Trojanette Basketball


Grant resigns as Nanticoke Area coach
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After one season as the head coach as the head coach of the Nanticoke Area girls basketball team, Ed Grant has decided to tender his resignation.

After a May school board meeting when the vote to retain Grant was 4-3, with one abstention and another board member not present at the meeting, Grant decided it would be best to remove his name from consideration.

“I did not want this to be a distraction for myself, but more importantly to the team,” Grant said. “Nanticoke Area has a strong tradition. I just felt they would be better suited to bring in somebody new to continue that tradition.”

Grant was an assistant with the program for seven seasons before taking over as the head coach last year when previous head coach, Alan Yendrzeiwski, elected to step away to spend more time with his family.

“After spending the last month at home thinking over what I was going to do, I felt I was needed more at home this year, and wanted to be with my family,” said Grant, who has two daughters, ages 2 and 1.

The Trojanettes finished the 2018-19 season 19-7 and qualified for the state playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. Nanticoke Area finished third in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference behind Holy Redeemer and Lake-Lehman. In three of the eight seasons Grant was with the program, Nanticoke Area played for a district title, winning one.

“I am very proud of what we accomplished,” Grant said. “Not only did they prepare well on the court, but they were role models off the court. I really appreciated the opportunity to carry on the tradition of Nanticoke Area basketball. I believe we were able to accomplish that. But having time to think everything over, I felt it would be best for me and my family if I took this year off.”

Grant has not ruled out a return to coaching, whether it be on the basketball court or the football field. Grant was the offensive coordinator for the GAR football teams that won back-to-back district titles in 2010-11. Grant met with the girls in the basketball program on Monday afternoon to inform them of his decision.

The Citizens' Voice 2019 Girls Basketball All-Stars
By Steve Bennett

Lauren Casey

School: Nanticoke Area
Year: Sophomore
Position: Forward

Highlight Whether it was on the offensive end or the defensive end of the floor, Casey was a player that needed to be accounted for. Led the team in scoring with 9.0 points per game. Was able to alter shots with her athleticism and made it tough for opponents to get second chance opportunities. Scored a season-high 18 points against Wyoming Seminary.

Trojanettes lose to Mifflinburg

Mifflinburg closed with a 17-3 run to pull away from District 2 rep Nanticoke, 43-29, on Saturday, March 9th.

H.S. Girls Basketball: Amiah Lukowski leads early surge that carries Nanticoke Area to PIAA playoffs
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The last time Nanticoke Area ran into Berwick, a lot of shots wouldn’t fall for the Trojanettes.

For the first four minutes Tuesday, they couldn’t miss.

And that was enough to carry Nanticoke Area into the state playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Amiah Lukowski scored eight points, Nanticoke Area scored the game’s first nine points and the Trojanettes tormented Berwick with a collapsing inside defense that produced a 31-20 victory in the District 2 Class 4A girls basketball third-place game at Pittston Area High School.

“I wanted to do it for my team,” said Lukowski, a senior who swished her first three shots and finished with a game-high nine points. “I just knew I had to knock them down. I was pretty confident taking them, they were open.

“It’s a really special thing to go back four years in a row.”

It might be four straight trips to the PIAA playoffs for the Trojanettes, but it’s the first for former Nanticoke Area assistant Ed Grant as a head coach. His 19-6 Trojanettes will face the District 4 champion — the winner of a game between Mifflinburg and Danville or Jersey Shore — on March 9.

“Awesome,” said Grant, who took over when former head coach Alan Yendrzeiwski stepped away after last year. “Not many coaches can even say they got to that point. That’s a credit to our program. That’s an expectation for us. They (the players) understand that.”

What Berwick didn’t expect was another game of sluggish offense.

The Bulldogs were stymied in the paint during a 36-26 loss to Lake-Lehman in the district semifinals, then managed just four points in each of the first two quarters and six in each of the final two periods against a Nanticoke Area defense that collapsed the paint and shut down the inside.

“Same thing Lake-Lehman did to us,” said Berwick coach Bill Phillips, whose Bulldogs finished at 19-6. “It just seemed like a lack of energy. Late in the game, it’s still within reach. And we’re not in passing lanes, we’re not driving. I hate to keep saying it, but we’re still a little young.”

From the start, the Bulldogs seemed a little stunned.

That’s because Lukowski hit a bucket and a trey and Jil Baron drove for a basket and two free throws as Nanticoke Area scored the game’s first nine points.

“It was big,” Lukowski said.

After Berwick got on the board, Lukowski drilled her second trey, Lauren Casey got loose for a deuce in the lane and Bella Czeck snapped off a 3-pointer to give the Trojanettes a 17-2 lead 56 seconds from the end of the quarter.

“The last time we played them, we shot the ball badly,” Grant said. “We chased it a little bit. We got to the basket, fixed things up from the last time.”

A lot of things changed from that 15-point Berwick victory on Feb. 1.

“Momentum. Energy,” Lukowski believes were the biggest differences between the two games. “We were all pumped up. We knew this was a big game.”

Berwick never really recovered.

Despite holding Nanticoke Area to a single point in the second quarter and no baskets for 13 minutes, the Bulldogs barely made a dent in their deficit.

They managed just four points in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing 18-8, then scored just six points in each of the final two quarters.

“(Giving up) 10 points off turnovers in the first quarter, that kills you,” Phillips said. “And for how many times they turned it over in the second half, we didn’t convert. That’s the game right there.”

The Bulldogs tried to make a game of it when Renny Murphy came out of halftime and buried a 3-pointer, cutting Nanticoke Area’s lead to 18-11.

By the end of the third quarter though, Nanticoke Area pushed its advantage back to 11 points on a 3-pointer by Emily Hauer and a foul shot by Lukowski.

“We knew if we could stop them and get those second-chance points, we could win games,” Grant said. “Our defense has always been good.

“We were in control.”

District 2 Class 4A Third-Place Game

Nanticoke Area 31, Berwick 20

NANTICOKE AREA (31) — Alyssa Lewis 0 3-4 3, Amiah Lukowski 3 1-2 9, Lauren Casey 1 1-2 3, Jil Baron 1 3-4 5, Bella Czeck 2 0-0 5, Emily Haver 1 0-0 3, Jen Kurkoski 0 0-0 0, Riley Baird 0 3-4 3. Totals 8 11-16 31.

BERWICK (20) — Renny Murphy 2 2-2 7, Abby Burt 0 0-0 0, Katie Starr 1 2-2 4, Magan Dalo 1 1-1 3, Emily Ouimet 3 0-2 6, Emily Novicki 0 0-0 0, Sierra Miedaner 0 0-0 0, Jaydn Michael 0 0-0 0. Total 7 5-7 20.

Berwick`4`4`6`6 — 20

Nanticoke Area`17`1`9`4 — 31

Three-point goals — NAN 4 (Lukowski 2, Czeck, Hauer); BER 1 (Murphy).

DISTRICT 2 BASKETBALL: Nanticoke Area beats Berwick, advance to state playoffs
Steve Bennett – Citizens Voice
Trojanettes 1Trojanettes 2

Nanticoke Area certainly got off to the start it needed. The Trojanettes were pushing the ball up the floor. They were creating turnovers and capitalizing on them on the other end of the floor.

What appeared to be a game where tempo would dictate the outcome turned into a defensive struggle. But Nanticoke Area made enough defensive stops, shot well enough from the foul line and pulled off a 31-20 victory over Berwick at the Class 4A District 2 state play-in game at Pittston Area High School.

While the win may not have been the picture of beauty first-year head coach Ed Grant was hoping for, it was just enough to get the Trojanettes in the state playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. Nanticoke Area will take its 19-6 record up against the No. 1 seed from District 4 when the tournament begins March 8. Berwick ends the year 19-7.

“We hit a bunch of shots and everybody was stepping up and making plays,” Grant said. “We were attacking the zone, they went man-to-man and we just couldn’t take advantage of certain things and we were turning the ball over. Our defense was very good tonight, that is how we won the game.”

With the way Nanticoke Area was defending, the game was won about four minutes in. Ten of Nanticoke Area’s first 14 points came off Berwick turnovers. The Trojanettes were ahead 17-2 at one point before Berwick’s Katie Starr scored off a rebound for her team’s fourth point of the quarter.

Amiah Lukowski led Nanticoke Area’s first-quarter surge with eight points, while Jilann Baron added four.

“If you can’t score over 30 points, you are not going to win, that is the bottom line,” Berwick coach Bill Phillips said. “I don’t know what to say. If you don’t score, you can’t win. We had multiple looks from the 3-point line. We had multiple looks from the post. That is our game, inside-out. We are still a little young. We only had one senior out there.”

Berwick began to show some signs of life in the second quarter. The Bulldogs held Nanticoke Area to one point, but the problem was Berwick only managed four of its own. Renny Murphy and Emily Ouimet each scored. Nanticoke Area turned the ball over seven times in the quarter but Berwick could not take advantage.

“That is a credit to them,” Grant said. “They played good defense. We couldn’t get the ball in the basketball. We didn’t hold our possessions long enough. We tried to rush some things. It didn’t seem we were able to move the ball quick enough to get the open shot.”

After failing to make a shot from the field in the second quarter, Nanticoke Area made just two in the third. One came on a rebound basket by Bella Czeck, while Emily Hauer hit a 3-pointer at the 2:20 mark. As it turned out, Hauer’s basket was Nanticoke Area’s last made shot from the field.

Once again, presented with an opportunity to cut into the Nanticoke Area lead, Berwick could not come up with the big shot or string together a run to get back in the game. Berwick finished the game shooting 7 of 35 from the floor and turned the ball over 21 times. Nanticoke Area shot 8 of 28 and had 23 turnovers.

Berwick got as close as seven points in the third quarter after Renny Murphy hit a 3-pointer, but Hauer’s bucket helped open things up after Nanticoke Area then made a pair of free throws. Berwick closed within 10 points during the fourth quarter, but all four of Nanticoke Area’s points in the quarter came from the free throw line.

“This was one of our goals getting to the state playoffs,” Grant said. “We didn’t get the division or the district. This is a big achievement for this group. Now we are going to go back to basics. We have to be a little more disciplined, and work on more situational stuff. It’s win or go home and the girls understand that.”

Nanticoke Area (31)

A. Lukowski 3 1-2 9, B. Czeck 2 0-0 5, J. Baron 1 3-4 5, L. Casey 1 1-2 3, R. Baird 0 3-4 3, E. Hauer 1 0-0 3, A. Lewis 0 3-4 3, Totals 8 11-16 31.

Berwick (20)

R. Murphy 2 2-2 7, K. Starr 2 2-2 6, E. Ouimet 2 0-2 4, M. Dalo 1 1-1 3, A. Burt 0 0-0 0, E. Novicki 0 0-0 0, S. Miedaner 0 0-0 0, J. Michael 0 0-0 0, Totals 7 5-7 20.

Nanticoke Area 17 1 9 4—31

Berwick 4 4 6 6—20

3-point goals: A. Lukowski (NA) 2, B. Czeck (NA) 1, E. Hauer (NA) 1, R. Murphy (Ber) 1.

Trojanettes lose to Scranton Prep

Alyssa Lewis led Nanticoke with nine points and Jilann Baron had six rebounds. The Lady Trojans (18-6) are still alive for a state-playoff berth and will play Berwick (19-5) on Tuesday in the third-place game.

Nanticoke Area rolls to district girls basketball semifinals
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Welcome into the inner circle of head coaching playoff winners, Ed Grant.

And welcome back to the district semifinals, Nanticoke Area.

Lauren Casey, Amiah Lukowski and Alyssa Lewis each scored 10 points Tuesday and took turns producing pivotal moments as Nanticoke Area opened the District 2 Class 4A girls basketball playoffs with 44-21 quarterfinal victory over Western Wayne to make first-year head coach Grant a winner in his playoff debut at Hazleton Area High School.

“Just good to get one off the back,” smiled Grant, who served as a Nanticoke Area girls basketball assistant the past few years and was elevated to the program’s helm when Alan Yendrzeiwski stepped away to spend more time with his family after last season. “It’s really good. Our kids played really hard.”

It’s not hard to see where this may be going.

The 18-5 Trojanettes, who shut out 13-10 Western Wayne through the final quarter, will face top-seeded, 22-1 Scranton Prep — which put away Tunkhannock 64-28 in another quarterfinal — in the semifinal round Friday.

Win or lose that game, Nanticoke Area is assured of playing for a spot in the PIAA tournament for a fifth straight season — since District 2 sends three Class 4A teams to states with one getting there through a battle of teams that lose in the semifinals.

The Trojanettes lost that third-place game in 2015, won it in 2016, won the District 2 title in 2017 and fell in the district finals to finish as District 2’s No. 2 state representative last season before assuring themselves a fifth straight trip to the semis with Tuesday’s win.

“One-hundred percent, we definitely wanted to get back in the swing of things,” said Lewis, who scored all of her 10 points in the second half to help the Trojanettes turn a seven-point halftime lead into a runaway victory. “We wanted to make history and go back (to the finals). It’s one of our goals as a team.

“This is the best basketball you can play, in districts.”

They’re playing it for a new voice at the top of the bench now.

“I still look at him as a coach, whether it’s the last couple years or now,” said Lewis, a senior, “but he leads us. He’s really someone I look up to for advice.”

Nanticoke Area could have used some early.

Casey got started by popping a couple baskets and Lukowski swished a 3-pointer as Nanticoke Area rolled off the game’s first seven points. Then eyes began to roll as Western Wayne fought back to tie the game 11-11 heading into the second stanza.

“We were up 7-0, then they had their little spurt there,” Grant said. “But basically, we’re solid. That’s been our deal all year.”

Indeed, the Trojanettes held dangerous outside shooter Kaeli Romanski to four points — none in the second half — and used an aggressive man defense to hold Western Wayne to four points for the second quarter.

Lukowski buried another trey, Casey finished with eight points in the first half and Nanticoke Area took a 22-15 lead into the break.

Then Lewis got loose, charging inside for her first six points as Nanticoke Area grew its lead to 11 points at the two-minute mark of the third quarter while limiting Western Wayne to two points over the first six minutes of the second half.

“We wanted to play fierce and fast and go hard at everybody,” Lewis said. “We wanted to stay upbeat.”

Lukowski perked up the Trojanettes with her third trey of the game in the final quarter, Lewis added four more points and Casey hit another bucket while Nanticoke Area surrendered no more points through the entire fourth quarter.

“We take great pride in our defense every year,” Grant said. “We communicated well, we executed the gameplan well. Being here as an assistant, you’re used to that atmosphere. Some nerves, but that goes away once the game starts. Our seniors know how to lead us through situations like that, as well.”

WVC coaches announce girls basketball award winners, all-stars
Times Leader

Each division selected first-team and second-team all-stars.

In Division 1, the first team was Crestwood sophomore Helena Jardine, Hazleton Area senior Virginia Yurchak, Wyoming Valley West junior Toni Amato, Hazleton Area junior Faith Grula and Wyoming Valley West senior Nicole Boutanos. On the second team were Hazleton Area junior Kyra Antolick, Pittston Area senior Krista Maurizi, Dallas senior Samantha Kern, Dallas sophomore Deanna Wallace and Wyoming Valley West freshman Trinity Johnson.

First-team picks in Division 2 were Berwick sophomore Katie Starr, Nanticoke sophomore Lauren Casey, Holy Redeemer junior Cameron Marcinkowski, Berwick sophomore Renny Murphy and Lake-Lehman senior Savannah Purdy. Second-teamers were Wyoming Area senior Aleah Kranson, Nanticoke senior Jilann Baron, Tunkhannock senior Abby Ritz, Wyoming Area junior Nicole Silinskie and Lake-Lehman senior Corinna Scoblick.

The Division 3 first team consisted of Wyoming Seminary junior Ally Vezendy, Meyers senior Ashley Bruno, Hanover Area junior Madison Hooper, Northwest junior Reagan Harrison and GAR freshman Gloria Adjayi. Meyers senior Bella Skaff, MMI Prep sophomore Irene Altmiller, GAR sophomore Vanessa Luna, Hanover Area junior Sara Tuzinski and Wyoming Seminary senior Maaike Reitsma made the second team.

WVC - Girls Basketball Preview
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area

Head coach: Ed Grant
Classification: 4A

Looking back: Finished 22-6. Lost to Gwynedd-Mercy, 37-26, in the second round of the state playoffs.

Players to watch: Alyssa Lewis (12.4), Amiah Lukowski (6.0), Jil Baron (6.0), Bella Czeck (3.9), Lauren Casey (2.8), Emily Hauer (1.8).

Looking ahead: The cupboard certainly wasn’t empty when Grant took over as the head coach. He primarily worked on the defensive end of things during his time as an assistant. Now he gets to run the entire show. The Trojanettes have a nice mixture returning with some veteran leadership thanks to four core players who saw time in the starting lineup last year. Don’t expect much to change this year. Nanticoke Area will still look to press, create turnovers and convert easy chances on the other end. It will be all about consistency.