WVC coaches announce all-star basketball teams
Citizens Voice

Division 2

MVP: Riley Klepadlo, Nanticoke Area

Player of the Year: Cayle Spencer, Lake-Lehman

Coach of the Year: Alan Yendrzeiwski, Nanticoke Area

JV Coach of the Year: Alison Wolfgang, Wyoming Area

First team: Gianna Roberts, Nanticoke Area; Deanna Thomas, Nanticoke Area; Brea Seabrook, GAR; Asdone Hooper, Hanover Area; Sarah Holweg, Wyoming Area

Second team: Haylee Bobos, Hanover Area; Amber Grohowski, Hanover Area; Julia Eneboe, Lake-Lehman; Katie Wolfgang, Wyoming Area; Marie Skrepenak, GAR

Nanticoke Area girls have a winning attitude
Matt Bufano - Citizens Voice

How did the Nanticoke Area Trojanettes come this far?
It’s a fair question given their average-sized, underclassmen-heavy roster that includes six sophomores and just one senior.
But here they are, riding a 14-game win streak. Having already won the WVC’s Division 2 title, the Trojanettes are one win away from advancing to the state playoffs — and this success should not come as a surprise.
“The team that is up there right now, they don’t take a backseat,” said Nanticoke Area junior high coach Gerard Rentko. “No team likes to be down. But if they’re down, they’re a team that knows how to come back.”
Rentko’s word is one that should be taken with confidence. A 30-year junior high coach, about 18 of which have been at Nanticoke Area, Rentko over time has learned to tell the great apart from the not-so-great.
This year’s Trojanettes have been closer to “great” their whole careers.
When the current junior class was in eighth grade, the junior high team went 21-2, Rentko said. In the following year, the current batch of sophomores went 20-1.
In both seasons, they won their division competing against the same schools they face in varsity.
Years ago, varsity head coach Alan Yendrzeiwski took notice of the success the Trojanettes were having at the junior high and freshman levels. He said a thought in the back of his mind was, “OK, we definitely have something to work with.”
But even before that, the current crop of talent enjoyed success at an early age, including the sophomores, who have played together since second grade.
“Being able to keep that close of a bond with the girls throughout high school, middle school and growing up — it’s something special,” sophomore point guard Riley Klepadlo said.
The trophy collection of Klepadlo and her fellow sophomores is an extensive one that dates back to elementary school, and even includes a championship win in the 2012 Winter Challenge tournament in Syracuse, New York.
As the head coach, Yendrzeiwski’s responsibilities include helping players reach their full potential and establishing roles for everyone on the team, which could be a bit challenging.
However, given the history this team shares, players generally know what they need to do.
“We understand each other without really having to say much,” junior Gianna Roberts said.
For a historical perspective, the 1990 Trojanettes, who won the PIAA Class AAA championship with a perfect 30-0 record, were led by five seniors that played together since junior high.
The advantage to be gained from having a team that knows one another so well is apparent for the Trojanettes, as on-court communication is one of Nanticoke Area’s strengths.
“We’ve gotten so used to playing with each other that, communication-wise, it’s so much easier than when we started,” Klepadlo said.
However, raw talent is perhaps the main reason why the Trojanettes are winning.
An all-around player who often racks up the rebounds, steals and assists, Klepadlo averages 13.3 points per game and was recently crowned MVP of Division 2 by the WVC Girls Basketball Coaches Association.
Roberts and senior Deanna Thomas average 13.5 and 11.7 ppg, respectively.
The sophomore/junior/senior trio agreed in unison that they saw something special with this team from the first practice for the 2014-15 season.
“We worked harder than we’ve ever worked in the past,” Thomas said. “Over the summer, we were going hard and just coming up from day one, we knew that it was going to pay off.”
Several years removed from coaching these Trojanettes, Rentko still follows the team closely.
“These kids, if they had me for one year, they have me for the rest of their life,” he said with a laugh.
Among the other Trojanettes who have translated junior high-to-varsity success are junior Amber Grohowski, and sophomores Cassie Novakowski, Keira Brown and Kayla Aufiero.
Rentko said where this team succeeded in carrying over success to the varsity level, whereas others failed, is the players got stronger, and simply, “They have the heart and desire to get better.”
Nanticoke Area’s win streak will be put to the test Wednesday, when it faces North Pocono at 6 p.m. at Wilkes in the District 2 Class AAA semifinals.

Trojanettes climb from worst to 1st
Matt Bufano - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area’s luck was the absolute worst.
Of all the possible draws, the Trojanettes were paired with returning PIAA semifinalist Holy Redeemer for their first league game of the season. The Trojanettes were predictably blown out and instantly found themselves at the bottom of Division 2.
“It was one game,” said Nanticoke Area coach Alan Yendrzeiwski. “We had the whole season in front of us.”
Taking it one game at a time, the Trojanettes are now what they set out to be: Division champs.
How the Trojanettes got here is in the numbers: 10 straight wins, an average margin of victory of 15 points in that streak, and three shooters that on any given night can lead the team in points.
In the 10-game win streak, Gianna Roberts (13.6 points per game), Riley Klepadlo (13.3) and Deanna Thomas (10.9) have each averaged double figures. Thomas is the team’s lone senior and only holdover from the last Nanticoke Area team that won a division championship in 2012.
The Trojanettes gained sole possession of first place in Division 2 on Jan. 19 with a win over Hanover Area. In the win, Nanticoke Area point guard Klepadlo, the most talented in a group of several sophomores seeing valuable playing time, scored 17 points and hauled in 12 rebounds.
The division-clinching win came Saturday, a 59-32 blowout over Lake-Lehman, in which the trio of Roberts, Klepadlo and Thomas combined for 43 points.
“(Lake-Lehman) was a very good team and our kids just took it up an extra notch today and probably played their best game of the season,” Yendrzeiwski said on Saturday.
The scary part for opponents, according to Yendrzeiwski, is the best is yet to come.
“Our girls are still getting better. They haven’t peaked yet,” Yendrzeiwski said. “Still getting better, still fairly young. ... We’re still improving and as a coach, that’s a fantastic feeling.”

Nanticoke Area wraps up WVC Division II title with victory over Lake-Lehman
Gianna Roberts scores 17 as Nanticoke Area locks up crown

The excitement began to build in a boisterous Nanticoke Area locker room, long before the Trojanettes charged onto their home floor.
After waiting three long years, they were so close to a title, they could practically touch it.
As it turned out, nobody in the Wyoming Valley Conference Division II could touch the Trojanettes this season.
Gianna Roberts pounded the inside with 17 points Saturday, sharp-shooters Riley Klepadlo and Deanna Thomas combined for 26 more and Nanticoke Area nailed down its first girls basketball league championship since 2012 by disposing of Lake-Lehman, 59-32.
“We needed this, we got it, we worked hard for it,” said Thomas, a senior guard. “We haven’t won a division title since 2012, when I was a freshman. To come back and be able to cut down the net again is just great.
“We really saw what we can do as a team today.”
Roberts showed them the way.
Playing primarily in the paint, Roberts helped Nanticoke Area paint a much different picture of itself than the gun-slinging team that riddled most of its opponents from the perimeter throughout the 2014-15 season.
Instead, Roberts gave the guards a bit of a break, bolting out of the gates with four inside baskets for eight points in the opening quarter. Pretty soon, the Trojanettes were on their way to a Division II title celebration with a record of 10-1 in league play and 15-2 overall.
“It’s a great memory I’m always going to have with my teammates,” Roberts said. “We got pumped up in the locker room, together as a team. We really wanted this.”
The Trojanettes showed it.
With Roberts taking care of things underneath, Nanticoke Area’s guards got going from the outside.
Klepadlo popped a 3-pointer among her eight points in the opening quarter as the Trojanettes stormed to an 18-7 lead over Lehman - the last team left that had a shot at forcing a playoff with Nanticoke Area for the Division II title before dropping to 6-5 in Division II and to 10-9 overall with two league games remaining.
That margin grew to 18 points by halftime, as Klepadlo put up five more points in the second quarter and Thomas added five points in the first half.
“You have to have a little bit of everything,” Roberts said.
In the second half, Roberts gave the Trojanettes more to feast on inside.
She pounded home seven more points in the third quarter, using quick, power moves under the bucket while drawing raves from her teammates - especially on one super-smooth play that she started and finished.
“Gianna was phenomenal today,” Nanticoke Area coach Alan Yendrzeiwski said. “The third quarter, she starts the fast-break, gets it on the fast-break and then banks it in.
“It’s always nice to start inside first.”
It helped turn the whole game inside-out.
“Oh my goodness, our inside game improved tremendously,” Thomas said. “Gianna just drove everything. Once she gets on a roll, she’s on fire. Once we feed it into the paint, not only does it open it up for her, it opens everything up for us.”
Once again, defense opened the door for Nanticoke Area’s 10th straight victory.
Lake-Lehman managed just 19 points through the first three quarters, and fell behind 53-19 with eight minutes remaining. It didn’t help the Black Knights that starter Julia Eneboe was taken from the floor on a stretcher with an apparent upper body injury midway through the second quarter.
“To be able to accomplish something together is an amazing feeling,” Thomas said. “The way we put in work during the summer, I mean, we practiced every day, practiced hard. All that extra time we put in made us a championship-caliber team. We always worked hard.
“But I think there was something special here this year.”
That was evidenced by by a title the Trojanettes went after with all their might, which was secured with a net-cutting celebration that energized their Saturday night.
“It feels great,” Yendrzeiwski said. “The kids have worked hard for a real long time. It’s nice to celebrate, because our year was great.
“I’m just happy for our kids.”

Nanticoke Area 59, Lake-Lehman 32

LAKE-LEHMAN (32) — Katie Bartuska 3 0-2 6, Cayle Spencer 3 5-9 11, Julia Eneboe 1 0-2 3, Molly Storz 1 0-0 2, Miranda Parry 0 0-2 0, Janelle Cawley 2 2-2 6, Mackenzie Love 1 0-3 2, Lauren Cunius 0 0-0 0, Cassandra Konopki 1 0-1 2. Totals 12 7-21 32.

NANTICOKE AREA (59) — Gianna Roberts 8 1-3 17, Riley Klepadlo 6 2-2 16, Kayla Aufiero 1 2-2 4, Amber Grohowski 1 1-2 3, Deanna Thomas 3 3-4 10, Cassie Novakowski 2 0-0 4, Kiera Brown 0 2-2 2, Chaquanna Zendarski 0 0-0 0, Jordan Bavitz 0 0-0 0, Katie Butczynski 0 0-0 0, Miranda Dunn 1 0-0 3, Alexis Pyzia 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 11-15 59.


Nanticoke Area`18`13`22`6`—`59

Three-point goals — LL 1 (Eneboe); NAN 4 (Klepadlo 2, Thomas, Dunn).