Western Wayne's boys team continues to build toward a bright future
Western Wayne’s boys varsity basketball team struggled in Lackawanna League action last year.
The Wildcats managed just two wins in Division II, finishing tied for last place with Wallenpaupack Area at 2-11.
A New Era
Despite these ugly numbers, the fact remains that the program made undeniable progress under head coach Al Semenza.
One of the region’s most successful skippers, Semenza arrived at the Varden Garden with more than 400 wins on his impressive resume.
Given that track record, it’s not surprising that the ‘Cats have shown improvement. And, at least here in the early going of the 2017-18 campaign, the numbers are encouraging.
Western Wayne has won three of its first four games and even brought home a championship trophy from the Lackawanna Trail Tip-Off Tournament.
“This is a work in progress and we definitely have a long way to go,” Coach Semenza said. “But, I like what I’m seeing. The kids are working hard every day and it’s nice to see that translating into wins.”
Weather permitting, the local lads will be back in action Saturday in the opening round of the Forest City Rotary Tournament.
Western Wayne is the defending champion of that event. Should the ‘Cats defeat Mountain View in the semis, they would take on either the host Foresters or Wyalusing in the finals.
Western Wayne tipped-off its season with three straight wins, the first of which came on the road at Mountain View.
The Wildcats actually trailed 24-21 at halftime in this one, but dominated the second and third quarters en route to a 47-40 decision.
Dahlton Frisbie and Zachary Rovinsky provided a potent 1-2 scoring punch on Opening Night.
Frisbie is a junior who became Western Wayne's starting point guard last winter. He has embraced this role, finding balance between ballhandling and scoring responsibilities.
“We ask Dahlton to do an awful lot and he's doing a great job,” Coach Semenza said. “Dahlton is a very good shooter, but he also creates opportunities for his teammates.”
Against Mountain View, Frisbie rattled the rims for a game-high 25 points. He knocked down a pair of treys and enjoyed a 7-for-10 stint at the charity stripe.
Rovinsky is still just a sophomore, but at 6-5 has emerged as a formidable presence in the paint.
“Zach and Dahlton really carry most of the load for us on offense,” said Coach Semenza. “Zach is playing well at both ends of the floor. He rebounds well and alters a ton of shots.”
In the Mountain View game, Rovinsky powered his way to 18 points and also grabbed nine rebounds.
Off & Running
Next up for Western Wayne was a berth in the Lackawanna Trail Tip-Off Tournament.
The Wildcats punched their ticket to the gold medal game by dealing the host Lions a 53-30 loss.
Frisbie and Rovinsky once again led the way on offense, accounting for 39 of their team's points.
Coach Semenza praised their performance, but was also quick to point out that his other three starters are contributing key plays as well. Danny Boots (Sr), Kobe Sauter (Jr) and Zane Janisewski (Fr) round out the 'Cats front five.
“They're really starting to understand their roles,” he said. “All three of those kids are important to us and they have to keep working hard if we want to stay competitive.”
This victory over the Eagles propelled Western Wayne into the tournament title tilt versus Lakeland. Once again, the 'Cats dug themselves an early hole, but battled back and claimed a 52-45 victory.
Frisbie and Rovinsky continued their torrid scoring pace, tickling the twine for 25 and 16 respectively. Janisewski contributed six points to the cause, while Scott Lucas chipped in with five.
Interestingly enough, when asked to identify his team's best all-around performance so far, Coach Semenza pointed to its first loss.
The Wildcats traveled to Carbondale Area on Monday and suffered a 50-37 setback at the hands of the Chargers.
“We were down by as many as 18 in the third quarter,” he said. “And, last year, we probably would've let the score get out of hand.
“This year, though, the kids are staying positive, working hard and battling back. I think we showed a lot of character even though we lost.”
Western Wayne whittled Carbondale's lead down to single digits late in the fourth period before finally running out of gas.
Rovinsky paced the offensive assault, finishing up with a game-high 19 points. He was aided and abetted by Frisbie (seven), Lucas (six) and Janisewski (five).