Katie Marro and Caitlin Donahue stood at midcourt, basking in an unforgettable moment as cheers echoed around the gymnasium.
Two of the best players in the history of Wallenpaupack Area softball, Marro and Donahue had been summoned back to their alma mater this weekend to accept the program's highest honor.
On Saturday evening, Katie and Caitlin had their uniforms retired during an emotional ceremony at halftime of the Paupack boys basketball game versus Western Wayne.
"It's an amazing honor," a beaming Marro said just minutes before striding out onto the hardwood. "I have wonderful memories of my years playing softball here and I wouldn't trade them for anything."
Donahue was quick to agree.
"We were always more like a family than just a team," she said. "We played together since we were seven-years-old and it was the best experience of my life so far."
Longtime teacher and coach Jerry Capone read a tribute written specifically for the occasion as fans cheered their approval.
Varsity skipper Dan Gumble and newly-appointed athletic director Eric Keler accompanied the former Lady Buck stars onto the court.
Keller presented bouquets of flowers, while Gumble handed over the purple jerseys.
"Both of these girls meant so much to our softball program," Dan said.
"They were great players, but they were really good leaders, too. Katie and Caitlin always worked hard and set a good example for our younger kids."
Marro is without question one of the best all-round players ever to play softball on the shores of The Big Lake.
A 2012 graduate, Katie started all four years at the varsity level. She received all star status multiple times at the league and regional levels. As a senior, Marro was honored with a First Team PIAA Class AAAA selection.
Page 2 of 3 - "Katie was an unbelievable outfielder," Coach Gumble said. "She ran down just about everything hit anywhere near her."
In addition to being a Gold Glove defender, Marro was also a devastating presence in the middle of Paupack's batting order.
Over the course of her 4-year varsity career, the Lady Bucks' clean-up hitter compiled an average of 423. She awas among the team leaders in hits, runs and RBIs.
"Katie had a knack for hitting line drives in the gaps," Coach Gumble said. "Plus, she's just so fast. She had a ton of doubles and triples."
A 2013 graduate, Donahue was a 4-year starter for the Lady Bucks.
A silky-smooth fielding first baseman, Caitlin was a perennial choice for both Lackawanna League and All-Region all star squads As a senior, she earned a First Team All-State nod in Class AAAA.
"She's a great kid," Coach Gumble said. "By the time she graduated, Caitlin was the best first baseman around. It was just about impossible to hit a ball by her."
Donahue was equally adept at the plate. Paupack's five-hole hitter drove the ball with power to all fields. She led the team in RBIs, including the biggest of her high school career in the 2013 District Two championship game.
Donahue closed out her scholastic career as a .389 hitter.
"Caitlin was at her best in big situations," Coach Gumble said. "She always seemed to come up with the clutch hit when we needed it most."
Both Marro and Donahue have taken their immense talents to the NCAA diamond.
Katie is attending Keystone College and has already carved out a spot for herself in the starting line-up. She batted lead-off for the Giants and started all 40 games in centerfield.
Page 3 of 3 - Marro scored 37 runs as a freshman, second in school history for a single season. Katie hit .333 with 11 doubles and three triples. She also collected 12 RBIs and swiped six sacks on her way to Honorable
Katie is the daughter of Roland & Molly Marro, Canadensis.
Donahue is a freshman at Dowling College in Long Island. She is played first base during the fall season and is pursuing studies in plotical science. Her ultimate educational goal is acceptance to law school.
Caitlin is the daughter of Robert & Jo-Anna Donahue, Hawley.