NEPA Sports Nation

Invaders looking to continue climb

By Tom Robinson,

SCRANTON – Progress for the West Scranton boys basketball team can be measured on two fronts.

The Invaders improved from 3-11 to 10-13 in Mike Fazzi’s first full season as head coach.

The steps forward were smaller within Lackawanna League Division 1 where West Scranton went from 3-10 to 4-9 in 2021-22, sharing the bottom of the five-team division with Valley View.

“The teams in our league – Abington Heights, (Scranton) Prep, Valley View and Scranton, our crosstown rival – they all push us to succeed,” senior forward Zach Lloyd said. “They push us to the end goal that we have.”

The Invaders have struggled through six straight losing seasons within the division. During that time, they have had winning overall records, district playoff wins and even a trip to the 2017 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament.

West Scranton has started 3-1 in non-league action. Fazzi knows carrying that success into January and February league play will not be easy.

“We continue to chop wood, carry water and build our family culture,” he said.

Tristan Lee, a 6-foot-5 senior center/power forward, leads the way for the Invaders. He was a second-team division all-star selection last season by (now part of

Evan Laybourn-Boddie, a 5-11 junior guard, is the other returning starter.

The Invaders have several other experienced players.

Guards Chris Ogden, a junior, and John Keeler, a senior, saw the most time.

Four seniors – guards Evan Gariepy and Josh McConlogue and forwards Lloyd and 6-5 Zach Price – complete the veteran group battling for time.

“We feel confident about the season coming up,” Ogden said. “We’ve been working hard all summer.”

That work has continued into the season.

“I think you’re going to see the same West Side that is going to compete, work hard, play hard, but I think we’re going to look a lot sharper than we have in the past,” Price said.

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