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Decade’s best No. 10: Ed Rogers helped transform Hughesville’s and Muncy’s girls basketball programs

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the latest in a series looking back at the top 10 girls basketball teams, coaches, games and players from last decade

One could try judging Ed Rogers’ coaching success by looking at his record but that would be misleading.

The best way to analyze it is by looking at the climb. At both Hughesville and Muncy last decade, Rogers helped orchestrate resurgences. Neither time was it an overnight success story. This was a step by step journey but those steps kept going upward. Rogers first helped Hughesville escape the doldrums and reach the playoffs for the first time in nine years before going to Muncy and authoring that program’s comeback story.

In each of Rogers’ last three years at Hughesville, the Spartans increased their win total. Ditto for each of his first three seasons at Muncy. The Indians has experienced some hard times before Rogers arrived, but have reached the District 4 Class AA semifinals in each of the last three years.

However one chooses to look at it, Rogers and his teams collectively are a success story.

Rogers faced a difficult task when he took his first head-coaching job at Hughesville in 2011. The Spartans had not made the playoffs since 2007 and had not won more than eight games in a season since 2008. This was not an overnight project. It had to be built brick by brick and Rogers started laying them from the ground up.

Many might not have seen it, but Hughesville was performing better at the lower levels and the a quality program was being built. Following a one-win 2013 season, the varsity then started mirroring that development. Hughesville made a four-win improvement in 2014 and finished just a victory shy of reaching the playoffs in 2016, doubling the previous win total and finishing 10-12.

A year later, Hughesville kept moving forward and ended a nine-year playoff drought. Hughesville again improved its win total and laid the foundation for the success which has followed. That breakthrough campaign set the tone and Hughesville has made the playoffs every year since, twice reaching district finals.

“I’m just really proud of them. This means a lot for the program, these kids and he community,” Rogers said after Hughesville clinched that elusive playoff berth. “It shows them what hard work can do. You can go from where we were five years ago to where they are now and it’s a testament to all the kids work.”

One rebuilding project complete, Rogers next moved a few miles down the road and inherited a Muncy program which had fallen on hard times following an outstanding start last decade. Muncy had won 10 combined games the previous two years and entered the 2017 season with several question marks.

Rogers soon helped Muncy start finding the right answers. The Indians made a four-win improvement and returned to the playoffs, finishing 11-12. Muncy gave Line Mountain a scare in the District 4 Class AA quarterfinals, dropping a five-point decision on the road after losing to it by 22 earlier in the season.

Another climb had started and Muncy reached the next level in 2018. The Indians again improved their win total and won their first playoff game since 2013, downing Line Mountain, 51-48, in the district quarterfinals. Muncy showed dramatic improvement during the season’s second half, rallying from a 4-7 start and highlighting its late-season surge by snapping Sullivan County’s 27-game Mid-Penn winning streak in its regular-season finale.

“They’ve accomplished more than Muncy girls basketball teams in the last few years,” Rogers said following a hard-fought semifinal loss against Southern Columbia. “They’re setting the bar for future Muncy teams.”

The bar extended higher a year later. A Rogers-led team improved its win total for a sixth straight time as Muncy went 15-10 and again reached the district semifinals. The Indians played their best game at an opportune time, stunning No. 2 seed South Williamsport on its home court in the district quarterfinals. Muncy avenged a previous defeat and showed how far it had come since early in the season when those two teams had first played.

This past year Muncy again went on the road to win a district quarterfinal, beating North Penn-Mansfield and making it three straight semifinal appearances. Something former guard Kassidi Lenhart said two years earlier remained true last season and moving forward.

“We’re going to keep climbing the ladder,” she said. “Even if it’s just one run at a time, we’re just going to keep going up.”

And Rogers certainly has them pointed in the right direction.

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