Wallenpaupack Area's girls varsity basketball team celebrated Senior Night in fine fashion Tuesday.
Hundreds of local fans gathered on the shores of The Big Lake to witness the final regular season home game of Alexix Roman, Kaelyn Ragonese, Paige Hiller and Danielle Palazzi.
Following an emotional pre-game ceremony, Paupack went about the task of moving one step closer to a divisional championship...and those four talented players led the way.
"I know this is just my first year with the varsity here, but I have a hard time imagining a better group of seniors," Coach Adam Holtzer said just moments before leading his squad onto the court against Western Wayne.
"These four girls have been tremendous leaders on and off the court. It's going to be an emotional night."
Paupack wasted no time taking command of this Lackawanna League contest. The Lady Bucks raced out to an early lead, then cruised to an eventual 55-25 victory.
With this win, Paupack improved its overall record to 17-4 on the year. Coach Holtzer's team is now 10-2 in Division Two action.
Weather permitting, the local lasses will close out their regular season slate this evening at Scranton High School. That Division I-II crossover contest is slated to tip off at about 7:15 p.m.
Paupack hammered home two baskets in the opening seconds and Western Wayne Coach Colleen Kloss burned a quick timeout.
This ploy seemed to work, at least for a little while, as the Lady 'Cats allowed only five more points the rest of the quarter. However, Paupack cranked up its transition game and pulled away in the second period.
Since it was Senior Night, Bridgette Mann didn't start this one, but she made her presence felt in a hurry once she checked in. The silky-smooth guard attacked Western Wayne's defense, racking up nine early points.
Page 2 of 3 - The Lady 'Cats focused on denying the ball inside to Roman, sagging back under the basket in a soft 2-3 zone. This effectively neutralized Paupack's all star center, but left the perimeter virtually uncovered.
Mann and Palazzi helped push Paupack's advantage to double digits at halftime. Nicki finished her night with six points, while Dani drilled a deep trey just 10 seconds before the second quarter buzzer.
Rebecca and Rachel Carmody each struggled to find their rhythm in this one and the result was a meager 10 point team total for Western Wayne in the first half.
Off & Running
The Lady Bucks cranked up their defensive pressure even more after intermission.
Paupack forced three straight turnovers right out of the gate, extending its lead to 32-13.
Bridgette Mann continued her assault and would finish the night with 14 points. Palazzi and Roman also notched baskets before Coach Kloss had to take another timeout.
Sadly for Lady 'Cat fans in attendance, the offense simply wouldn't click on this particular night. The Carmody Twins combined for just six points and no one managed to crack double digits.
Jordyn Jacques led Western Wayne with nine.
Meanwhile, Roman finally broke loose down the stretch and made life miserable for her low post defenders. Alexix dominated in the paint after halftime, powering her way to yet another double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
"Lex is our team MVP this year and she could very possibly be the Lackawanna League MVP as well," said Coach Holtzer. "There just isn't a player out there who can stop her one-on-one."
Once again, Western Wayne managed just five points in the period while Pauack poured in 19. The Lady Bucks closed things out with a strong fourth quarter led by Ragonese, who also cracked double figures with 10.
Page 3 of 3 - Hiller and freshman Skylar Wirth rounded out the home team scoring with three and two points, respectively.
Score by Quarters...
WA (17-4) 9 13 19 14 - 55
WW (11-10) 5 5 5 10 - 25