Wyoming Area Catholic girls basketball team captures 2016 Pennsylvania State Catholic Grade School Championship


Parade, fireworks welcome team back to Exeter

By Nick Wagner - nwagner@timesleader.com



The 2016 seventh and eighth grade girls basketball team of Wyoming Area Catholic School, the new Pennsylvania State Catholic Youth Organization champions, along with coaches and administrators, are shown in the photo upon returning from Cranberry Township where they defeated Our Lady of Peace of Erie, 31-24. First row, from left, are Courtney Iskra, Makaylee Crake, Gabby Morgan, Lynzie Skoronski, Grace Holmes, Tessa Romani, Annie Bagnall. Second row: Kathy Gilmartin (assistant superintendent of Catholic schools), Leann Skoronski (team trainer), Leo Skoronski (assistant coach), Leana Lombardo, Chloe Morris, Cassie Benderavich, Jillian Foley, Camryn Cassetori, Livia Moore, Cameron Marcinkowski, Samantha Yencha. Second row, Msgr. David Tressler (superintendent of Catholic schools), Michele Long (assistant superintendent of Catholic schools), Brian Marcinkowski (assistant coach), Don Cassetori (head coach), Eileen Rishcoff (principal, WACS).


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Players and coaches arrive at Wyoming Area Catholic School where over 200 people wait to welcome them home.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Area police and fire departments escort the team bus to Wyoming Area Catholic School from the Midway Shopping Center.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Fellow students, family and friends welcome home the 2016 Pennsylvania State Catholic Youth Organization champions.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Friends, family and classmates cheer as the team bus moves in front of the school on Sunday, March 13.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Annie Bagnall, center, exits the bus with a large crowd waiting for the victorious Wyoming Area Catholic School Cougars on Sunday, March 13. The seventh and eighth grade girls basketball team won the 2016 state Catholic Youth Organization championships in Cranberry Township over the weekend.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

EXETER — For the first time in school history, the Wyoming Area Catholic girls basketball team can say they are the best in the state.

On Sunday, March 13, the Cougars beat Our Lady of Peace School, 31-24, to win the Pennsylvania State Catholic Youth Organization School Grade Championship. The Cougars arrived back from the Pittsburgh area late Sunday evening and were treated to a parade and fireworks.

“We’ve been talking about this since fourth grade,” Wyoming Area Catholic coach Don Cassetori said. “I compared it to training for the Olympics. We knew that we could go to states once we got to this level.”

In the eight-team field featuring teams from the Dioceses of Allentown, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Scranton, Greensburg, Pittsburgh, Erie and Altoona-Johnstown, the Cougars had to win three straight games to win the championship.

In the title game against Our Lady of Peace, Liv Moore led the Cougars with 10 points. Samantha Yencha had eight points, while Ann Bagnall chipped in with five. Camryn Cassetori and Carmeron Marcinkowski each had four points to round out the scoring for Wyoming Area Catholic.

In the opening round, WAC was a 26-11 winner against St. Theresa of Harrisburg. In the semifinal game against St. Andrew’s of Philadelphia, the Cougars opened up an early lead and went on to win 35-29. In the championship game, it was all Cougars. WAC controlled the game and were able to run out the clock at the end of the game for a 31-24 win and a state championship.

“The girls worked hard and earned it,” Cassetori said. “It was great to be able to see them celebrate.”

Members of the team are: Courtney Iskra, Grace Holmes, Tess Romani, Lynzie Skoronski, Marcinkowski, Gabby Morgan, Makaylee Crake, Bagnall, Cassie Bederavich, Jill Foley, Camryn Cassetori, Yencha, Moore, Leanna Lombardo and Chloe Morris. The assistant coaches are LeAnn Skoronski, Leo Skoronski and Brian Marcinkowski.

Wyoming Area Catholic represented the Diocese of Scranton at this tournament. They won the diocesan championship by defeating St. Clare/St. Paul School of Scranton in the Diocesan Championship, 41-26, on Saturday, Feb. 20 at Holy Cross High School. The Cougars last won the diocesan championship in 1976. This is the Diocese of Scranton’s third girls state championship.

Cassetori said the girls were a little tighter for the Diocesan Championship than they were for the state championships. There was more pressure, he said.

“It was a big relief,” Cassetori said. “I was more nervous for the diocesan game than the state championships. We could not have a hiccup in that game. That was the biggest relief when we won that game.”

Cassetori said the Diocese of Pittsburgh put on a great tournament. On Friday, the coaches held a meeting and then on Saturday morning all eight teams met for breakfast. On Saturday evening, all the teams met for church.

The coach compared the atmosphere of the state championships to an NCAA basketball tournament game and an NBA playoff game where defense really takes over. His team struggled to score, he said, as did every other team in the tournament.

“It was tough, hard-nosed basketball,” he said. “There was a lot of defense and the level of play was really intense.”

The 2016 seventh and eighth grade girls basketball team of Wyoming Area Catholic School, the new Pennsylvania State Catholic Youth Organization champions, along with coaches and administrators, are shown in the photo upon returning from Cranberry Township where they defeated Our Lady of Peace of Erie, 31-24. First row, from left, are Courtney Iskra, Makaylee Crake, Gabby Morgan, Lynzie Skoronski, Grace Holmes, Tessa Romani, Annie Bagnall. Second row: Kathy Gilmartin (assistant superintendent of Catholic schools), Leann Skoronski (team trainer), Leo Skoronski (assistant coach), Leana Lombardo, Chloe Morris, Cassie Benderavich, Jillian Foley, Camryn Cassetori, Livia Moore, Cameron Marcinkowski, Samantha Yencha. Second row, Msgr. David Tressler (superintendent of Catholic schools), Michele Long (assistant superintendent of Catholic schools), Brian Marcinkowski (assistant coach), Don Cassetori (head coach), Eileen Rishcoff (principal, WACS).
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_WAC-Champs-6.jpgThe 2016 seventh and eighth grade girls basketball team of Wyoming Area Catholic School, the new Pennsylvania State Catholic Youth Organization champions, along with coaches and administrators, are shown in the photo upon returning from Cranberry Township where they defeated Our Lady of Peace of Erie, 31-24. First row, from left, are Courtney Iskra, Makaylee Crake, Gabby Morgan, Lynzie Skoronski, Grace Holmes, Tessa Romani, Annie Bagnall. Second row: Kathy Gilmartin (assistant superintendent of Catholic schools), Leann Skoronski (team trainer), Leo Skoronski (assistant coach), Leana Lombardo, Chloe Morris, Cassie Benderavich, Jillian Foley, Camryn Cassetori, Livia Moore, Cameron Marcinkowski, Samantha Yencha. Second row, Msgr. David Tressler (superintendent of Catholic schools), Michele Long (assistant superintendent of Catholic schools), Brian Marcinkowski (assistant coach), Don Cassetori (head coach), Eileen Rishcoff (principal, WACS). Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Players and coaches arrive at Wyoming Area Catholic School where over 200 people wait to welcome them home.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_WAC-Champs-3.jpgPlayers and coaches arrive at Wyoming Area Catholic School where over 200 people wait to welcome them home. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Area police and fire departments escort the team bus to Wyoming Area Catholic School from the Midway Shopping Center.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_WAC-Champs-2.jpgArea police and fire departments escort the team bus to Wyoming Area Catholic School from the Midway Shopping Center. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Fellow students, family and friends welcome home the 2016 Pennsylvania State Catholic Youth Organization champions.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_WAC-Champs-1.jpgFellow students, family and friends welcome home the 2016 Pennsylvania State Catholic Youth Organization champions. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Friends, family and classmates cheer as the team bus moves in front of the school on Sunday, March 13.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_WAC-Champs-4.jpgFriends, family and classmates cheer as the team bus moves in front of the school on Sunday, March 13. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Annie Bagnall, center, exits the bus with a large crowd waiting for the victorious Wyoming Area Catholic School Cougars on Sunday, March 13. The seventh and eighth grade girls basketball team won the 2016 state Catholic Youth Organization championships in Cranberry Township over the weekend.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_WAC-Champs-5.jpgAnnie Bagnall, center, exits the bus with a large crowd waiting for the victorious Wyoming Area Catholic School Cougars on Sunday, March 13. The seventh and eighth grade girls basketball team won the 2016 state Catholic Youth Organization championships in Cranberry Township over the weekend. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Parade, fireworks welcome team back to Exeter

By Nick Wagner

nwagner@timesleader.com

Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

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