NEPA Sports Nation

Toomey-Canavan combination dominates inside for Lady Bucks

By Tom Robinson,

SCRANTON – While Ciera Toomey was idle from basketball competition, she was doing more than getting her knee ready for her return to the court.

Toomey was also helping reconstruct teammate Tristan Canavan’s inside game.

Canavan’s new offensive skills and Toomey’s return to health were on display Friday night.

They combined to shoot 11-for-11 inside the arc in the first half as Dunmore avenged a loss from earlier this season by pounding Wyoming Valley Conference overall champion Lake-Lehman, 58-19, in an all-District 2 meeting in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 3A girls basketball state quarterfinals at Scranton High School.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Canavan said. “I’ve had Ciera to work with throughout the whole entire season of practice and in summer league.

“She taught me things. She showed me so many moves and she has made me the player I am.”

When Toomey’s 2021-22 season ended in the District 2 championship game, Canavan’s role changed immediately and dramatically.

Canavan turned in a noble effort with her diligent work on the boards, providing a vital element for a suddenly undersized team on its way to the state quarterfinals. She was not, however, ready to score on the varsity level.

With Toomey’s help, the 5-foot-9 junior forward has expanded her game in the year since.

Canavan made her five first-half shots Friday night and finished 6-for-7 from the floor while also making her two free throws. She finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals.

Instead of trying to replace Toomey, Canavan is now working with her as the North Carolina commit has gradually worked her way back to almost full availability.

“Ice baths are my best friend,” Toomey said Friday night while getting ready to transition from her busiest night of the season to an even more intense challenge Monday on just two days of rest.

Dunmore will play Lancaster Catholic, the state’s top-ranked Class 3A team, according to, Monday at 7 p.m. at Martz Hall in Pottsville.

Toomey was ready for the rematch with Lake-Lehman, a team that she faced for less than three minutes in January. It was the only game in which Toomey appeared on the comeback trail in which her limited time on the floor did not make a noticeable impact.

Lake-Lehman saw a different Toomey on a night when it lost Lia Keefe, its Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 coaches’ choice for Most Valuable Player, to an apparent knee injury less than two minutes in.

Toomey missed two 3-point attempts, but made her other six shots in the first half. She finished 8-for-12 overall with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 9 blocked shots, 3 assists and 2 steals.

“I can’t say I imagined how much we won by,” Toomey said, “but I had a good feeling going into it, just from watching the film and the seeing the difference in our team when we played them the first time and our team now.

“I had a good feeling, but I think we came in and played much better than a lot of people expected.”

And, perhaps better than the Lackawanna League Division 3 and District 2 Class 3A champion Lady Bucks have played all season.

“This one felt the best,” Toomey said. “ … It’s good that it’s clicking now.

“Everyone played together. Everyone played well.”

Toomey and Canavan split the scoring for a 12-5 lead after one quarter.

Cadie Lewis went 3-for-4 on 3-pointers, showing off her range in a 10-point second quarter that helped build a 32-13 halftime lead.

“I think we’ve been playing our best basketball in the state playoffs,” Lewis said. “Everybody’s been stepping up and we’ve just been jelling.”

The Lady Bucks have beaten three state tournament opponents by an average of 58.0-28.7 after winning three district games by an average of 54.3-21.7.

Following a scoreless first half, Sophia Talutto made four of her last five shots to finish with nine points, four assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

Amanda Dempsey had three assists in the first 13:10, making sharp entry passes each time to set up easy scores by Canavan.

Lake-Lehman was within 12-7 almost a minute into the second quarter, but each of its scores was countered by a Dunmore streak the rest of the way.

Lewis hit her first 3-pointer and a free throw to combine with Toomey on a 6-0 run.

Dunmore followed a Delcia Biscotto 3-pointer with seven straight points and a Brenna Hunt 3-pointer with 10 more in a row for a 35-13 lead in the first minute of the second half.

Hunt scored a layup off a steal with 6:45 left in the third quarter, but Dunmore outscored Lake-Lehman, 23-1, until the Lady Knights scored right before the final buzzer.

Hailey Kline led Lake-Lehman with 11 rebounds, but managed just a single point against Dunmore’s interior defense, which has become much harder to attack since adding Toomey in the middle.

Hunt was the top scorer in the loss with seven points.

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