Honesdale's freshmen boys basketball team is off to a stellar start
Maria West has been head coach of Honesdale’s boys freshmen basketball team for more than a decade now.
Over the course of that time, she’s mentored championship teams, cellar dwellers and just about everything in between.
With all that experience under her belt, Coach West isn’t given to exaggeration or hyperbole. However, when asked about this year’s edition of the squad, she has a hard time masking her excitement.
“This is a great group of boys,” she said. “They’re all ninth graders. Most of them have been playing together for a long time and it shows. They have great chemistry.”
That chemistry is already paying big dividends early in the 2017-18 season as the young Hornets have won five of their first six games.
Off & Running
On Wednesday afternoon, Honesdale made Wallenpaupack Area its latest victim.
The Hornets posted an impressive win in their 2017-18 Lackawanna League opener, scoring the first seven points of the game en route to a 40-25 victory.
Jacob Lyle and Jimmy Rodda paced a balanced Red & Black offensive attack, scoring 11 and 9 points, respectively.
“It’s always good to beat the Buckhorns,” Coach West said with a wry smile.
“For the most part, I’m happy with how we played. It was a good win, but we still have lots of room for improvement.”
Weather permitting, the Hornets will be back in action Friday at Western Wayne. Opening tip is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Varden Garden.
Honesdale opened up its slate with a pair of solid performances in exhibition games against Carbondale and Pocono Mountain East.
The young Hornets then tipped-off the regular season with impressive wins over the likes of Holy Cross, Tunkhannock and Riverside.
“This team has very good balance,” Coach West said.
“We have two or three kids who can really handle the ball. We have a couple of big kids who are starting to develop into really nice post players. And, we have a whole bunch of kids who play high-energy, in-your-face defense.”
To this point in the season, Honesdale has largely been playing a half-court, inside-out type of offense. And, Rodda has been right in the middle of everything.
“When Jimmy figures out how good he can be, he's going to be just about unstoppable,” Coach West said. “He's already a good post player. Jimmy is tough and resilient and his future is very bright.”
Kane Rogers also earned high marks. While not as physically imposing as Rodda, Rogers is making his presence felt at both ends of the floor.
“Kane is really working hard,” Coach West said. “He's becoming more and more aggressive in the post and on the boards. I'm happy to see that.”
Connor Coar is a silky-smooth southpaw guard who runs Honesdale's offense at the point.
“Connor has really come a long way, especially the past few games,” Coach West said. “He's doing a good job handling the ball and he's making better, smarter decisions.”
Paul Meagher also starts in the Hornet backcourt and receives lavish praise for his play on both offense and defense.
“The best thing about Paul is that's he's such a good all-around athlete,” said Coach West. “Paul has excellent court vision. He makes things happen.”
Jacob Lyle rounds out the starting five. Lyle is one of Honesdale's most versatile players. He can function well on the perimeter, along the baseline and in the post.”
“Jacob sees things that a lot of other freshmen just don't see,” Coach West said. “He's an outstanding passer who's always trying to set up his teammates.”
Sam Jones, Timmy Jackson, Sheldon Eldriss, Eric Lukan and Brady Carmody all come off the bench to provide valuable minutes.
“I'm blessed with a very strong bench this year,” said Coach West. “I can rely on every one of those boys to jump right in and have a positive impact.”
Each of these players made significant contributions in Honesdale's league opening triumph over Paupack.
The Hornets rocketed out to a 12-2 lead after one and never looked back en route to a 15-point win.
Lyle ignited the offense with an early trey and finished up with a game-high 11 points. He was aided and abetted by Rodda, who went 3-for-4 at the foul line and closed out his game with nine markers.
Coar contributed six to the cause, while Meagher chipped in with five.
Rogers (four pts), Jones (two), Jackson (two) and Carmody (one) rounded out the offensive assault.
Score by Quarters...
WAL (3-3) 2 8 6 9 – 25
HON (5-1) 12 8 13 7 – 40