HAWLEY — On a frigid winter night in the Maple City, Wallenpaupack Area's girls varsity basketball team suffered only its second loss of the young season.
The Lady Bucks came out on the short end of a 56-50 final against Honesdale in the semifinals of the Jaycees Holiday Classic, but wasted no time at all in bouncing right back.
Just 48 hours later, Coach Adam Holtzer's squad dominated Forest City en route to a 57-32 victory and the third place trophy.
"We came up a little bit short on Friday, but I really don't have any complaints," Coach Holtzer said.
"These girls left it all out there on the court and that's all I can ask. Obviously, I'd rather that we were playing in the championship game, but overall I'm very pleased with the effort I saw."
The Lady Bucks' third place showing at the 53rd annual tournament was their final tune-up before the start of the Lackawanna League campaign.
"We're getting a little bit better every day and that's one of our main goals," said Coach Holtzer. "It would've been nice to walk out of here with the trophy, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.
"These games coming up are the ones that matter the most. From here on out, we're focused on the league and getting to the playoffs."
Paupack was slated to tip-off its 2012-13 regular season slate Thursday night with a home game versus North Pocono.
Thanks to a radical re-alignment carried out by Lackawanna League officials during the off-season, the Lady Bucks are now members of Division Two. They will be playing a pair of games each against local rivals Western Wayne, Honesdale, Delaware Valley and North Pocono.
Page 2 of 3 - In addition, Paupack faces crossover contests with members of Division One: Scranton, Abington Heights, West Scranton, Prep and Valley View.
"Overall, I think it will probably be a good thing," Coach Holtzer said. "I like that some of the emphasis is back on the local rivalries. It should be an interesting season."
Last year, the Lady Bucks were mediocre in a loaded Division One. Paupack posted a 7-7 record, but caught fire in the post season tournament.
Led by then-coach Robin Scartelli, the local lasses defeated both Scranton and Wyoming Valley West in advancing to the District Two Class AAAA title tilt.
Although the Lady Bucks dropped a 49-25 decision to the Comets, they earned a berth in the PIAA state tournament as the district's second seed.
So far this season, Coach Holtzer's squad is on pace to improve upon its 2011-12 performance. The Lady Bucks already own seven wins and are once again the reigning Hawley Rotary Tournament champs.
"We still have a long way to go," he admitted after a 1-1 showing at the Jaycees Tournament. "But, the girls are working hard and I'm excited to see how they'll respond now that the league season is starting."
Alexix Roman is once again leading the way for Paupack on the court.
A senior center who was named to the All-Tourney Team at Honesdale, Roman posted double-doubles in each ballgame.
Alexix erupted for 23 points and 12 rebounds in a 56-50 loss to the Lady Hornets. She then tallied 21 points and 15 boards in a 57-32 rout of Forest City.
While Roman has been the focal point of Paupack's offense, she certainly isn't a "one-woman show."
Bridgette Mann, Nicki Mann, Kaelyn Ragonese, Danielle Palazzi, Paige Hiller, Irene Dispenza and Raeann Ehrhardt are also contributing on a nightly basis.
Page 3 of 3 - "We're turning into a pretty well balanced team," said Coach Holtzer. "We obviously have a strong inside game with Lex, but we can also run the floor and shoot from the outside.
"If we keep working hard and getting better the way we have been so far, then we should be able to compete with just about anybody by the end of the season."