Wallenpaupack Area is more than ready to open its Class AAAA gold medal quest
Thanks to a sparkling 16-4 record, the Lady Bucks captured a top seed and a bye in this year's District 2 Class AAAA tournament.
While they dropped a heartbreaker to Prep in the Lackawanna League finals, Paupack's ladies have moved on and are using the downtime to make ready for a district title.
"We don't feel bad about losing to Prep," said junior Nicki Mann.
"We've put that behind us. I think we proved our point versus Prep."
Senior Kaelyn Ragonese noted her squad's improvement from their January 22 loss against the Classics to the most recent clash.
"We lost the first came against them by 21 points, and then improved to only losing by two." Since the January 22 game, the Lady Bucks tallied a 6-2 record.
Among those teams to fall prey to the Lady Bucks during that period was Scranton.
The Knights opened their D-2 title quest with a win over Delaware Valley. They will be the first team Paupack faces in the playoffs on Feb. 26.
"We didn't play the best against Scranton earlier in the season," said Ragonese.
In spite of a 49-35 win, the Lady Bucks were only ahead by two points at halftime and came on strong in the second half to capture the win.
"We need to come out strong against Scranton and stay focused," added Mann.
Paupack's rookie skipper concurs with his girls' observations and offers a bit of perspective.
"It's been a long season," he. "We have a lot of time in between games and we're putting on the polish now."
Coach Holtzer has been preparing the team by focusing on basic skills; working with individual players to fine tune their game; and getting the ladies on the court to fire away at the bucket.
"One thing we're doing is focusing on shooting," he said. "Before we play next, each of the girls will have taken 300-400 shots."
Back in Action
Aside from drills and personalized tweaking, the Lady Bucks squared off against Forest City in a scrimmage to get some added training.
While no one kept score, the ladies played hard for six quarters and made some good plays.
Seniors Alexix Roman used the opportunity to work on her skills under the net while Paige Hiller hit frequently from outside the arc.
The junior members of the Lady Bucks' bench also logged some time on the hardwood reinforcing the notion that anything can happen and any one of these players can find themselves in the next game, so it's best to be prepared.
"It's important to keep everyone healthy and ready-to-go," said Coach Holtzer.
"We want everyone to stay mentally engaged as well. At the same time, everyone has to realize that it's a game and we're here to have fun as well."
Sophomore guard Bridgette Mann also chimed in with her view.
"We'll do well if we stay positive and confident," she said. "We came into the season wanting to do better than we did last year, and each game we get closer to doing that."
"We're at a crucial point where a team wants to be here or go home. With other teams I've coached, you could see it on their faces that they were done.
"That's not that case with these girls. When I look at them I can see they want to be here and they want to play on."