WILKES-BARRE – As an assistant coach at the time, Caitlin Hadzimichalis saw a lot of Rebecca Prociak and Mackenzie Yori as seniors in the 2015-16 high school season.
“I followed the two of them all over northeastern Pennsylvania,” the second-year King’s College head coach said after her team’s final game before Christmas.
As Hadzimachlis and other college coaches watched, Prociak and Yori led Holy Redeemer and Hazleton Area to sweeps of titles in both their Wyoming Valley Conference divisions and their District 2 classifications.
The combination of Prociak’s post skills and Yori’s play-making ability did not come to fruition last season.
Yori went to The University of Scranton where she quickly helped the Lady Royals to their latest national tournament appearance.
Prociak arrived at King’s to play for the newly promoted coach. They were part of a group that struggled together.
After an offseason transfer by Yori, Prociak has a new teammate, Hadizimichalis has a new player to run her offense and things are looking up for the King’s women’s basketball team.
The Lady Monarchs are 5-3, already matching their win total for the entire 2016-17 season.
“They were fun to watch in high school and I’m just glad we got them together this year,” Hadzimichalis said.
Prociak, a sophomore from Jenkins Township, likes the development, too.
“This year, we have a healthy point guard,” Prociak said after her 11-point, 16-rebound effort in the 65-58 loss to Albright College, a team seeking its third straight NCAA Division III tournament appearance. “Adding Mackenzie Yori is just such a big difference. Having a good point guard, having her control the game, is the difference for the team.”
Working with a quality point guard helped Prociak make deep runs into the state tournament and land honors as both the Times Leader Player of the Year and an all-state selection as a senior.
“It reminds me of, in high school, playing with Lydia Lawson,” Prociak said of the current Elizabethtown College standout. “Having a good point guard who is unselfish, who knows the game, with a high IQ, it is a big difference for me.”
Prociak, a 5-foot-11 forward, is thriving in her second college season. She has three double-doubles and leads the team in rebounds with 7.8 per game while ranking second in scoring, behind only Yori at 12.1.
Prociak has become a more efficient player while moving from frequent to full-time starter between her freshman and sophomore seasons. Her scoring and rebounding totals are up slightly and she has become a much more accurate shooter.
“I definitely feel like I’ve developed more as a player since last year,” said Prociak, who said both her own play and the team’s play have become more unselfish. “I’ve gotten stronger as a player and that’s enabled me to get more rebounds and more post-ups.”
Hadzimichalis praised Prociak’s competitiveness and her ability to work well with senior forward Olivia Hoffman, a Wyoming Valley West graduate who is one of the nation’s top shot blockers as well as one of its four double-figures scorers
“Rebecca stepped up her rebounding game this year,” the coach said. “Last year, she was very good at getting offensive rebounds, but we challenged her to be a better rebounder on the defensive end so we could get her out in transition.”
With the transition from losing to winning team, Prociak sees an attitude change at King’s.
“We didn’t have anything to play for last year because we were just so down,” she said.
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