Western Wayne's boys basketball team came up short against Carbondale Area
VARDEN — It's been a rough year so far for the Western Wayne boys varsity basketball team.
In their second season under the guidance of coach Mike Nepa, the Wildcats are still searching for that elusive first victory.
Last winter, Western Wayne went 0-22 overall and so far this year the 'Cats are winless in four tries.
On Monday night at the venerable Varden Garden, Coach Nepa's lads put up a valiant struggle against longtime rival Carbondale Area. Sadly for a big, boisterous crowd, the 'Cats came out on the short end of a 68-45 final.
"I really don't know what to say," he said. "We are definitely a much better team than we were at this stage last year. The kids are working hard every day, but we just haven't seen any results yet."
Monday evening's loss to the Chargers dropped Western Wayne's record to 0-4. Next up for the 'Cats is a road trip to Lackawanna Trail Wednesday.
The team will also make another appearance at this year's Forest City Rotary Tournament. That event is scheduled to be held on Sunday, Dec. 23 and Wednesday, Dec. 26.
Carbondale Area hit the floor running on Monday, using deadly perimeter shooting and a breakneck transition game to take a big early lead.
Jason Martin ignited the Chargers' offense by hitting a pair of deep treys that quickly silenced Western Wayne's raucous student cheering section.
Martin was just getting started. The talented junior guard would go on to score a game-high 17 points on the strength of five field goals, two treys and a 5-for-6 stint at the charity stripe.
"We really didn't have an answer for what Carbondale was doing offensively," said Coach Nepa. "I thought we had a pretty good gameplan coming in, but they just overpowered us tonight."
The Chargers led 18-7 after one, then extended that margin to 43-19 by the time intermission rolled around.
Isaiah McCord and Baily Hughes also played critical roles for the visitors.
McCord, a junior who runs things from the point guard spot, cracked double digits with 10. Hughes, a 6'2" senior forward, added 14 points and six boards.
Luke Mushensky and Tommy Owens chipped in with six each, while Mike Farrell added five and Jordan Martin four.
Carbondale put the game out of reach with a 21-5 burst in the third quarter.
Although the final score in this one was lopsided, Western Wayne players never quit on their fans.
The Wildcats fought hard in every quarter and finally put things together in the final 10 minutes.
Sal Culotta brought the fans to their feet early in the fourth period by hammering home back-to-back treys. The junior guard finished up with eight points.
Billy Schumacher and and Derek Gillis also got into the act. Each buried a 3-ball of his own as the 'Cats outscored Carbondale 21-4 down the stretch.
"We definitely have some bright spots," Coach Nepa said. "There are a few really talented younger kids in the pipeline that will be able to help us down the road.
"Right now what we need is to get some chemistry going and get those younger kids some experience."
Jayson Figueroa and Jake Chabala provided veteran leadership in the waning minutes of this game.
A standout football player the past two years. Figueroa powered his way to eight points on the blocks and in transition.
Chabala is a junior forward in his first season of varsity action. Jake used a dazzling variety of post moves to record eight points of his own.
Johnny Rhodes (five pts), James Berger (three) and Pat Miller (two) rounded out Western Wayne's offensive assault.
Score by Quarters...
WW (0-4) 7 12 5 21 – 45
CAR (2-2) 18 25 21 4 – 68