The big date had to wait, at least a day.
The highly-anticipated showdown between Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 powers Nanticoke and Holy Redeemer was postponed by Thursday’s snow storm, along with seven other girls basketball games around the league.
That extended the anxiety among fans who have been waiting for the battle between teams boasting the WVC’s two best records until 7:15 p.m. tonight, when Holy Redeemer, sitting at 12-0 in league play, will face 12-1 Nanticoke in a battle for the WVC Division 2 lead — and most likely its league title.
“I know our girls really wanted to play it (Thursday),” Holy Redeemer coach John Jezorwski said. “Some were saying, ‘Let’s call them and meet them on the playground.
“It’s an important game for our team and our league.”
Other games around the league, including Pittston Area at Dallas, Coughlin at Wyoming Valley West, Berwick at Wyoming Area and GAR at Northwest, were also moved to 7:15 p.m. Friday.
Tunkhannock will play at Lake-Lehman at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, while Hanover Area will play at Meyers at 7:15 p.m. Saturday.
The game between Hazleton Area and Crestwood was rescheduled for 7:15 p.m. next Friday, Feb. 17.
But Friday’s clash at Holy Redeemer High School might be the game of the year.
Two-time defending Division 2 champion Nanticoke rolled off 16 consecutive victories to start the season before falling to Wyoming Valley West, 80-71, on Jan. 30.
The Trojanettes responded by winning two straight league games to move to 12-1 in Division 2, a half-game behind Redeemer.
“Obviously, we were disappointed,” Nanticoke coach Alan Yendrzeiwski said. “It’s time to move on. We’re still in control of our destiny, although we made it a little tougher to win our conference. It’s about bouncing back from a little bit of adversity. I think our kids have responded.”
Led by superior shooters Kayla Aufiero, Riley Klepadlo and Lisa Radziak, the Trojanettes use a high-octane offense and relentless press defense to frazzle opponents. And they’ll have stalwart defensive ace Katie Butczynski — who sat out two games with a head injury suffered in that loss to Valley West — back at full strength.
“I kind of look at it as a measuring stick,” said Jezorwski, a first-year head coach who took over a Redeemer program that’s lost one league game over the past five years — last season’s opener against Nanticoke. “This is a chance to see where we are against the top, elite teams. Nanticoke is truly one of the best teams in our area — Nanticoke and Dunmore.
“We want to be in the conversation.”
The Royals are getting there fast.
After opening 1-3, they’ve piled up 14 consecutive victories, going 11-0 in WVC play to pass Nanticoke for first place in Division 2.
The Royals have rallied through ball sharing and teamwork, as starters Maya Kornfeld, Irelyn Jannuzzi, Julia Andrejko, Talia Kosierowski and Sam Rajza have all had double-figure scoring games this season — along with reserves Sam Yencha and Cameron Marcinkowski. Andrejko, though, is on a tear while scoring 83 points over Redeemer’s past five games.
“Every team has a couple good players,” Jezorwski said. “But we have a list of players. When you look at us, you do have to stop everybody.”
The game has the makings of a show-stopper, especially since it’ll be the only time the teams will meet this season.
Teams in the WVC Division 2 play everyone in the league once, and during the District 2 postseason, Nanticoke will compete in Class 4A while Holy Redeemer plays in Class 3A.
So it may be a hot ticket to watch two teams battle for bragging rights to WVC supremacy.
“Obviously, Holy Redeemer’s very good again this year,” Yendrzeiwski said. “And we think we’ve had a pretty good season.
“I think both teams want to play this game very badly.”
Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloskicomments powered by Disqus