Lady Hornets primed for a competitive campaign
It's been a bit of a struggle recently for Honesdale's girls varsity basketball team
After a four year run that saw them win three District Two titles, the Lady Hornets have suffered through three consecutive losing seasons in Lackawanna League action.
Coach Pilar Beam's squad has managed just a 12-27 record in that span, finishing no higher than third in Division II.
However, as the 2018-19 season draws closer, there is reason for optimism here in the Maple City. Honesdale's roster is chock full of battle-tested veteran players, augmented by several talented youngsters who appear ready to contribute at the varsity level.
“We're definitely excited to get out there and see what we have,” said Coach Beam. “The girls have been working very hard. They're a great group and I think we should be right in thick of things this year.”
Weather permitting, the Red & Black will tip-off their regular season slate this coming weekend. The local lasses travel to Valley West to compete in the Mike Duda Invitational Tournament.
Action gets underway Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Plymouth. Honesdale will take on Dallas in the semis the play either the host team or West Scranton Sunday.
Four familiar faces will serve as captains this year for the Lady Hornets.
Camden Bannan, Nicole Langman, Lily Fries and Alexa Jones all made huge contributions to last year's team and each is poised to have a big impact.
Bannan is a four-year varsity player. Camden was among the team leaders in points, free throws and treys last winter. She's also one of the top defenders in all of Division II.
“Camden is a veteran kid,” Coach Beam said. “She's very poised and smart. We obviously want the ball in Camden's hands in big situations.”
Longman is a gifted natural athlete who helped lead Honesdale's field hockey team to the District Two Class AAA finals this fall. She can play in the backcourt or under the basket.
“Nicole never stops no matter what,” Coach Beam said. “When she first came to us in eighth grade, we knew she was athletic, but a little bit raw as a basketball player. Nicole has worked very hard and become one of our best kids.”
Fries saw limited action at the varsity level, but turned heads when she did get on the floor. Lily splits time between off-guard and small forward. She can run the court and shoot from the perimeter. Fries plays solid defense and rebounds well.
“Lily is a very mature young lady,” Coach Beam said. “She's like a mom out there. Lily is fundamentally sound as a player and takes some of the younger kids under her wing.”
Jones has been one of the league's elite post players for several years now. She is an intimidator in the lane, a relentless rebounder and physical defender. She's also a top tier scorer, having led the team in field goals and total points last year.
“Alexa is very tough and versatile,” Coach Beam said. “She can dominate with her back to the basket, but she can also run the floor and score from the perimeter if she needs to.”
Other veteran players who should make key contributions this year include: Sophia Goyette (Jr), Lydia Grossman (Jr), Taylor Maxson (Jr), Hannah Langendoerfer (Jr) and Kelly Varcoe (Jr).
Two freshmen have also made Honesdale's roster and are expected to post quality minutes at the varsity level this winter.
Tess Meagher is a guard who exhibits silky smooth ballhandling skills and is also a tenacious defender.
Rowan Murray is multi-sport standout who also excels in field hockey. She brings a physical presence to the court and will play in the low post.
“I'm anxious to see what those two girls can do,” said Coach Beam. “I think they are going to play a big part in what we do this year.”
Honesdale will once again compete in Division II of the Lackawanna League in 2018-19.
The Lady Hornets are set to battle it out with North Pocono, Western Wayne, Wallenpaupack Area and Delaware Valley.
Coach Beam's squad posted a regular season record of 4-9 last winter, trailing Paupack (9-4) and North Pocono (5-8) in the final standings.
The Red & Black already have a pair of scrimmages under their belt, having squared off with Old Forge and Blue Ridge. The local lasses acquitted themselves well in each exhibition, showing improvement from one to the next.
Now, it's just a matter of taking the next step and translating what they've learned into regular season game settings.
“I have high expectations for this team,” Coach Beam said. “I've set some pretty high goals for them. It's no secret that I expect us to challenge for the division title. I'd also like to see us get to districts and make a little bit of a run.”