Spending the spring coaching a Lady Storm fifth-and-sixth grade team at Backcourt Hoops sent Catie Nealon back in time.
“When I was this age, I used to be at Riverfront every day, so it’s kind of like a flashback,” Nealon said during a break from one of her team’s practices at the Scranton facility.
Nealon, a Marywood University guard, remembers following older girls and women playing basketball during those days.
“During tryouts, a girls came up to me and said, ‘hey I saw your picture in the paper’.” Nealon said. “I used to go to the college games when I was younger, but mostly I went to the high school games.”
At Abington Heights, the girls basketball team has been a force for years, including when Nealon played there and was a big part of two Lackawanna League Division 1 and two District 2 Class 4A championship teams.
Nealon’s coaching and training work at Riverfront helps youngsters, who aspire to make an impact on the high school game in the near future.
The time between traditional school basketball seasons is not, however, just about helping young players improve their game.
Nealon has one last shot on the competitive side with her senior college season coming up.
“I only have one year left so it’s kind of sad,” Nealon said. “I just want to work on my overall game to make sure I come back for my last year with everything I have.
“I definitely need to get a little bit stronger.”
Nealon hopes to use that strength to open up other parts of her game, including making room to get off her accurate 3-point shots. She led an 18-9, ECAC Tournament-qualifying Marywood team with 41 made 3-pointers last season when she also shared the team lead with 31 steals.
While starting all 27 games as a junior, Nealon averaged 9.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists.