Lady Bucks Win Third Straight Lynett Tournament Title

LadyBucks2017-18-IMG_8892

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.

Advertisements

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.”

Dunmorean of the Month: Mark Rinaldi

rinaldi

IN MEMORIAM: Mark J. Rinaldi, 54, passed away on Monday, July 10, at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

By Steve Svetovich

He had a passion for athletics, family and advocating for the Dunmore youth.

That’s what Dunmore athletic director Mark Rinaldi was about.

And the Dunmore community lost him much too soon when he died last month at 54 from an apparent heart attack.

Son of Sylvia Pisa Rinaldi and the late John J. Rinaldi, Mark had a lifelong love of sports. He graduated from Dunmore High School in 1981. He was part of a Big 11 title football team as a wide receiver-defensive back in 1978. He helped Dunmore win its first Lynett Memorial Basketball title in 1980 and Lackawanna League Southern Division title in 1981.

After receiving his B.S. in Education from East Stroudsburg University in 1985, he returned to Dunmore and began a long coaching and teaching career. His mentor was Dunmore legendary basketball coach Jack Kelly.

“He and Jack were very close and remained friends throughout the years,” said Michelle Rinaldi (no relation), Dunmore, whose sons Chris and Corey were Dunmore athletes.

“I know all of the student-athletes loved Mark. He would do anything for them. He was not a guy who smiled a lot. He had a serious look. But he had a reputation of always advocating for the student-athlete. I bet if you asked any student-athlete about him, you would hear nothing but positive stories about him. He was extremely well liked.”

A math teacher, Rinaldi served as a volunteer coach for Dunmore’s Eastern Football Conference Class A title team. He served for several years as an assistant football coach.

bucksA tireless worker dedicated to his craft, he became Dunmore’s head basketball coach in 1998-99 succeeding his mentor Jack Kelly. He was previously the assistant under Kelly.

He led Dunmore to a 93-63 record, including three Lynett titles, in six seasons.

During his time at Dunmore, he also served as junior varsity baseball coach and junior varsity track and field coach.

He became the Dunmore High School athletic director after the 2009-10 scholastic year. Again, he succeeded his mentor Jack Kelly.

And in that role, he did everything he could for the student-athlete. No problem was too big to solve.

Very generous with his time, he served over the years as an official clock operator at local football games, as site manager for state playoff events and as a high school and college official.

He made various contributions to the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association and also at the District 2 and PIAA levels. He was past president of the Lackawanna Football Conference, member of the District 2 committee and was chairperson of soccer and lacrosse.

Rinaldi was a strong family man who closely followed the academic and athletic careers of his two sons, John and Mark. John, a three-sport athlete at Dunmore, recently graduated from Binghamton University where he was a key member of the basketball team. Mark, a senior at Dunmore, is an all-star in soccer, football, basketball and track and field.

Rinaldi served Dunmore High School for over 30 years as a teacher, coach and administrator. He was dedicated to Dunmore.

His beloved wife, the former Annie Hubshman, also survives.

Dunmorean of the Month: Kayleigh Semion

 

kayleighBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore High School graduate Kayleigh Semion could have played Division II or III college basketball just about wherever she wanted, but her dream was to go to Penn State.

When she enrolled at Penn State she thought her basketball career could be over, but it wasn’t. Now the 2015 Times-Tribune Player of Year is really living her dream.

She is a key member of the Penn State University women’s club basketball team.

And while it is not Division I varsity level, this team plays a brand of highly competitive basketball with six to eight tournaments throughout the year. The team practices at least two hours three nights per week.

Daughter of Sherry Nicolais and step-daughter of Mark Nicolais, Kayleigh, 20, is a sophomore Kinesiology major with aspirations to eventually become a physical therapist.

An All Regional and second team All State point guard at Dunmore in her senior season, she had opportunities to play division II or III college basketball, but her dream was to attend Penn State.

Then the opportunity came to tryout for the club basketball team. The tryout was competitive and intense, but Kayleigh, a sophomore at Penn State, made the roster. Now she gets to attend Penn State and play basketball.

With over 1,200 career points at Dunmore, she quickly became a key member of the club basketball team. She averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game in her senior season at Dunmore and is playing that same type of game for the Penn State club team. She averaged 8.0 points and 4.5 assists mostly coming off the bench for the club team this season.

She helped her Penn State club team place in third place in the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association Championship tournament last month at Ohio State University. Her team beat Virginia Tech, Ohio University and the University of Connecticut, but lost to Air Force. She came off the bench to score 13 points against Virginia Tech.

Kayleigh was named to the All-Tournament team following the Regional Championship Tournament at Boston University earlier this year. Her Penn State club team won that tournament.

“It is very competitive basketball,” she said. ” It is on the level of division II or III college basketball. We practice hard and get to go away to games. We get to practice all the time. The games are highly competitive. The players love to compete. It is a terrific experience. And it is great representing Penn State.”

Breana Toro, former Lackawanna League all-star from Abington Heights, is a member of her club team.

Two of the girls on the club team were promoted to the Penn State varsity roster after injuries to players last season. Most of the girls on the club team attend the varsity games.

And Kayleigh is even a manager for the Penn a State varsity team.

“I will do anything I can to stay in the game,” she said. “I love basketball.”

The scholar-athlete has an impressive 3.8 grade point average at Penn State. She takes a lot of what Dunmore coach Ben O’Brien instilled in her. “He taught me about work ethic . He is really into what he does as a coach. He really helped me as a basketball player.”

Kayleigh also ran track at Dunmore and was a twirler.

She and her two sisters Brittany and Meredith learned twirling from her mom, a prominent twirling instructor in Dunmore.

“My mom always teaches me to go after whatever I want in life 110 percent at a time. She tells me to go after it full speed.”

Personable and full of life, Kayleigh knows she is living her dream at Penn State. “I love it here,” she said. “I always dreamed of going here. I look around and here I am. I love the atmosphere here. And I still get to play basketball.”

Kayleigh said she likes listening to music in her spare time. She would like to see Ed Sheeran in concert.

And while she continues to do what she loves at her dream college, Kayleigh thinks of her future. “I want to get into a physical therapy school after graduation. It is highly competitive, but I want to become a physical therapist.”

And competition seems to be something Kayleigh Semion thrives on.