Coach Tim Wood's team is looking to make a deep post season run this winter
After a stretch of three consecutive years contending for at least a division title, Honesdale's boys varsity basketball team took a step back last winter.
The Hornets managed just five wins during the Lackawanna League regular season, finishing in a tie for second place with upstart Western Wayne in the Division II standings.
Now, with the prospect of a shiny new season in front of him, veteran head coach Tim Wood is optimistic that his lads will be right in the thick of things in 2018-19.
“I'm excited because of the quality of kids we have on the team,” he said before Wednesday's scrimmage with Montrose.
“The chemistry this year is very good. The kids are working extremely hard and I think we're headed in the right direction.”
While enthusiasm among coaches and players is running high, weather has already had an impact on Honesdale's preparations for the season.
The Hornets missed three of their first five days of practice and Coach Wood is concerned that his squad is falling behind.
“It's a challenge,” he said. “It's been tough to establish a continuity and tough to get traction. “As any coach will tell you, we're at the mercy of the weather here in Northeastern PA and it's been frustrating so far.”
Weather permitting, the Red & Black will be back on the court this weekend.
The Hornets travel to Old Forge on Saturday morning for an exhibition game with the Devils. Opening tip is slated for 10 a.m.
Back on Track
Despite the loss of practice time, Honesdale seems poised to rebound from a down year and get right back into the championship chase.
The Hornets boast a trio of battle-tested captains who are already displaying solid leadership qualities on and off the court.
Joey Scarfalloto, Colin Rickard and Will Howell haven't wasted any time in taking the reins.
“I'm seeing a lot of really positive things from those three,” Coach Wood said.
“They're communicating well. They're being pretty vocal in practice. And, they are really taking some of the younger kids under their wings. It's good to see.”
Scarfalloto is a junior and served as a captain last year.
Joey led the team in rebounding and was second in scoring last year. For his efforts, Scarfalloto was named to the First Team Lackawanna League All Stars.
Rickard started at guard as a junior and emerged as one of the division's most explosive players.
Colin was among the team leaders in scoring, steals and assists. He also earned Honorable Mention All-Star status.
Howell is a prototypical point guard. He hustles, sets up his teammates to score, plays relentless defense and is unselfish to a fault.
These three players will be key in Honesdale's quest to recapture the Division II crown this season.
Chris Cespedes, Alex Atcavage and Jimmy Rodda are also expected to make key contributions.
Cespedes transferred into the district last year from New York City. He is a gifted natural athlete who's worked extremely hard to learn Honesdale's system
Atcavage is a multi-sport standout who also excels on the gridiron. At 6-5 and 280 lbs, Alex is an intimidating force in the point at both ends of the floor.
Rodda is another multi-sport star who dazzles on the diamond. Jimmy is still just a sophomore who's also 6-5, but has shooting range out to the three-point arc.
In addition, Coach Wood thinks Robby Campen and Luke Bancroft will see serious varsity minutes off the bench.
“There are a bunch of different ways we can go,” he said. “We're not a complete package yet, but I'm excited about all the possibilities.
“We have some very good, very athletic kids who bring a lot to the table.”
Honesdale will once again compete with the likes of Delaware Valley, Wallenpaupack Area, Western Wayne and North Pocono in Division II.
“I think it's going to be a wide open race this year,” said Coach Wood. “On any given night, anybody can beat anybody else.”
The Hornets open up their regular season slate on Monday, Dec. 10 at the Finan Memorial Tournament in Carbondale.
Opening Night of the 2018-19 Lackawanna League season is set for Wednesday, Jan. 2 when the Red & Black host perennial District Two powerhouse Scranton Prep.
In the meantime, Honesdale staff has set two main goals for its team this winter.
“Goal number one is to win our first game of the season on the road against West Scranton,” Coach Wood said. “Goal number two is to work hard and get better every day.
“If we do those two things, I think we'll have a very successful year.”