Girls hoop hall class would include well-known stalwarts
The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class was unveiled last Wednesday and that had Dr. Masse brainstorming. Why not create my own Hall of Fame?
So the following is Dr. Masse’s inaugural 2000s Girls Basketball Hall of Fame Class. The boys initial class will be unveiled in next week’s Sun-Gazette. Only 2000s players are eligible for inclusion because my first season here was the 1999-2000 campaign and I do not feel comfortable debating players I never saw compete. To be eligible, one had to have played at least one high school season in the 2000s and one cannot be an active scholastic player. Let the debates begin.
Dr. Masse’s Inaugural 2000s Hall of Fame
Girls Basketball Class
Kelly Mazzante, Montoursville: When it comes to area girls basketball players from any era, Mazzante simply is the G.O.A.T (The Greatest of All-time). Mazzante set a standard that might never be matched. She scored 3,270 points, the third-highest in Pennsylvania history and led the Montoursville to two Class AAA state finals. She scored 1,000 points during her senior season and Montoursville went 59-3 her last two years there. She became a legend at Penn State, breaking a series of program records and becoming the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer. The best pure shooter this reporter has seen also could run like a deer and scored 2,919 points at Penn State, the ninth highest total in NCAA history. Mazzante also put together a solid professional career that included two WNBA world championships with the Phoenix Mercury.
Tierney Pfirman, South Williamsport: The closest thing this area has seen to Mazzante and one of the best players in state history, Pfirman is the only area player to earn all-state honors four times. She became a South legend, leading the Mounties to their first district championship since 1989 in her freshman 2009 season. She finished her scholastic career with 2,309 points, the third most in area history and became a four-time Sun-Gazette Player of the Year. Pfirman enjoyed a stellar collegiate career, becoming one of the ACC’s best sixth women and helping the Terps go 119-21 and reach two straight Final 4’s. Pfirman might be the area’s most versatile player ever, being able to play any position, post up and drain 3-pointers. She is now playing professionally for Romania’s Sepsi-SIC.
Madina Ali, Williamsport: Another outstanding player who made a big impact at the Division I level, Ali helped lead Williamsport to its best recent four-year run from 2002-06. Ali was one of the most dominant post players in area history and is Williamsport’s all-time boys and girls leading scorer. Ali recorded double-doubles nearly every time she played and finished her spectacular career with 1,702 points and 1,359 rebounds. Ali then dominated at Daytona Community College and earned second team All-American honors as a freshman. Ali parlayed her junior college success to earning a scholarship to West Virginia. Once there, Ali became one of the Big East’s best post players and helped the Mountaineers reach the Sweet 16 her senior year.
Lindsey Hollobaugh, Central Mountain: The best player in Central Mountain history, Hollobaugh became a two-time captain at Bucknell and had an excellent collegiate career. Hollobaugh holds multiple single-season and career records at Central Mountain, averaging more than 20 points per game her final two seasons and earning 2003 Sun-Gazette Player of the Year honors. Hollobaugh immediately shined at Bucknell, scoring a freshman record 483 points and averaging 16.7 points per game. Hollobaugh was the Patriot League’s Freshman of the Year and a two-time All-Patriot League honoree. Hollobaugh finished college sixth in career scoring and 10th in assists at Bucknell.
Alison Tagliaferri, Jersey Shore: One of the best players in both Jersey Shore and Mansfield University history, Tagliaferri turned around two programs and carried them to new heights. A dominant center and a relentless competitor, Tagliaferri started all four years at Jersey Shore, helping it go from five wins before her arrival to the 2001 state tournament’s second round by her senior year. She graduated as the program’s all-time leading scorer (1,623) points and rebounder. Tagliaferri did not let up at Mansfield, helping the Mountaineers increase their win total in each of her four seasons. Tagliaferri earned PSAC-East Player of the Year honors her senior season and graduated as Mansfield’s all-time leading scorer while owning 13 other records.
Maria Morgan, Bucktail: Playing for one of the state’s smallest public schools, Morgan put Bucktail on the map from 2011-2015 and earned three straight all-state selections. One of the most dazzling and explosive guards to play during the 2000s, Morgan did it all while leading the Bucks to their best four-year run. The current St. Vincent guard trails only Mazzante among area all-time scorers with 2,409 points and is Clinton County’s all-time leading scorer. Morgan averaged 26.7 points per game during her career despite constant double teaming. She was a first team all-state selection in 2015 when she averaged 28 points, 9.5 assists, 7.7 steals and five rebounds per game and led Bucktail to a program-record 17 wins. She finished her career with 640 assists, 543 steals and 446 rebounds.
Tesia Kaczynski, Mansfield: No Mansfield player ever earned all-state honors before Kaczynski came along and did it twice in 2006 and 2007. A four-year starter, Kaczynski was one of the area’s most dynamic guards from 2003-07 and helped Mansfield win 99 games, along with two district championships and three league titles. Kaczynski earned 2007 Sun-Gazette Player of the Year honors and scored 1,786 career points, averaging 15.2 per game while adding 5.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 3.6 steals and 1.9 blocks per game. Mansfield won 22 or more games each season Kaczynski was there and the versatile shooting/point guard helped it reach the state quarterfinals as a freshman.
AROUND THE AREA: St. John Neumann (8-7) is doing some good things for being so young and showed why it could be a scary first round opponent in the District 4 Class A playoffs in a five-point loss to Mid-Penn leader Sullivan County. The Knights finished their week with a 54-35 win at Montgomery as Shayna McNamee nearly recorded a double-double and Morgan Kriner scored a season-high 10 points … Speaking of Montgomery, the Red Raiders feature five new starters this season but are making progress and won their first game last week, defeating Bucktail, 42-37. Jessica Umpstead scored a career-high 13 points in the win … Muncy (7-7) has no senior starters, but has eclipsed last year’s win total and won two of three games last week as Sasha McMonigle scored a career-high 19 points Friday against CMVT. Fellow sophomore Kassidi Lenhart scored 17 points in a 37-30 win at Millville, Muncy’s first win against the Quakers since 2012 … Lewisburg (8-6) has won three straight and had three players score in double figures in wins over Williamsport and Milton. Megan O’Hara was a point from a double-double against Milton, Cassie West scored a career-high 10 points in that win and Jaime Fedorjaka had a career-high 10 points against Williamsport … Speaking of Williamsport, sophomore Jada Whaley is having a strong season and had 32 points in two games last week. Defenses are focusing much of their pressure on Whaley but she is fifth among area scorers … Loyalsock snapped a three-game losing streak in strong fashion winning hard-fought games against South Williamsport and North Schuylkill last weekend. Sophomore Maddie Fox is having a big season and exploded for a career-high 29 points and seven 3-pointers against North Schuylkill … North Penn-Mansfield won twice last week as Lauren Smith and Alyssa Smith combined for 27 points against Canton … Rachael Tuttle recorded a double-double and Lizzie Poirier scored 14 points Saturday as Wellsboro beat Cowanesque Valley and stayed in the hunt to reach the NTL Showcase semifinals.
Dr. Masse’s top five in girls basketball
1. Montoursville (14-1): Montoursville has started its last few games slow, but is finishing strong. Montoursville overcame a second-quarter deficit in a 42-28 win over Shamokin before pulling away for double-digit wins over Central Columbia and Danville. The Warriors feature strong offensive firepower but their success starts on defense and they have allowed 33 points or fewer in each of their five straight wins. Lexi Marchioni is having another good season and the four-year starter erupted for a career-high 29 points in a 69-33 win over Wellsboro. Marchioni hit seven 3-pointers in that win and added two more against Shamokin. Lauren O’Malley then scored 41 points against Central and Danville.
2. Jersey Shore (10-3): The Bulldogs made a big turnaround last year, winning six more games than in 2015 and already have eclipsed their 2016 win total. Jersey Shore keeps moving forward and has won six of its last seven games while continuing to lead the HAC-I. The Bulldogs have not had a winning season since 2007, but will clinch that status with just two more victories. This team has a nice mix of youth and experience, plays hard and has several weapons. Sophomore Hannah Kauffman is having an excellent season and scored 21 points in Friday’s 44-25 win over Central Mountain.
3. Sullivan County (13-2): The Griffins continue playing well despite suffering a devastating blow and losing senior forward Kaiti Beinlich to a season-ending knee injury. Sullivan is rallying around Beinlich and recorded a huge win Saturday, beating Benton, 51-40 in a showdown of 12-2 teams. Sullivan is the only team that has beaten Benton in the Mid-Penn and the Griffins opened a two-game lead on it as it pursues its first league title of the 2000s. Players like Stef Kramer are coming up big for Sullivan and she scored a career-high 18 points against Troy. Sarah Parrish added a double-double in a 37-32 win over St. John Neumann. The Griffins are allowing fewer than 30 points per game.
4. Hughesville (9-5): The Spartans have endured a brutal schedule the last two weeks but are handling it well and starting to look like a serious District 4 Class AAA title contender. Hughesville drove home that point last week, coming about as close as one can to beating five-time district champion Mount Carmel and then beating 10-win Warrior Run, 33-23. The Spartans went 0-4 against Warrior Run and Loyalsock last year but have beaten both in the past two weeks and look like a different team than the one Warrior Run beat early this season. The defense is tough, the offense is balanced and maybe most important, Hughesville’s players are realizing how good they can be.
“What we keep telling the girls is that we want to build on it,” Hughesville coach Craig Weaver said. “We want to keep getting better and better and better.”
5. Warrior Run (10-5): The Defenders play defense as well as anyone in District 4, but other offensive threats must emerge to take pressure on forwards Megan Zimmerman and Madi Welliver if Warrior Run wants to make a playoff run. Defenses are packing everything in to slow those two who are among the area’s best post players and that will not change unless others start taking more shots and playing with more offensive confidence. If that happens, look out, because the Defenders have held eight of their last 10 teams to 30 points or fewer and beat surging Muncy, 38-17 last Wednesday.
Players of the week
Bethany Weinhardt, Sullivan County and Megan Weber, South Williamsport: Weinhardt has elevated her performance and that is a big reason Sullivan continues winning. The senior guard scored a career-high 18 points against Benton and also had 14 against Troy. Weinhardt also is defending and rebounding well and is becoming a nice weapon as the Griffins move forward. Weber is having a breakout sophomore season and delivered 20-point performances against Milton and Loyalsock. Weber shoots well, attacks the basket and is one of several promising young players for an improving South team.
Game of the week
Lewisburg at Loyalsock: Saturday’s game is a rematch of a 44-37 Loyalsock season-opening win. The Green Dragons are surging and developing more balance and will be eager to try and exact some revenge. Expect this game to possibly be even closer than last week’s and resemble the two-point game Loyalsock won against Lewisburg last year.
— CHRIS MASSE
Masse may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @docmasse