Byorick's Diary 8
Thank you, and good luck
“It is not flesh and blood but the heart
that makes us father and daughter.”
Mr. Rentko has lived across the
street from me since I was 2 years old and I can truly say that
I love him as if he were my second father. For the past 16 years
I have been an addition to the Rentko residence and it seems that
Trojanette point guard Leigh Ann and I are long-lost sisters.
Many will say that this led to preferential
treatment on the basketball court, but I strongly disagree with
that statement. I think my teammates will side with me on this
one when I say that Coach has made me cry more times at practice
than anyone else, and for that I thank him.
He made me the player I am today. He instilled
mental toughness in me and kept me in my place. Mr. Rentko has
turned our team into a family year after year, and did everything
in his power to make us better players and better individuals.
On the court, Coach is a loud, demanding coach. But outside of
basketball, he’s a jokester with a heart of gold. He is
so much more than our coach. He is our friend. My high school
basketball experience wouldn’t be the same without our coaching
staff and I truly can say I wouldn’t want to play for anyone
To Mr. Zubritiski, Mr. Williams, and Mr.
Barna, thank you for all the memories. It’s hard to believe
four years has come and gone so quickly. We’ll never forget
the looks on your faces when you drove up and saw us toilet papering
your houses after winning the district championship. Thank you
for all the words of wisdom and all the extra time and effort
you put into the game.
Although our season came up a little short,
this year was far from a failure. We’ve accomplished so
much together and I’ll never forget this run we had.
If I can offer any words of wisdom to those
who are younger than me, here it is:
Enjoy every second of high school. People
always told me in the past that your senior year goes by extremely
fast and in the blink of an eye it’ll be done and over with.
I underestimated their words.
I was so infatuated with the thought of
being a senior that I wished all my high school days away. I couldn’t
wait for the fun to begin. Everyone talks about how amazing it
is to be an upperclassmen, but let me tell you this. Senior year
is just like any other year, except for the fact that it’s
filled with one last times and goodbyes. Trust me, there is nothing
fun about saying goodbye to Nanticoke Area basketball or putting
on my uniform for one last time.
Thank you to all the fans, parents, and
everyone else who supported us all along. It was a pleasure playing
for Nanticoke. It’s hard to believe it’s all over
and the next time I will be on the court with Sarah Acker is when
St. Joe’s and Xavier play next year. It has been fun, but
now it’s time to move on.
Also, best of luck to the Bishop O’Reilly
You deserve everything you’ve earned
and I hope you bring a state title home to the Wyoming Valley
This saying was given to me by Mrs. Jefferies,
who is an English teacher at Nanticoke Area, and her husband.
I am now passing it along to my teammates, because I think it
suits our season very well.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “It
is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the
strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done
better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives
valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because
there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows
the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself
for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph
of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least
he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be
with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Byorick's Diary 7
Madness in more
ways than one
Your dreams are only a
few quarters away.
This was the quote attached to the
balloons Nanticoke football coach Bob Colatosti gave to us following
Thursdays practice. That saying is so true. As of right
now, we have played 29 games, winning them all. We have had good
games and bad games.
Together, we have successfully played our
hearts out for 116 quarters. There have been tears, controversy,
injuries, black eyes, broken noses, turnovers, missed lay-ups
and air balls, yet weve made it through.
There are only 12 quarters remaining in
the season. We can accomplish all of our dreams in approximately
96 minutes. When you look at the remainder of the season in this
perspective, you realize everything youve worked so hard
for is right in front of you.
Today at 3 p.m., we will be taking our
next step at Bethlehem Freedom High School against a very solid
Mount St. Joseph team. Mount St. Joseph is an all-girls prep school
located in Flourtown. The team won the District 1 championship
after beating Villa Maria, 51-48, and has an overall record of
The team is very young, considering they
start two sophomores and three juniors. Weve watched numerous
game tapes on them and feel we are very prepared to play an exciting
game against Mount St. Joseph.
This past week or so has been an extremely
stressful time for my teammates and me. Many people seem to forget
that were only a bunch of 14- to 18-year-old girls who have
to deal with the pressures of high school, let alone the pressures
of March Madness.
Trying to keep a balance between your schoolwork
and athletics around this time of year is the hardest thing weve
ever had to do. Senior projects are due on March 26, juniors are
taking the PSSAs, and the marking period is winding down.
Lauren Dembowski is in the Young Scholars
program, so she is trying to balance her high school academics,
college classes, and basketball all in one day. Amanda Coughlin
also recently started taking college courses in the nursing program
at Luzerne County Community College and balancing that with high
school is enough to drive anyone crazy.
I am taking three Advanced Placement courses,
along with physics and chemistry III. The workload is unbearable.
Its a sad but true fact that there is no time for friends
outside of the basketball team.
Were all we have.
Between practices, game films, and team
bonding, spare time is very rare. I cant even recall the
last time I spent time with my non-basketball friends and God
bless those people on our team who have boyfriends. Its
literally impossible. Being a student-athlete and having such
high team goals is a huge sacrifice for any high school student.
This brings me to my next topic, the wonderful
online site PennLive.com. And I use the word wonderful
sarcastically. If you never heard of the site, consider yourself
Its an online site with sports forums
that used to be full of educated people talking about the game
and only that. Unfortunately, its turned into nothing
but ridiculous posts that do nothing but cut players and teams
apart. My dad actually tried blocking the site on my computer
because he believes no player should have to read that sort of
nonsense. But yet I always find a way to get on there.
You would be shocked at how many people
hide behind a computer and do nothing but ridicule and degrade
high school athletes. I mean, the things these people say about
girls who are as young as 14 years old is really unbelievable.
Just remember, dealing with the pressures, of high school and
basketball at this time is enough to stress any adult out.
The next time you go to post something,
try not to forget that were teenage girls who work hard
day in and day out to accomplish this goal of ours to win
a state championship. Were far from perfect and were
going to make mistakes. Try to understand that players read this
forum and, at this age, were susceptible to criticism at
such a high level. Give us, and our coaches, a break. Were
doing our best.
Hopefully we dont get snowed in today
and all the games will be played. Good luck to all the local teams
that are also playing today.
Byorick's Diary 6
Nanticoke 53, Boiling Springs 32. Despite the
score, my teammates and I will agree that Wednesday night’s
game was the sloppiest we have played all year. Everyone who attended
the game will tell you that we were our worst enemies on the court.
Turnovers absolutely killed us (we had 16 in the first half) and
Leigh Ann Rentko and Jen Harnischfeger broke the world record
for the most fast break lay-ups missed in a game (they know I’m
just joking with them).
Overall, it was not a typical Trojanette
performance. However, I firmly believe that our bad play was a
good thing. Why? We now know that we are mentally strong enough
to stick together as a team when nothing is going our way. Winning
a state championship takes so much more than talent and physical
toughness. A team must learn to keep their composure at all times
and understand that basketball is game of runs.
The adrenaline level of both teams is sky
high in the beginning of every game. Your opposition will come
out and give you their best shot in the first quarter. If you
can learn to withstand their storm, you can then control the pace
of the game. Although we may have left some of the fans leaving
the gym disappointed, this game will be a huge factor in our journey
I have been playing basketball with Sarah
Acker for as long as I can remember. At the beginning of our high
school careers we had some competition between us, but we quickly
learned to put that aside and work together. In the past year
or so, Sarah and I went from just teammates to really good friends.
I really want to thank her for carrying the team on her back these
past two and a half games as I gimped around her.
She is such a dominating and exciting player
and when she blocks a shot out on the court I think I celebrate
more than she does. I love celebration dances, I have some pretty
good moves, but I’m saving them for the big wins. Sarah
has picked up her game tremendously and she deserves all the credit
in the world. It kills me not to be out there at 100 percent with
her, however I am doing everything in my power to get there.
Finally, I would really and truly like
to thank all of our fans that came and supported us at Martz Hall.
You really don’t know how much it meant to us to see and
hear our fellow students rooting us on in the game. Believe it
or not, it really makes a difference out there and pumps us up.
In one of my previous diaries, I mentioned how we have little
support from our student body. Although we will always have people
against us, it was good to know we do have many supporters. Thank
you once again. It was very much appreciated and you guys rocked
Our next opponent will be Mount St. Joseph’s
on Saturday. Coach Rentko already warned us not to make any plans
for today, because we will be at practice all evening. We are
perfectly fine with that. We will be working on our weak points
and I promise you that we will come out ready to go on Saturday.
Byorick's Diary 5
I distinctly remember our practice
before last year’s second-round state playoff game. We were
doing our routine stretches against the wall when one of the seniors
made the comment “Wow, this could be our last practice.”My
teammates and I kind of gave her a look and pretty much said that
there is no way this will be our last workout together. There
was no way Oxford was going to beat us, and we would have many
more practices together. Boy, were we wrong.Almost
every athlete has heard the quote, “play every game like
it’s your last, because you never know when it will be.”
Being injured for the past week or so has given me a true understanding
of that saying.I’ll admit, and I
know my team will agree with me, sometimes we dread going to practice.
However, sitting there on the sidelines watching my team do a
suicide or getting beat up by some of the guys who play against
us, I would have given anything to be on the court with my best
friends. Heck, I would run 10 consecutive (sprints) in order to
step in-between those lines. Therefore, when Coach Rentko finally
let me practice hard yesterday afternoon, I was jumping for joy.
As coach was talking to us during a quick
break, my mind began to wander off. That’s nothing new though--just
kidding Mr. Rentko. I began reminiscing about last year’s
team and how our season abruptly ended and then it hit me. Approximately
a year ago, I played my final game with three of the most amazing
girls ever, Ashley Makarczyk, Kaitlyn Malshefski, and Abby Gesecki.
Once the basketball season starts here
at Nanticoke, we become a family, but once the season ends, things
change. People move on to their spring sports, start working,
and before you know it you go from seeing someone every day of
your life, to hardly ever seeing them.
Therefore, the night after last year’s
Oxford game it was almost as if I was saying goodbye to my sisters.
It was the worst feeling in the world. Then I looked around the
gym and spotted my fellow juniors--Lauren Dembowski, Sarah Acker,
and Amanda Coughlin and my mind went back to the days of biddy
basketball and all the memories we have playing together.
It was right then and there I made a promise
to myself. I will do absolutely anything and everything to make
our last basketball memory together, a happy one. These girls
on this team are my best friends, as they were last year, and
I don’t want to ever lose them. Every time I think about
my senior season I don’t want one bad game or one bad experience
to erase all the laughs, all the memories, and all the mischief
Today at 6 p.m., we will be taking the
second step in our journey against Boiling Springs at Martz Hall.
The Lady Bubblers are the third seed out of District 3 and have
an overall record of 26-3. After watching game films and hearing
numerous scouting reports, we learned that Boiling Springs enjoys
playing a 2-2-1 press and will do it the entire game if they have
Defensively, they switch from a 2-3, to
a 1-3-1 and play little, if any man defense. Tonight’s game
is one that we have been looking forward to for a long time. We
finally get to play in the “Mecca of High School Basketball,”
Martz Hall in Pottsville. Nanticoke Area has had many of impressive
victories in this gymnasium, such as the boys 1985 eastern final
game against Allentown Central Catholic and the 1990s girls eastern
final against North Schuylkill. The last Nanticoke victory at
Martz Hall came in 1996 when Coach Ken Bartuska’s boys team
impressively romped over Susquehanna Township.
That, like tonight’s game, was during
second round play. Hopefully, we can keep the Nanticoke basketball
tradition alive tonight at Martz Hall. I have complete faith in
my teammates, because I know we play every game like it’s
Byorick's Diary 4
If you have been reading my so-called
“diary” these past few days, you may have noticed
my often use of quotations in my writings. Certain quotes find
a way to empower me and at times they help me get through the
One specific quote that can very much be
associated with the Nanticoke Trojanette basketball team is “tell
us we can’t, because we can’t hear you.” When
playing high school sports at a competitive level, you have to
learn to block out certain aspects of life.
For instance, our team has learned that
you can never please everyone. You will always have your critics,
no matter how hard you play or how many games you win. People
will be jealous of you and they will try to do everything in their
power to bring you down. The team must learn to block them completely
Most important, all eyes are always on
you. One wrong move and everyone will know of that certain incident.
Every player must understand they are role models to many younger
children. However, all these pressure and expectations can be
enough to drive any teenage girl insane. As a team, we have learned
to turn all this frustration into motivation.
If you have ever been to one of our games
you are completely aware of all of dedicated, enthusiastic fans.
They make the playing atmosphere unbelievable and we live for
playoff games because we enjoy playing in front of a boisterous
Since I’ve been in high school, I’ve
been hearing stories from the days of the “Jungle”
which was the title of the Nanticoke student section. Every game
they rocked the gym. They were completely bummed out when their
beloved team lost, but celebrated like crazy when a big game was
Unfortunately, the “Jungle”
is long gone and the emotional tables seemed to be switched. All
the celebrating is done when we suffer from a loss or an injury
and the sadness comes when we advance to the next level. I was
sitting in my sixth-period class yesterday afternoon when the
daily bulletins were being delivered. My name was called, so I
turned around to acknowledge the individual.
“I am so sorry to hear your season
is going to end,” is what I received, along with some laughs
and sneers. Then, the person left the classroom high-fiving his
Now, I’m not saying the entire
school wants us to lose. We have our crazies who support us day
in and day out, rock the face paint and scream the entire game.
I have been dreaming of going deep into
the state playoffs since the first time I watched the game film
of the 1990 girls team. I would give up anything and everything
to have Coach Rentko place that gold medal around my neck.
My dreams have been my motivation for these
past four years of high school. I was afraid of losing because
I didn’t want to disappoint my team and myself. This year,
however, our team has added motivation. We don’t plan on
hearing “I told you so” and we refuse to give those
certain individuals the satisfaction of seeing us lose. I do not
want to walk through the hallways this year and have to look at
pictures of my teammates and me crying taped on people’s
Thank you to all the fans who support us.
We really appreciate it and enjoy your presence at our games.
Hopefully you will make the trip to Martz Hall in Pottsville on
Wednesday night and rock the gym, once again.
Aly Byorick's Diary
Crying happy tears
Going into yesterdays game,
I knew I would only be seeing less than five minutes of playing
time. However, what I didnt know is how the outcome of the
game was going to turn out. Thankfully, I was able to breathe
easy while sitting next to my favorite coaches as the Nanticoke
Trojanettes romped to a 54-24 win over Athens.
Watching yesterdays game from the
bench was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but it was for the
betterment of my health and my team. I have absolutely no problem
saying that me being less than 100 percent out on the court was
doing nothing for my team besides slowing them down.
As I was sitting there watching the game,
I saw something very special in my teammates. Yes, we made mistakes,
but no team is able to play a perfect game. However, watching
my team play yesterday truly brought tears to my eyes.
I know you may think that sounds really
corny, but Im sentimental like that. Every player who stepped
between those lines played with so much heart and desire. By just
looking at their faces. I could see how much each of them wanted
We came out with so much enthusiasm and
in turn we played a stellar first half. It broke my heart to have
to watch that game from the sidelines, but seeing the way my teammates
played without me really made me feel good about the goals we
want to accomplish.
Nothing can even be said about the play
of Sarah Acker. She was completely unstoppable and her name was
written all over every rebound and lose ball. But, if youre
a GNA follower, you know thats nothing new or unexpected.
My partner in crime really stepped it up without me.
All of my teammates, in my opinion, played
extremely well. However, the player who impressed me most yesterday
was Kelsey Yohey.
Being only a sophomore and playing in front
of a boisterous crowd, Kelsey started off the game with the jitters,
but she quickly turned on her game. I thought she was the depiction
of playing with heart and soul. She only had two points, but she
was a beast on the boards. Her boxing out was extraordinary; remember
its all those little things that win big games.
Leigh Ann Rentko and Jen Harnischfeger
were annoying, pain in the necks to the Athens offense, but I
dont feel bad for those Lady Wildcats. I have to put up
with those annoying, pain in the neck players everyday, and Im
talking off the court as well (just kidding). Lauren Dembowski
hit some shots and made some strong moves to the basket.
Brianna Borowski gave us a lot of solid
minutes, played tremendous defense, and was a big part of our
second quarter run. Amanda Coughlin and Gaby Malishchak saw a
lot of playing time as well. Gaby handled the point very well,
and Amanda dominated the boards and had some key stops on defense.
Our next task at hand is Boiling Springs.
I feel our team will be very prepared for Wednesday nights
game, thanks to Bobby Beggs and Billy Goodman. They spent their
Saturday afternoon scouting and taping their first round game,
which we plan on watching this afternoon.
However, my team will be in complete agreement
with me when I say that our favorite scouting report comes from
the one and only Kevin Ward. His interesting scouting
reports provide us with a great deal or information and laughs.
In all seriousness, we would really like
to thank these three guys for spending their Saturday afternoon
helping us accomplish our goals. It means a lot to us and we dont
plan on disappointing this season.
There is a great quote from Greys
Anatomy that I hung up on my mirror after I suffered my
injury in last weekends game. Pain, you just have
to ride it out, hope it goes away on its own, hope the wound that
caused it heals. There are no solutions, no easy answers, you
just breathe deep and wait for it to subside.
However, my coaches and I knew it wasnt
in our teams best interest to let my pain ride out on its
own in yesterdays game. However, I am making a promise to
myself that this injury will subside by Wednesday evening.
The Nanticoke Trojanettes will continue
to work hard and Im confident that well be ready to
play some of our best basketball against Boiling Springs.
Aly Byorick's Diary 2
Nanticoke ready for Athens
Respect all, fear none. That is
our team saying entering todays 3 p.m. game at Kings
College vs. Athens. This is the most important game of the season,
because if we dont come up with a win, our season will come
to a screeching halt.
Athens is located in Bradford County and
they have an overall record of 20-7. The Lady Wildcats became
the District 4 runner-up to Shamokin after suffering a 40-25 loss.
After watching the game film, we learned that Athens is a very
fundamentally sound basketball club that will play us extremely
tough and put up a battle. However, I have complete confidence
in our team.
Junior point guard Leigh Ann Rentko has
stepped up her game tremendously this year. She is as quick as
lightning and is a royal pain on defense. Leigh Ann brings about
complete havoc to opposing point guards and causes many turnovers,
which in turn lead to fast break opportunities. Offensively, Leigh
Ann runs the show for us and has learned how to keep her composure
under certain circumstances.
Senior guard Lauren Dembowski is a hard-nosed
player who is as tough as nails. I have seen her manhandle players
twice her size and she shows extraordinary hustle. I have complete
faith in Lauren and I know that she is capable of stopping any
player throughout the state tournament.
Freshmen Jen Harnischfeger has played like
a veteran all season. She enjoys teaming up with Rentko to bring
complete chaos to the opposing teams offense. Jen proved
that she is able to perform extremely well under pressure in last
Saturdays game against Bishop Hoban. When I got injured,
she knew she had to step it up and came up with many key shots
in the victory. Although she is only a freshman, Jen is willing
to take the game into her own hands and I have complete confidence
in her ball-handling abilities.
Our best asset to the team is 6-foot-4
senior center Sarah Acker. She is virtually unstoppable under
the basket and has proven all season long why she is one of the
best post players on the East Coast. Sarah has the ability to
take over any game and can score at will. Standing at 6-4, she
can run the floor with ease and can step out and hit the jumper.
Off the bench, Brianna Borowski and Morgan
Thomas are deadly from behind the arc. They have the ability to
light it up at any given moment. Kelsey Yohey has taken her game
to the next level and is a force to be reckoned with under the
boards. When any of these three players step onto the court, we
truly do not lose a beat.
Although I may see very limited minutes
today due to my foot injury, I know everyone else will bring their
A game. Going into todays game, there is a lot
of focus on me breaking Paul Guffrovichs record. I want
to make it clear that right now it is the least of my concerns.
I am strictly focused on our team goals, which is to come out
with a victory today.
I would trade in every single individual
accomplishment for a chance at a state title. Hopefully, my team
and I put on an impressive show for everyone today! Also, good
luck to all of the local teams who are competing in the state
Aly Byorick's Diary 1
Nanticoke star checks in
“It was a
very painful experience, but it would have taken the United States
Army to keep me from checking back into the game.”
When I first was
asked to do this column, I must admit I was a tad bit hesitant.
Hopefully my daily entry will catch the interest of many avid
sports fans; however, I know for some, this column will be nothing
more than target practice on their dartboard.
I will be writing this
post for the Times Leader now until the end of my basketball career,
which hopefully lasts until March 24th (date of the state finals).
In these articles, I will be discussing the goals my team and
I have set for ourselves and all the hard work we have put into
Hopefully, all the sweat,
blood, and tears pay off in the end and we can bring home a state
title to the Wyoming Valley, but for now we are taking things
one practice and one game at a time.
The first topic I want
to cover is my foot injury that I suffered in last week’s
district championship game. For a few weeks prior to the game
vs. Bishop Hoban, my left foot had been bothering me and appeared
very swollen in some particular spots. I learned that I was suffering
from a cyst and I refused to say anything to anyone.
My initial injury was a
slight sprain to the top of my foot, along with the rupturing
of this cyst. It was a very painful experience, but it would have
taken the United States Army to keep me from checking back into
the game. When I returned, I suffered from a deep bone contusion
to the top of the foot, which caused massive swelling and much
On the bright side, the
road to recovery has been going exceptionally well, thanks to
three of my favorite people – Dr. Jon Olengenski, Dr. Michael
Banas and Dr. Malcolm Conway.
Dr. Olengenski has been
our team’s savior all season long. He's always only a phone
call away and he keeps our team healthy during the dreaded flu
and cold seasons. Dr. Banas does everything in his power to keep
the Trojanettes on the court injury-free all season long, and
we are 100 percent convinced Dr. Conway is a miracle worker.
I have been seeing him
twice a day in order to get my foot ready for Saturday, and the
work he does is phenomenal. The Nanticoke Trojanettes would really
like to thank these three doctors for all they have done for us
during the course of our careers, and I would especially like
to thank them for all the time they put into my healing this past
Also, I would like to give
a special thanks to Vision Imagining MRI for putting up with my
constant twitching. Although I enjoy speaking with everyone, I
hope I don’t see you guys anytime soon – well at least
in your office.
Everyone always makes comments
about how the Nanticoke Trojanettes are only a two-person team.
I hope the game vs. Bishop Hoban proves to everyone that each
individual player has a tremendous amount of talent.
These girls are so much
more than my teammates. They are my sisters. Every single player
on the Nanticoke roster works so hard and wants to win it all
more than anything. We all live by the song “When You Put
Your Heart Into It,” by Kenny Rogers. Listen to it and you
will see why it motivates us. We are a very determined team and
we plan on conquering any obstacle that comes before us.
KENNY ROGERS » When You Put Your Heart In It
We knew it was one in a million
It was such a long shot
Somehow we've got here together
And who knows what will happen
Anything can happen
If we keep getting better
And we keep on believing.
When you put your heart in it
It can take you anywhere
Who's to say that we cant make it
Its the same dream that we share
When you put your heart in it
It can take you anywhere.
This road was so long and winding
It was such a hard road
But we cant stop once we had started
We were always getting closer
Suddenly it happens
A chance in a lifetime
Now were gonna take it
We can make it.
When you put your heart in it
It can take you anywhere
Whos to say that we cant make it
Its the same dream that we share
When you put your heart in it
It can take you anywhere...
My Advanced Placement Calculus teacher/coach, Alan Yendrzeiwski,
reminded me of a memorable quote from the movie “Hoosiers.”
With all the pressures and talk about the Nanticoke girls going
all the way, I think it fits our team’s mindset very well:
tradition in state tournament play – do not talk about the
next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you.
Going to the state finals is beyond anyone’s wildest dreams,
so let’s just keep it right there.