Western Wayne junior earns admission to the "1,000-Point Club"
Western Wayne struggled through an extremely difficult stretch of its 2018-19 basketball schedule, but appears to have emerged stronger for the experience.
After jetting off to a strong start, the Wildcats suffered six straight losses in Lackawanna League action and seemed headed for hoops oblivion.
However, Coach Al Semenza's squad has shown remarkable resilience in recent weeks. The 'Cats have now won four of their last five and risen above .500 for the year .
“You know, it would have been easy for these kids just to roll over and quit, but they never did,” Coach Semenza said.
“I'm very proud of them They're a hard-working bunch. They're tough and resilient and I'm really excited to see what's in store for us as we come down the home stretch.”
Western Wayne made Delaware Valley its latest victim. The 'Cats traveled to Milford over the weekend and battled their way to a solid 48-45 victory.
Zachary Rovinsky led the charge, rattling the rims for a game-high 26 points and celebrating a career milestone in the process.
With this win, the local lads are now 11-9 on the season and 4-7 in Division II competition.
Weather permitting, they'll be back in action Tuesday at Paupack, then close out the regular season slate Thursday at home versus North Pocono.
Opening tip is set for 7 p.m. at the Varden Garden.
In the Club
Rovinsky made Western Wayne' varsity squad as a frosh and quickly carved out a spot for himself in the starting line-up.
Zach scored 279 points as a freshman, then erupted for 325 during his sophomore season. This winter, he's tickled the twine for 406.
In addition, Rovinsky finished out the 2017-18 campaign as the leading scorer in Division II with a 17.1 ppg average.
The talented junior is looking to defend his scoring title this year, but currently trails Paupack's Elijah Rosenthal by nearly a full point, 21.1 to 20.3.
On Friday evening at Delaware Valley, Rovinsky powered his way to 26 points on the strength of 10 field goals, one trey and a perfect 3-for-3 stint at the charity stripe.
One of those free throws came midway through the third period and earned him admission to the exclusive 1,000-Point Club.
“I couldn't be happier for Zach,” Coach Semenza said. “He's a fine young man and I really enjoy working with him. Zach is very coachable and he's got a fantastic work ethic.
“The bottom line is that Zach just loves to play the game. He's a very good teammate and a credit to the school and the program.”
Rovinsky has evolved into one of the top scoring threats in the entire region, something that doesn't surprise his mentor at all.
“He can play inside or outside and he can attack the basket with either hand,” Coach Semenza said. “Zach is very tough to guard because he's so versatile. He does whatever he can to help the team at both ends of the floor.”
Western Wayne came out with all guns blazing in this one, building a 15-2 lead after one quarter.
However, Delaware Valley wasn't fazed. The homestanding Warriors kept their cool and slowly chipped away at this seemingly daunting margin.
DV outscored their guests 34-20 in the middle two periods and actually led 36-35 heading into the fourth.
To their undying credit, the Wildcats staged a rally of their own. Led by Rovinsky, the local lads won the final stanza by a margin of 13-8 en route to a 48-45 decision.
“I'm so encouraged by the way we've played the last couple of weeks,” said Coach Semenza. “We've had to fight back and win some really close games.
“It says a lot about the quality of kids we have on this team. The thing I think I'm most impressed with is their mental toughness. They just refuse to quit.”
Grant Barrios paced a balanced DV assault with 12 points. Also cracking double digits for the Warriors were Blake Gearhart (11 pts) and Jackson Shafer (10 pts).
While Rovinksy was top gun for Western Wayne, he received plenty of help from the likes of Matt Henneforth (seven pts), Zane Janiszewski (five) and Rob Carey (four).
Kobe Sauter and Scott Lewis rounded out the Wildcats' offensive assault with three points apiece.
While Wallenpaupack Area has already clinched the Division II title this year, Western Wayne still has a great deal to play for in the way of seeding for districts.
As of Monday afternoon, the 'Cats were sixth in the Class 4A power rankings (.558121), but within striking distance of fifth-seeded Tunkhannock (.573988).
The 2018-19 District Two tournament is slated to begin Wednesday, Feb. 20.
“I'm definitely excited to see what we can do,” Coach Semenza said. “We're not just looking to be competitive anymore. We expect to win every time we step onto the court.”