By Tom Robinson
As Cecelia Collins has grown, her game has grown with her.
Once a 5-foot-4 freshman role player, Collins is now one of the leaders of District 2’s only unbeaten basketball team, the Scranton Prep Classics, as a 5-10 junior.
After rising to the division all-star level on a championship team as a sophomore, Collins has become one of the district’s top players and in the eyes of her coach, Bob Beviglia, perhaps its most “complete player.”
For the time period of Jan. 27-Feb. 2, Collins was regarded as the district’s best with her selection as the PNC Bank District 2 Girls Basketball Player of the Week by NEPABasketball.com.
A scorer, a playmaker, a defender and a rebounder, that completeness is evident in her point production, which comes from outside shooting, driving and, now, working on the inside as well.
“I feel like I play in the post a lot more this year,” Collins said. “I started freshman year at 5-4 and have grown to be 5-10.
“I have been working on moves in the post when smaller guards are playing me. So, if I have a height advantage, I can make a move inside.”
Collins played for the JB Hoops Bucci National team last summer and is now in the NEPA Elite program, also out of Backcourt Hoops in Scranton.
Her stat lines for the two Scranton Prep wins during the week, and her season as a whole, display Collins’ versatility.
Scranton Prep started the week with a 71-29 Lackawanna League crossover romp over a Western Wayne team that came in with an 11-6 record. Collins had 19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in the win.
The Classics then improved to 18-0 by ending West Scranton’s five-game winning streak while cruising to a 57-32 Lackawanna Division 1 victory.
Collins showed she has not forgotten how to score away from the basket, making all four of her 3-point attempts. She finished with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists.
“We knew that each team had good players and had to focus on what each player did best,” Collins said. “Both teams have players that can get into the lane well, so we had to make sure the help was there and that we did our best to stop the drive.”
Although they proved to be award-worthy, the games were not far above a typical effort by Collins. She averages 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 75 percent from the foul line.
With Collins and all-state guard Rachael Rose, an AAU teammate and earlier Player of the Week selection, leading the way, Scranton Prep has been similarly impressive.
After adding two more wins this week to get to 20-0, the state-ranked Classics are working toward defending their Lackawanna Division 1 and District 2 Class 4A titles. They have given up just 29.3 points per game while averaging 61.6. They have beaten the leaders of each of the other three Lackawanna divisions by an average of 30.7 points. Division 1 second-place team Abington Heights (61-53) is the only team the Classics have allowed to come closer than 16 points.
“I think we have been playing well as a team, but our coaches always tell us that we can’t take steps back,” Collins said. “We have focused on making defense our identity and to play hard on both ends.
“We have been able to run in transition, but we definitely need to get better in the half court. That has been our main focus this season.”
Cecelia is the daughter of Joe Collins and Mauri Haggerty Collins of Scranton.
Rachel McDonald from Abington Heights, another NEPA Elite player, was one of the other two considered for the award along with Lake-Lehman’s Sarah Salus. McDonald had eight second-half 3-pointers in a pair of Abington Heights wins.