As a young player, Central Mountain Hall of Famer Lindsey Rogers never really envisioned a basketball future. The game was fun and she loved it. That was all that mattered.
As she continued becoming one of Pennsylvania's best all-around players, however, Rogers began to see doors opening. Suddenly, she realized basketball could be a career, not just a passion. And that career now has transitioned from playing to coaching.
After becoming Central Mountain's all-time best player and one of Bucknell's most decorated players, Rogers has come home again. The 2003 Central Mountain graduate is in her second year coaching her alma mater. She also is teaching at Renovo Elementary, now combining her two loves. Roger is right where she wants to be.
"Honestly, I didn't really even think about playing college basketball until about ninth or 10th grade. I just loved it and I realized oh, I can get my schooling paid for me and you realize what you can do," Rogers said Thursday following a loss at Williamsport. "As a teacher and coach it kind of goes hand and hand sometimes so I knew I wanted to go into being a teacher and I went in to college knowing my major. I didn't know I'd end up here coaching, but I love it."
Rogers is the program's all-time leading scorer and went on to become a four-year starter at Bucknell, earning Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors in 2004. She was the team's captain in 2006 and 2007 and helped lead the Bison to Patriot League championship while becoming the program's eighth all-time leading scorer. She also maintained a 4.0 grade-point average while student teaching her senior year.
Rogers started 100 of 102 games she played and is one of the few players in Bucknell history to top 1,000 career points and 500 rebounds. Because of her collegiate success, Rogers was a hot commodity overseas following her graduation. She had several playing options, but Rogers had other plans.
Dr. Masse's Top 5 rankings
1. Warrior Run (8-2)
The Defenders dropped their first two games last week, losing to Central Columbia and three-time defending District 4 Class AAA champion Mount Carmel by 12 combined points. Freshman Madi Welliver has big-time potential and could develop into a premier post player. She ran the court well and had six rebounds and three blocks in the first half against Mount Carmel despite battling illness and cramps. Abby Fisher had a double-double in that game and has been one of the year's breakthrough players.
2. Muncy (10-1)
The Indians have played well in the second half the last two weeks against league rivals St. John Neumann and South Williamsport. Muncy overcame a second-half deficit against the upset-minded Mounties last Wednesday and have performed well in some pressure situations, an encouraging sign for a team seeking its fourth straight state tournament berth. Brianna McLaughlin is one of the district's best defenders but also is a big-time offensive threat. She scored a season-high 22 points in Saturday's 55-28 win over Sullivan County.
3. Montoursville (7-3)
The Warriors are emerging as a serious District 4 Class AA title contender and recorded their biggest win of the season Saturday, overcoming an eight-point deficit and beating 2013 district runner-up Southern Columbia, 56-48. Montoursville overcame two second-half deficits last week and is 7-1 when at full strength. Junior forward Kelsey Stine can be a difference maker inside and might have the game's MVP in a 36-28 win over Lewisburg. Kirsten O'Malley continues having a big year and scored 23 points against Southern's strong defense. Two more big challenges loom this week with games against Central Columbia and Mount Carmel.
4. Mansfield (9-2)
The Tigers made a nice statement Saturday, defeating former nemesis and 2013 District 4 Class A runner-up Sayre, 34-23. Mansfield has been a surprise team, moving ahead of last year's pace despite losing three double-digit scorers to graduation. Mansfield has not lost to a Class A team, is getting some balanced scoring and is playing solid defense. Sophomore Alysa Davey-Bostic has emerged as a weapon and has reached double figures in six straight games. She and fellow sophomore Ali Hillson are both having big seasons so the present and future appears bright.
5. Jersey Shore (9-3)
The Bulldogs are just two wins from reaching districts for the first time in a non-open format since 2007. They already have matched last year's win total and are tied for third in the HAC-I. Jersey Shore recorded its most impressive win last Friday, thumping rival Milton 41-17 while beating it for the first time in six years. Jersey Shore leads the district in points allowed per game. The Bulldogs play swarming defense and have allowed 40 or fewer points in all 12 games.
Player of the week
Maria Morgan, Bucktail
The junior became Bucktail's all-time scoring leader for boys and girls basketball last Friday, scoring 29 points while dealing 16 assists and making 10 steals in a 60-21 win over CMVT. Morgan has scored 1,365 career points in just 2 1/2 years, breaking Holly Edwards previous record. She needed just 53 games to become the scoring champion and made a run at three straight triple-doubles as Bucktail swept three games last week and improved to 5-4.
Game of the week
Millville at Muncy
Saturday's game could go a long way in determining the HAC-III champion. Both teams are undefeated in the league and are a combined 17-1. They split two spirited games last season. Expect this one to have a big-time playoff feel.
"I had the opportunity but I wanted to start my career and have a family," Rogers said. "I love basketball and I like coaching, too. I didn't think I could give it up all together with my background and now with coaching it's a lot of fun."
It also is challenging. Central Mountain is one of the state's youngest varsity teams. Only one senior is on the roster and most of the starters and contributors are freshmen and sophomores. The Wildcats have been outmatched as a result and are 0-10. Still, progress is being made as the Wildcats are playing a lot better than they did early this season.
Central Mountain ran some good offenses against Williamsport and players often were in the right positions to score and finish. If that keeps happening, the Wildcats will start converting more. Combine that with the desire the team is showing and moral victories might soon become real ones.
"That's what we've been talking about. When we played our first game this year we didn't score any points until late in the second quarter," Rogers said. "Coming from that to where we are, they have done a nice job. They are setting goals game by game and are working hard to reach goals."
Rogers is, too. She led Central Mountain to its most successful season while playing, and is determined to help the program flourish again. It is not easy, but Rogers is doing what she loves.
Once upon a time, Rogers never thought basketball could carry her beyond high school. Now, basketball is a way of life.
Williamsport (6-5) is starting to feature one of the area's best inside games. And really, the two post players have only scratched the surface of their potential so this could be a force in the making.
Sophomore Jaynell Robinson is a towering presence at more than 6-feet tall and junior Jahnae Hall-Gaddy is pushing 6-feet and looks like one of the area's most physically impressive post players. Both nearly had double-doubles against Central Mountain and both have had big games this season. Robinson scored a career-high 34 points in last Monday's loss to Danville, the most by a Millionaire player in three seasons. She added 23 points in Saturday's 52-51 loss at St. Mary's.
"When they (Robinson and Hall-Gaddy) are seniors they will be great," guard Amy Southard said. "They are going to be amazing."
Both players are still raw but if both keep progressing and meshing the results could be tremendous. That is especially true since Williamsport has a versatile and solid backcourt that can open things up in the middle.
"Cleary that's going to be our strength when we have Jaynell and Jahnae inside. The first part should be go inside at least once and then go outside," Williamsport coach Derek Slaughter. "Jaynell and Jahnae have always been the biggest players on their team so it's just a matter of them getting used to each other. Sometimes they running into each other and are figuring out where to be on the court, but hopefully we'll keep getting better every day."
North Penn's Mariah Berguson scored a career-high 28 points in Saturday's 61-49 win over Liberty. She has scored 17 or more points in four of her last five games ... Chelsea Repard and Kelsey Harer are having big years for Liberty. Harer has scored 20 points in three consecutive games and Repard had 22 points in Friday's 59-53 loss to Mansfield ... Cowanesque Valley (5-6) is heating up and has won three of its last four. Grace Earle scored a career-high 20 points in a 49-19 win over Canton ... Galeton is streaking as well, winning three straight while improving to 5-4. Latascia Shadle averaged 17.3 points in three wins last week ... Tiffany Werts scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Bucktail's 60-21 win over CMVT.
Masse may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him for more high school basketball information on Twitter at @docmasse