10 Things to Know: Opening Night

FIRST BROADCAST

Tonight’s only opener matching teams in the preseason Astra Wealth Advisors Super Six Power Rankings is also the debut of this season’s NEPABasketball.com broadcast schedule.

Scranton Prep, the top-ranked Big School Girls team, hosts fourth-ranked Berwick in the 7:15 p.m. game. The broadcast begins at approximately 7.

The Classics are led by the return of all-state guard Rachael Rose and Lackawanna League Division 1 all-star Cecelia Collins. They led Scranton Prep to division and District 2 Class 4A titles last season.

Berwick recovered from a district semifinal loss to Scranton Prep to make the state tournament.

The Lady Bulldogs return five starters, including Renny Murphy and Katie Starr who were both first-team Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 all-stars as sophomores.

To listen to the broadcast, go to https://www.meridix.com/event/161396 at gametime.

OTHER NUMBER ONES

All four No. 1 teams in the Super Six play tonight.

Nanticoke, the top Big School Boys team, is at North Pocono in its first game under Zach Pientka, who is serving as head coach while John Beggs is out for the season for health reasons.

Holy Cross puts its Small School Boys top ranking on the line at home against Mountain View, which is coached by former Crusader Joe Gibbons.

Riverside, which is No. 1 in Small Girls, plays at Hanover Area.

HODICK RETURNS

The game at Hanover Area represents the first as a Lady Vike for former Pittston Area all-star Leah Hodick, who sat out last season on a PIAA suspension, based on transfer rules.

WALLACE MEMORIAL

The Carbondale boys are at Elk Lake for the 43rd annual Mike “Red” Wallace Scholarship Game.

Carbondale pulled out a 35-33 win last season to improve its series lead to 30-12.

The annual season opener honors the memory of Wallace, who played at Fell Township, which is now part of the Carbondale Area School District, and coached at Elk Lake.

Wallace played at Keystone Junior College and the University of Scranton before playing professionally as a member of the original Boston Celtics team.

At Elk Lake, Wallace coached the Warriors to state championships in 1969 and 1977. He died from cancer less than four months after the second state title, which was the culmination of a 36-0 season, the best record ever for a Pennsylvania high school team.

Elk Lake own the first Wallace game that December, 65-58.

A Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Cheerleader are selected from each school each year.

ALL-STATE RETURNEES

Scranton Prep’s Rose is one of four returning all-state players in District 2 and one of two who will make their season debuts tonight.

Rose, a junior point guard, is already a two-time, third-team, all-state selection in Class 4A.

Center Colette Mulderig, a third-teamer in Class 6A, will be in action when Scranton plays at Holy Cross.

Dunmore’s Moriah Murray and Susquehanna’s Taylor Huyck will wait until next week to play their openers.

Murray was the only freshman to make first team in any class when she made it for her contributions to Dunmore’s trip to the state Class 3A final.

Huyck was a third-team choice in Class A.

Susquehanna’s originally scheduled opener was postponed when Wyoming Area, which has its football team playing for a state championship Saturday, postponed both of its basketball openers.

TOURNEY TIME

Wallenpaupack is hosting the Lake Region Tip-Off Tournament with boys and girls events.

There are four total boys tournaments and four girls tourneys involving District 2 teams, none of which are playing against each other in openers.

The other boys tournaments involving district teams are at Berwick, Manheim Township and Sullivan County. The other girls tournaments are at Hazleton Area, Souderton and Muncy.

In addition, there are two-day events at Blue Ridge and Towanda with pre-determined matchups.

Blue Ridge is hosting the Susquehanna-Bradford County Challenge for boys teams with the Raiders and Susquehanna swapping opponents and each playing one game against Sayre and Wyalusing Valley.

Similarly, Blue Ridge and Western Wayne’s girls teams are in the Towanda Tip-Off Tournament where they will each play one game against Sayre and Towanda, regardless of results.

CHAMPIONS COLLIDE

The opener of the Jim Church Classic at Souderton features Abington Heights, winner of four straight District 2 titles, including the last three in Class 5A, against three-time defending District 1 Class 3A champion Saint Basil Academy.

WOLFPACK DEBUT

The Wilkes-Barre Area Wolfpack makes its boys debut in a game at Delaware Valley.

The team, combined out of students from Coughlin, GAR and Meyers, is ranked sixth among Big School Boys in the Super Six.

Former Meyers coach Pat Toole is guiding the Wolfpack.

NEW COACHES

Coaching changes are plentiful around the district, but not all the teams with new coaches are playing tonight.

In addition to Pientka at Nanticoke, Al Semenza will debut at Pittston Area and Reggie Hawkins will coach his first game at Montrose.

Semenza, the former Old Forge, Wyoming Area and Western Wayne coach, will take the Patriots to Hanover Area opening night.

Hawkins and the Meteors will be at Mid Valley.

Mike Judge’s first game as Western Wayne girls coach will be against host Towanda.

TOUGH DIVISION

Four of the five teams in Lackawanna League Division 1 girls enter the season ranked in the Super Six and the other, Scranton, returns an all-state player.

Three of the division’s ranked teams are in action.

Last season, Division 1 teams were 20-5 against Division 2 in Lackawanna League crossovers that are part of the standings.

Scranton Prep is ranked first and Abington Heights third. Sixth-ranked Valley View is at Montrose.

Fifth-ranked West Scranton is off.