however, were unselfish.
With a 41-point lead early in the third quarter, Abby Gesecki and Ashley Makarczyk did a 2-on-2 give-and-go with Makarczyk finishing it off with an easy lay-up. Minutes later Makarczyk raced down and hit Sarah Acker with a pass down low. Kaitlyn Malshefski took just five shots, but the senior forward also dished out four assists.
“It’s the little, unselfish plays that not everyone might notice that wins games,” Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko said. “Sarah had 24 points but she was in the low block four times and she passed out for 3-pointers. And I give Aly (Byorick) a lot of credit. She didn’t have a great shooting day, but she had six assists. She did all the little things that matter to a team.”
Nanticoke is hoping to carry those little things over into tonight’s match-up with Oxford.
Tonight’s winners play in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Key Players: Nanticoke Area - Aly Byorick, 6-0 junior forward, 20.2 ppg; Sarah Acker, 6-3 junior forward, 18.6 ppg; Ashley Makarczyk, 5-10 senior guard, 9.7 ppg; Kaitlyn Malshefski, 6-0 senior forward, 6.2 ppg; Abby Gesecki, 5-8 senior guard, 5.6 ppg. Oxford - Ashley Palmer, 5-8 junior guard/forward, 21.4 ppg; Allison Hostetter, 5-6 junior guard, 10.2 ppg; Meghan Tait, 5-6 sophomore guard.

Breaking it down: Oxford’s tallest player is just 5-foot-9, Nanticoke has three players standing at 6-0 or better, making this a mismatch under the boards. Oxford, No. 1 strength is its guard play and Nanticoke’s defense can expect Ashley Palmer to make every attempt to take it to them. The junior is physical and has no fear of taking it to the hoop. She scored 32 points in the Hornets’ 73-34 rout over Benjamin Franklin in Saturday’s first-round game. This is Oxford’s first-ever trip to the state playoffs.

Nanticoke was led by Sarah Acker’s 24 points and 14 rebounds on Saturday. Byorick was held to an uncharacteristic low score of nine points, but the junior contributed elsewhere, pulling down nine rebounds.

3/12/2006
Nanticoke runs wild in rout of Selinsgrove
The Trojanettes open with a bang and are never challenged as they advance in tourney.

By lsokolowski@leader.net

It was never a question of, would Greater Nanticoke Area win? The question was, by how much?
Nanticoke – the District 2 Class 3A champion – devoured District 4 runner-up Selinsgrove 69-25 in the opening round of the Class 3A PIAA tournament at Wyoming Valley West on Saturday.
The Trojanettes (29-0) will play D-1 third-place finisher Oxford (23-4) on Wednesday at a site and time to be announced.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by the final margin of victory. It wasn’t even that close. The Trojanettes built a 25-3 advantage after one quarter and coasted from there.
“I enjoy a game like this,” said Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko. “The kids were nervous before the game. I was nervous before the game. You have to have little butterflies in your stomach. If not, you’re not an athlete.”
Those nerves were quickly squashed as Nanticoke opened the game with a 7-0 run. Selingrove’s 5-foot-9 freshman guard Danica Deckard scored the Seals’ only basket with just under seven minutes to play. From then, Nanticoke went on an 18-1 run to close the quarter. A standing ovation from the Nanticoke side resulted, mostly for Sarah Acker, who scored 14 of her game-high 24 points during the first quarter.
There was no hope for Selinsgrove after that. No pep talk before the second quarter was going to change anything.
Acker tacked another eight points on to her total during the second quarter, and Ashley Makarczyk scored six of her 10 points then.
Selinsgrove’s offense was uninspiring, except for Deckard. She scored all nine of the Seals’ second-quarter points. Deckard finished with a team-high 13.
Games like this – the score was 47-12 at halftime, and 60-20 after three quarters – provide extra playing time to the bench. It could be frustrating for the starters since their playing time is limited. But players like Acker understand the importance of sharing time.
“It’s good for them,” said Acker, who also grabbed 14 rebounds despite not playing in the fourth quarter. “Especially if, down the road, one of us fouls out and they need to play.”
However, in a blowout, it’s sometimes hard to stay focused. When you’re leading by 40 points, paying attention is difficult. It’s easier to showboat than practice strategy.
“We kind of fool around and joke around on the court,” Acker said. “It keeps us in the game and not at each other’s throats.”
Selinsgrove, which started three sophomores and two freshmen, finished its season at 15-14.
“They’re a young squad,” Acker said. “They’re good for being young.”

3/06/2006
On the road to Hershey
BY MATT ENGEL STAFF WRITER

Nanticoke Area will try to keep its perfect season intact when it opens play Saturday in the PIAA Class AAA girls basketball tournament.
The Trojanettes, 28-0, District 2 champs, meet District 4 runner-up Selinsgrove, 15-13, at 1 p.m. at Wyoming Valley West High School. Aly Byorick and Ashley Makarczyk combined for 34 points in Nanticoke’s 56-45 victory over Scranton Prep.
Nanticoke Area trailed by two points at halftime.
“We didn’t play well in that first half,” Trojanette coach Jack Rentko said. “We came out too loose.”
The Seals will face a height disadvantage. Nanticoke junior center Sarah Acker stands 6-foot-3. She’s averaging 19 ppg. Byorick, 6-foot junior guard, hits for 21 a game. Makarczyk, 5-10 senior guard, and Katlyn Malshefski, 6-foot senior forward, are excellent role players.
“Katlyn’s our defensive stopper,” Rentko said. “She’s a very good shooter. Ashley averages eight assists and is a solid 3-point shooter. Abby Gesecki (5-8 senior guard) runs the show and gets the team moving. She plays great defense.”
Selinsgrove lost to Shikellamy in the District 4 championship game Friday night, 40-34. Freshman Denica Deckard led the Seals with 18 points. Heather Brown added eight.
“I watched a tape of them (Sunday),” Rentko said. “They play man-to-man defense and have a good freshman (Deckard). They run and push the ball up the court.”

3/5/2006
District 2 girls basketball finals
Trojanettes finally strike gold
GNA bounces Prep in 3A final

By lsokolowski@leader.net

There’s always been talk about how good the Greater Nanticoke Area girls basketball team is. The Trojanettes have been the team for the past three years.
Yet, for all the acclaim, the Trojanettes don’t have much to show for it. They were the league champs last year, but the District 2 runner-up for the past two years.
That all changed Saturday.
Top-seeded Nanticoke defeated second-seeded Scranton Prep 56-45 in the District 2 Class 3A championship game at Wyoming Area.
“The only way that I can explain it is that we weren’t overconfident and we weren’t nervous,” said Nanticoke senior Abby Gesecki. “But we were going to do whatever to not take another silver (medal) home.”
Nanticoke will play the District 4 runner-up – either Loyalsock or Southern Columbia – on Saturday. Scranton Prep will play the sixth-place finisher from D3 – either York Suburban or Boiling Springs – also on Saturday.Z
The Trojanettes (28-0) had lost to North Pocono in the district final the past two years. That didn’t happen this time, but for a while it did look as if Scranton Prep might upset Nanticoke.
In the first half, GNA leading-scorer Aly Byorick didn’t hit a single basket. Sarah Acker, who is second in scoring, only had five points in the first half, when the Trojanettes were trailing 23-21.
Fortunately for Nanticoke, Ashley Makarczyk’s on the roster. She had 10 of her 15 points in the first half to go along with the strong defensive play of Gesecki. Without those two, the score could have easily been 10-12 points in Scranton Prep’s favor, according to Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko.
His remedy was to give the team a stern halftime talk.
“He was just trying to fire us up,” Gesecki said.
It worked.
Nanticoke held Scranton Prep to seven points in the third quarter while scoring 16. Byorick finished with a game-high 19 points, 18 in the second half. She went 14-for-16 from the foul line, 13-for-13 in the second half.
Acker had eight points in the second half and finished with 13.
“In the first half, Aly and Sarah really didn’t play their game,” Rentko said. “They could have done better and they should have done better.”
And they did.
Scranton Prep’s Colleen McLane (11 points) made a basket with 5:41 left in the third quarter to bring the Classics (24-5) within one at 26-25.
But then Byorick and Acker combined for an 8-0 run that took three minutes off the clock and inflated the Trojanettes’ lead to 34-25. Scranton Prep never recovered.
“It makes it more great because of the two other years,” Gesecki said of the district crown. “It’s really awesome.”

3/5/2006
Nanticoke Area keeps perfect season intact
By Steve Bennett - Citizens' Voice
When the Scranton Prep girls were rolling through their semifinal matchup Wednesday night, coach Joe Ferguson made it known his team was sending a message to top-seeded Nanticoke Area. Talk about bulletin board material!
The Trojanettes answered with special delivery, parlaying that motivation into a 56-45 victory over Prep on Saturday at Wyoming Area High School. The victory marked the first District 2 title since 1999 for the Trojanettes and helped ease the the disappointment of losses the last two years in the championship game.
If the Classics did have a message for Nanticoke Area, they never had the chance to deliver it.
Aly Byorick scored a game-high 19 points and Ashley Makarczyk added 15 as Nanticoke Area improved to 28-0 and will move into next weekend’s state tournament as the top seed out of District 2. Scranton Prep also advances and drops to 23-5.
Nanticoke Area found itself trailing by two points at the half but the damage could have been worse had it not been for Makarczyk. With Byorick accounting for just one first-half point and Sarah Acker contributing five, it was Makarczyk’s 10 first-half points which kept the Trojanettes in the game.
“I thought in the first half Aly and Sarah really didn’t play their game,” Nanticoke Area coach Jack Rentko said. “They didn’t do what they could have and they didn’t do what they should have. I had a little talk with them at halftime and I think they responded in the second half.”
The Trojanettes turned the ball over the first three times they came down the floor. Plus, Scranton Prep’s offense revolved around 6-foot-5 Boston University-bound center Kristen Folk.
Folk scored six first-quarter points and added four more in the second but ran into foul trouble and went to the bench with three personal fouls at the 2:43 mark of the second quarter.
The Classics did manage to regroup and closed the first half on a 7-3 run to lead 23-21 at the half
“Our best player is on the bench with foul trouble and they are at the line (30) times and we are there (12), that is the difference in the game,” Ferguson said. “Byorick had two field goals the entire game, I thought she was forcing shots. We had them standing on offense and put them on the line. I think we are just as good, I’m disappointed in the loss. We got up and down the floor on them, it appeared to me they were sluggish up and down the floor. They are very tough to defend.”
Following Rentko’s halftime pep talk, Nanticoke Area opened the third quarter with five consecutive points to take a 26-23 lead it would never relinquish. Prep’s Colleen McLane converted a layup to cut the deficit to one point, but the Trojanettes ran off the game’s next eight points to grab a 34-25 lead. Folk picked up her fourth foul during the spurt and went to the bench only to return two minutes later as Ferguson sensed the game was getting away from him but the Trojanettes held her scoreless in the second half.
Nanticoke Area led 37-30 at the start of the fourth quarter and by 11 with 5:43 remaining in the game. The Classics got as close as six points at 44-37 with 4:24 left but Abby Gesecki hit a pair of foul shots to send the Trojanettes on a 10-3 surge that saw them open up a 14-point lead with just 2:09 to go in the game.
“Ashley Makarczyk really kept us in the game in the first half. She knocked down shots and did what she had to do,” Rentko said. “If teams want to double team Sarah and Aly, it makes no difference. Makarczyk and Katlyn Malshefski are very good shooters and good team players. They helped us tremendously throughout the year. Abby Gesecki really hounded people on defense.”
Acker finished the afternoon with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Gesecki added seven points, three of which came in the first half.
“I thought we forced the ball way too much,” Rentko noted. “I told them to take what we get and we didn’t do that in the first half. I thought we were too loose at the beginning of the year. They felt confident but they had to play the game. To Mr. Ferguson, message answered.”

Scranton Prep (45)
Folk 5 0-0 10, E. Lavelle 6 2-4 14, McLane 3 3-4 11, Zeleniak 2 0-0 4, Preate 0 0-0 0, McIntyre 2 2-4 6, A. Lavelle 0 0-0 0, Walsh 0 0-0 0, Osborne 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 7-12 45.

Nanticoke Area (56)
Dembowski 0 0-0 0, Byorick 2 14-16 19, Gesecki 1 4-4 7, Makarczyk 6 0-2 15, Malshefski 1 0-0 2, Acker 4 5-8 13. Totals: 14 23-30 56.

Scranton Prep 10 13 7 15 — 45
Nanticoke Area 9 12 16 56 — 56

3-point goals: McLane (2), Byorick, Makarczyk (3), Gesecki

3/3/2006
Nanticoke Area hoping third trip to final results in championship
BY JILL SNOWDON STAFF WRITER


Following Scranton Prep’s 63-20 victory over Crestwood in Wednesday’s District 2 Class AAA semifinal, Classics coach Joe Ferguson said his team was sending Nanticoke Area a message: they were ready for a title showdown.
Normally that type of banter would put a fire under an opponent, but Nanticoke Area is hardly taking the bait.
“We’re just happy to get to the district final three years in a row,” Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko said. “The girls are taking everything in stride. They are 27-0 and they don’t think about. They are a loose group and they’re a close group and when you have that, it’s easy to play.”
Nanticoke and Prep will square off for the district title at 3 p.m. Saturday at Wyoming Area High School. Both teams advance to the state playoffs.
For the Trojanettes, a victory would give them their first district title since 1999. They lost to North Pocono the past two seasons.
“We have a goal set and the kids have great focus,” Rentko said. “I told the girls we have to concentrate on the little things. I don’t care what the other team does.”
He especially isn’t overly concerned if Scranton Prep decides to pack in on center Sarah Acker or throw a box-and-one at guard Aly Byorick.
“Let them double-team Sarah. Let them do whatever they have to,” Rentko said. “We have Ashley (Makarczyk) and Katilyn (Malshefski) who can shoot the ball really well. We’ve had other teams double Sarah or Aly and it never slowed us down before.”
Acker, a 6-foot-3 center, may have the toughest job on the court, Saturday. She will battle down low with Scranton Prep senior center Kristen Folk. Folk is 6-foot-6, averages 16.5 points per game and will play next season with Boston College.
“I’ve seen (Prep) three or four times,” Rentko said. “It’s going to be a good match-up between Sarah and Folk. Folk is taller and she blocks a lot of shots, but I think Sarah is stronger and more physical.”

3/2/2006
Girls District 2 Class 3A basketball playoffs
Ailing Trojans still roll
Acker, Byorick excel despite illness

By lsokolowski@leader.net

Sarah Acker ran to the locker room just before halftime. She’s been battling the flu for the past few days, but Greater Nanticoke Area coach Jack Rentko wouldn’t let her miss any time.
Not during the playoffs. Not when the team needs the 6-foot-2 center the most. Not on Wednesday.
“Her and Aly (Byorick) are sick; they’re fighting the flu,” Rentko said. “I told them there’s no timeouts. Suck it up and play. If you have to, puke on the sidelines.”
Tough love worked.
Top-seeded Nanticoke defeated fourth-seeded Berwick 66-31 in a District 2 Class 3A semifinal at Wyoming Valley West. Nanticoke advances to Saturday’s final against second-seeded Scranton Prep at a time and site to be determined. The Trojanettes also clinched a berth in the PIAA playoffs.
Berwick will play Crestwood in the third-place game Saturday. The winner advances to the state playoffs.
“Since the beginning of the season, the team talked about being district champions,” Rentko said. “I said, ‘Let’s win the league first. Then get to the district finals.’”
For the past two years, Nanticoke lost to North Pocono in the district final. That’s not a road block this year. North Pocono lost in the opening round to Lake-Lehman.
This might be the Trojanettes’ year – but not without Acker. Even with the flu, she’s a standout. She finished with a game-high 25 points on Wednesday.
Nanticoke (27-0) had a 20-3 lead after one. Acker and Byorick had 10 points each that quarter. Byorick finished with 22 points.
Bridget Carlin scored Berwick’s only basket that quarter. She finished with a team-high 16 points, nine in the second half.
Berwick (17-9) sacrificed its shooting, substituting it with passing. It was trying to play keep-away in an attempt to keep the score down.
Rentko knew that was Berwick’s game plan. He told them to be patient and not force steals. But, they didn’t listen, and missed steals for Nanticoke meant points for Berwick.
“They’re the number three team in the state,” said Berwick coach Bill Phillips. “We played them earlier in the season, and it was quite obvious (that Nanticoke would win. But), it would have been nice to be the team that made them 26-1.”

3/1/2006
Trojanettes play Berwick tonight!
1-Nanticoke Area vs 4-Berwick

Where: Wyoming Valley West High School, Plymouth
When: 7:30 p.m.
Records: Nanticoke Area (26-0), Berwick (17-8)
Key Players: Aly Byorick, Nanticoke Area (20.2), Sarah Acker, Nanticoke Area (18.6); Ashley Makarczyk, Nanticoke Area (9.7); Bridget Carlin, Berwick (13.7).
Noteworthy: The last time Berwick and Nanticoke Area squared off was Dec. 22. The result: Nanticoke 84-47.

2/26/2006
GNA 64, Lake-Lehman 23
Sarah Acker couldn’t do anything wrong in Saturday’s quarterfinal game. She finished with 18 points – 17 of which came in the first 10 minutes of the game. She also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Top-seeded Nanticoke (14-0) held eighth-seeded Lake-Lehman (5-9) to seven points in the first quarter. At halftime, the Trojanettes had a 46-11 lead.
Kaitlin Malashefski added eight points and 12 rebounds, Ashley Makarczyk had eight points and seven assists. Aly Byorick added 10 points, and Abby Gesecki rounded out the starting five with seven points.
Jill Chocallo, who finished with a team-high five points, was able to get Lake-Lehman on the board when she made her second of two free throws with 5:46 left in the first quarter.
Teammate Marissa Harrison also had five.
“I just think, defensively, we brought our game,” said Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko.

2/24/2006
Trojanettes to face Lake-Lehman
Eighth-seeded Lake-Lehman will face top-seeded Greater Nanticoke Area in the quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 25th at Wyoming Valley West.

2/23/2006
Nanticoke 57, Wyo. Area 19
Sarah Acker led all scorers with 17 points and was followed by Aly Byorick with 15 points and Kaitlyn Malshefski with 12 to lead Nanticoke, which led 44-13 at halftime.

2/22/2006
CLASS 3A Outlook - Citizens Voice

Greater Nanticoke Area (12-0) is the top seed. Look for it to run roughshod over the competition, just as it did during the regular season.
Nanticoke will get its revenge on North Pocono, the team that defeated the Trojanettes in last year’s final, in the quarterfinals, assuming ninth-seeded North Pocono (5-11) can defeat eighth-seeded Lake-Lehman (4-8) in the opening round.
Dark horse: With the Trojanettes in the bracket, there isn’t one.
Prediction: Nanticoke will defeat Scranton Prep in the final.

2/21/2006
The pairings for the District 2 boys and girls basketball tournament were officially released Monday at a meeting at Convention Hall in Pittston.

The girls tournament opens up on Thursday evening. Ticket prices will be $5 for adults and $3 for students. First round games will be played at the home of the higher seeded team

Moving on: Three teams advance.

Defending champion: Carbondale

Seeds: 1. Nanticoke Area (23-0), 2. Scranton Prep (21-4), 3. Crestwood (16-7), 4. Berwick (15-8), 5. Pittston Area (15-10), 6. Coughlin (6-14), 7. Dallas (11-12), 8. Lake-Lehman (14-10), 9. North Pocono (8-16), 10. Tunkhannock (6-16), 11. Honesdale (9-15), 12. West Scranton (8-15), 13. Western Wayne (4-20), 14. Valley View (6-16), 15. Bishop Hoban (7-15), 16. Wyoming Area (1-20).

Tie breaker procedures: Dallas is the sixth seed after finishing 1-5 in league competition against opponents that finished above the Mounts while Lake-Lehman was 0-6 and received the seventh seed. Honesdale is the 11th seed after beating Scranton twice in league play. West Scranton is the 12th seed after finishing 1-9 against opponents finishing higher in league competition while Western Wayne was 0-11 and got the 13th seed.

Moving on: Three teams advance to the state tournament

2/17/2006
Nanticoke rallies by Williamsport girls
By cmasse@sungazette.com
(GNA Webdesign note: From Williamsport Sun Gazette Newspaper)

Almost everyone in the packed Williamsport gymnasium was cheering against her team as Nanticoke tried recording an improbable win Thursday night.
Nanticoke forward Aly Byorick heard only silence.
Byorick blocked out the noise then broke Williamsport’s collective heart, scoring on a buzzer-beating putback to force overtime, before draining a go-ahead 3-pointer as Nanticoke rallied for a 65-59 win in front of a boisterous Williamsport crowd. Byorick scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the undefeated Trojans overcame an 18-point third-quarter deficit, snapped the Millionaires’ 15-game winning streak and handed Wil-liamsport its first home loss.
“It’s a hostile environment but that’s the best part,” Byorick said. “I love playing in front of fans whether they’re against us or cheering for us. Williamsport had a lot of kids here and we had to find a way to block out the crowd and I think we did a good job of that.”
Nanticoke, the state’s fourth-ranked Class AAA team, had not found themselves in a situation like last night despite playing Class AAAA teams like District 2 champion Hazleton and Cheltenham, ranked No. 2 in the state. Williamsport (22-2), though, seemed poised to snap Nanticoke’s streak, building a 47-29 lead midway through the third quarter.
But even with 6-foot center Sarah Acker in foul trouble, the Millionaires became tentative, started losing turnovers at key times and Nanticoke started mounting its comeback.
“We took them out of the flow of the game offensively,” Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko said. “This win will carry us a long way. Our kids showed a lot of heart and a lot of desire and they never quit.”
Nanticoke received a big boost when Williamsport forward Madina Ali fouled out with 6:07 remaining. Ali had 20 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and had changed the game’s complexion during the second quarter, sparking a 31-10 run that extended into the third quarter.
With Ali gone, Williamsport’s offense disappeared and the Millionaires did not score over the final 3:48. Nanticoke slowly chipped away at the lead, but did not tie the game until Byorick grabbed the second of two Trojan misses in the final seconds and hit the game-tying basket as time expired.
Byorick, who is being recruited by schools like Stanford, Penn State, Syracuse and Xavier, then put Nanticoke ahead to stay, swishing a 3-pointer from the corner while falling into the bleachers with two players’ hands in her face.
“I knew we had the momentum of the game at that time and if we got into overtime we had a good chance of pulling it out,” Byorick said. “One of our mottos on our team is to never give up and I think that’s exactly what we did tonight, we didn’t give up.”
The Millionaires had two chances to tie after Byorick’s 3-pointer, but Lakeema Jones and Michelle Rorie’s 3-point attempts went in and out. Acker, also a Division I recruit then sealed the win in the final 10 seconds, hitting two foul shots.
“The girls goal is to win a district banner,” Williamsport coach Brian Stugart said. “Hopefully they learn from it, reflect back on it and if they want to reach their goal of the banner it’s going to have to be good intense practices.”
Williamsport’s full-court press frustrated Nanticoke during the first half, forcing 14 turnovers. That also jump-started an up-tempo offense that helped the Millionaires turn a four-point deficit into a 13-point halftime lead in less than four minutes. While Ali and Rorie (21 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) shredded Nanticoke’s defense the Trojans lost their cool with Acker (17 points, 11 rebounds) receiving a technical foul.
The Millionaires picked up where they left off in the third quarter, using a 7-0 run and taking the 18-point lead on a Rorie to Ali basket. But then the fouls started piling up. Defensive stopper Vanessa Wright received her fourth foul 29 seconds later and Ali followed suit with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“It’s all the little things that helped us lose the 18-point lead,” Stugart said. “We didn’t take care of the ball, we stopped being aggressive and we didn’t box out at the end when we were up two.”
Williamsport will not play again until March 1. The Millionaires receive a bye into the semifinals and will meet either Scranton or Wal- lenpaupack.
“It was a great game in a great environment and it got us both ready for the postseason,” Stugart said. “We just have to learn from it.”

NANTICOKE (65)
Aly Byorick 7 9-13 24, Sarah Acker 3 11-12 17, Katlyn Malsheski 4 5-5 13, Ashley Mackarczyk 3 0-0 7, Lauren Dembawski 1 0-0 2, Leigh Ann Rentko 0 0-0 0, Abby Gesecki. Totals 18 25-31 65.

WILLIAMSPORT (59)
Madina Ali 6 8-8 20, Michelle Rorie 7 5-6 20, Lakeema Jones 2 4-5 8, Vanessa Wright 1 0-0 2, Emma Thompson 2 2-3 6, Caitlyn Slattery 0 0-1 0, Alisha Coffey 1 1-2 3. 19 20-25 59.

Nanticoke 14 9 16 18 8—65
Williamsport 9 27 11 10 2—59

3-point field goals: Nanticoke 4 (Byorick 3, Makarczyk); Williamsport 1 (Rorie).

Records: Nanticoke 24-0, Williamsport 22-2.

J.V. Score: Nanticoke 47-40.

2/16/2006
Athletes Of The Week
- Sarah Acker
Times Leader

There isn’t much Sarah Acker – a Greater Nanticoke Area junior – hasn’t done this season. She scored her 1,000th point in a victory over Wyoming Seminary on Jan. 26. On Feb. 9, she grabbed her 1,000th rebound in a victory over Meyers.
Acker is second, to classmate Aly Byorick, in scoring for the Lady Trojanettes and is averaging 18.6 points per game in league games.

2/14/2006
Trojanettes take 2nd half and overall Division II crown
Citizens' Voice

At Nanticoke Area, Aly Byorick scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Trojanettes to a 68-40 win over Lake Lehman. By virtue of the victory, Nanticoke, 23-0; wins the second-half and overall Division II crown. The rojanettes went 6-0 in each half. Leigh Ann Rentko and Sara Acker each added 12. Nanticoke visits Williamsport thursday night in an exhibition game.

2/10/2006
GNA coach sees his 200th win
Times Leader staff

Sarah Acker grabbed the 1,000th rebound of her career and Jack Rentko posted his 200th coaching victory as Greater Nanticoke Area routed Meyers 75-42 Thursday in Wyoming Valley Conference Division II girls basketball.
Acker finished with 19 rebounds, 22 points and seven blocked shots. Aly Byorick also scored 22 points while Lauren Dembowski had five assists.
Alyssa Sabalesky scored 16 for Meyers.

2/7/2006
H.S. Girls Basketball State Rankings and Boxscores
H.S. Girls Basketball
Pa. rankings

Pennsylvania high school girls basketball rankings from the Patriot-News of Harrisburg for the week of Sunday, February 5, with school’s district in parentheses, followed by the school’s record and last week’s ranking.

CLASS 3A Rec Pvs
1. Hopewell (7) 18-3 1
2. Lancaster Catholic (3) 22-0 2
3. St. Basil (1) 16-4 3
4. Nanticoke (2) 21-0 4
5. Villa Maria (10) 19-2 6
6. Palmyra (3) 22-0 8
7. Pottsgrove (1) 19-4 9
8. Lansdale Catholic (1) 18-4 10
9. Allentown C.C (11) 18-4 5
10. Lewistown (6) 19-1 7

Teams to watch: Boiling Springs (3) 18-2; General McLane (10) 16-3; Indiana (7) 17-4; Mars (7) 17-4; Oxford (1) 18-2; Punxstawney (9) 17-2; Scranton Prep (2) 18-2; Slippery Rock (10) 16-4; Southmoreland (7) 19-2; Tamaqua (11) 18-4; Thomas Jefferson (7) 16-5; Villa Maria (1) 14-6; West Mifflin (7) 18-3.

2/5/2006
JERRY KELLAR OPINION
Killing selves with kindness?
Sportsmanship could haunt GNA

It got eerily quiet inside the Greater Nanticoke Area gym when junior Aly Byorick crashed to the floor with an ankle injury in the final minute of Thursday’s victory over Bishop O’Reilly.
The fans’ anxiety was well founded. Deep down, everyone knows the Trojanettes have little chance to make a run at a Class 3A state title without their best player. That’s not a knock on the rest of the squad, which is actually quite talented. It’s simply being realistic.
The good news is that Byorick, who just might be the finest pure shooter on any girls team in the state (probably a few boys teams, as well), should be just fine for the playoff run.
The bad news is it might not matter.
So superior are the Trojanettes (20-0 overall) to their Wyoming Valley Conference competition, they have yet to be tested in league play. Sure, a very good O’Reilly team pushed the issue the other night, but Nanticoke still won by 15 and, truth be told, it could’ve been worse.
Save for a handful of tough preseason exhibitions, highlighted by a 10-point win over highly regarded Class 4A Cheltenham, Nanticoke’s margin of victory ranges between 35-50 points this season.
Blowout wins make for inflated stats and eye-catching newspaper headlines, but they don’t help at all when the city league champion is pressing you up and down the court in interdistrict play.
Yet, other than run the opposition in the ground like the great state champion GNA team of 1990 did on a nightly basis (80-point win margins were common for that squad), there’s little these Trojanettes can do right now.
“Yeah, it’s a problem,” said coach Jack Rentko, whose starters rarely make it past the third quarter. “But one thing we’re never going to do is embarrass the other team.”
That type of uncommon sportsmanship these days likely will get Nanticoke a sportsmanship award and gain Rentko the admiration and respect of his coaching peers. But it also might translate to silver during the medal ceremony in Hershey, should the Trojanettes get that far.
“That’s one of our big concerns, beating teams by 30 points every game,” said Byorick, the MVP of the conference as a freshman and a third-team all-state selection in 2005. “We’re playing two and one-half quarters a game.”
Rentko concedes his athletes must play longer to get into “game shape.” To counter the lack of court time, he runs intense, up-tempo practices during which the Trojanettes work on their press. It’s a facet of their game that rarely is utilized.
“I want to press because we don’t press enough. But what do I do?” Rentko said.
And while the Trojanettes, who run plenty during their workouts, haven’t had problems beating opponents yet, Byorick agreed the absence of game action is cause for concern.
“Running sprints in practice is not the same as running during games,” she said.
That didn’t stop the ’90 squad. Coached by Rose Volpicelli, those Trojanettes pressed from the moment the game started to the final buzzer, pounding teams into submission and creating more than a few bad feelings.
So put off was one opposing coach with GNA’s run-it-up act that season, he ordered one of his players to shoot at the wrong basket, effectively scoring the 99th and 100th points for the Trojanettes.
Volpicelli’s kids were so dominant, opposing teams often celebrated even the smallest of achievements. In one game at GNA, the visitor’s bench and fans roared with approval when one particularly skittish player turned and let one fly from the top of the key, drawing nothing but net.
That basket cut Nanticoke’s lead to 39-2.
The Trojanettes, their coach especially, made few friends that year. But they ran -- quite literally -- through the postseason and won the state crown going away.
Rentko’s made it clear he won’t take that approach. What’s more, he can’t, not in today’s politically correct-obsessed society.
Battle-tested or not, the 2006 Trojanettes certainly have a shot to win it all. The coach believes an upcoming exhibition against perennially tough Williamsport will be a big test.
“We have a good bunch of kids that really listen. They work hard, play as a team and they get along,” Rentko said.
Nanticoke’s mantra this season is “The Best Is Yet To Come.”
We’re about to find out.
To read more columns by Jerry Kellar, click on www.timesleader

2/3/2006
GNA wins, but star hurt
Aly Byorick leaves the gym on crutches after the victory over Bishop O’Reilly.
lsokolowski@leader.net

Sometimes high school basketball players turn into glorified heroes, and the Greater Nanticoke Area team is no exception.
Watching the game is almost like watching a movie. The Nanticoke fans booed the bad guy (in Thursday’s case it was Bishop O’Reilly) and cheered for the good guys.
There wasn’t a moment in Nanticoke’s 52-37 victory when you didn’t know exactly how the fans felt.
From the second the Queenswomen (19-2) took the court for warm-ups, they were greeted with booing from the home fans. When Nanticoke took the floor, it quickly turned into applause.
And, when Nanticoke junior Aly Byorick crashed to the floor during the final minute of the game, it was those same fans who yelled to alert the referees.
Byorick was trying to defend a Bishop O’Reilly player. She turned and stepped on the opponent’s foot, twisting her left ankle.
It’s an injury that’s been ailing Byorick all season. She went to a specialist in Hershey during the summer and was told she had a partially torn ligament and a chipped bone, but there was nothing she could do besides let it heal on its own.
Byorick usually gets her ankles taped, but on occasions she forgets, she’s been known to sprain them.
She left the gym on crutches after Thursday’s game, but assured everyone she was fine.
“I just have weak ankles,” said Byorick, who finished with a game-high 23 points.
Sarah Acker, who flirted with foul trouble, added seven points, 12 rebounds, 10 blocks and five steals.
She picked up her fourth foul with 4:16 remaining in the third quarter and was forced to sit well into the final quarter.
“When Sarah picked up her fourth foul, we had to adjust a little bit,” said Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko. “We held our own. … Sarah carries us with her blocked shots and her presence on the court.”
With Acker sidelined, Bishop O’Reilly was able to cut the lead to 14 at 43-29. That was the closest the game had been since Nanticoke’s 24-10 halftime lead.
Nanticoke (20-0) had an uninspiring second quarter offensively (it only scored nine points), but it was the defensive highlights that carried the Trojanettes through the game.
“I thought we played great defense last time,” Bishop O’Reilly coach Paul Appel said, referring to Nanticoke’s 49-28 win on Jan. 9. “We got a few more looks offensively this time, and that generated more points.
“I’m proud of the effort. Traditionally, this team never quits. That was my proudest moment. They never gave up, not even one ounce. You can’t teach that. They kept their heads up and kept trying. There are some tired players in there.”
See more photos of the Greater Nanticoke Area-Bishop O’Reilly girls basketball game. Go to www.timesleader.com

2/3/2006
Nanticoke girls post 20th straight victory
BY JILL SNOWDON STAFF WRITER

Holding Bishop O’Reilly to just two points in the second quarter went a long way for Nanticoke Area on Thursday night in a key Division II match-up.
In the absence of Trojanette center Sarah Acker, who was sitting out with four fouls, O’Reilly made a second-half run. The first half, however, came back to haunt the Queenswomen as Nanticoke managed to keep its distance for a 52-37 victory.
Nanticoke is now 20-0 overall and 9-0 in Division II. Bishop O’Reilly drops to 19-2 overall and 7-2 in league play. Both of O’Reilly’s losses have come at the hands of Nanticoke.
“I thought we played great defense in the first half, then Sarah got her fourth foul and it’s definitely different without her,” Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko said. “O’Reilly is a class act and we knew they weren’t going to quit. To hold a team like that to 37 points is a nice accomplishment.”
Acker was whistled with her fourth personal with 4:30 to go in the third. She sat the remainder of the quarter and the first three minutes of the fourth.
Without Acker, who stands 6-foot-3, O’Reilly was able to get more looks underneath. O’Reilly center Erin Chesnavich turned in four points, while Megan Kazmerski and Laura DeCesaris combined for five more to bring the Queenswomen within 14.
“When Sarah goes out we know we have to step up on our rebounds,” Nanticoke
senior Ashley Makarczyk said. “It was pretty tough inside with Chesnavich, but I think we did a good job on the help defense.”
“Whenever you get a top player like Sarah Acker out of the game you hope to make a run,” O’Reilly coach Paul Appel said. “But the clock ran out on us.”
Offensively Acker, a 1,000 point scorer for the Trojanettes, was held to just seven points but Makarczyk and Aly Byorick picked up the scoring slack.
Byorick scored 15 of her game-high 23 points in the first half. She also sparked Nanticoke’s 9-0 second quarter run with seven points.
Makarczyk finished with 11 points, including back-to-back baskets in the third to give Nanticoke a 37-16 advantage. She also added five steals. While points weren’t her speciality Thursday night, Acker was her usual self in the paint as she finished with 10 rebounds and 10 blocks.
Chesnavich led O’Reilly with 19 points, 16 of which came in the second half and Colleen Goodwin, who scored O’Reilly lone basket in the second quarter, followed with six.
“We were hoping to generate more points in the second half, but Nanticoke is a tough team to come back on,” Appel said. “But I’m proud of the effort from our girls. They kept playing hard when they could have easily put their heads down. You can’t teach that. That’s their character.”

BISHOP O’REILLY 37
NANTICOKE AREA 52

BISHOP O’REILLY 8 2 10 17 — 37
NANTICOKE AREA 15 9 17 12 — 52

Ashley Makarczyk scored her 1,000th career point during the first quarter of Greater Nanticoke Area’s 88-49 rout of Dallas on Monday in a WVC Division I girls basketball game.
~ CONGRATULATIONS ~

Shown below is Sarah Acker who scored 22 of her game-high 26 points in the first half and reached the 1,000-point mark in Greater Nanticoke Area’s 60-24 non-divisional victory against Wyoming Seminary. Acker hit the milestone with her final basket of the second quarter. The junior center has 1,004 points.
~ CONGRATULATIONS ~

From: "U.T.L"
To: "'gnaweb1@yahoo.com'" <gnaweb1@yahoo.com>
Subject: Girls Basketball
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 09:16:01 -0500

Good Morning,
Just wanted to drop a line about last nights game vs. Hanover Area.
Whata Class Act !! You guys didn't press or otherwise embarrass an
obviously out-matched opponent. Your girls were respectful and played with not
only great skill but with dignity. I would like to extend a sincere wish
for the best of luck in your quest for the Gold in the playoffs this year.
GoodLuck and the best of health to your girls and coaches.
A Hanover Area Girls Basketball Parent

1/10/2006
GNA rolls in showdown
In matchup of unbeaten WVC girls’ teams, Nanticoke is too much for Bishop O’Reilly

lsokolowski@leader.net

KINGSTON - Aly Byorick was limping after the game, favoring her right side. It was only then that the Greater Nanticoke Area junior let on that she might be hurt.
Byorick twisted her left ankle with just over two minutes left in the third quarter, but she played through it and led the Trojanettes to a 49-28 win over host Bishop O’Reilly in a WVC Division II showdown on Monday.
As Bishop O’Reilly coach Paul Appel told his team after the game, “there’s a lot of hype, but it’s just a league game when it comes down to it.”
But it sure didn’t seem like that.
The Bishop O’Reilly gym was packed. The lower bleachers were standing room only, and the balcony, though it was chained off and supposedly closed, held a group of spectators who came late.
So there was an audience – and a reason for it.
Both teams were the only undefeated teams remaining in the Wyoming Valley Conference. And according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News state rankings, Nanticoke was ranked third in Class 3A, and Bishop O’Reilly was ranked third in Class A.
“We didn’t expect to be undefeated this late in the season,” Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko said. “We had Cheltenham, Hazleton and North Schuylkill in the first three games of the season. We could have lost to any one of them.”
But Nanticoke (12-0, 3-0) won all three of those – and every game since.
“It’s a good feeling, but now we have an X on our backs,” Byorick said. “Everyone’s coming after you.”
There’s a lot of credit given to Byorick, who finished with a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds; and Sarah Acker who, despite picking up her third foul early in the second quarter, had nine points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Abby Gesecki added eight points and six assists.
When Acker was in foul trouble, Brianna Borowski, a sophomore, was there to substitute in.
Leigh Ann Rentko and Lauren Dembowski are usually the first two off the bench for the Trojanettes, but Rentko broke a finger on her right hand during the Daniel Boone Tournament Dec. 28-29 in Reading and had three pins put in. She’s out until the first week in February.
Dembowski had been suffering from a stress fracture in her foot and aggravated it during the same tournament. She also won’t be back until February.
With Rentko and Dembowski on the court, the team is a lot quicker. Without them, the Trojanettes have some compensating to do.
“We didn’t press as much at the mid-court,” Jack Rentko said. “We had to make some changes. I think my team did a hell of a job today defensively.”
Nanticoke held the Queenswomen (13-1, 3-1) to 11 second-half points. Erin Chesnavich, Bishop O’Reilly’s leading scorer, finished with 10 points. Her sister Marissa added nine.
Nanticoke jumped out to a 15-7 lead after the first quarter. Acker picked up her third foul with 6:41 left to play in the first half, and she was sidelined during most of the second quarter. Bishop O’Reilly was able to chip away at the lead, and Nanticoke was only up 22-17 going into the second half.
“Sarah makes the team go,” Rentko said. “When she sat out, they had a big quarter and were able to cut into our lead. When she came back, she had (five) blocks. She is intimidation.”
It’s easy to block shots when you’re 6-foot-2.
“If I block them,” Acker said, “they won’t want to come near me anymore.”
The rematch will happen on Feb. 2 at Nanticoke.
“It’s never fun to lose, but we played tremendous as a team today,” Appel said. “I’m very proud of the effort.
“In the third and fourth quarters, we couldn’t hit our shots. We weren’t getting good looks, and it didn’t fall together. That’s basketball, and we were the team that went cold. It had nothing to do with effort.”

1/10/2006
Trojanettes serve notice
By: Matt Engel, Staff Writer CV

KINGSTON - Billed as a showdown between two undefeated teams, Monday night's Nanticoke Area-Bishop O'Reilly girls' game turned into a rout in the second half.
Aly Byorick scored 18 points and the Trojanettes drained eight 3-pointers to defeat the host Queenswomen, 49-28.
Nanticoke improves to 13-0 overall and takes over sole possession of first place in Division II of the Wyoming Valley Conference at 3-0. O'Reilly drops to 13-1 and 3-1.
In the most recent state girls' basketball poll conducted by the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Nanticoke Area is ranked third in Class AAA. O'Reilly is third in Class A.
A monster third quarter by Byorick, Katlyn Malshefski and foul-plagued Sara Acker put the game out of reach for O'Reilly. Byorick hit one of her four 3-pointers, Malshefski made two buckets and Acker added four points in the period to open a 37-21 lead.
Acker picked up her third personal foul with 6:41 left in the second quarter with her team leading 15-9.
Marissa and Erin Chesnavich took advantage of the 6-3 junior center's absence, helping O'Reilly pull within five at halftime, 22-17.
Acker started the third period but Byorick keyed a 13-2 run with a putback, two free throws and 3-pointer from the right wing. Acker's layup just before the end of the quarter made it a 16-point game.
Byorick, Ashley Makarczyk and Abby Gesecki all hit treys in the fourth quarter. Acker didn't start the period but returned with 6:03 to go.
"We did a helluva job defensively," said Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko. "We wanted to control the boards. Sara makes our team go. Her intimidation is big for us."
Byorick had 11 boards. Acker grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots. Gesecki dished out six assists.
The Trojanettes' pressure defense forced O'Reilly to shoot poorly, making just nine of 46 shots. Nanticoke hit 18 of 53.
"Aly's the stud of the league," Rentko added. "She sprained her left ankle in the third quarter but came back in the game. We're a veteran team and this win will help us down the road. We didn't expect to be undefeated at this point."
Acker's time on the bench did not hinder her mates. "We play against Sara in practice," explained Byorick. "We kept our lead without her. We wanted to run on O'Reilly and use double penetration. Everyone contributed. It's a good feeling to be unbeaten. But we have an 'X' on our back. Being undefeated doesn't mean much."
Acker finished with nine points and hit three of nine shots. "I was confident the other girls could pick it up when I went to the bench," she said. "We had to play stronger against a taller team like O'Reilly."
The Chesnavich's combined for 19 points. O'Reilly couldn't generate much else offensively.
"We played a tremendous team," stated Queenswomen coach Paul Appel. "Our shots didn't fall in the third quarter. We went cold. It had nothing to do with effort. We played hard. Nanticoke is explosive. They have a solid team, one of the best in the state. They have great outside shooting, speed and height. They are well coached."

12/30/2005
Byorick, Acker lift Nanticoke to crown
Times Leader staff

POTTSTOWN—Aly Byorick and Sarah Acker combined for 45 points to lead the Greater Nanticoke Area girls basketball team to a 54-33 victory over Daniel Boone on Friday night in the championship game of the Daniel Boone Tournament.
Byorick scored a game-high 23 points, and Acker had 22 points in a game that was dominated by the Trojanettes from the outset. Nanticoke led 16-0 at the end of the first quarter and was in full control the rest of the way.
Byorick, who scored 36 points in Thursday’s win over Pottstown, was named MVP of the tournament. Acker also was named to the all-tournament team.


12/29/2005
Byorick hits for 36 as GNA reaches final
Times Leader staff

POTTSTOWN – Aly Byorick scored a career-high 36 points, including six three-pointers, to lead Greater Nanticoke Area to a 76-48 win over Pottstown on Wednesday night in the Daniel Boone Tournament.
With the win, the Trojans advanced to the championship game and will face Daniel Boone at 7:30 p.m. today. Daniel Boone defeated Annville-Cleona 44-30 in the other game.
Byorick, a senior guard, netted nine points in the first and second quarters, eight in the third and 10 in the fourth. She also had six assists.
Center Sarah Acker also had a big night with 21 points, 25 rebounds and six assists for the Trojanettes, who held a commanding 20-4 lead after one quarter.
Aiesha Harper led Pottstown with 19 points, while teammate Alisha Harmon added 18.

12/24/2005
Trojanettes pound Bishop Hoban
By: Angelo Sulla Correspondent

When the first quarter ended Monday night, it appeared Nanticoke Area might have to go the limit with visiting Bishop Hoban.
The Lady Argents trailed by three, 16-13, and looked like a team that could take down the unbeaten Trojanettes.
Unfortuantely, the final three periods turned into a nightmare for Hoban as the Trojanettes rolled to a 77-30 win.
"They're defensive pressure just took us out of what we wanted to do," said Hoban coach Boo Schuler.
Nanticoke Area used a distinct height advantage to take control of the boards and the game. The Trojanettes used an 18-2 run to close out the opening half with a 43-20 lead.
Like Schuler, Nanticoke Area coach Jack Rentko felt his team's defense keyed the turnaround.
"I thought our pressure took Hoban out of their game," he said. "We were able to turn them over 24 times and that set up some easy opportunities."
Aly Byorick led the Trojanettes with a gaune high 27, points, including a single game school record with six threepoint goals. Sarah Acker tossed in 22 points and pulled down 23 rebounds while Kaitlyn Malshefsi added 10. Nanticoke Area improves to 6-0.
Alexandra Downing led Hoban, 3-2, with seven points.
"Nanticoke Area is the class of the league," Schuler noted.

12/22/2005
Nanticoke cruises to win
Makarczyk, who is mourning the loss of her grandmother, led Nanticoke with 21 points.

By lsokolowski@leader.net

It was 10 on Monday morning when Ashley Makarczyk got the call.
She didn’t have time to think. She didn’t have time for anything besides leaving school, getting in the car and driving to Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre.
She made it to the hospital and went to the room where her paternal grandmother, Edith Kelly, was.
“Her eyes were open,” said Makarczyk, a Nanticoke senior. “She saw me. She knew I was there.”
Five minutes after Makarczyk arrived, Kelly passed away at age 79 from a heart condition.
“She was sick,” Makarczyk said, “But we didn’t know she’d go as fast as she did.”
Makarczyk was at Nanticoke’s home game that night, and she was there again on Wednesday. On Wednesday, the day of the second wake, Makarczyk finished with a game-high 21 points in a 78-28 win over visiting Crestwood.
She didn’t intend to skip any games. That’s something her grandmother would have hated.
Two years ago, when Makarczyk’s father Dennis passed away from cancer, Makarczyk almost missed the Trojanettes’ game that night.
“My grandmother said to me, ‘If I’m ever on my death bed, and you miss a game, I’m going to haunt you,’” Makarczyk said.
Kelly, who lived in Glen Lyon, was always at Makarczyk’s basketball games, and, it was like she was with her at the last two games, she said.
“Ever since my dad died, I felt like that too,” Makarczyk said. “I keep saying, ‘She’s with my dad.’”
For the two games before the Crestwood romp, her shot had been off. But, on Wednesday, she went 8 for 11 from the field with a game-high four three-pointers.
Teammate Sarah Acker finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds and Aly Byorick added 15 points and 10 assists.
Nicole Boone scored a team-high seven points for the Comets (5-3). All her points came in the first half, after which Nanticoke was leading 51-18. The Trojanettes (6-0) took a 74-23 lead into the fourth quarter.
“Defense,” Makarczyk said. “Coach stressed that a lot.
“Sometimes, he sets goals for us, and that helps us a lot. It makes us try harder and keeps us focused.”
The team carries its undefeated record into today’s game at Berwick – and, even though Kelly’s funeral is this morning, Makarczyk will be at the game.
“I knew she was a tough kid,” said Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko. “She wants to play. (Even) when her father died two years ago, she didn’t miss a game”

12/22/2005
Small only in size
Gesecki big in ability physically and mentally

By lsokolowski@leader.net

If you’re looking at a Greater Nanticoke Area girls basketball box score, you’re most likely to notice Aly Byorick or Sarah Acker, two of the best players in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
Your eyes might overlook Abby Gesecki’s name.
Even when she’s on the court, she’s a head shorter than most of the other starters (Acker is 6-3; Kaitlyn Malshefski and Byorick are 6 feet; Ashley Makarczyk is 5-10; Gesecki is only 5-6).
But Gesecki, a guard, loves her “smaller” role.
“I like it better,” the senior said. “I get to beat girls on the outside.”
She earned the point guard position because there was a time when she was the best ball handler. “Whoever was the best dribbler got to play guard,” she said.
Ever since she began playing when she was 9 or 10 years old, she was always the one to start the plays, never the one to finish them. Last year, she had 114 points and 105 assists for the Trojanettes.
“When I was little, and I made a basket, my face would light up. I was smiling from ear to ear. … I appreciate the little baskets.”
Along with basketball, Gesecki runs cross country and track. In the spring, she runs the 400, the 800 and long jumps.
“I was always pretty quick in gym class or on a track. I tried the field events too. I wanted to get my hands into everything.”
She’s looking at traditional schools, such as Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. However, her top choice is the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
“What really convinced me was the atmosphere and the camaraderie. That closeness. And the alumni base stretches so far.”The process for getting into the Naval Academy is long and arduous. First, you must be eligible. Some requirements are that you must be at least 17 but not older than 23, unmarried and a United States citizen. Then there’s a preliminary application. If that goes through, you must get a nomination from, among others, one of your state’s two U.S. senators or one of your state’s U.S. representatives.
Gesecki has already gone on three interviews and has received one nomination. She’s hoping to get two because, of course, more looks better than less.
She received a letter of assurance from the Naval Academy that states she has met all the qualifications academically and athletically. She’s also been proven medically and physically sound.
She plans on majoring in engineering, and the other schools she’s looking at – Lehigh, Lafayette, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania – are among the top engineering schools in the country.
“It’s always been a passion of mine – math and science.”
But, she knows that might not work out.
“I can’t tell what I’ll end up doing. There are other options there with the Navy.”
For now, all she has to worry about is participating in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science and completing her senior project. Then, there’s her course load. She’s taking Advanced-Placement Calculus, AP Biology, Chemistry 3, Physics 2 and English.
“I’m always pretty busy. I don’t think about lightening my load.”
The basketball team is 6-0 and hopes to win a District 2 Class 2A title. The last two seasons, Nanticoke finished second, and it’s something they hope to rectify.
“We want to change that and go further in states.”

12/16/2005
Returning talent makes Nanticoke Area a favorite
By: Jill Snowdon, Staff Writer

Nanticoke Area has everything it needs to defend its Division II title. It has all the components to win its first District 2 title since 1999 and the Trojanettes certainly have the weapons to vie for a state title this season.
Sounds like lofty expectations for a team that has just three seniors, but consider this: Aly Byorick and Sarah Acker are dominating juniors who broke school records for points and rebounds in a season, respectively. Byorick is arguably the best all-around player in the conference, while Acker, a 6-foot-3 center, controls the paint in every game.
Senior guard Ashley Makarczyk would be the top star on any other WVC team, but at Nanticoke, she graciously shares the spotlight. A tremendous outside shooter, she holds the school record for career 3-pointers with 150. Fellow seniors Abby Gesecki and Katilyn Malshefski have also pulled their weight in Nanticoke's 4-0 preseason record.

12/14/2005
Nanticoke pummels Valley West
Makarczyk sets career mark for three-pointers, hitting one for a total of 151.

Times Leader staff

Aly Byorick scored a season-high 31 points as Nanticoke Area (4-0) routed Wyoming Valley West 77-41 in girls basketball action.
Byorick scored 10 in the first quarter to give the Trojanettes a 16-9 lead. She added 11 in the third as the lead grew to 60-29 going into the fourth quarter.
Nanticoke’s Ashley Makarczyk made one three-pointer and set a record for three-pointers in a career (151). The record of 150 was held by Jennifer Blasi (1996-2000).
Sarah Acker added 12 points for Nanticoke and Makarczyk and Katlyn Malshefski had 10 points apiece.
Kristen Pechulis led Valley West with nine points.

GNA defeats host in Hazleton tourney
By Times Leader Staff

Aly Byorick scored 20 points and Sarah Acker added 18 as Greater Nanticoke Area pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat Hazleton Area, 56-44, Saturday in the Lady Cougar Tip-Off Tournament championship game.
Nanticoke led 39-37 entering the fourth, but outscored the Cougars 17-7 in the final eight minutes.
Rachel Wisemiller led Hazleton Area with 22 points, including five three-pointers.


12/03/2005
Lady Cougar Tip-Off Tournament
GNA battles way to final
The Trojanettes down Cheltenham and will meet Hazleton Area tonight.

By LISA SOKOLOWSKI
lsokolowski@leader.net

It took a minute, but Abby Gesecki finally put Greater Nanticoke Area on the board. Sure, it was only a two-point lead at that point, but the Trojanettes never trailed during the entire opening round game of the Lady Cougar Tip-Off Tournament at Hazleton Area on Friday.
Cheltenham - coached by West Hazleton Class of 1964 graduate Bob Schaefer - pressured Nanticoke in the fourth quarter, tying the game twice, but that's when Sarah Acker stepped up.
The 6-3 junior scored 12 of her 16 points in the fourth as Nanticoke defeated Cheltenham 58-48. Nanticoke will play Hazleton Area, which defeated Abington Heights 53-35 in the nightcap.
Acker had four baskets and was 2 for 4 from the line in the final six minutes of the game. Cheltenham was pressing during the final quarter, and it left Acker open to do as she pleased.
"I just think we were getting inside and running the court more," Acker said.
Acker grabbed 18 rebounds, six in the first quarter. That's when Aly Byorick took charge. She hit two threes in the first eight minutes, amassing eight points total that quarter, giving Nanticoke a 14-11 lead.
Cheltenham came out quickly, and it's not something that Nanticoke is used to. At practice, the girls don't play a game that quickly, and it showed. Nanticoke's shots were off because of it.
In the first quarter, the Trojanettes' field goal percentage was a mere 37.5 percent. The team shot less but more accurately in the second, making half of its shots and finished with a 62.8 field goal percentage.
"It's tough to come in a game like this and play against quickness," coach Jack Rentko said. "The kids were a little confident after the first quarter."
Nanticoke was up 37-31 heading into the third, but it wasn't a large enough cushion. Cheltenham opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run, and that's when Acker started scoring. She wasn't the whole team. Gesecki finished with seven points and 10 assists.
"We knew this was a statement game," Byorick said, noting that Cheltenham made it to the Class 4A finals last year. "We knew if we won, we would show people that we are tough."
Nanticoke will have to show that again today when it plays Hazleton Area at 7:30 p.m. in the championship game. The consolation game will begin at 6 p.m.
Last year, Hazleton Area beat Nanticoke by one point, and Nanticoke is looking to avenge that loss. Hazleton Area, like any host school, wants to win its own tournament.
The younger players proved that without words.
When starters Mandy Caso (two points) and Rachel Wisemiller (10 points, all in the second half) each picked up two fouls in the opening minute of the game, coach Joe Gavio was stunned. Neither of the girls had sat at all last season, but here he was, sitting them early in the first half.
The other players stepped up. Freshman Maddy Ludwig had seven points off the bench. Fellow freshman Alyssa Flanagan, the starting point guard, scored 11, and three-year starter Amy Mantush had 12.
"At a tip-off tournament, the team is all excited and nervous," Gavio said. "We weren't smooth, and that was due to inexperience. We were out of whack, but the win is a tribute to them. This is a good quality team."

12/02/2005
H.S. girls basketball preview
Nanticoke girls hoping this could be the year
Eight returnees, including 2 of league's best players, have coach Rentko feeling positive.

By LISA SOKOLOWSKI
lsokolowski@leader.net

Nanticoke's a basketball town, and the Trojanettes are always expected to win.
That's the trouble Jack Rentko is used to facing.
"There's a lot more pressure on the kids and the coaches," said Rentko, who is in his 10th year of coaching. "Nanticoke's a tough town to coach in; it's always been."
The spectators have expected winners - and Rentko has produced them.
The team was the league champions from 1999 until 2001 and then again last year. It was the district champion in 1999 and runner-up three times since then.
Rentko has amassed a 178-90 career coaching record, but he's still lacking one thing - a PIAA title.
Two years ago, the team lost in an Eastern quarterfinal game. It did one better last year, falling in an Eastern semifinal matchup. Rentko hasn't coached in a title game.
But maybe this season.
The Trojanettes do return junior standouts Sarah Acker and Aly Byorick.
Acker, at 6-foot-3, stands a few inches above the other players. She has a career total of 663 rebounds. She had 432 last season, breaking a record set by Chris Greco in the 1985-86 season.
Acker was named the MVP of Division II of the Wyoming Valley Conference and was a first-team all-scholastic selection. She enters her third year on the varsity with 657 points and 204 blocks.
Byorick, a 6-0 guard and forward, scored her 1,000th career point and grabbed her 500th career rebound last year. She now has 1,044 and 513, respectively. She has an 82.5 foul shot percentage, 140 assists, 128 steals and 108 blocks. It's because of those stats that she was named a Street and Smith's all-American honorable mention for the second straight year. She was third-team all-state as a sophomore, a first-team all-scholastic and the Outstanding Player of the Year in Division II.
"It's not only Sarah and Aly, although they're the main focus of the team," Rentko said. "The other kids can do everything for the team."
He was referring to seniors Ashley Makarczyk, Kaitlyn Malshefski and Abby Gesecki, junior Lauren Dembowski and sophomores Brianna Borowski and Leigh Ann Rentko, all of whom return from last year's 26-4 squad.
As of opening day, Amanda Coughlin, a 5-8 junior, is the only new face on the team. After a few games, Rentko, like he does every year, will reward some junior varsity players for their dedication and play and pull them up onto the varsity squad.
For now, the roster is staying at nine.
And that's a lot of pressure on each girl's shoulders.
"We have to win the first couple of games first," Rentko said. "(Then) let's go to the states and go where the cards fall.
"People are tough in Nanticoke. They want a winner."

Top Five Players

1. Aly Byorick, Jr., Nanticoke; 2. Sarah Acker, Jr., Nanticoke; 3. Erin Chesnavich, Sr., Bishop O'Reilly. 4. Kristen Baumes, Jr., Pittston Area; 5. Krystina Durako, Sr., Seton Catholic.
Byorick is a Street and Smith's honorable mention all-American from the East for the second straight year. Even magazines on the national level know to watch out for her.
Acker has a career total of 663 rebounds, 657 points and 254 blocks. Chesnavich was an all-state second team selection last year.
Baumes averaged 17 points, eight rebounds, four steals and four assists as a sophomore. Durako is outstanding under the boards at both ends of the court.
Meyers guard Alyssa Sabalesky is already being talked about as the WVC's top freshman.

Top Five Teams

1. Nanticoke; 2. Hazleton Area; 3. Bishop O'Reilly; 4. Crestwood; 5. Seton Catholic.

Eight of Nanticoke's nine players lettered last year and only one starter was lost to graduation. Hazleton Area, the Division I champion, returns Rachel Wisemiller, who averaged 11.7 points per game last year. Bishop O'Reilly returns two starters from last year's District 2 Class A championship team. Crestwood returns a solid nucleus from last year's 18-8 squad. Seton Catholic opens with an aggressive scrimmage schedule to get the team ready for its Division III schedule.
It's So Good To Be Home
Berwick travels from its very first scrimmage against Southern Columbia on Nov. 21 until Dec. 12, when the Bulldogs go to Bishop Hannan. In between, there are trips to Central Columbia, Pocono Mountain East, Marian Catholic, North Schuylkill and East Stroudsburg South.
Finally, on Dec. 14 - three weeks after the first scrimmage - Berwick hosts Dallas. That's followed by two games on the road and then another at home.
In total, including the Lewistown Tournament the Monday after Christmas, the Bulldogs are away 16 times and home 10 times.
Sit Back, Relax
Hazleton Area is playing Abington Heights at 8 p.m. today, but the Cougars will probably get to the gym early to watch the first game of the Cougar Tip-Off Tournament.
At 6 p.m., Nanticoke plays Cheltenham.
Cheltenham ended Hazleton Area's season in the first round of the PIAA 4A playoffs last season.
The teams played twice last season, and Hazleton Area, though it got close the second time, wasn't able to beat Cheltenham last year.
If both teams win - or if both teams lose today - they'll play each other tomorrow.
Win Together, Stay Together
Anyone who went to a Nanticoke volleyball match this fall will notice a lot of familiar faces on the basketball team. Four of the girls who played on the first Nanticoke team to ever make it to the state tournament (the team lost in a PIAA Class 2A first-round match) start on the basketball team.
Sarah Acker, Aly Byorick, Ashley Makarczyk and Kaitlyn Malshefski are all starters on both the volleyball team and the basketball team.
Both sports are good for players with height, and genetics have blessed those four girls with it. Makarczyk is the shortest of the four at 5-10 and Acker is the tallest at 6-3. Byorick and Malshefski are both 6-0.

12/02/2005
DIVISION II - Girls' Basketball Preview (Times Leader)

1. Nanticoke

Coach: Jack Rentko
Last year: 26-4

Key players: Sara Acker, Jr., C; Brianna Borowski, So., G; Aly Byorick, Jr., G/F; Amanda Coughlin, Jr., F; Lauren Dembowski, Jr., G; Abby Gesecki, Sr., G; Ashley Makarczyk, Sr., G; Katlyn Malshefski, Sr., F/C; Leigh Ann Rentko, So., G.
Coach's comments: Last year, the team claimed the Division II title, but lost in the District 2 championship game. With 26 wins - and a trip to the PIAA quarterfinals - it was the most wins since the 1989-90 season. Byorick is one to watch this year, if last year was any indication. She scored her 1,000th point and grabbed her 500th rebound. She broke the school record for most points scored as a sophomore (581). That record had held for 23 years. Acker is a record holder too. She broke the school record for most rebounds in a season (432), a record which was set in 1986.

District 2 Class AAA Champions
"Thanks for a great season"

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