The NEPA Elite AAU club is growing again in its first season, adding another 17U girls team in time for the second straight weekend event on its home courts at Riverfront Sports in Scranton.
Following tryouts, the club introduced its first three girls and two boys teams July 1. Two more boys teams rosters were named a week later. All seven of those teams debuted in July and another boys team was named before the month ended, setting it up for its first games early this month.
The latest expansion involves switching from two to three 17U girls teams with the help of the addition of all-District 2 player Kaci Kranson from Holy Cross.
Jess Genco, who was playing professionally in Germany until the coronavirus outbreak shortened her rookie season, will serve as head coach of the new team.
Genco is a former Scranton Prep and Northeastern University standout whose development in the sport included time playing for teams out of Backcourt Hoops/Riverfront Sports.
The team coached by Genco will include Kranson, Claire Dougherty and five players who had been part of the NEPA Elite Carra/Lewis 17U girls.
Kranson was a first-team Lackawanna League Division 3 and second-team, all-District 2 selection by NEPABasketball.com last season as a sophomore.
Dougherty, a rising junior from Lake-Lehman, was the second-leading rebounder and top free throw shooter while coming off the bench for the NEPA Elite Clark 17U team that has won seven straight and is 9-1 overall.
The other five players helped the Carra/Lewis girls team to an 8-2 start. They are Anna Talutto and Mia Blume from Dunmore, Emily Taylor from Riverside, Trinity Johnson from Wyoming Valley West and Carena Colo from North Pocono.
Kaitlyn Lewis will continue coaching seven of the players that have been on her team all along while adding Lauren Casey, a forward from Nanticoke, who had been playing for the Clark team. The players remaining with the Carra/Lewis team are Jenna Beach from North Pocono, Alexis Chapman and Elisa Delfino from Dunmore, Rachel McDonald and Anna Scoblick from Abington Heights, Avery McNulty from Scranton Prep and Kayla Rose from Riverside.
The NEPA Elite 17U Clark team will try to extend its winning streak while moving forward with nine of the players from what had been its 11-player roster.
The team features Rachael Rose, Cecelia Collins and Maria Belardi from Scranton Prep, Moriah Murray and Ciera Toomey from Dunmore, Skylar Bianchi from Valley View, Kaeli Romanowski from Western Wayne, Clair Marion from Abington Heights and Olivia Ciullo from Old Forge.
After Backcourt Hoops and NEPA Elite hosted 60 teams for the Summer Shootout last week at Riverfront, the Summer Showdown coming up Friday, Saturday and Sunday will have a slightly larger field.
The High School Girls Division, featuring the new alignment of NEPA Elite teams, will be the only one to begin play Friday night.
The 11-team High School Girls Division will include four NEPA Elite teams, the three 17U teams and the 16U team coached by Morgan Birmelin. The Clark and Genco teams will play twice each Friday while the Carra/Lewis and 16U teams will each play once.
The Carra/Lewis and Genco teams will continue on Saturday and play once each in the 11th Grade Division.
Birmelin’s 16U team will continue into the 10th Grade Division and play once each Saturday and Sunday.
The NEPA Elite 17U Coyle boys team will be playing two games in an event in Allentown Saturday.
The other four NEPA Elite boys teams will play at home.
The Basalyga 17U boys team has a busy weekend with three games in the 11th Grade Division and one in the 10th Grade Division.
The 16U boys, coached by Enrico Mastroianni, have two Sunday games in the 10th Grade Division.
The 15U boys, coached by Ryan McGoff, play two 9th Grade Division games Saturday.
Corey Joyce’s 14U boys team takes a five-game winning streak into its only game, Saturday in the 9th Grade Division.
Once again, younger teams from the other clubs out of Riverfront will also be in action. JB Hoops boys and girls teams, Backcourt Hoops boys teams and NEPA Flames girls teams all made their season debuts last week.
Among the teams that were 2-0 last weekend were: the NEPA Flames Scoblick team in 8th Grade Girls Division; the NEPA Flames Genco team in the 7th Grade Girls Division; the JB Hoops Gallagher team in the 7th Grade Boys Division; the Backcourt Bulldogs team in the 6th Grade Boys Division, the JB Hoops Rotell team in the 5th Grade Boys Division and the NEPA Flames McHugh team in the 5th Grade Girls Division.
Full schedules can be accessed by downloading the Backcourt Hoops & NEPA Flames app.