leader girls basketball player of the year
Long on talent
Sarah Acker dominated both ends of the court for Nanticoke Area.
The center is headed to Saint Joes.
VAN ROSE firstname.lastname@example.org
One of Sarah Ackers most memorable experiences
was playing AAU ball last summer for the Philadelphia-based Fencor team.
I played against girls my size or bigger, with better talent,
said the Nanticoke Area standout.
Certainly, that wasnt the case in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
The 6-foot-4½ Acker was not only the tallest player in the league,
she pretty much had things her own way on both ends of the basketball
Acker put up spectacular numbers averaging 22 points, 16 rebounds
and 10 blocked shots and helped lead the Trojanettes (28-1) to
the third round of the PIAA Class 3A tournament. She also carried Nanticoke
Area on her shoulders after bookend standout Aly Byorick suffered a
severe foot injury in the District 2 title game.
It all added up to Acker being named the Times Leader Girls Basketball
Player of the Year. The award comes on the heels of Acker winning the
same honor for volleyball last fall.
In my eyes, she was the best big player in Pennsylvania,
said Nanticoke Area head coach Jack Rentko. At 6-4½, Sarah
is so athletic that she can do anything on the court. She passes well,
has great hands, and a great court awareness.
Ackers presence in the paint was a major reason that the Trojanettes
were able to hold their opponents to an average of just 34 points per
game. She was one of the most prolific rebounders in the history of
the WVC, finishing with a school-record 1,616 boards.
I take pride in rebounding, said Acker, 18, who received
a full athletic scholarship to play at Saint Josephs University.
I dont really care about scoring, because scoring isnt
everything. I think actually rebounding is more important. If you dont
box out and rebound, the other team is going to get more chances to
I just felt (rebounding) was my job and it was my biggest contribution
to my team. I stepped up when I had to.
Acker and Byorick have been playing basketball since they were young
kids. Acker attended elementary school at Holy Child in Plymouth, before
coming to Nanticoke Area as a fourth-grader and joining the schools
youth basketball team.
Aly went to Pope John Paul, said Acker. Shes
been playing for Nanticoke since the sixth grade. However, we usually
played on different teams until we reached junior high.
Acker and Byorick went on to become one of the most potent 1-2 punches
in the history of the WVC. Acker finished with more than 1,500 career
points, while Byorick became Nanticoke Areas all-time leading
scorer with 2,272 points.
The two players led the Trojanettes to the PIAA Class 3A state tournament
in 2006 and 2007. During that period, Nanticoke lost only two games
both coming in the state playoffs.
Acker stepped to the forefront after Byorick was hurt in the district
finals. She not only led the Trojanettes in scoring during the district
and state playoffs, she dominated almost every game with her rebounding
and shot blocking.
It was a role reversal, but Acker relished the challenge.|
It kind of felt good to carry the team. I liked the pressure of
carrying them on my shoulders.
Acker is a self-described animal lover, who spends
much of her spare time taking care of her two dogs and two cats.
Theyre like little kids or therapy.
They really help me feel good about myself.
The daughter of Terry and Lorraine Acker of Nanticoke
received several scholarship offers from Division I colleges, but narrowed
her choices down to St. Josephs and Penn State.
I went down to St. Josephs for a
third visit and just felt like I belonged there, she said.
4/4/2007 WVC trio named all-state
BY Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice
With their final basketball season behind them,
Nanticoke Area’s Aly Byorick and Sarah Acker and Bishop O’Reilly’s
Marissa Chesnavich have been busy reacquainting themselves with life
outside of the gym.
Acker is manager of the girls soccer team. Chesnavich
is a member of the glee club preparing for O’Reilly’s
spring concert and Byorick is working part-time and rehabbing an injured
foot. On Tuesday, however, basketball caught up to them once again
as all three were named to the Associated Press Pennsylvania Girls
Byorick returned to the AAA first team. Acker picked up AAA second
team accolades and Chesnavich was selected to the Class A third team.
“I’ve been so busy with school and catching up with my
friends that I didn’t even think about (All State),” said
Acker who was a third-team choice as a junior. “I’m very
excited and honored to be selected.”
Acker and Byorick finished the season just five points shy of each
other. Acker, a 6-foot-4 center, had 619 points on the year and Byorick,
a 5-11 forward/guard, followed with 614.
Byorick suffered a foot injury in the District 2 final, slowing her
down significantly throughout the state playoffs. But her efforts
throughout the season did not go unnoticed. She led Divison II in
scoring with 22.5 ppg, 33 3-pointers and 85 percent from the foul
“I’m still down in the dumps about my foot, but this definitely
cheered me up,” Byorick said. “I worked hard all season
and it’s nice for people to recognize that.”
Acker was tied for second in Divison I scoring with 21 ppg. She guided
the Trojanettes to the AAA state quarterfinals with a pair of triple-doubles
and a double-double in the playoffs. Nanticoke concluded the season
with a 29-1 record after losing 50-48 to Mount St. Joseph.
Chesnavich is a newcomer to the All-State squad, but follows in the
footsteps of her sister Erin, who was a first-team selection last
year as a senior.
“I was actually really surprised to be selected,” Marissa
said. “It doesn’t matter at all which team I was named
to. I was just thrilled to be picked.”
This season Marissa helped O’Reilly advanced to the Class A
semifinals, while the Queenswomen lost to eventual state champion
Bishop Guilfoyle. It was the farthest any O’Reilly girls basketball
team has advanced. O’Reilly ended the year with a 23-8 record.
Chesnavich, a 6-0 center, was fourth in scoring among the Wyoming
Valley Conference Division II leaders with 16.3 ppg.
She also shot 61-of-83 from the foul line and averaged 12 rebounds
a game. She concluded her career with 900 points.
All three girls will play at the college level.
Chesnavich will reunite with her sister at Division II University
of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
Acker is also headed to Philadelphia and will play at Division I St.
Joseph’s University, while Byorick will take her talents west
and play for Division I Xavier University in Cleveland. ......Read
4/1/2007 A LEGACY OF GREATNESS
By Jill Snowdon
The next time Sarah Acker and Aly Byorick meet
on a basketball court theyll have to do without their signature
greeting that always followed pre-game announcements. They wont
look for each other on a back-door pass and theyll need to ignore
their instincts as to where the other is on the floor.
After years of tearing up the court together as teammates, the Nanticoke
Area duo will soon become college opponents.
Both girls have received full Division I scholarships to Atlantic
10 universities: Acker to St. Josephs and Byorick to Xavier.
And while theyll adjust to basketball without each other, theyll
long be remembered as one of the most dominating one-two punches to
ever play in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
Acker and Byorick re-wrote Nanticoke Areas record books and
for four seasons they were the center of every opponents game
plan. In recognition of their play this season,
they have been selected as The Sunday Voices co-Players of the
Year for the 2007 season. Weve been playing together and against each
other since we were in fourth grade so its definitely going
to be very weird next year, Acker said.
We always joke that when we play in college we have to be careful
not to throw each other a cross-court pass. Were just so used
to each other.
The pair will certainly leave behind a lasting legacy for future Trojanettes.
Byorick is the schools all-time leading scorer with 2,271 points
(breaking Paul Guffrovichs record of 2,256) and she also holds
eight other school records, including 119 varsity starts. Acker established
five school records, including 1,616 career rebounds and 531 career
blocked shots. They finished their careers with a 106-13 record at
Nanticoke, including two District 2 championships and three Wyoming
Valley Conference titles.
In their final two seasons, the Trojanettes went 58-2, losing both
games in the state quarterfinals.
Its sad we couldnt get a state title, but I still
enjoyed every minute of basketball at Nanticoke, Byorick said.
And its always been fun playing with Sarah.
The final games of Byoricks high school career were especially
emotional as she tried to play through the pain of a foot injury she
suffered in the District 2 finals.
She sat all but two minutes of her teams state playoff opener
with Athens and was able to play against Boiling Springs and Mount
St. Joseph, although she was nowhere near full strength.
In the wake of Byoricks injury, Acker and fellow Trojanettes
rallied around their teammate. Acker scored back-to-back triple doubles
in the state playoffs and added a double-double in the Trojanettes
50-48 loss to Mount St. Joes in the AAA quarters.
It was so horrible to see Aly come so far and work so hard and
be held back because of her injury, Acker said. But she
really tried and I give her a lot of credit. Were disappointed
we didnt go further, but everyone played well and stepped up
and thats all you can ask for.
As seniors, Acker and Byorick once again posted impressive stats.
They finished first and second in Division II scoring with Byorick
averaging 22.5 and Acker following with 21 ppg. (tied with GARs
Paige Venson). Byorick closed out the year with 614 points, 68 3-pointers,
187 rebounds, 102 assists and 73 steals. She was also an 82 percent
Acker had 619 total points, 500 rebounds, 113 assists, 107 steals
and 174 blocked shots.
My best memory is probably the game against Meyers when I scored
my 1,500th point and Aly scored her 2,000th, Acker said. It
was pretty neat that we both reached milestones in the same game.
Byoricks fondest memory was the District 2 championships. But
it was the team camaraderie afterwards that made the victory that
Some of my favorite memories actually came off the court, like
when we toilet papered our coaches houses and spray painted
District Champs in the snow on their lawns, Byorick said. It
was a great. Of course, it was nice to set the school record for scoring,
but I really hope someone comes along and breaks it. Id be so
happy for them, just as Paul Guffrovich was for me.
3/19/2007 Nanticoke girls fall
to Mount St. Joseph
Ailing Byorick a non-factor as GNA’s season derailed email@example.com
It took more than three quarters for the Nanticoke
Area girls basketball team to show the kind of emotion expected by
head coach Jack Rentko.
“In the first half, we didn’t play with any swagger at
all,” Rentko said. “We didn’t play with any arrogance
at all. At this time of the year, you have to play with a little swagger
and arrogance. But in the fourth quarter, our girls showed their heart.”
Unfortunately for the Trojanettes, Mount St. Joseph junior Laura Johnson
stuck a dagger into it. And in the process, she killed Nanticoke Area’s
hopes of winning its first state championship in 17 years.
The 5-foot-8 guard scored all nine of her team’s points in the
fourth quarter, including the winning free throws with 2.2 seconds
remaining, as the Magic escaped with a thrilling 50-48 win against
the Trojanettes in a Class 3A state quarterfinal game Sunday at Bethlehem
Freedom High School.
Johnson finished with a game-high 22 points.
“Laura Johnson willed us to win,”
Mount St. Joseph head coach John Miller said. “She would not
accept defeat. She made a couple of big baskets and she hit those
two big free throws at the end. She has a tremendous heart.”
Mount St. Joseph (28-3) will play District
1 runner-up Villa Maria Academy in the eastern final Wednesday night
at Norristown High School for a berth in the state championship game.
The Magic played Villa Maria four times this season, winning three
District 2 and Wyoming Valley Conference Division
II champion Nanticoke Area ends its season at 29-1. The Trojanettes
compiled a 53-2 record during the last two seasons. The loss marked
the third consecutive season Nanticoke Area was eliminated from the
state playoffs by a District 1 team.
Despite trailing the entire game and by 10
entering the final quarter, the Trojanettes found themselves in position
to either win the game in regulation or send the game into overtime.
Senior Lauren Dembowski nailed a pair of three-pointers to begin the
comeback and freshman Jen Harnischfeger tied the game at 45-45 with
Johnson gave the lead back to the Magic with
a three-pointer 30 seconds later, but Saint Joseph’s-bound Sarah
Acker converted on a traditional three-point play with 51 seconds
left in the game to tie the score at 48-48.
“We were getting a little tired,”
Acker said. “We wanted to make every possession count. We needed
to make a stop and get the ball back.”
Johnson made sure that never happened.
Despite being hounded by Nanticoke Area defender
Leigh Ann Rentko, Johnson drove into the lane and put up an off-balance
jumper that banged off the back of the rim. But a late call by a member
of the Harrisburg-area officiating crew gave Johnson two free throws
with 2.2 seconds remaining. She calmly made both.
Acker led the Trojanettes with 21 points. The
6-4 center overcame a sluggish start, but rebounded with 15 points
in the second half. She also blocked six shots and pulled down 11
“I think everyone came out a little nervous,”
she said. “It was hard getting the ball to me early and it was
a little frustrating. But everyone did a great job getting the ball
to me in the second half. This isn’t the way we wanted it to
end. But I told the girls to keep their heads up. Everyone played
great. We didn’t quit.”
The Magic were the quicker, more emotional
and more aggressive team in the first half, leading by as many as
12 points in the second quarter. Despite not having a senior on the
floor or a player taller than 6 feet, Mount St. Joseph controlled
the offensive and defensive boards and its lightning-quick defense
created 12 turnovers.
Acker and fellow all-stater Aly Byorick –
who has been hobbled by a severe foot injury for the past two weeks
– combined for just eight points in the first half. Acker made
just two field goals in the half, and the Xavier University-bound
Byorick struggled to an 0-for-5 performance from the field –
including an air ball and an easy layup.
“(Mount St. Joseph) stepped it up and
put it to us early,” Rentko said. “We were a step slow
in the first half.”
Junior Sarah McGorry was a force inside for
the Magic in the first half, scoring 10 of her 16 points. Eight of
those points came after she pulled down an offensive rebound. The
6-foot McGorry also did a good job of keeping the much-bigger Acker
off the boards early.
“Sarah McGorry did a terrific job,”
said Miller, who spent 18 years as head coach of the LaSalle University
women’s program. “We didn’t want Sarah to contest
Acker. We wanted her to play behind her and when a shot went up, her
only job was to box out and keep Acker away from the boards.”
The Magic played well against Nanticoke Area,
despite having not seen the Trojanettes in person or on film this
“I knew they had a left-handed 6-foot-4
center (Acker) and a player going to play at Xavier. What more did
I need to know?” Miller said. “We know Nanticoke Area
has an excellent program.”
As her and her teammates walked off the court,
Acker made sure each Trojanette held her head high.
“Everything will be fine,” she
said. “All year long, we kept hearing about how Nanticoke was
a two-player team. Today, everyone stepped up. I’m so proud
of my teammates.”
3/19/2007 Season finale
‘stinks’ for Trojanettes
Teammates picked up slack for ineffective Byorick, who hobbled way
through game firstname.lastname@example.org
There was no need for tears or an apology. Aly Byorick
offered them, anyway.
The gutsy Nanticoke Area standout limped and hobbled her way through
her team’s heartbreaking 50-48 loss against Mount St. Joseph
in a Class 3A state quarterfinal game at Freedom High School on Sunday
– the effects of a severe foot injury suffered two weeks ago
clearly obvious to the more than 2,500 people in attendance.
But standing in the hallway near her team’s locker room following
the game, the pain on Byorick’s face had nothing to do with
“It really stinks that my (high school) career ends like this,”
said the two-time all-state selection before taking a few minutes
to compose herself. “I couldn’t give it 100 percent, but
I tried my best. I’m so proud of my teammates. Everyone stepped
it up in the second half.
“I just want to tell everyone that I’m sorry.”
Nanticoke Area head coach Jack Rentko knows the apology isn’t
necessary. Seniors Sarah Acker, Lauren Dembowski, Amanda Coughlin
and Byorick have given Trojanette fans more than their share of thrills
and excitement during the past four years.
“The doctors told us that (rehabilitation) for this kind of
foot injury is a two-month process,” Rentko said. “She
put her heart and soul into the game.”
The foot injury clearly bothered Byorick’s game, especially
on the offensive end. The Xavier University recruit finished with
a 0-for-8 shooting performance from the field, which included an air
ball on a three-point attempt and missed short layup because she couldn’t
push off her foot. She did make two free throws to finish with two
“It was hard for me to sprint down the court,” said Byorick,
who unsuccessfully tried to hide the pain on her face during the game.
“It was OK on defense, but it was very restrictive. I couldn’t
use my foot on my jump shot or to jump for rebounds.”
Byorick and Acker finish their careers as one of the best one-two
combinations in the storied tradition of Nanticoke Area basketball.
The St. Joseph’s University-bound Acker almost led the Trojanettes
to an improbable comeback win against Mount St. Joseph, scoring 15
of her 21 points in the second half. She ends her career with more
than 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Byorick, who averaged more than 23 points a game, became the school’s
all-time leading scorer this season and finishes her career with 2,561
Mount St. Joseph head coach John Miller certainly knows a good player
when he sees one, having spent 18 years as head coach at La Salle
University. And Miller says the 6-foot Byorick is more than just good.
“My heart goes out to her,” he
said. “This is a tough way for her high school career to end.
You can tell she was hurting. I coached against Xavier more than 20
times when I was at La Salle, so I know the kind of players they get.
She’s an outstanding player.”
Mar. 17, 2007 Nanticoke takes on
Mt. St. Joseph.
The road to the state championship appears to be
a little bumpier today for the two remaining teams from the Wyoming
Valley Conference, even though both are coming off impressive victories
in second-round action on Wednesday.
Nanticoke Area (29-0) puts its unbeaten streak
on the line against District 1 champion Mount Saint Joseph (27-2)
at 1 p.m. at Bethlehem Freedom High School on Sunday, March 18th in
Class 3A quarterfinal action.
Heres a capusule look at tomorrow's game
Nanticoke Area (29-0) vs. Mount Saint Joseph (27-2)
Class 3A quarterfinal
1 p.m., Bethlehem Freedom H.S., Sunday, March
We saw Mount Saint Joseph play twice and have
three films on them said Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko, whose
team comes off a 52-32 win over Boiling Springs. Theyre
a very good team. Theyre in the same class with Villa Maria.
Mount Saint Joseph and Villa Maria are among
the premier 3A teams in the state, along with Nanticoke. The two D1
powers played each other four times this season, with each team winning
The Magic are led by Laura Johnson, a 5-foot-8
junior guard averaging 13 points per game.
Johnson is a very good ball handler and
playmaker, Rentko said. My daughter will have the task
of watching her.
He was referring to 5-2 junior guard Leigh
Ann Rentko, who gives away six inches in the matchup with Johnson.
However, Rentko compensates with speed and quickness.
Mount Saint Joseph has another outstanding
player in 6-foot junior center Sarah McGorry (13.1), who loves to
drive to the basket.
McGorry is a nice player inside,
said Rentko. She likes to post up and shes a good blocker,
but Sarah (Acker) should be able to handle her.
Acker, a 6-4 senior, is one of the most dominant
centers in the state. She had 28 points, 18 rebounds and 10 blocks
against Boiling Springs. She can score with either hand, and has great
timing when she goes for blocks.
The Trojanettes hope to have senior guard Aly
Byorick back at full strength. Byorick, who came into the tournament
averaging 23 points, suffered a severe foot injury in the District
2 finals. She played just two minutes a first round win over Athens
but was on the court for more than 20 minutes against Boiling Springs
and scored 11 points.
Alys foot is still day-to-day,
Rentko said. She brought a calming presence on the court in
our last game. She played a solid game and really looked to get the
ball into Sarah.
Mount Saint Joseph coach John Miller says his
team will be counting heavily on Johnson.
Shes the one who really stirs the
drink. She makes us go. Shes extremely competitive and really
has a strong passion for the game.
Miller, who served as the La Salle womens
basketball coach for 18 years, is concerned about Nanticokes
size advantage. Its important for us not to allow Acker
to get second and third shots. We realize thats going to be
a big challenge.
Nanticoke starters: Aly Byorick, 6-0, Sr., 23.0;
Sarah Acker, 6-4, Sr., 22.0: Lauren Dembowski, 5-6, Sr., 3.8; Jen
Harnischfeger, 5-2, Fr., 5.0; Leigh Ann Rentko, 5-3, Jr., 8.9.
Mount Saint Joseph starters: Elle Hagedorn,
5-10, So., 8.0; Ryann Gallagher, 5-8, Jr., 6.3; Laura Johnson, 5-8,
Jr., 13.0; Sarah Mc Gorry, 6-0 Jr., 13.1; Jen Sabia, 5-5, So., 5.2
Nanticoke Area will face D1 champion Mount St. Joseph in the
quarterfinals Saturday. email@example.com
Sarah Acker was so pumped up when she got
to school Wednesday, she couldn’t contain her energy.
“I started running up and down the halls like a crazy
person,” she said. “Finally, I calmed down.”
Unfortunately for the Boiling Springs girls basketball team,
Nanticoke Area’s 6-foot-4 senior center saved the rest
of her anxiety for the basketball court.
Acker scored 28 points, pulled down 18 rebounds and blocked
10 shots to lead the Trojanettes to a 53-32 victory against
the Lady Bubblers in second round play of the PIAA Class 3A
state tournament Wednesday at Martz Hall. District 2 champion Nanticoke Area (29-0) will face
D1 champion Mount St. Joseph (26-2) in quarterfinal action Saturday
at a site and time to be determined. Aly Byorick added 11 points for
the Trojanettes, becoming the school’s all-time leading
scorer. She now has 2,568 points, surpassing the total of 2,559
points scored by former standout Paul Guffrovich.
Acker dominated a much smaller Boiling
Springs (26-4) team. The Lady Bubblers’ tallest starter
is 5-9 and Acker simply had a picnic. The Trojanettes did an
excellent job of feeding her in the paint, and she scored at
will almost every time she touched the ball.
“What can you say about the big
girl?,” observed Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko. “She
did it all.”
Acker has been prone to getting into
early foul trouble during the season. But that’s a problem
against the Lady Bubblers.
“Before the game, Coach Rentko
told me to pretend I already had two fouls,” Acker said.
“I just tried to keep my hand up about a half-inch higher
than usual and stay out of foul trouble.”
Byorick, a 6-0 senior guard, seems to
be making remarkable progress from a severe foot injury, which
she suffered in the district finals. She played only two minutes
in Nanticoke Area’s first-round win against Athens, but
saw extended action against Boiling Springs. She started and
played approximately 25 minutes.
“It was amazing just to be back
out there,” said Byorick. “It feels good to get
set the record, but not as good as getting to play most of the
game. It (left foot) was 10 times better than it was on Saturday.”
Once again, the Trojanettes got a solid
effort from guards Jen Harnischfeger and Leigh Ann Rentko, who
did a great job of getting the ball up the floor and causing
havoc on defense.
Nanticoke never trailed, but the Lady
Bubblers kept it close in the first half. They drew to 20-19
on a long-range three-pointer by Kirsti Larsen with 2:59 remaining
in the second quarter. The Trojanettes took a 22-19 halftime
lead on an Acker basket with 40 seconds left.
“We hurt ourselves by committing
16 turnovers in the first half,” Rentko said. “I
think we came out a little nervous, but that may have had something
to do with playing in Martz Hall. “We turned up our defense
in the second half.”
The Lady Bubblers scored just 13 points
in the second half. Nanticoke opened up a 37-23 lead after three
quarters, and broke the game open in the final period.
Boiling Springs was led by senior guard
Kourtney Ehly with 16 points, followed by Kirsti Larsen with
11 points—including three treys.
Tickets for the Nanticoke Area-Mt. St.
Joseph game will be on sale at 2:45 p.m. today at the school.
Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $3 for students.
3/14/2007 Breaking It Down Nanticoke Area (28-0) vs Boiling Springs
When: Tonight, 6 p.m.
Where: Pottsville's Martz Hall
What’s next: The winner advances to to face tonight’s
winner of the Mount St. Joseph/Lampeter Strasburg game on Saturday.
Breaking it down: In the face of adversity, Nanticoke
picked up major points for pulling together as a team in Saturday’s
win over Athens. While Athens never gave Nanticoke a reason to panic,
every member of the Trojanette squad did their part, rallying around
Byorick, who sat injured on the bench for all but two minutes of the
Byorick could barely run on Saturday. She left
the game early in the first quarter. She’s been rehabbing her
foot since the initial injury and coach Jack Rentko says she is improving
“We’re going to start her and see
how she does and go from there,” Rentko said.
Acker scored a triple-double in Saturday’s
win (24 points, 11 blocks, 18 rebounds) and could have another big night
against a Boiling Springs team that’s biggest players are 5-9
(Ali Aunkst 7.9 ppg and Kayla Fulfer 4.8 ppg).
Kourtney Ehly, a 5-6 senior point guard, is perhaps
Boiling Springs’ top player. She leads the team in scoring with
14.7 ppg, while fellow guard Kirsti Larsen has a team-high 54 3-pointers
on the season.
“They are nice team,” Rentko said.
“But they’ll have a hard time stopping Sarah.”
3/14/2007 O’Reilly, Nanticoke favored to advance
The Queenswomen and Trojanettes prepare for PIAA second round games. By firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bishop O’Reilly and Nanticoke Area girls
basketball teams have one thing in common as they head into second-round
action of the PIAA state tournament tonight. Both are coming off impressive
victories in opening-round play.Z
Bishop O’Reilly (22-7) will take on Reading
Central Catholic (23-6) at 7:30 p.m. at Blue Mountain High School in
Class A action, while Nanticoke (28-0) faces Boiling Springs (36-3)
in the 3A bracket at 6 p.m. at Martz Hall in Pottsville.
The District 2 champion Queenswomen advanced
with a 37-18 victory over D1 champion Jenkintown in last Saturday’s
opening round. Nanticoke posted a 54-24 win over D4 runner-up Athens,
even though star player Aly Byorick spent most of the game on bench
with an injured foot.
Bishop O’Reilly and Nanticoke appear to
be solid favorites to move on to Saturday’s quarterfinals in their
Here’s a capsule look at tonight’s game:
Nanticoke Area (28-0) vs. Boiling Springs (26-3)
Class 3A second round
7 p.m.. Martz Hall Pottsville
Nanticoke is a combined 57-1 over the past two seasons.
The Trojanettes’ lone setback was in the second round of last
year’s state playoffs.
It isn’t likely to happen again.
Coach Jack Rentko’s team is playing solid
basketball, and the team seems more determined than ever to reach its
goal of winning the state championship. The Trojanettes turned in an
awesome performance in their win over Athens.
Nanticoke is led by senior guard Aly Byorick
and 6-foot-4 senior center Sarah Acker.
Like Nanticoke, Boiling Springs comes into tonight’s
game on a roll. The Bubblers, who are the No. 3 seed from D3, coasted
to a 55-36 victory over Prep Charter in the opening round.
Boiling Springs has an exciting player in 5-foot-6
senior point guard Kourtney Ehly, who averages 14.8 points per game.
Ehly possesses extreme quickness and can hit the pull-up jumper off
“She’s a good guard,” said
Boiling Springs coach Rick Falk. “She’s a smart player and
provides us with leadership.”
The Bubblers’ tallest starter is 5-foot-8
senior guard Kirsti Larsen, who averages 9.7 points and is a dangerous
“We have to shoot a good percentage and
limit Byorick and Acker,” said Falk. “Between the two of
them, they’re averaging 45 points, so we have to do what no one
else has been able to do.”
Nanticoke starters: Aly Byorick, 6-0, Sr., 23.0; Sarah
Acker, 6-4, Sr., 22.0; Lauren Dembowski, 5-6, Sr., 3.8; Jen Harnischfeger,
5-2, Fr., 5.0; Leigh Ann Rentko, 5-3, Jr., 8.9.
3/11/2007 Getting defensive for the victory
Nanticoke routs Athens as injured star Byorick makes a cameo appearance. By email@example.com
All season long, Nanticoke Area girls basketball coach
Jack Rentko has adamantly stated that his teams greatest strength
is its defense. On Saturday, the unbeaten Trojanettes made a strong
argument to support his point of view. Nanticoke held Athens scoreless during a 16-minute
stretch and Sarah Acker poured in 24 points en route to a 54-24 romp
over the Wildcats in opening round play of the PIAA Class 3A tournament
at Kings College.
The District 2 champion Trojanettes (28-0) will
face D3 third seed Boiling Springs (26-3) in second-round action on
Wednesday at a site and time to be determined. Boiling Springs defeated
Prep Charter in its opener.
Our guards did a terrific job, Rentko
said. Leigh Ann (Rentko) and Jen Harnischfeger caused a lot of
havoc on the perimeter, which caused a lot of turnovers. We did a great
job of putting pressure on the ball.
Nanticokes quickness and defensive pressure
disrupted the Wildcats from the outset, forcing them to cough up the
ball several times. Acker, a 6-foot-4 senior center, was an immovable
force defensively in the paint.
Time after time, Acker swatted away the ball
from Athens players that tried to drive in for a layup. She wound up
with 18 rebounds, 11 blocked shots and five assists.
Theyre a lot bigger than us, which
was a concern, Rentko said. But we pressured the ball well
and Sarah was outstanding.
Nanticoke star Aly Byorick, who suffered a severe
foot injury in last weeks win over Bishop Hoban in the district
final, started Saturdays game. She scored the opening basket,
but played only two minutes.
The 6-foot- senior could barely walk. She hobbled
up and down the floor with a noticeable limp, and appeared to be in
We put her in the starting lineup because
we wanted to keep her streak of 115 games alive, Rentko said.
She was just limping out there after the first 30 seconds. She
has a deep bone bruise.
Byorick, who leads the Trojanettes in scoring
with a 23-point average, said she quickly realized that she couldnt
go full force.
Sitting on the bench was really tough,
said Byorick, who will play at Xavier University next season. I
couldnt sit still because I wanted to be out there so bad.
Even without Byorick, the Trojanettes had no
trouble whatsoever. They simply ran roughshod over the outmanned Wildcats.
D4 runner-up Athens (20-8) scored seven points in the first four minutes,
but the Wildcats didnt score again until making a free throw at
the 1:34 mark of the third quarter.
At the time, Nanticoke held a 40-8 lead, and
four of the Trojanettes starters were on the bench.
I thought it was going to be much tougher,
said Acker, a Saint Josephs recruit. We really played well.
Everybody did what they had to do to step up without Aly.
Acker and Byorick have been teammates since the
eighth grade. Acker said she had a difficult time adjusting to Byorick
not being on the floor. It felt weird. I know where she is at
all times, and vice versa. We did the little things we had to without
her in the lineup.
Rentko added 12 points for the Trojanettes, followed
by Lauren Dembowski with eight points.
3/11/2007 Trojanettes cruise to win over Athens
By Jill Snowdon - Citizens' Voice
There was no denying Aly Byoricks pain, Saturday
in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
The Nanticoke Area star hobbled through warm-ups,
jogged down the court during her brief time in the game and limped off
the court when a reserve came in to relieve her.
But it was the idea of not playing a role in
her teams first-round victory that hurt her most.
Recovering from a foot injury she suffered in
last weekends District 2 final, Byorick watched from the bench
as her team coasted to a 54-24 win against Athens at Kings College.
Nanticoke (28-0) will face Boiling Springs on
Wednesday at a site and time to be determined.
Its a whole different view from the
sidelines, Byorick said. I cant stand to sit and I
wanted to be out there so bad, but we wanted to do what was best for
the team. The guards were great today and Sarah (Acker) was phenomenal.
Byorick, who is riding a 116-game starting streak, reported for duty
in the Trojanettes line-up. She scored Nanticokes first
basket, bringing her within two points of Paul Guffrovichs school
record of 2,259, and then she made an early exit.
From there her Trojanette teammates made sure
she wasnt disappointed as she sat anxiously and helplessly on
It was kind of weird not having her in
there, Acker said. Ive been playing with Aly since
we were in fourth grade and I always know where to find her, so it was
definitely different. But everyone stepped up and did their part.
Acker was without question the most dominant
player on the court. The 6-foot-4 center scored 24 points in three quarters
to go along with her 11 blocked shots, 18 rebounds and five assists.
She created a number of her own opportunities on swift moves to the
basket and she got plenty of looks from the Trojanettes backcourt.
If it wasnt for the guards I wouldnt
have been as dominant, Acker said. They help me with everything
and do a great job getting me the ball.
Nanticoke grabbed a 22-7 lead at the end of the
first and kept Athens scoreless in the second quarter. While Acker was
unstoppable under the basket, Nanticokes guards kept the action
moving with sharp passes, steals and opportunities from around the perimeter.
Leigh Ann Rentko scored 10 of her 12 points in
the first half and dished out a team-high seven assists. Freshman Jennifer
Harnischfeger set Acker up time and again and Lauren Dembowski played
tenacious defense that created a number of Athens turnovers.
Sarah set the tempo with her scoring and
her blocking, but Leigh Ann, Jen and Lauren caused so much havoc,
Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko said. Defensively they gave us so
Athens didnt score a field goal until the
first minute of the fourth quarter when Meredith Hafer hit a 3-pointer.
The Wildcats finished the fourth with 14 points.
Dembowski and Harnischfeger scored eight and
six points respectively for the Trojanettes. Morgan Hafer paced Athens
3/10/2007 Nanticoke chasing 3A crown
The Nanticoke Area girls basketball team goes into
todays first-round of the PIAA Class 3A tournament with a great
chance to capture its first state championship since 1990.
Nanticoke (27-0) is ranked No. 2 overall in the state by MaxPreps.com
and is favored to win the 3A championship. Led by all-staters Aly Byorick
and Sarah Acker, the Trojanettes face District 4 runner-up Athens (20-7)
at 3 p.m. at Kings College.
Byorick led the Wyoming Valley Conference in scoring, averaging 23 points
per game. The 6-foot-4 Acker is a dominate center, who averages 22 points
and 16.5 rebounds.
Byorick suffered a foot injury during Nanticokes win against Bishop
Hoban in the District 2 Class 3A title game, but is expected to play
She will be in the starting lineup, said coach Jack Rentko.
Beyond that, I cant say anything.
Rentko makes no secret about having high expectations for his team.
We know what our goals are. I think were ready to go out
and do what we have to do.
vs. Athens (20-7)
PIAA Class 3A first round
3 p.m. today, Kings College
Athens is talented, but young.
The Wildcats starting lineup consists of four juniors and a
freshman. The lack of senior leadership definitely appears to
be a liability against Nanticoke.
The Wildcats are led in scoring
by 6-1 freshman center Taylor Clark (13.5), who possesses the
court savvy of a veteran player. She is quick for a post player,
and is capable of bringing the ball up the floor. Shes
extremely aggressive and can score from anywhere on the floor.
Christina Jacoski, a 6-1 forward,
can post up or hit the outside shot. She leads the team in rebounding,
averaging 10.5 boards per game.
The Wildcats have two outstanding
guards in 5-9 twin sisters Morgan and Meredith Hafer. Morgan
Hafer runs the point and averages just two turnovers per game.
She leads the team in steals and assists, and serves as a coach
on the floor.
Athens is a nice team
with nice all around height, said Rentko. Take Sarah
(Acker) away and theyre a little bigger than we are.
The winner will play Wednesday
against the winner of the game between D3 third seed Boiling
Springs (25-3) and D12 runner-up Prep Charter (17-4).
Nanticoke starters: Aly Byorick,
6-0, Sr., 23.0; Sarah Acker, 6-4, Sr., 22.0; 5-6, Jr., 3.8; Jen
Harnischfeger, 5-2, Fr., 5.0; Leigh Ann Rentko, 5-3, Jr., 8.9.
3/6/2007 Nanticoke star expected back
Aly Byorick is cleared to play for Trojanettes in Saturdays state
tournament opener. By
Greater Nanticoke Area fans can breathe a little easier.
It appears that star player Aly Byorick will be in the starting lineup
on Saturday when the unbeaten Trojanettes face Athens in first-round
play of the PIAA Class 3A state tournament.
Byorick suffered a foot injury in Nanticokes win over Bishop Hoban
last Saturday in the District 2 championship game and sat out the fourth
quarter. The 6-foot senior guard left the gym on crutches, raising the
possibility of a season-ending injury.
However, coach Jack Rentko said Monday that Byorick is expected to return
to practice on Thursday and will be good to go for Saturdays 3
p.m. game at Kings College.
Alys fine, Rentko said. She had a cyst on top
of her left foot above her toes. She got stepped on and the cyst busted.
According to Rentko, Byorick escaped serious injury.
She didnt twist her ankle or break any bones. Her foot was
swollen for a couple of weeks before she got hurt, but she didnt
Byorick led the Wyoming Valley Conference in scoring with a 23-point
average. The Xavier-bound recruit needs just 13 points to surpass Paul
Guffrovich (2,259 points) as Nanticokes all-time leading scorer.
Nanticoke (27-0) is one of two unbeaten teams representing the WVC in
the state tournament.
Class 2A Nanticoke (27-0) vs. Athens (20-7), 3 p.m., Kings College
Trojanettes crowned, but Byorick injured By firstname.lastname@example.org
As soon as the final horn sounded, Nanticoke Areas
Aly Byorick was mobbed by her teammates and coach. She received a kiss
on the cheek from coach Jack Rentko, and hugs from all of the players.
However, it wasnt the kind of attention
that the star player is used to. More than anything, it was a matter
of concern as much as it was the joy of winning.
Byorick injured her left foot twice during the
Trojanettes 61-45 victory over Bishop Hoban in the championship
game of the District 2 Class 3A playoffs at Wyoming Valley West High
School. Byorick, who sat on the bench in agonizing pain after getting
hurt the second time, left the gym on crutches.
According to Rentko, X-rays revealed that Byorick
did not break her ankle. She will begin rehabbing (tomorrow),
he said. The coach is hopeful that Byorick will be able to return for
the state tournament.
Nanticoke (27-0) will play District 4 runner-up
Athens (20-7) this coming Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
Bishop Hoban (18-9) will face the District 1 runner-upVilla Maria
Academy or Mount Saint Joseph also on Saturday.
Byorick was first injured midway through the
third quarter when she hit the floor hard while fighting for a loose
I really dont even know what happened,
she said. I had just missed a three-point shot and went in for
the rebound. Then my foot hit the floor and I came down on my toe.
Byorick needed assistance to leave the court.
She hobbled on one foot as she was taken to the locker room to be checked
out by the trainer. She returned a short time later, and Rentko put
her back in the game with 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Byorick re-injured her foot less than 10 seconds later when a Bishop
Hobans Laura Wingert accidentally stepped on her bad toe.
I was out of bounds and the girl stepped
directly on my foot, she said.
Rentko said the reason he put Byorick back into
the game is because he received clearance from the trainer. At the time,
Nanticoke held a 42-26 lead.
Wingert stepped on her foot as they were
stepping out of bounds, Rentko said. It wasnt intentional.
Even without Byorick, Nanticoke was never in
danger of losing, thanks to a monster effort by Sarah Acker. The 6-foot-4
senior center scored a game-high 31 points and completely dominated
the paint on offense and defense.
Acker is the most dominant player in Pennsylvania,
Rentko said. She does everything. She really stepped up today,
especially after Aly got hurt.
The Trojanettes also got a big effort from freshman
guard Jen Harnischfeger, who hit two straight key baskets in the fourth
quarter to keep Bishop Hoban at bay. Harnischfegers long-range
trey gave Nanticoke a 51-36 lead with five minutes left in the game.
I had to step up, Harnischfeger said.
I knew I had to make some big shots. Everyone stepped up after
Aly got hurt.
Bishop Hoban got within 55-45 on a three-point
basket by Natalie Adams with 3:04 remaining, but the Trojanettes pulled
away down the stretch.
It was a great game, said Argents
freshman forward Monica Wignot, who scored 11 points. Acker played
well. We wanted it just as much as they did, but they came out on top.
Byorick finished with 13 points. She needs only
13 points to surpass Paul Guffrovich (2,259 points) as Nanticokes
all-time scoring leader. Harnischfeger added 11 points.
3/1/2007 Nanticoke Area cruises to win over Honesdale
BY STEVE BENNETT
Unlike the rest of her Nanticoke Area teammates, Aly
Byorick was feeling a little pressure in the fourth quarter of what
turned out to be another in a string of easy victories.
With a pair of school records clearly in reach,
coach Jack Rentko delivered Byorick an ultimatum at the beginning of
the fourth quarter: she had two minutes. Few in the Wyoming Valley West
gym knew exactly what was happening, it was evident it had something
to do with 3-point goals.
When it was over, not only did Nanticoke Area
advance with a 74-34 victory over Honesdale in the District 2 Class
3A playoffs, Byorick set school records for points in a game (37) and
The Trojanettes, 26-0 and ranked second in the
state behind defending champion Hopewell, advance to Saturdays
district championship game at a site and time to be determined. Honesdale,
10-16, will play for third place.
(Rentko) told me I had two minutes so the
pressure was on, said Byorick, who needed a little more than her
time allotted to reach the marks. Overall I thought we played
pretty well. I thought we hustled well and it was a total team effort.
Nanticoke Area did trail in the game, falling
behind 3-2 after Honesdales Katy Degraw hit a three-pointer. But
with a 22-point lead at the end of the first quarter, the lopsided lead
allowed Rentko to work on a few things defensively that may come in
handy down the road.
In the second quarter we went to a match-up
zone just to work on that, Rentko said. We dont play
that much zone during the year so we went to that to get ready for the
district final and the state tournament.
Sarah Acker joined Byorick in double figures
with 11 points but established herself down low, grabbing 17 rebounds.
She also had seven assists. Leigh Ann Rentko chipped in with 10 points.
We knew what kind of buzzsaw we were running
into, Honesdale coach Roy Gibbs said. We wanted to play
hard and play with class. We won two games and now we get to play again
on Saturday. Our moral is not down, we are going to prepare for our
next game and be ready to go.
2/25/2007 Top-seeded Nanticoke Area crushes Dallas
BY MATTHEW BURDETT
Nanticoke Area had two goals to accomplish in its District
2 Class AAA game with Dallas. The first was to play a solid game and
the second was to not get anybody injured.
The Trojanettes accomplished both by placing
four girls in double figures in a 76-36 victory. Nanticoke, the top
seed in Class AAA, was led by Sara Acker, who dominated the interior
with a game-high 19 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots.
Nanticoke next plays Wednesday against the winner
of Mondays Coughlin-Honesdale game.
Guard LeighAnn Rentko contributed 14 points,
while Brianna Borowski came off the bench to contribute 13. Lauren Dembowski
rounded out the quartet with 10. For coach Jack Rentko, seeing the balanced
scoring only added to the successful day.
When you are the top seed, you know that
the first quarter is going to be the toughest, Rentko said. Every
team that we have played to date has been the toughest right out of
the gate and today was no exception. I was happy with the unselfishness
the team showed today. They were always looking for the extra pass and
we got a lot of wide-open shots because of it.
Dallas got off to a strong start as a 3-pointer
by Melissa Gorski gave the Mounts an early 3-2 edge. Nanticoke responded
with a 3 by Dembowski and an inside basket by Acker to put the Trojanettes
Dallas hung tough and forced Nanticoke into several
early turnovers and made a game of it late in the quarter. Baskets by
Lacey Davin and Kristen OBrien cut the lead to 11-9. However,
Acker answered with a layup and a perfect half-court pass to Rentko
to give the Trojanettes a 15-9 lead at the end of the first.
From there, Nanticoke outscored Dallas 27-13
to take control of the game. Two straight 3-pointers by Borowski gave
Nanticoke a 22-11 edge with 6:40 left before the half.
Acker then started to dominate inside, scoring
11 points in the quarter to give the Trojanettes a commanding 40-17
lead with 2 minutes left in the second.
Breanna is our sharpshooter from the perimeter
and she gave us a big lift as a time in the game where Dallas was starting
to make things nervous, Rentko said. When she comes off
the bench and plays the way she did today, it gives us another option
and it opens the door for everyone else to get involved.
In the third quarter, Nanticoke put away Dallas
for good when consecutive 3-pointers by Dembowski and Aly Byorick gave
the Trojanettes a 55-25 lead. Nanticoke will now meet the winner of
the Honesdale-Coughlin game.
The best thing that happened today is we
played a good game and got everybody out of there without anything happening,
Rentko said. It is only going to get tougher from here but I was
pleased with the results this afternoon.
2/22/27 CLASS 3A Predictions from Times Leader
Top-seeded Nanticoke (24-0) received a first-round bye. The Trojanettes
will be well-rested and champing at the bit on Saturday when they take
on the winner of tonights opening round contest between No. 8
Dallas and No. 9 Crestwood. No. 3 Bishop Hoban and No. 7 Pittston Area
finished strong, but No. 2 Scranton Prep figures to return to the district
Pittston Area. The Patriots have three outstanding players in Regina
Linskey, Marina Castellino, and Kristen Baumes. Toss in a pocketful
of miracles, and anything is possible.
Nanticoke is still licking its wounds from last years upset loss
to Oxford in the second-round of states. Aly Byorick and Sarah Acker
will make sure nothing like that happens at the district level.
From Citizens' Voice
The Seeds: 1. Nanticoke Area (24-0); 2. Scranton Prep
(19-5); 3. Bishop Hoban (15-8); 4. Coughlin (15-9); 5. Berwick (9-15);
6. Valley View (13-11); 7. Pittston Area (12-12); 8. Dallas (14-10);
9. Crestwood (10-14); 10. Western Wayne (7-17); 11. North Pocono (11-13);
12. Honesdale (8-15); 13. Wyoming Area; 14. West Scranton (4-20); 15.
First round match-ups: Thursday, Feb. 22 - Crestwood
at Dallas, 7 p.m.; Honesdale at Berwick, 7 p.m.; Wyoming Area at Coughlin,
7 p.m.; West Scranton at Bishop Hoban, 7 p.m.; North Pocono at Valley
View, 7 p.m.; Western Wayne at Pittston Area, 7 p.m.; Tunkhannock vs
Scranton Prep, 7 p.m. at the old Marywood. Nanticoke Area has a first-round
Defending champion: Nanticoke Area.
Moving on: Top three finishers advance to states.
Players to watch: Aly Byorick, Nanticoke Area (22.5
ppg); Sarah Acker, Nanticoke Area (21.0 ppg); Colleen McLane, Scranton
Prep (12.1 ppg); Krystyn McIntyre, Scranton Prep (13.5 ppg); Allie Downing,
Bishop Hoban (9.7 ppg); Lindsey Maximowicz, Bishop Hoban (9.5 ppg);
Wendy Girmen, Coughlin (11.7 ppg); Lauren McGinley, Coughlin (11.0 ppg);
Laura Taylor, Coughlin (9.8 ppg); Jordan Britt, Coughlin (8.7 ppg);
Katlin Michaels, Berwick (15.1 ppg); Andrea Malatesta, Berwick (8.7
ppg); Katie Kahil, North Pocono (15.1 ppg); Andrea Beck, Western Wayne
(11.6); Marina Castellino, Pittston Area (13.5 ppg); Regina Linskey,
Pittston Area (13.2 ppg) Kristen Baumes, Pittston Area (12.9 ppg); Melissa
Gorski, Dallas (14.0 ppg); Danielle Krawetz, Dallas (11.1 ppg); Erin
Delaney, Dallas (9.5 ppg); Lyndsay Ellis, Dallas (7.2 ppg); Jade Dudley,
Crestwood (9.6 ppg); Allie Scalzo, Wyoming Area (8.7 ppg); Kylie Sheplock
(7.2 ppg); Kristen Condeelis, Tunkhannock (12.7 ppg).
Noteworthy: This likely will be a battle for second
and third place as all eyes are on talented Nanticoke Area.
Bracketbuster: Either Bishop Hoban or Scranton Prep
will get through their side of the bracket opposite Nanticoke
Areas bracket and meet the Trojanettes in the title game.
2/22/2007 District 2 girls to open second season
By Jill Snowdon Staff Writer
Nanticoke Area coach Jack Rentko has told his team that anything can
happen when it comes to district playoffs. But on Tuesday, he had something
to back up his point and keep his team from thinking too far ahead.
I told them today that in Class AAAA (District 3), No. 1 Red Lion
got beat by the No. 16 team, Rentko said. It just goes to
show that when the playoffs start, your record goes back to 0-0.
That No. 16 team was Central Dauphin East and it pulled off a stunning
46-41 win over the 21-4 Lions Monday night in York. Nanticoke is 24-0 and is the No. 1 seed in the District 2 AAA playoffs,
received a first-round bye. The Trojanettes closest game to date was
back on Dec. 2, a six-point victory over Abington Heights. Nanticoke
has also held its opponents to less than 49 points each game and it
cruised to the Wyoming Valley Conference Division II championship.
Despite a number of lopsided victories, the Trojanettes
have taken the same approach for each game and hope that paves a path
into the state playoffs. They play every game like its their
last, Rentko said. The girls play hard no matter what and
we have great senior leadership. Their goal is to get us to the district
Trojanettes have Everything Times Leader
Nanticokes Aly Byorick, who led the WVC in scoring with
a 22.6 average, was named Player of the Year in Division II.
The Trojanettes Sarah Acker, who led the league in rebounding
with a 16.5 average, won MVP honors. Jack Rentko, who
guided Nanticoke (24-0) to its second consecutive unbeaten regular season,
was named Coach of the Year. Greater Nanticoke Area (24-0) is the No. 1 seed in the 3A playoffs.
The Trojanettes, 12-0 in Wyoming Valley Conference Division II play,
received a first-round bye. On Saturday, February 24, 2007, Nanticoke
will host the winner of the first-round game between Dallas (6-6) and
2/13/2007 Trojanettes finish 24-0
Led by Aly Byorick and Sarah Acker, Nanticoke captures another unbeaten
Aly Byorick and Sarah Acker dont really feel
their teams chances of winning a state championship rest entirely
on their shoulders.
However, for anyone who watched the Greater Nanticoke stars tear apart
GAR on Monday night, it might be difficult to argue otherwise.
Byorick poured in a game-high 29 points and Acker notched her 1,500th
career rebound to lead the unbeaten Trojanettes to a 77-47 victory over
the Grenadiers. Acker also scored 18 points and blocked eight shots.
With the win, Nanticoke (24-0) wrapped up its second straight undefeated
regular season. The Trojanettes also captured the Wyoming Valley Conference
Division II title and clinched the top seed in the District 2, Class
3A playoffs, while posting their 48th consecutive league victory.
Nanticoke also extended its home court winning streak to 45 games.
Two straight unbeaten seasons is a great accomplishment,
said Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko. Its a tribute to the kids
and to how hard they work. Theyre really focused they play
hard during every second of every game.
Monday nights game was a testament to the Trojanettes fortitude
and determination. Even though most of their players were suffering
from a cold or the flu, they played at a breakneck pace throughout the
game and finally wore down the Grenadiers with suffocating man-to-man
Our starting five players were sick, said Byorick, a 6-foot
senior guard who leads the WVC in scoring. Its hard to play
defense when youve got a chest cold and have trouble breathing.
Nanticoke was never in any real danger, but GAR stayed within striking
distance until midway through the third quarter. The Grenadiers trailed
only 37-25 at halftime, and pulled to within 43-33 at the 4:59 mark
of the third quarter.
However, Nanticoke took total control of the game on a steal and layup
by Byorick that extended the margin to 49-35 with 3:20 left in the period.
GAR got a superb effort from junior guard Paige Venson, who scored 25
points, including four three-point baskets.
Aly and Sarah played really well, Venson said. Theyre
both having another great season.
Venson doesnt like Nanticokes chances of going all the way.
She says last years Nanticoke team, which lost in the second round
of the state playoffs, was better than the current squad.
Their guards were better last year, she said.
Play was stopped momentarily when Acker grabbed her 1,500th rebound
early in the third quarter. She received the game ball and was photographed
with her parents to mark the occasion.
I was thrilled to get my 1,500th rebound, said Acker, a
6-foot-4 senior center. Only one other Nanticoke player hit the
1,000 mark. Rebounding is more important to me than scoring, because
thats my job.
Byorick is confident the Trojanettes have the right stuff to win a state
title. Nanticoke has earned a first-round bye in the District 2 playoffs.
The Trojanettes will scrimmage three 4A teams in the next week and a
half before taking on the winner of the eight vs. nine game on Feb.
Were going to be scrimmaging Abington Heights, Hazleton
and Cheltenham, Byorick said. Those are three tough 4A teams,
so well be ready for the (3A) playoffs.
2/2/2007 The Rentko rules
Trojanettes coach enjoying pressure
of championship hopes
With his team expected to win a state championship
this year, Greater Nanticoke Area girls basketball coach Jack
Rentko entered the season with a whole lot of pressure on him.
But thats OK with Rentko, because
no one wants his team to win that championship any more than he
Id be ecstatic if we do it,
he said. With my daughter playing an integral role on the
team, it would be a great thing for my family as well as myself.
Nanticoke is off to an excellent start.
The 20-0 Trojanettes have run roughshod over most of their opponents,
and were challenged only by Abington Heights and Archbishop Wood.
Theyre currently ranked No. 2 in the state by MaxPreps.com.
Normally, that would be a dream situation
for any coach. But the team is still dealing with the disappointment
of last year, when the Trojans went 29-1. Their only loss was
a stunning 36-32 upset by Oxford in the second round of the Class
3A state playoffs.
It was a bitter disappointment for players,
fans and coaches. It made the entire season seem like a failure.
I thought we were just as good, if
not better, than any team in the state, Rentko said. Our
kids couldnt accept the loss to Oxford.
For Rentko, it was like a visit to The
Twilight Zone. He watched in near disbelief as his team struggled
to make a shot. Star 6-foot-4 center Sarah Acker was 7-of-12 from
the field, but her teammates were 6-for-36.
We had open shots, but we couldnt
knock them down, he said.
Rentko, 54, appears to be the right coach
in the right spot. He is a Nanticoke blueblood born and
raised in the basketball crazy town. He played high school ball
for legendary Nanticoke coach Syl Bozinski and was a two-year
starter at Luzerne County Community College under coach Jim Atherton.
Bozinski built a lot of character
in his players and Jim Atherton taught me the finer points of
coaching, said Rentko. He was a great defensive coach,
and was a master of Xs and Os. Playing for him was
a great educational experience.
Rentko also gained much coaching expertise
from his dad, John, who was one of the last two players cut by
the NBA Syracuse Nationals in 1949 and was around pro greats like
Prior to becoming the Nanticoke coach in
1994, Rentko spent one year as an assistant coach for the Hanover
Area girls team, and 11 years at Crestwood under coach Barry Boone.
During his 13-year tenure with the Trojanettes,
Rentko has amassed a 230-91 record, including District 2 Class
3A titles in 1999 and 2006.
Nanticoke lost three starters from last
seasons squad Ashley Makarczyk, Kaitlyn Malshefski
and Abby Gesecki. However, the Trojanettes havent missed
a beat, thanks to the return of all-staters Aly Byorick and Acker.
Byorick, a 6-foot guard, is the Trojanettes
all-time leading scorer with 2,086 points. Shes bound for
Division I Xavier University, and is the leading scorer in the
Wyoming Valley Conference with a 23-point average.
Aly is the total package, said
Rentko. She eats and sleeps basketball, 24-7. Even after
practice, she comes back and shoots around for another hour.
Byorick says Rentko is a tough disciplinarian,
but also is a father figure with a good heart.
Personally, hes like a father
to me. Ive grown up across the street from him since I was
2. During the basketball season, we spend more time with him than
with our parents.
But theres no question whos
in charge of the team.
He really treats us well, Byorick
said. Its nothing personal when he gets on us. One
second hell be screaming in your face. The next minute,
hell blow the whistle at you or pinch you under the arms.
Byorick credits Rentko for helping her
When I was a freshman, I was strong
physically, but not mentally, she said. He has made
me cry so many times in practice. He gets in my face and screams,
but hes really prepared me for how my coaches are going
to treat me in college.
Acker sports a 21-point average and recently
surpassed the 1,500-point career mark. Shes averaging a
league-best 16.5 rebounds and is bound for Division I Saint Josephs.
Sarah is a left-handed center with
great skills, Rentko said. Its a joy to be around
Leigh Ann Rentko, a 5-6 junior, is the
starting point guard for the Trojanettes and coachs daughter.
She isnt a great scorer, but her mere presence on the floor
proveides Nanticoke with tremendous quickness.
Leigh Ann makes our team go,
said Byorick. Were not the same team when shes
not out there.
Freshman Jen Harnischfeger, junior Brianna
Borowski and senior Lauren Dembowski also have played important
roles for the Trojanettes this season.
But make no mistake, the teams fate
rests squarely on the shoulders of Byorick and Acker.
Rentko is well aware that the rabid Nanticoke
fans will settle for nothing less than a state championship this
time around. He doesnt expect to disappoint.
Weve looked as good, if not
better, than last years team, Rentko said. This
team is a lot quicker, plays better defense, and plays hard all
Its amazing how much these
kids want to win.
1/26/2007 A case for the defense
OReilly hangs tough for a half, but Nanticoke eventually
shuts down Queenswomen. By email@example.com
Greater Nanticoke Area star Aly Byorick wasnt
surprised by the fact that upstart Bishop OReilly gave the
unbeaten Trojanettes all they could handle in the first half of
Every team gives us their best shot,
especially in the first half, said Byorick. Weve
learned to just weather the storm and keep our heads in the game.
After leading by just five points at halftime,
Nanticoke conducted a defensive clinic in the second half en route
to an overpowering 67-33 victory over the Queenswomen in a Wyoming
Valley Conference Division II action.
Nanticoke held Bishop OReilly to
10 points in the second half and took complete control of the
contest with Byorick and Sarah Acker leading the way. The 6-foot
Byorick tossed in a game-high 27 points, including four three-point
baskets, and the 6-4 Acker added 22 points.
Acker was dominant in the paint on offense,
and came out on top in her much anticipated matchup against Bishop
OReilly star Marissa Chesnavich, who wound up with 16 points.
She (Chesnavich) was playing really
hard, Acker said. It really got physical. There were
a couple of times that she stopped me.
During the first half, Chesnavich made
a couple of nifty blocks on Ackersending her to the floor
on her back on one occasion. Not to be outdone, Acker countered
with a stunning block on a Chesnavich drive to the basket that
resulted in a jump ball.
It was a lot of fun, said the
6-foot Chesnavich. Sarahs a great player and I learned
a lot by playing against her. Going up someone like her will make
me a much better college player.
Chesnavich is bound for the University
of the Sciences, while Acker has signed with Division I Saint
Bishop OReilly (1-1 Div. II) came
out hitting on all cylinders. The Queenswomen jumped out to a
10-4 lead on a basket by Kelli Crossin. Nanticoke (18-0 overall,
2-0 Div. II) drew even 12-12 at the end of the first quarter,
thanks to Byoricks eight straight points.
Nanticoke took its first lead at 15-14
on a steal and layup by Byorick at the 6:15 mark of the second
quarter. The Trojanettes wound up taking a 28-23 halftime lead
on an Acker basket.
Acker scored two quick baskets to start
the third quarter that gave Nanticoke all the offensive momentum
it would need to conduct a reality check.
We played strong defense in the first
half, said OReilly coach Abe Simon. The difference
was their two star players took over the game when the outcome
was still undecided. I think we got a little tired in the fourth
Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko said his team
was a bit out of sync in the early going, which he attributed
in part to the absence of his daughter, Leigh Ann Rentko. The
junior point guard is sidelined with a mild concussion.
Were a little slower with her
out of the lineup. Bishop OReilly played a very good game.
They came out and shot really well.
Byorick, the WVCs leading scorer
with a 23-point average, said one of Nanticokes greatest
assets is its ability to stay 100 percent focused, especially
during blowout wins.
I talked with Holly Kozlowski, who
helped led the 1990 team to the state championship, said
Byorick. She says you have to play at full speed every second
youre on the court.
According to Chesnavich, Nanticoke is capable
of great things. Theyre a great team. Theyre
going to go far in states.
1/18/2007 Times Leader Athlete of the Week
Nanticoke Area Senior, Basketball
The 6-foot-4 senior center scored 75 points in three
games, including 30 points in a victory over Dallas. She also had 20
rebounds and had 11 blocked shots. Acker scored 27 points in a win over
Meyers..including her 1,500th career point...and scored 18 points in
a win over Lake-Lehman.
1/16/2007 Trojanettes beat GAR, claim Division II first-half
With Nanticoke Areas high-powered offense, the
Trojanettes beat GAR 69-47 in Wyoming Valley Conference girls basketball
The Trojanettes Sarah Acker connected on
nine of 11 free throws for a team-high 33 points. Teammate Aly Byorick
drained five three-pointers in her 27-point performance as Nanticoke
Area won the WVC Division II first-half title. Others scoring were Harnischfer,
Dembowski, and Borowski.
1/13/2007 More milestones for Byorick, Acker
Nanticoke Area basketball standouts Aly Byorick and
Sarah Acker both reached career scoring milestones in the Trojanettes'
79-21 Wyoming Valley Conference girls basketball win over Meyers on
Byorick, the school's all-time scoring leader, totaled 18 points, including
her 2,000th point on her final basket of the game, a third-quarter three-pointer.
Acker surpassed the 1,500 mark with about three minutes left in the
first half on her way to a game-high 27 points. She now stands at 1,513.
"It's just very nice to have both girls reach these marks in the
same game," said Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko. "(Byorick and
Acker) put a lot of time and effort into their game, it's great to see
it pay off.
"They were happy to just win the game. To them, it's not about
the numbers, it's about the team."
Meyers was led by Christa Tutella's six points.
1/8/2007 Athlete of the Week ALY BYORICK
Nanticoke Area Senior, Basketball
Family: Parents, Dan and Trish; brother Danny, 13, and sister, Erin,
Accomplishment: Byorick celebrated two major accomplishments this week.
She was presented a basketball from her team after becoming the program's
all-time leading scorer with 1,774 points, which she set in an exhibition
game. She also made her 100th consecutive career start on Jan. 3 in
a game against Bishop O'Reilly.
Byorick is currently third in scoring in Division II with 18.5 points
Getting to know ALY BYORICK
Favorite food: chicken wings
Favorite restaurant: Chili's
Favorite movie: "Love & Basketball"
Favorite actor/actress: Chad Michael Murray and Cameron Diaz
Favorite TV show: "Grey's Anatomy" and "One Tree Hill"
Favorite hobbies: Playing volleyball and hanging out with friends
Favorite vacation spot: Cancun, Mexico
Favorite Web site: hollister.com
Pre-game ritual: "On game-days, I always talk on the phone with
my Uncle Tom (Cywinski). We talk about the game and what players the
other team has, things like that."
Thoughts on going to play at Division I Xavier: "Only six more
months. I'm very excited to play at the next level, but I am definitely
going to miss everyone around here."
1/04/2007 Trojanettes pesky play leads to win
BY JILL SNOWDON - STAFF WRITER
With a pair of Division I recruits grabbing most of
the attention, the little things the Nanticoke Area guards do are sometimes
There was no denying the pesky play of Nanticokes
backcourt Wednesday in a 79-27 win over Bishop OReilly.
Leigh Ann Rentko and Jen Harnischfeger sparked
the Trojanettes in the opening minutes of the first quarter and helped
their team play well-controlled, unselfish ball the rest of the way
in the lopsided victory.
Leigh Ann (Rentko) and Jen (Harnischfeger)
did a great job of shutting down every angle of OReillys
offense, Nanticoke Area coach Jack Rentko said. Overall,
it was a great defensive effort. We put Leigh Ann on one of OReillys
best players and she did a nice job. And Jen, shes just a gutsy
player who knows the game well and plays like a senior.
Leigh Ann Rentko and Harnischfeger combined for
the first nine Trojanette points, setting each other up on each of their
Rentko scored 10 points in the first quarter,
including a pair of 3s, while Harnischfeger scored four more and dished
out three assists.
For the night, Rentko, a junior, scored a career-high
20 points and dished out six assists and Harnischfeger, a freshman,
added eight points and a game-high 10 assists.
I was really into the game and I felt that
my shot was on during warm-ups, said Leigh Ann Rentko, who sat
from the middle of the third quarter on because of Nanticokes
Its fun playing with Jen. Shes
only a freshman, but shes really stepped up and I think we work
Aly Byorick, a forward who will play next season
at Xavier, and Sarah Acker, a center who has committed to St. Josephs,
dominated in their roles as well. Acker had eight points and seven blocks,
while Byorick added 19 points in her 100th career start as a Trojanette.
Nanticoke Areas lead was never in jeopardy
and that allowed coach Rentko to substitute freely. Each reserve showed
promise when they stepped on the floor and even more noticeable was
their generous passing.
At practice we always tell them that if
they have an open shot, fine, take it, Coach Rentko said. Otherwise
we want them to keep looking for that extra pass. There might be someone
who has a more open look than they do.
Brianna Borowski and Morgan Thomas combined for
22 points for Nanticoke. Marissa Chesnavich led OReilly with 10.
Melissa Rukstalis and Megan Kazmerski each had six.
Prior to the start of the varsity game, Byorick was
honored for passing former Trojanette Ruth Maley as the programs
all-time leading scorer. Byorick broke Maleys record of 1,772
points when she scored 24 points in an exhibition game last week.
Harnischfeger 4 0-0 8; Thomas 4 0-1 10; Malishchak
0 0-0 0; Borowski 5 0-0 12; Byorick 7 2-3 10; Yohey 1 0-0 2; Rentko
8 0-4 20; Coughlin 0 0-0 0; Acker 4 0-2 8; Totals 32 2-9 79.
12/29/2006 Acker leads Nanticoke to Taylor Lions title
Sarah Acker scored 20 points and grabbed 17 rebounds
as Nanticoke defeated host Riverside 67-40 Thursday in girls basketball
to win the Taylor Lions Club Tournament.
Aly Byorick had nine steals for Nanticoke, while Brianna Borowski had
11 points and six assists.
Leigh Ann Rentko netted nine points.
The Bishop Hoban girls basketball team took its best
shot defensively at Aly Byorick on Monday night. The Argents consistently
double- and triple-teamed the Greater Nanticoke Area star, and did a
great job of denying her the ball.
They knocked her to the floor face-down on one
move to the basket, and swarmed her every time she got the ball into
But in the end, Byorick proved to be unstoppable.
The 5-foot-11 senior forward tossed in a game-high 27 points to lead
the unbeaten Trojanettes to a 53-29 victory over Bishop Hoban in a Wyoming
Valley Conference Division II game.
The Argents did a commendable job defensively
against Nanticokes 6-foot-4 senior center Sarah Acker, who came
into the game averaging 22 points. Acker, who normally dominates in
the paint, missed a few inside shots that are almost automatic.
More importantly, Acker got into foul trouble
early in the second half, causing her to spend 10 minutes on the bench.
She wound up with 14 points.
We spent all our preparation on defense,
said Bishop Hoban coach Rich Nemetz. I thought we did a really
good job. We got Acker into foul trouble, and Byorick wound up with
four fouls. We contained Acker, but Byorick took over the game.
Byorick scored from everywhere on the court.
She made three three-point shots, including a long-range trey that gave
the Trojanettes a 17-9 lead late in the second quarter. She also hit
several mid-range jumpers, and took the ball to the basket with a vengeance
in the second half.
To their credit, the Argents made Nanticoke work
hard for every shot.
This is a good win for us, said Byorick,
We went out and played hard. Hoban came out strong, and that really
psyched us up. Their defense was good, but once we got into the flow,
Nanticoke (7-0 overall, 1-0 Div. II) came out
a bit sluggish on offense in the first quarter. The Trojanettes scored
just 11 points, but held a four-point lead at the end of the period.
Nanticoke finally got in gear in the second quarter, taking a 21-9 lead
on baskets by Leigh Ann Rentko and Acker.
The Trojanettes forged a 28-10 halftime lead.
The Argents played Nanticoke on even terms in the third quarter, with
both teams scoring 11 points. However, Byorick went on a tear in the
fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
She hit a twisting lay-up with three minutes
left, giving the Trojanettes a 45-27 lead.
Hoban (3-3, 0-1) got solid performances from
Lindsay Maximowicz and Rachel Keefe, who scored 10 points and eight
Maximowicz was knocked to the floor on two occasions,
but displayed exceptional resiliency. Keefe did a good job of hitting
short jumpers inside the paint. They both played well, Nemetz
Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko said Hobans
defense on Acker was very good.
Sarah got frustrated. She had some open
shots, but didnt put the ball in the basket.
The coach was almost lost for words when talking
What can you say about Aly?, Rentko
said. She took over the game.
12/16/2006 Hazleton Area, Nanticoke Area lead way in WVC
BY JILL SNOWDON - STAFF WRITER
The usual suspects are once again anticipated to rule
the Wyoming Valley Conference girls basketball standings this season
in Division I and II. Division III, however, is up for grabs as the
season kicks into gear this week.
At the recent WVC coaches meeting, each
Division I coached voiced Hazleton Area as the favorite to repeat as
division champs. Thats a fair assumption, considering the Cougars
are ranked 10th in the state among AAAA schools.
With the return of all-stars Sarah Acker and
Aly Byorick, Nanticoke remains the top team in Division II. The Trojanettes
finished 29-1 last season and are ranked second in the state in AAA.
Seton Catholic finished first in Division III
last year, but was hit hard by graduation. The Eagles are certainly
talented enough to defend their division title, but could see some strong
competition from Wyoming Seminary and Hanover Area.
Players to Watch
Aly Byorick, Nanticoke Area: Was first-team all-state
selection last year after leading the Trojanettes to the second round
of the AAA state playoffs. She has 1,657 career points and 710 career
rebounds. She recently earned Street & Smiths honorable mention
All-American status for the third straight year. She will be going to
Xavier on a full scholarship next season.
Sarah Acker, Nanticoke Area: The senior center
grew a couple of inches over the summer and now stands at 6-4, making
her even more dominating under the boards. She enters the season with
1,227 career points and 1,126 rebounds as well as 397 blocked shots.
Like Byorick, she was also named a Street & Smiths honorable
mention All-American and will attend St. Josephs on a full scholarship.
Head Coach: Jack Rentko
Outlook: Nanticoke cruised through the conference
last season and didnt pick up a loss until the state playoffs,
finishing 29-1. Aly Byorick and Sarah Acker are the best players in
the entire conference and should once again carry the Trojanettes to
3 Jennifer Harnischfeger 5-2 Fr. Guard
10 Morgan Thomas 5-5 So. Guard
11 Lauren Dembowski 5-6 Sr. Guard
12 Gaby Malishchak 5-1 So. Guard
13 Brianna Borowski 5-7 Jr. Guard
15 Aly Byorick 6-0 Jr. Guard/Forward
22 Keira Lohman 5-3 Jr. Guard
23 Kelsey Yohey 5-7 So. Guard
32 Leigh Ann Rentko 5-3 Jr. Guard
33 Amanda Coughlin 5-8 Sr. Forward
44 Rachael Richards 6-0 So. Center
51 Sarah Acker 6-4 Sr. Center
12/13/2006 Another big win for Trojanettes
Nanticoke Area beats ninth-ranked team in Eastern Region at home.
The Greater Nanticoke Area girls basketball team doesnt
usually find itself trailing. A four-point quarter isnt typical
But it isnt everyday that the Trojanettes host and beat
a team like Archbishop Wood, which has been ranked as high as
ninth in the Eastern Region by USA Today.
Nanticoke posted a 56-49 win Tuesday night over the visiting Lady Vikings,
which won the Philadelphia Catholic League title the past two years.
You play the best to be the best, Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko
He and the Trojanettes knew inviting the Lady Vikings to their gym might
be the blemish on Nanticokes thus-undefeated record.
Coming into this game, we knew this could be the game we would
lose, said forward Aly Byorick, who finished with a game-high
23 points. We were not expecting it, but we were understanding.
Nanticoke (5-0) opened the scoring, but Archbishop Wood went on a 14-3
run. It went up 14-5 with 2:40 left in the first half. Nanticoke ended
the quarter with six unanswered points.
Leigh Ann Rentkos steal, which lead to
a Byorick basket, cut the deficit to 14-11 heading into the second.
That was during the Trojanettes turn on the scoring seesaw. Fueled
by Byorick, Nanticoke held the Lady Vikings scoreless for 8:50 and went
on a 17-0 run that lasted into the second quarter.
A few big baskets by Archbishop Woods Ashley
Robinson (14 points) tied the game at 25-25 with 1:40 left in the first
half. Nanticokes Sarah Acker (22 points) broke the tie and sent
the Trojanettes into halftime with a 30-26 lead.
Then both teams got a bit complacent.
Nanticoke outscored Archbishop Wood in the third
quarter, but by a narrow margin of 4-3.
All of Nanticokes third quarter points
were scored by 5-foot-1 freshman guard Jennifer Harnischfeger, the shortest
girl on both rosters. She also lunged to the ground often to force jump
Shes so small, but shes so
tough, Byorick said. She works so hard, and she plays so
hard. Shes half the size of everyone else, but she puts the shots
The fourth quarter was the Acker show. She had
13 points in the final period, scoring all but two of Nanticokes
baskets. And she risked her body to get those.
Acker was trying to keep possession with about
2:15 left in the game when she fell out of bounds into the only available
seat in the packed bleachers.
She admitted she thought about sitting there.
She has been to a doctor about a pain in her side that was initially
diagnosed as a potential kidney problem. But she thinks it might just
be a pulled muscle from volleyball season she didnt let heal.
But when she saw Byorick miss a shot, she bounced
off the bleachers and got the put-back. Talk about dedication.
I knew I had to come up big, especially
in the end, Acker said. It was hard, and I was tired, but
I had to.
12/7/2006 FIVE TEAMS TO WATCH - Times Leader
1. Nanticoke. The team lost three starters,
but is still ranked No. 3 in Class 3A by the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
It helps having two Division I players as its returning starters.
2. Hazleton Area. The Cougars lost three
starters, but was ranked No. 10 in Class 4A by the Harrisburg Patriot-News
in the preseason. I dont know why, but Ill take it,
3. Berwick. Everyone underestimated the
Bulldogs last year, and first-year coach Bill Phillips took the team
to its first PIAA tournament in eight years. The team has a target on
its back this year.
4. Pittston Area. The teams upside?
The Patriots return a good amount of players who remember what it was
like to upset Hazleton Area last year. The downside? Hazleton does,
5. Wyoming Valley West. The team returns
four starters and eight letter winners from last year. But with the
addition of 6-2 center Samantha Himlin, only a freshman, the team should
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH
1. Aly Byorick,
Nanticoke. This is finally her senior season, although it seems she
has been in Nanticokes starting five for longer. Byorick, who
has already accepted a full ride to Xavier after earning first-team
all-state honors last year, has 1,657 career points and 710 rebounds.
2. Sarah Acker, Nanticoke. Acker already
accepted a full ride to St. Josephs and has 1,227 career points.
As a junior, she broke the school record for most rebounds in a season
with 442. When youre a 6-4 center, there isnt really anyone
who can challenge you under the basket.
3. Marissa Chesnavich, Bishop OReilly.
This will be the first year that Chesnavich isnt playing under
the shadow of her older sister, Erin. But the question will still loom:
Can Marissa, now a senior, carry the team on her shoulders like her
4. Kristen Baumes, Pittston Area. Baumes,
a 5-6 guard who can score, will be the difference in Pittston Areas
success this season.
5. Monica Dennison, Hazleton Area. Joe
Gavio always said that Dennison was a good player, but her senior year
is the year for her to become a great player. But keep your eye on Alyssa
Flanagan, who is being touted early in the season as one of the top
guards in the conference.
KEY DATES Friday, Dec. 15, 18: The WVC season officially
begins. Feb. 24: The regular season officially ends. March 23 and 24:
PIAA Championship weekend.
12/2/2006 Battling the elements
GNA takes rough road in beating state power
Weve been waiting a long time for (the
start of the season). Its nice to get that first W
under our belts.
Jack Rentko GNA coach
Thank goodness basketball is an indoor sport. If it wasnt,
most people probably wouldnt have braved what seemed like the apocalypse
on Friday night to get to the opening round of the Hazleton Area Tip-Off
Despite branches in the road, lightning over Hazleton
Area High School and a tornado warning, Greater Nanticoke Area still showed
up to defeat Cheltenham 63-44 in the tournaments opening game.
Abington Heights defeated host Hazleton Area 59-52
in the nightcap, setting up todays 7:30 p.m. championship game between
the Trojanettes and the Comets.
The bus trip was up a little adventure,
said Nanticoke coach Jack Rentko. We couldnt see. The bus
was going 20 miles per hour for 10 miles.
Cheltenham, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A by the Harrisburg
Patriot-News, scored the games first basket, and that lit up Nanticoke
doubters. With the loss of three starters from last years 29-1 squad,
there are a lot of people who questioned this years team, although
the Patriot-News ranked the Trojanettes (1-0) No. 2 in Class 3A.
The negative thoughts were squashed when Nanticoke
went on a 6-0 run en route to a 13-8 first quarter lead.
Saint Josephs-bound Sarah Acker had nine
of her game-high 25 points in that period. Nanticoke inflated its lead
to 34-19 by halftime, thanks to Xavier-bound Aly Byoricks 11 second-quarter
Obviously there is pressure on us,
Byorick said, referring to herself and Acker. We have to step up,
but were used to it. The younger girls really stepped up.
Junior Leigh Ann Rentko started despite being sick,
and freshman Jen Harnischfeger had six points off the bench in her first
varsity game. She didnt start but played the majority of the game
and was chewing gum the entire time. It was as if she was in a
nonchalant game of street ball, not her varsity debut against a big-school
After crediting youngsters with their contributions,
Byorick (23 points) said, Lauren Dembowski was diving all on the
floor. (Acker and I) might have scored, but they did all the unsung hero
work, the dirty work.
Acker and Byorick, who combined for all but 15
of the teams 63 points, played nearly the whole game. In fact, Byorick
never left the court not even when she picked up her fourth foul
with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Its fun, Acker said. I
cant remember the last time I played (that much).
Acker and Byorick are going to get used to that.
The Trojanettes bench is deep, but the team will rely on the two
Division I-bound players.
Itll help us when we get to states,
Thats looking ahead a bit. Coach Rentko is
a little more myopic.
Weve been waiting a long time for (the
start of the season), he said. Its nice to get that
first W under our belts.