Lady Bucks Win Third Straight Lynett Tournament Title

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Photo Credit: Rich Banick Photography

By Steve Svetovich

Coach Ben O’Brien and his Dunmore Lady Bucks proved once again that defense wins.

Dunmore won its third consecutive Lynett Memorial Girls Tournament, 45-29, over Abington Heights Friday, December 29, at the Lackawanna College Student Union.

The Lady Bucks are the first team in the 15-year history of the girls tournament to win the crown three years in a row. It is the team’s fifth overall title.

Coach O’Brien praised his team’s defensive effort following the win. He was especially proud of the communication the players showed on defense.

Dunmore held the Lady Comets to only 20 percent shooting in the first half.

Dunmore’s Victoria Toomey, the tournament MVP, and Lisa Tallo scored 28 of the 45 points. Toomey and Tallo scored 14 points each in the title win.

Gianna Delfino, who earned all-tournament honors, added nine points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in playing a brilliant all-around game.

Dunmore senior point guard Kelly Quinn added eight points for the Lady Bucks. Senior Maria Borgia scored the remaining two points for Dunmore.

Dunmore ran its undefeated record to 8-0 with the title win.

The score was knotted, 7-7, when the Lady Bucks went on an 11-point run pushing Dunmore to a 18-7 lead. Toomey scored eight of her 14 points in a five-minute span during the run.

The stingy Dunmore defense held Abington to 5-for-25 shooting in the first half.

Toomey led the Dunmore defense with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Delfino hit a pair of clutch free throws in the third quarter for the Lady Bucks preventing Abington from cutting the Dunmore lead to less than double digits.

Hannah Kowalski, a member of the all-tournament team, led Abington with 10 points. However, the tough Dunmore defense led by Toomey kept her from getting to the hoop often.

The loss dropped Abington, coached by Deanna Klingman, to 5-4.

The Lady Bucks defeated Scranton, 53-30, in the semifinal game.Wednesday, December 27, at the Lackawanna College Student Union.

Delfino led a balanced Dunmore scoring attack with 12 points.

Toomey scored 10 points. Freshman Anna Talutto added nine points and five rebounds. Quinn scored eight points. Alexis Chapman scored five. Tallo added four points.

Delfino, playing her usual all-around game, hauled down a game high 11 rebounds against the Lady Knights.

Dunmore had a 4-2 lead early in the game, but then scored the next 11 points. The scoring run included a 12-foot bucket by Toomey and Talutto hitting on a 3-pointer that swirled around the hoop before dumping in.

Dunmore had a 15-7 lead after the first quarter. The Lady Bucks started the second quarter with a 10-2 run. Talutto sparked the end of the first half with a nifty last second play, passing to Chapman who hit a quick 3-pointer for a 31-13 halftime lead.

The Lady Bucks never looked back.

Shelby Funchess led the Lady Knights with 13 points. Colette Mulderig added 10 points.

Scranton’s record dropped to 4-3 after the loss.

Dunmore, with its pin point passing, had 15 assists on its 21 field goals in the win over Scranton.

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Athlete of the Month: Victoria Toomey

Victoria ToomeyBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore junior Victoria Toomey has basketball in her blood.

Her mom, Carrie Bowen Toomey, was a Dunmore High School basketball standout and four-year starter at Franklin and Marshall College where she earned league MVP honors in her final two years. She is a member of the Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

The apple is not falling too far from the tree.

Daughter of Pat and Carrie Toomey, Dunmore, Victoria, 16, was named tournament MVP as she led the Dunmore Lady Bucks to a 45-29 win over Abington Heights in the final game of the Lynett Girls Memorial Basketball Tournament.

Victoria, 16, scored 10 points in Dunmore’s 53-30 win over Scranton in the Lynett Tournament semifinal contest. She scored 14 points in Dunmore’s 45-29 win over Abington Heights in the clincher. She played outstanding defense in both games as Dunmore ran its record to a perfect 8-0 under coach Ben O’Brien.

The consummate team player, her reaction to earning tournament MVP honors was not surprising. “It was great and really exciting,” she said. “We were working so hard during the games that I really didn’t think about it. We were all thinking about the plays that had to be made.

“Earning MVP honors was just a nice extra.”

The scholar-athlete has a 95 academic average at Dunmore. Her favorite subject is history.

Victoria is a member of the Spanish Club, Earth Club, Art Club and TACT Club.

She commented on the team’s Lynett title, the third in a row for Dunmore. “We have just been getting better every game,” she said. “Everything just came together for us in that last game. We were working on our defense a lot in practice. The defense is getting better, We played great defense in the final. We communicated very well as a team. We still have some work to do to improve the defense even more.”

Victoria said she has learned a lot from coach O’Brien. “He keeps us very level headed on the court. He teaches us to work out everything on the court through communication. We can work through any problem. That is what he preaches to us.”

The stalwart center said her parents taught her a lot about the game. “They tell me to always do my best even on an off night shooting. They tell me to continue working hard and good things will happen.”

Victoria talked about what it takes to be a good center in high school basketball. “You need to be able to change your direction one way or another when moving to the basket. You need to make opponents score over you on defense.”

Outstanding on both ends of the court, Victoria started playing as a pre-schooler in Dunmore Biddy Basketball leagues. Her mom is president of the Dunmore Biddy Basketball League.

She talked about her future goals. “I want to play basketball in college. I’m not sure where I want to go yet. I am thinking about pre law. I want to enjoy college basketball and then graduate and be successful at work someday.”

A three-year member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks, Victoria likes listening to music in her spare time and would like to see Alicia Keys in concert.

She is loving her experience at Dunmore High School.

“I love Dunmore,” she said. “It’s a great town and the community supports the sports teams. It’s a tight knit community. The teachers and coaches at Dunmore are the best. I love going to school at Dunmore. It is a great experience.”

Dunmoreans of the Year: 2017-2018 Dunmore Bucks Football Team

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Photo Credit: Rich Banick Photography

By Steve Svetovich

Congratulations to the 2017 Dunmore Bucks football team, our Dunmoreans of the Year.

Dunmore, led by veteran head football coach Jack Henzes, won the Lackawanna Football Conference Division III title and fourth consecutive District 2 Class 2A crown.

Dunmore finished the season 14-1 after losing to eventual state champion Southern Columbia in the semifinals.

The 14 wins tied for the most in team history.

The 14-win season was the fourth in Dunmore’s history.

And the 14-win unbeaten streak was the longest in team’s history, beating the 1985 Eastern Conference team that finished 13-0.

Only the Valley View Cougars, which won 15 games in its state title run in 1992, won more games in a single season.

Jerry Longo and Michael Muracco are both members of four straight District 2 championship winning teams — a run that began in 2014 for the Bucks.

The icing on the cake came late last month when Shoemaker, a two-way starting lineman, was presented the prestigious Fiore Cesare Award and Scholarship. The Scranton Chapter of Football Officials and Peoples Bank Security presented the standout senior with the award at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel.

Shoemaker is the fourth Dunmore player to win the award, joining Brett Trichilo, Miller Holmes and Michael Perry.

Shoemaker also earned All Region honors and his second berth on the Class 2A all-state team. He will continue his playing career at Monmouth University.

Dunmore’s Jerry Longo, Shoemaker, Stevs Borgia, Darcy and Nate Fangio were all named to the Lackawanna Football Conference Division III Coaches’ All-Star first team offense.

Dunmore’s George Mesko, Luke Yanisko, Shoemaker, Fangio and Borgia made first team defense.

Cristian Buckley rushed for 140 yards on 17 carries in Dunmore’s 35-6 win over Newport in the first round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs. Darcy fired a 59-yard touchdown pass to Fangio in the win.

Dunmore moved its record to 14-0, with a 23-20 win over Ligonier Valley in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal at Hershey. The win tied the school record for consecutive wins in a season.

Darcy completed 5-of-10 passes in the win. He tossed 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Noah O’Malley.

Dunmore’s Kyle Harrity made the key play in the game when he blocked a punt for a safety giving the Bucks a 16-14 lead five minutes into the third quarter.

The Bucks then scored off the free kick, with Buckley cutting up the middle after a cut to the right for a 24-yard touchdown jaunt.

It was a football season the town of Dunmore will never forget.

The full team roster is as follows: Sean Pietruszkiewica, Mark Rinaldi, Luke Yanisko, Noah O’Malley, Thomas Lewis, Greg McDade, George Mesko, Caleb Kilmer, Steve Borgia, Gavin Darcy, Nate Fangio, Nick Stanco, Cristian Buckley, Joe Talutto, Charles Valvano, Billy Donvito, Kyle Harrity, Alex Reese, Frank Damiano, Jake Kalinowski, Tyler Summa, Anthony Santarsiero, Anthony Golden, Pat Donvito, Alec Yanisko, Louis LaCapra, Patrick Burke, Jake Sawka, Nick Shoemaker, Rocco LaCapro, Anthony Kashmer, Jerry Longo, Bobby McMynne, Seamus Cadden, Michael Muracco, Kris Patel, Mike Gianetta, Tyler Overholtz and Colby DeSando.

Bucks’ 14 Wins Tied for Most in Football Team’s History

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Photo Credit: Rich Banick Photography

By Steve Svetovich

It was a season to remember in Bucktown.

Veteran football coach Jack Henzes led his Dunmore Bucks to 14 wins, tied for most in team history, before his team suffered its first lost of the season in the Class 2A semifinal against Southern Columbia, 56-19, Friday, December 1.

The Bucks had a couple leads in the first seven minutes of the contest before Southern Columbia reeled off 49 straight points. Southern Columbia is now headed to its 16th state championship game.

Senior running back Frank Damiano led Dunmore with 77 rushing yards, including a 65- yard touchdown run on a burst up the middle in the closing minutes. It was the final carry of his high school career.

The 14-win season was the fourth in Dunmore’s history. The 14-win unbeaten streak was the longest in team’s history, beating the 1985 Eastern Conference title team that finished 13-0.

Only the Valley View Cougars, which won 15 games in its state title run in 1992, won more games in a single season.

Dunmore quarterback Gavin Darcy and linemen Nick Shoemaker, Jerry Longo and Michael Muracco are all members of four straight District 2 championship teams, a run that began in 2014 for the Bucks.

Darcy hit Steve Borgia for a 15-yard touchdown pass on Dunmore’s first play against Southern Columbia giving the Bucks a 6-0 lead. The extra point kick attempt was blocked.

After Southern Columbia took a 7-6 lead, the Bucks came right back when Billy Donvito broke three tackles en route to a 16-yard touchdown run. The extra point kick gave Dunmore a 13-7 lead with 4:47 left in the first quarter.

bucksThat was the final highlight for the Bucks until Damiano’s 65-yard touchdown burst with 6:20 left in the contest. The undefeated Southern Columbia team scored 49 unanswered points in the meantime. The Bucks finished the season 14-1.

Dunmore had moved its record to 14-0, with a 23-20 win over Ligonier Valley in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal at Hershey, Saturday, November 25. The win tied the school record for consecutive wins in a season.

Ligonier Valley had a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, but the Bucks came storming back.

Darcy completed 5-of-10 passes in the win, including a 22-yard touchdown toss to tight end Noah O’Malley in the second quarter. The touchdown and extra point kick tied the game, 14-14, with 7:50 left in the first half.

Damiano, who rushed for 53 yards on 10 carries, scored the Bucks first touchdown on a two-yard burst with 9:19 left in the second quarter.

Dunmore’s Kyle Harrity blocked a punt for a safety giving Dunmore a 16-14 lead five minutes into the third quarter. The play proved to be huge.

The Bucks then scored off the free kick, with Cristian Buckley cutting up the middle after a step to the right for a 24-yard touchdown scamper and a 23-14 lead after the extra point kick by Rinaldi, with 2:54 left in the third quarter. Buckley rushed for 54 yards on 12 carries in the win.

Ligonier Valley drove to the Dunmore five in the closing seconds, but choose to go for a touchdown rather than attempt to tie the game with a field goal on fourth down. A pass dropped incomplete and the Bucks had a 14th straight win.

Shoemaker had a key sack and Nate Fangio made a game saving tackle on Ligonier Valley’s final drive.

Dunmore defeated Newport, 35-6, in the first round of the District 2 Class 2A playoffs Friday, November 19. Damiano ran for two touchdowns and Darcy threw for another, a 59-yard touchdown pass to Fangio, in the win.

Buckley romped for 140 yards on 17 carries. Donvito added 74 rushing yards on 15 jaunts in the win.

The Bucks may have ended the season with a loss, but this group of players and coaches are only winners in the town of Dunmore.

Congratulations on a historic season, Dunmore Bucks.