NEPA Sports Nation

Coach Toomey, two freshmen starters win comfortably in debut

Pictured above: New head coach Carrie Toomey addresses her Dunmore team moments before it took the floor for Saturday’s season-opening victory. (Tom Robinson Photo)

By Tom Robinson,

DUNMORE – Carrie Toomey was making her official high school head coaching debut, but there were newer faces to the Dunmore girls basketball program proving themselves in Saturday’s season opener.

Freshman starters Amanda Dempsey and Jaclyn Brown each played major roles, including showing they can be scoring threats, and the Lady Bucks produced their usual stingy defensive effort while defeating visiting North Pocono, 46-26, in a non-league game.

“I did know they were coming,” said Toomey, a former Dunmore standout who has served as assistant coach and has run the bench when former coach Ben O’Brien was out with an illness. “I learned more about them this summer, then as practice went on, their skill sets just showed.”

Dempsey scored a game-high 14 points and made all three of her 3-point attempts during the third quarter to make sure Dunmore could keep expanding its lead during North Pocono’s most effective offensive stretch.

Brown had her own 3-for-3 stretch – to start the game.

When both teams were struggling offensively, Brown used effective positioning and, when required, a crafty post move to score six points in the first 8:38. She finished with nine points.

Sophia Talutto joined Brown early and kept the offense going until Dempsey put Dunmore in control in the third quarter. She had 11 first-half points.

Talutto spearheaded a defense that induced 26 North Pocono turnovers. She finished with 13 points, made 10 steals, grabbed 6 rebounds and had a game-high 6 assists.

Cadie Lewis, who joins Talutto as the returning starters while the Lady Bucks begin the season without three-year, all-stater Ciera Toomey, provided her usual varied contributions. Lewis offered the finishing touch with two fourth-quarter 3-pointers to go along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Tristan Canavan, pressed into her first serious varsity action when Toomey went out during last season’s playoffs, made sure a small Dunmore team had a 38-35 rebounding advantage. Canavan was the game’s top rebounder with 11.

“I think players are working through their roles still and still getting to know each other,” coach Toomey said.

Even with the changes, the defending Lackawanna League Division 3 and District 2 Class 3A champion Lady Bucks are the No. 1 Small School girls team in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Basketball Power Rankings of District 2 teams to open the season.

Sam Polishan led North Pocono (1-4) with eight points. Kylie Mastillo grabbed seven rebounds and made four steals.

The Lady Trojans led 3-0 and 6-2 as it took more than five minutes for Dunmore to get its offense moving.

Talutto scored six points, Brown had four and Dempsey hit a 3-pointer as Dunmore scored the last four points of the first quarter, then the first nine of the second for a 15-6 lead.

The Lady Bucks were at their best when defense fueled the sometimes-struggling offense.

Cadie Lewis made a steal and threw a lead pass to Talutto, giving her plenty of time to set her feet on a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:49 left in the half. Talutto then capped a 7-0 burst to a 22-9 lead when she made a steal and pulled up near the right sideline just inside midcourt to fire a pass to Brown running the floor and cutting down the left side of the lane for a basket.

North Pocono got back within nine.

Dempsey then hit back-to-back 3-pointers 47 seconds apart and made it three in 2:44 to cap an 11-1 run to a 35-16 lead.

Dunmore managed just one point for 5½ minutes as North Pocono pulled to within 36-26.

Dempsey ended the drought with a basket, then Lewis hit back-to-back 3-pointers as the Lady Bucks held the Lady Trojans without a point for the last 6:31 while scoring the game’s final 10 points.

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