Pittston Area only has to replace two players from a girls basketball team that came within an overtime loss of reaching the state tournament a year ago.
Leah Hodick and Alexa Noone each return after scoring in double figures last season, but the team lost its top two scorers in Taryn Ashby and Kirsten Durling.
“When you lose 30 points from your offense, you definitely have to find it somewhere else,” said Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey. “I think that we’re going to do it by committee.
“I think Alexa Noone will probably be our best player on the floor and then everyone else is going to have to step up and give us five or 10 points per game. If we do that, we’ll be OK.”
Noone is an accurate outside shooter and more.
“She’s a complete player,” Healey said. “If they take away her outside game, she’s a great passer and she can drive to the basket.
“And, this is the best shape I’ve seen her in during the four years she’s been with us.”
Hodick, a sophomore, and Andrea Ruby both return to the frontcourt. Hodick established herself as both a rebounder and low post scorer in a successful freshman season.
Senior Mary Silinskie will be the point guard.
Nicole Zambetti, who saw some playing time as a freshman, could complete the backcourt.
Cherokee Musto, Brooklyn Pedana and Kayleigh Walker also have experience at guard and should figure into plans there.
Portia Wiedlich adds experience and options in the frontcourt for what already should be a strong rebounding team.
“Her confidence is growing,” Healey said. “She’s doing some great thinks in practice.”
Junior Megan Mihalka is another forward.
Healey said Hodick and Zambetti will not be the only sophomores making contributions.
“I think our sophomore class is a group that can play anytime,” Healey said. “There are eight of them, basically really seven that played a lot of JV last year.
“This summer, we interchanged the seven of them between JV and varsity throughout the year. This sophomore class knows their roles and will be able to come off the bench and give us a lot of good minutes.”
The Lady Patriots slipped to 8-8 and fourth place out of six teams in Division 1 of the Wyoming Valley Conference last season, but were 14-10 overall. Their season ended in a semifinal loss to top-seeded Wyoming Valley West in the District 2 Class 5A tournament.