Trojanette Basketball

2019-20 Citizens’ Voice Girls Basketball All-Stars
Matt Bufano – Citizens Voice

Riley Baird

Nanticoke Area
Year: Sophomore
Position: Guard

One of the WVC’s top point guards, Baird led the Trojanettes in points per game (13.6) and 3-pointers (42). Nanticoke Area was 13-7 when Baird scored in double-digits.


District 2 Class 4A 3rd Place Game

Berwick 40, Nanticoke Area 36


Baird’s two free throws lead Nanticoke Area girls over Lake-Lehman in D2 tournament
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The first attempt Riley Baird took from the foul line in the final seconds kicked off the side of the rim, bounced high, then curled around and dropped straight through the net.

So did the second.

And with that, Nanticoke Area eliminated Wyoming Valley Conference overall champion Lake-Lehman from the District 2 Class 4A playoffs.

Baird’s two foul shots with 7.6 seconds on the clock broke a last-minute tie Tuesday and sent the charged-up Trojanettes into the district semifinals with a stunning 30-28 victory over Lehman at Wyoming Area High School.

“I thought they were both coming out,” Baird said of her game-winning foul shots. “I was really nervous.”

She didn’t show it, though.

And neither did Nanticoke Area, which rallied from deficits after the first three quarters to claim the victory by holding the Black Knights to two points during the final period.

“That’s a credit to our kids,” Nanticoke Area coach Ed Grant said. “They know how to play in those situations. They may not have been on the court for them in the past, maybe some were on the bench. But our kids, we practice that. We’re in those situations. We understand what we have to do.”

The mission for the Trojanettes was getting past a red-hot Lehman team that had won four straight games and 14 of 16, including upsets of heavily-favored Dallas and Hazleton Area to win the WVC league title.

Nanticoke Area accomplished it by turning to Baird, who hit a game-high 14 points, and using some big baskets by Emily Hauer to give the Trojanettes a shot at the end.

When Baird converted, fifth-seeded and 13-10 Nanticoke Area earned a date with No. 1 Scranton Prep (23-0) in Friday’s Class 4A semifinal round. Win or lose that battle, the Trojanettes are assured at least two more games, as the Class 4A semifinal losers will play Tuesday for District 2’s third Class 4A slot in the PIAA tournament.

“It feels great,” Baird said. “We came here so prepared. And we knew it, too.”

Lehman had one final chance to launch more magic — it was Chase Purdy’s 3-pointer with nine seconds to play that beat Hazleton Area for the WVC overall title Saturday — but ran out of time.


A long pass to team scoring leader Sarah Salus was contested, and by the time Salush swished a turn-around jumper from the foul line for the tie, the buzzer had sounded.

“Oh, it was really close,” said Lake-Lehman coach Charlie Lavan, whose team finished its season at 16-9. “But it was definitely after the buzzer. Tough. The girls played hard. This wasn’t our smoothest game. Foul trouble was a key issue for us. But it was a good year. We’ve got a very young team. We’ll be back next year.”

The Black Knights were close to going back to the district semifinals for a second straight year, as Claire Dougherty scored a team-high 12 points and paced Lehman to leads of 11-6 after the opening quarter; 17-15 at halftime; and 26-24 after the third period.

Cullen’s 3-pointer cut Nanticoke Area’s deficit to two points early in the second quarter and her basket in the third gave the Trojanettes their first lead, 20-19, over two minutes into the second half. She also made two layups in the final 5:02, with the first one tying the game and the second giving Nanticoke Area a two-point lead with 2:20 on the clock. Dougherty answered with a scooping layup to even things at 28-28 with 83 seconds to go, setting the stage for Baird’s winning foul shots.

“We were all so happy,” Baird said. “Even to beat a team by two, it’s a great game.”

District 2 Class 4A Quarterfinals

Nanticoke Area 30, Lake-Lehman 28

NANTICOKE AREA (30) — Abby Cullen 4 0-0 9, Jen Kurkoski 0 0-0 0, Riley Baird 6 2-2 14, Emily Hauer 1 0-1 3, Lauren Casey 1 2-2 4, Brooklyn Biehl 0 0-0 0, Genevieve Nalepa 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 4-5 30.

LAKE-LEHMAN (28) — Chase Purdy 1 4-4 6, Claire Dougherty 5 1-1 12, Lia Keefe 2 0-0 4, Sarah Salus 2 0-0 4, Hailey Kline 1 0-0 2, Madison Brdaric 0 0-0 0, Autumn Savitski 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 5-5 28.

Nanticoke Area`6`9`9`6 — 30

Lake-Lehman`11`6`9`2 — 28

Three-point goals — NAN 2 (Cullen, Hauer); LL 1 (Dougherty).

GIRLS HOOPS: Nanticoke Area eliminates Lake-Lehman with late free throws

Matt Bufano – Citizens Voice

EXETER — Points are precious.

That’s never been more true for Nanticoke Area than Tuesday night, when — with their season on the line — the Trojanettes scored their second-fewest points all season.

Thanks to a lock-down defense, those 30 points were still enough to eke out a win.

Sophomore Riley Baird scored 14 points, senior Lauren Casey held her own against some of District 2’s elite post players, and senior Jen Kurkoski made a giant impact without scoring a point.

The end result was fifth-seeded Nanticoke Area beating fourth-seeded Lake-Lehman, 30-28, in the District 2 Class 4A girls basketball quarterfinals at Wyoming Area.

Baird clinched the win, making a pair of free throws — each of which bounced off the front of the rim and kissed off the glass before falling through the cylinder — on a one-and-one with 7 seconds left.

“Oh my God, I was so nervous,” Baird said. “I thought they were both going in and out.”

While Lake-Lehman (16-9) is eliminated, Nanticoke Area

(13-10) advances to play No. 1 Scranton Prep in the semifinals Friday at a time and place to be announced. Being that District 2 sends three Class 4A teams to the PIAA playoffs, Nanticoke Area will play at least two more games, with the second being either the championship or third-place game.

Each team had some missteps in the final minutes, including Lake-Lehman’s inbound play with 15 seconds left.

Tied at 28, Lake-Lehman’s Hailey Kline passed to Sarah Salus, who dribbled twice and then shot an airball from 3-point range.

“When we draw that play up, there’s two options on it,” Lake-Lehman head coach Charlie Lavan said. “One’s a shot. The second option’s to dump it in the post. We probably should have gave it more time.”

Lavan didn’t blame Salus, though, and rightfully so, considering the Lake-Lehman senior was the catalyst for a team that won the Wyoming Valley Conference tournament over the weekend.

Nanticoke Area’s Emily Hauer had a hand in Salus’ face on the shot. Otherwise, Kurkoski played pesky defense on Salus, holding her to four points.

“I was just going into the mindset of trying to cut her down to the lowest points she’s had all season,” Kurkoski said. “I tried my hardest. Without my team, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

After Baird was fouled and made two free throws, Lake-Lehman never got off a shot to tie or win.

“Oh it was stressful,” Nanticoke Area head coach Ed Grant Jr. said. “It was back-and-forth, two really good teams that take a lot of pride in what they do. ... We’ve been trying to get there all year. The last two days at practice, everybody’s so dialed in and focused.”

The biggest lead of the game belonged to Lake-Lehman, 15-8, in the second quarter.

Nanticoke Area tied it at 15 with two Baird buckets wrapped around an Abby Cullen 3-pointer.

Given how close it was and how few points were scored, Tuesday’s game was for the taking but neither team ever went on a run to take it.

Tied at 24 in the third quarter, Lake-Lehman went 0 for 5 and Nanticoke Area 0 for 3 over a two-minute stretch before Salus hit a jumper to finally break the tie.

Backing Baird’s 14 points for Nanticoke Area were Cullen (nine points), Casey (four points, eight rebounds) and Hauer (three points).

Lake-Lehman sophomore Claire Dougherty had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“Give Nanticoke credit,” Lavan said. “Well-coached. They played great defense all night. They made us work for everything. We just turned the ball over too much. You can’t turn the ball over like that at this time of year. Like I said, I’m proud of the girls for what they accomplished.”

Nanticoke Area (30)

R. Baird 6 2-2 14, A. Cullen 4 0-0 9, L. Casey 1 2-2 4, E. Hauer 1 0-1 3, J. Kurkoski 0 0-0 0, G. Nalepa 0 0-0 0, B. Biehl 0 0-0 0, Totals 12 4-5 30.

Lake-Lehman (28)

C. Dougherty 5 1-1 12, C. Purdy 1 2-2 4, L. Keefe 2 0-0 4, H. Kline 1 2-2 4, S. Salus 2 0-0 4, M. Brdaric 0 0-0 0, A. Savitski 0 0-0 0, Totals 11 5-5 28.

Nanticoke Area 6 9 9 6—30

Lake-Lehman 11 6 9 2—28

3-point goals: E. Hauer (NA) 1, A. Cullen (NA) 1, C. Dougherty (LL) 1.

Girls basketball: All-WVC teams announced

Matt Bufano – Citizens Voice
Note: Taken from article by Matt Bufano CV concerning GNA

The Wyoming Valley Conference girls basketball coaches got together Sunday and picked their all-conference teams for the 2019-20 season.

The Division 1 first-team all-stars  Nanticoke Area  junior Lauren Casey.

The Division 1 second-team all-stars Nanticoke Area sophomore Riley Baird

Season leaders

Points per game

Riley Baird, Nan 14.1
Lauren Casey, Nan 12.9

Free throw shooting (Minimum 55 attempts)

Riley Baird, Nan 63-87, 72.4
Lauren Casey, Nan 83-117, 70.9

3-point shooting

Riley Baird, Nan 42
Abigail Cullen, Nan 29

WVC Girls Basketball Preview
Matt Bufano - Citizens Voice

Coach: Ed Grant

2018-19 results: 19-7, beat Berwick, 31-20, in the District 2 Class 4A third-place game; lost to Mifflinburg, 43-29, in the PIAA first round.

Players to watch: Seniors - Emily Hauer, Jen Kurkoski. Juniors - Lauren Casey, Abby Cullen, Genevieve Nalepa. Sophomore - Riley Baird.

Outlook: While Nanticoke Area has bumped up from Division 2 to 1, the Trojanettes will still be able to see how they stack up with the Division 2 teams. Lake-Lehman, Wyoming Area and Hanover Area are all on the schedule before Christmas. Nanticoke Area is one of the league’s most consistent programs. It returns a few key players from last year’s state-qualifying team. Baird, a 5-foot-2 guard, appears ready to take on a bigger role. Casey, a 5-11 forward, was a CV all-star last season.