Trojanette Basketball

Congrats to #TrojanetteHoops senior Lauren Casey and junior Riley Baird on being named to the @LLHoopsNEPbeat All-District 2 Girls Basketball team. The team selects the top players in
@piaad2 regardless of class, conference or division. See the team here.

Congratulations to Trojanette basketball senior Lauren Casey, junior Riley Baird and freshman Claire Aufiero on being selected as WVC Division 2 All-Stars. Lauren and Riley were named to the first team while Claire made the second team. Great job by these girls and the entire Trojanette team! See the entire team here:

Congratulations to Trojanette basketball players, senior Lauren Casey and junior Riley Baird, on being selected to the Citizens Voice WVC All-Star team. This team is comprised of the best players in the conference regardless of school size or division.

Citizens' Voice Girls Basketball All-Stars
Steve Bennett – Citizens Voice

Riley Baird

School: Nanticoke Area
Year: Junior
Position: Guard

Ran the offensive show from the point. Led the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game. Made a team-best 33 3-pointers and shot 79.6% from the foul line. Scored a season-high 28 points in a win over Tunkhannock.

Lauren Casey

School: Nanticoke Area
Year: Senior
Position: Forward

Was second on the team in scoring with 10.0 points per game. Showed she can be effective playing with her back to the basket as well as hitting the mid-range jump shot. Shot 74% from the foul line. Scored a season-high 20 points against Hazleton Area.

Postseason awards have been released by the Wyoming Valley Conference basketball coaches:

Junior Riley Baird was named the Division 2 Player of the Year while senior Lauren Casey was selected as a first team All-Star and freshman Claire Aufiero was named to the second team. Lauren and fellow senior Emily Cullen were selected to represent the Trojanettes in the WVC Senior All-Star Classic on April 8.
Congratulations to all of our award winners on a season well done!

Dunmore withdraws from district tournament; Nanticoke Area advances
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Dunmore withdrew from the District 2 girls and boys basketball tournaments and swimming competitions Friday afternoon due to COVID-19 issues, reversing a District 2 decision earlier in the day regarding the girls game with Nanticoke Area later that night.

District 2 chairman Frank Majikes sent the following email Friday afternoon: “I was just notified that Dunmore has withdrawn from the playoffs in boys and girls basketball and swimming due to COVID-19 related matters.”

Majikes informed Nanticoke Area that its girls team would advance to the Class 4A semifinals and play at Berwick on Tuesday. Also, the Lakeland boys will advance. They were scheduled to play Dunmore on Sunday.

On Friday morning, Majikes sent the following email: “Please be aware the Dunmore/Nanticoke girls game scheduled for tonight will NOT be played and Dunmore will be awarded a win and advance to the semifinals.”

Greater Nanticoke Area superintendent Ronald Grevera said prior to the Dunmore announcement that the Nanticoke Area girls team had not forfeited the game.

“District 2 chairman Mr. Majikes has declared us to be forfeited,” Grevera said. “That’s not us, that’s not the school district.”

Grevera cited numerous positive COVID-19 tests within Dunmore’s athletic programs and students, including six on the girls basketball team, as a reason for concerns about playing the game. Nanticoke Area planned on traveling to Dunmore, but the players would remain on the bus because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Grevera said traveling to Dunmore would show the Nanticoke Area girls did not forfeit, but rather the school district believed the COVID-19 situation was too prevalent to play. Nanticoke is going to hybrid learning on Monday, and the school district didn’t want to jeopardize that.

A meeting was held Monday with the girls’ parents and some board members to discuss concerns about the game. The girls agreed to take the ride to Dunmore even if it meant not playing.

“We’re kind of glad the way this thing turned out,” Grevera said later Friday afternoon. “I wanted to thank our board and our board president Tony Prushinski for really pushing that forward and saying, ‘Hey, we’re not going to forfeit.’ I did the same thing. We’re a team and we were going to stick to it. We didn’t want to back down, we didn’t want to give up.”

A posting on the Facebook page of Dunmore Junior/Senior High School confirmed numerous positive COVID-19 cases.

The first message dated Feb. 23 read in part: “A member of our Girls’ Basketball team tested positive on February 25th. The student was last in contact with others during school related activities on February 24th. Once we received this information we contacted the PA Department of Health. Through their guidance, close contacts have been identified and notified.”

The second message dated Feb. 28 read in part: “Four more members of our Girls’ Basketball team tested positive on February 26th and February 27th. The students were last in contact with others during school related activities on February 24th and 25th. A member of our Boys’ Basketball team tested positive for COVID-19 on February 26th. The student was last in contact with others during school related activities on February 23rd. A member of our Girls’ Junior High Basketball team also tested positive for the virus on February 27th. The student was last in contact with others at school related activities on February 25th.”

Other postings confirmed more COVID-19 cases within the boys program.

The Dunmore girls program shut down on Feb. 26 with plans on returning to the court Tuesday. The team was 15-1 and favored to advance to the District 2 Class 4A title game.

The District 2 swimming championships are Saturday and Sunday at Delaware Valley High School.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Nanticoke Area among teams eagerly awaiting season
Matt Bufano – Citizens Voice

To look on the bright side of things is often easier said than done.

Take Pennsylvania’s high school student-athletes, for example, whose start-and-stop winter season remains cloudy.

Nanticoke Area junior guard Riley Baird found the bright side, however, for the few weeks in which the Trojanettes held mostly masked and socially distanced practices.

“It’s still basketball,” she said, “so it’s fun. But it’s very different.”

In-person practices have since ceased. Monday marked three weeks since the Wyoming Valley Conference effectively shut down its winter sports programs, a move that preceded a statewide shutdown that could be lifted Jan. 4.

Teams have had to get creative in the meantime and, luckily for Nanticoke Area, Ed Grant Jr. has implemented virtual communication within his team since he was appointed head coach three years ago.

“We use a Google Classroom to share some ideas and things to the kids,” Grant said. “Basically, we put down some ideas for workouts that they could follow on YouTube. A lot of the stuff that we use, they don’t necessarily need equipment … some dumbbells if they have them available. Mostly, we’re stressing the cardio aspect of things to be in shape; and going outside for walks and runs.”

Basketball teams need to score points, though, and that’s led to players like Baird and senior Lauren Casey using their backyard and driveway hoops more than ever.

“I would go outside to my driveway and shoot like at least 100 shots and then a few foul shots, too, to keep everything together,” Casey said. “When our season starts up again, I won’t be too rusty.”

Nanticoke Area hasn’t played a varsity game since Feb. 25, a season-ending, 40-36 loss against Berwick in the District 2 Class 4A third-place game.

Baird, the team’s leading scorer and 3-point shooter and one of only two sophomores who made The Citizens’ Voice all-star team (the other being Lake-Lehman’s Claire Dougherty), missed that game with the flu, she said.

Having a healthy Baird and Casey, as well as returning starters Brooklyn Biehl and Abby Cullen, has the Trojanettes setting high expectations for the new season.

“My first year, we made it to the state tournament … last year, we met Berwick to try to get to the state tournament again and we came up just shy,” Grant said. “Our kids know how to play in those big games. I think they’re excited about the season. Hopefully, it gets to lift-off.”

Baird got her first taste of coronavirus-era athletics in the fall, when she played field hockey.

“I was so grateful that I got to play field hockey,” Baird said. “As soon as that was over, I’m like, ‘OK, it’s basketball season. We gotta get ready.’”

The PIAA’s official start date for practice was Nov. 20 and Nanticoke Area got in more than a dozen practices, Grant said, before being shut down.

“Coach Grant tried to tell us to keep our masks up as much as we could,” Casey said. “If we needed a mask break, we separated ourselves and then quickly put it right back on and got right back into the drill. … We wanted to try to keep each other safe because everyone went home to different people in their family, people who were more at-risk than others.”

Grant estimated that players had their masks on during 90% of practice, a signal that everyone had taken the looming threat of coronavirus seriously, even though players say wearing a mask presented some difficulty when breathing heavily.

“We were all in it together because we didn’t want it to get shut down. We were doing so good, too,” Baird said. “We were all following everything, kept our masks on the whole time, nobody ever took it off — only when we got a drink, we’d pull it down and put it back up.”

COVID-19 has affected even the most cautious individuals and groups, however, leading to a nationwide spike in cases that’s led to some speculation that the shutdown could continue past Jan. 4.

When the season gets underway, Nanticoke Area will compete in the competitive WVC Division 2 with Hanover Area, Holy Redeemer, Lake-Lehman, Tunkhannock, Wyoming Area and Wyoming Seminary. The playoffs will be even tougher with the additions of Redeemer and Dunmore to an already packed District 2 Class 4A field.

Still, Nanticoke Area’s goal remains the same: to add its digits, “2021,” to the banners inside the gymnasium that honor past league, district and state champions.

“That’s our goal right now and we feel like we can do that,” Grant said. “Just, hopefully, we could get back at it.”