NEPA Sports Nation

Pittston Area reshaping team following championship season

By Tom Robinson,

SCRANTON – Pittston Area’s season was potentially heading in the wrong direction early before 10 special minutes of basketball Saturday appeared to get the Patriots back on track going into the start of league play.

The defending District 2 Class 5A champions have experience and height hurdles to overcome as they try to stay close to that level of success.

Anthony Cencetti is the only returning starter on a team without a player taller than 6-foot-2.

Cencetti was a big part of the second Pittston Area boys basketball district championship team and the team that produced the second state tournament win in program history.

“It’s going to be tough, but I think with hard work, we can get back to where we were,” Cencetti said during an interview at Coaches vs. Cancer Media Day.

Cencetti and the two other experienced players returning, Giardini and Jack Long have accounted for nearly 90 percent of the team’s scoring in the first four games.

The Patriots showed signs of potential Saturday when they headed to Scranton with a 1-2 record. They trailed West Scranton by 22 points in the third quarter before Giardina led them back for a 49-48 victory to even their record.

Veteran coach Al Semenza pointed to those three players as the leaders in comments relayed through assistant coach John Walsh, who read Semenza’s prepared statement, during the Wyoming Valley Conference Coaches Press Conference prior to the opener.

“Our offense will be built around our returning starter Anthony Cencetti, who we fell can be one of the top players in the division,” the statement read. “Sophomore Silvio Giardina played key minutes for us last season. He has the ability to score as well as some good court awareness.

“Senior Jack Long is the other returning player. He has a knack to be around the ball and will need to be a presence inside defensively.”

While joining the other two in double-figures scoring early, Long, a 6-foot-1 senior forward, readily accepts his other responsibilities.

“I hope to continue to bring energy and play good defense and do what I can offensively to help the team,” Long said.

Sophomore Matt Walter joins seniors Rob Barbieri, Jacob Burnett and Ethan Clarke as the team’s other key players.

The team’s only junior, Ciaran Bilbow is also in the mix along with sophomores Paul Jordan McGarry and Aiden Lynn.

The rest of the team consists of sophomores and freshmen.

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