Lady 'Cat cagers laying the foundation for a successful future

Western Wayne was enjoying a solid season under first year head coach Natalie Winters, but then disaster struck.

Gracie Guarino, one of the very best players in the Lackawanna League, went down with an injury.

Sadly, the high ankle sprain may cost Guarino the rest of her junior season and that means trouble for the Lady ‘Cats.

“That was a tough blow for us,” Coach Winters admitted. “Gracie is a very good player and a huge part of the successes we've had this season.”

By the Numbers

Before Guarnio went down, Western Wayne had won back-to-back games over Lakeland and DV.

Now, with her out of the line-up, the local lasses have suffered three straight lopsided losses.

To their undying credit, Coach Winters’ girls are battling hard every night. However, with Guarino on the bench, there simply isn’t enough offensive firepower to compete consistently.

“I'm proud of them,” Coach Winters said. “Gracie is a very good leader and those are big shoes to fill. But, every one of our girls is trying to step up and fill in.”

Over the course of the past three games, Western Wayne has been held to an average of just 22 points in setbacks against North Pocono, Honesdale and Abington Heights.

The Lady 'Cats were slated to host Scranton Friday night in a Division I-II crossover contest.

Weather permitting, the local lasses will close out the 2017-18 regular season Monday on the road at Wallenpaupack Area.

Opening tip is slated for 7:15 p.m. on the shores of The Big Lake.

“If we can win one of those two games, we'll be right in the mix for that last playoff spot,” said Coach Winters. “They take eight and right now we're ninth, so we'll wait and see.”

Solid Efforts

Guarino and Roedel paced Western Wayne to its last two wins.

Against Delaware Valley, Gracie rattled the rims for a game-high 16, including a perfect 10-for-10 stint at the free throw line. Hannah added 14, highlighted by a pair of deep treys.

Guarino led the way once again as the Lady 'Cats rolled to a 55-42 win over Lakeland. Gracie tickled the twine for a game-high 21 on the strength of seven field goals, four free throws and a trey.

Roedel dialed up three more treys en route to 15 points, while Coral Swoyer powered her way to an even dozen in the paint.

Samantha Collins added three, while Amber Fenwick and Sinaea Buford rounded out the scoring with a bucket apiece.

Tough Losses

With Guarino out of the mix against North Pocono, it took the Lady 'Cats time to find a new offensive rhythm.

Western Wayne was held scoreless in the first period and managed just five points by halftime against the Trojans.

Things went a bit better after the break, but the local lasses still suffered a 49-22 setback.

Swoyer cracked double figures with 11 points, while Collins added five and Buford had four.

Roedel turned in a solid all-round effort in the loss to Honesdale. Hannah tallied 12 points, going 2-for-3 at the charity stripe and knocking down a pair of treys.

Sabrina Swoyer and Amanda Ferrer chipped in with five apiece.

In Western Wayne's most recent contest, the Lady 'Cats were held to single digit scoring in each period and eventually absorbed a 53-12 thrashing at the hands of Abington Heights.

Coral Swoyer accounted for half of her team's output with six points.

Looking Ahead

Despite the downward turn this season has taken due to injury, Coach Winters believes that the future looks bright for Lady 'Cat basketball.

“I like what I've been seeing,” she said. “This is a great group of girls. They work hard and they're really starting to embrace the things we're teaching. I definitely think things are moving in a positive direction.”

Western Wayne's junior high program has enjoyed a stellar season under the direction of veteran skipper Todd Pauler. And, that's something that gives Coach Winters hope for the future.

“We have some very talented kids in the pipeline right now,” she said. “They are very dedicated to the sport and it won't be long before they'll be up here helping us out.”