Senior 2012-2013

Mia Hopkins named TL

Player of the Year

April 18. 2013 11:56PM

By John Medeiros -

When you watch Mia Hopkins play basketball, you see a determination on her face. It's that look where you know she would succeed in anything she applied herself to.

In the sports world, that could have been golf or track or soccer. She could have made a name for herself on the diamond — and while her glove has been put away, she still keeps a mean scorebook for the Pittston Area baseball team.

But it's basketball where Hopkins has emerged as a star. After being named to the Class 3A All-State Second Team for a second consecutive season, Hopkins has been selected as The Times Leader Player of the Year.

“I used to golf with my Uncle Louis and my grandma at Emanon,” Hopkins said of one of her other many sporting pursuits. “When I was younger, I went up there every day. I still like playing now, but I never really wanted to do it as a career.”

She's been on the track team, played youth soccer and spent some time in Little League. But on the basketball court, Hopkins plays a game few others in the region can match. She averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds while leading Pittston Area to a WVC-best 22 wins this season. The senior starts her workouts for Monmouth, her future college, next week. And the Hawks can't wait to have her.

“I heard Mia scored her 1,000th point as a junior, and averaged around 21 points and 17 rebounds,” Monmouth freshman guard Jasmine Walker said to The (Monmouth) Outlook in February while talking about incoming players who could help the program.

“They gave me an exact workout for the next five weeks,” Hopkins said. “I'll be lifting 4-5 days a week. I've been doing my own stuff at the gym to prepare for the regimen.”

For Hopkins, there will always be plenty of great memories from Pittston Area. This season, they included her 1,500th career point and 1,000th career rebound — both unprecedented marks in Patriots history.

She has also had a decorated career outside of high school play. Her skills have taken her to memorable stops in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and a team camp at the University of North Carolina.

“That's a big question,” Hopkins said when asked about her favorite trip. “I've been to a lot of places.”She'll be going to many more places during her college career.

On her signing day, Hopkins was quick to thank family, everyone at Pittston Area, her AAU coach and all of her teammates. She found facing Isiah Walker's Crestwood teams during her high school career to be a unique experience.

“Our conference has a lot of good teams. Every game was a battle,” said Hopkins, who faced a lot of gadget defenses and gameplans focused on her. “But especially going against Crestwood, it's very hard when people know what you can do. I expected those games to be tough. Their head coach knows a little bit more about me because he's my AAU coach (with Firm AC). He's a smart coach, so when we played them I expected people to come at me from all directions.”

The only direction for Hopkins now is forward. Pittston Area girls basketball's first Division I recruit is ready to make a name for herself at the next level.

“Before I made my decision, I was a bit nervous,” Hopkins said. “I was down to a couple of schools, but it all fell into place. I'm so happy with how it all worked out. It definitely made the season easier. My assistant (coach at Monmouth) came to one game and my head coach came to another. I didn't have to stress over it — I just got to go out and play because I was already going there.”

A big finish for Hopkins at home

11:50 pm

YATESVILLE — With “MVP!” chants raining down from the crowd, Mia Hopkins went to the free-throw line and sank a pair of shots.

There was nothing unusual about that, as she’s among the Wyoming Valley Conference leaders in free-throw shooting percentage.

But after her second shot, with 2:39 remaining in the fourth quarter Wednesday, the horn sounded and she exited the game – her final home appearance before heading off to Monmouth.

Pittston Area won 65-40 over Wyoming Area in the District 2 Class 3A first round on a night featuring another Hopkins milestone and another stellar performance by the senior.

“I knew coming in this would be my last time,” Hopkins said. “It felt pretty good out there.”

“It was definitely more sad on Senior Night,” Patriots coach Kathy Healey said. “But Mia got her 1,000th rebound and, overall, the whole team played very well.”

The game was put away early, as the No. 5 seed Patriots (21-3) sprinted to a 21-4 lead and never looked back. A Jackie Rabender layup and two steals and fast-break baskets by Allie Barber gave Pittston Area six points in the first 70 seconds. The margin reached 20 in the third quarter and broke 30 at one point in the fourth quarter.

“We talked about coming out quick in the first five minutes,” Healey said. “They were diving on the floor for the ball and being aggressive. The kids came out ready to play.”

The fast start helped erase any lingering memories of last week’s WVC Division I title game, where the Patriots were leading at halftime before being outscored 47-13 in the second half by Dallas.

“We pretty much put it all behind us,” Hopkins said. “Something like that’s only going to make us better in the long run.”

Hopkins had some things to do while relishing her final time in front of a home crowd. She had 11 points and 12 rebounds in the first half, including the 1,000th rebound of her career. She is the only player in the program’s history to have both 1,000 points and rebounds.

“I knew I was close,” Hopkins said of the rebounding milestone. “They don’t tend to tell me these things, though, until they happen.”

If the game had been closer, she’d have challenged for a quadruple-double, as the senior finished with 23 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and six blocks.

“That’s my favorite thing to do,” Hopkins said of her seven assists. “Even when we have the other kids coming off the bench I like to set them up for shots.”

The Patriots got seven rebounds from Rabender and 10 points from Liz Waleski.

No. 12 seed Wyoming Area (8-14) was led by senior Serra Degnan, who posted 15 points.

“Serra had a great game,” Hopkins said. “She plays hard all the time.”

Pittston Area plays Saturday against No. 4 seed Nanticoke, a 39-25 winner over Western Wayne. The site and time should be announced today.

The teams met in December in a game won by Pittston Area 67-47.

 Dunbar, Hopkins, Lewis repeat as top WVC girls basketball players

The Times Leader staff
Feb 18

Players of the Year were Monmouth recruit Mia Hopkins of Pittston Area and Crestwood forward Rebecca Rutkowski for Division 1, Nanticoke guard Kayley Schinski in Division 2, and Northwest center Alivia Womelsdorf and Wyoming Seminary guard Gabbie Volpetti in Division 3.

For Hopkins, it was her third consecutive Player of the Year honor. Lewis claimed her second straight Division 2 MVP. Dunbar was the Player of the Year in Division 2 last season.

Hopkins gets 1500th point in 2-0 PA week

Important games Monday at home and Thursday at Dallas
Jan 2 2013

Mia Hopkins was on the floor the night Pittston Area guard Lauren Smicherko scored her 1,000th career point in 2009. Hopkins was just a freshman but in a preview of things to come she was the leading scorer for PA that night with 28 points.

When Hopkins scored her 1000th point last season she became the 11th PA girl to do so and only the third to do it as a junior and the third to surpass 1500 after phenom Cindy Czerniakowski in 1988 and Kristen Baumes in 2007. On Tuesday Hopkins passed 1500 in Pittston Area’s 69-28 win over Coughlin. Czerniakowski, who earned 15 varsity letters in five different sports, is the all-time PA scoring leader with 1874 points. Hopkins won’t reach that number, but she will almost certainly pass Baumes and wind up number two on the list.

Against Coughlin Tuesday Hopkins scored 14 of her game-high 32 points in the first quarter. Ali Brady scored 12 with two 3-pointers; Liz Waleski, 10 with three 3-pointers and Eastin Ashby, 10 with one 3-pointer.

Hopkins, Barber lift Patriots to road win

The Times Leader staff
Jan 25

BERWICK – Pittston Area overcame a third quarter charge from Berwick and hung on to pick up a 49-43 win on the road on Thursday night.

The Patriots’ Mia Hopkins led all scorers with 18 points and Allie Barber tallied 12 of her own.

Taylor Montana’s 16 points led the Bulldogs, Caty Davenport scored 10.

PITTSTON AREA (49): Allie Barber 5 1-3 12, Liz Waleski 2 0-0 4, Jackie Rabender 1 2-2 4, Mia Hopkins 6 6-8 18, Cales Owens 0 0-0 0, Ali Brady 3 0-0 6, Eastin Ashby 2 1-3 5. Totals 19 10-16 49

Hopkins’ 22 points pace PA

The Times Leader staff
Jan 18 2013

YATESVILLE – Pittston Area used a big third quarter to break away from Wyoming Valley West and pick up a 55-36 win at home Thursday evening in Wyoming Valley Conference girls basketball action.

Mia Hopkins led the Patriots, who went on a 19-8 run in the third, with 22 points while teammate Liz Waleski tossed in 12. 

Pittston remains unbeaten

By TOM ROBINSON, For the Sunday Dispatch
2:15 am

Mia Hopkins scored 10 points in the first quarter to help Pittston Area jump out to a 15-point lead.

She spent the rest of Saturday afternoon doing a little of everything to keep the Lady Patriots in front.

Hopkins finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, six blocked shots, five assists and five steals to help the Lady Patriots remain unbeaten with a 57-45, non-league girls basketball victory over defending District 2 Class AAAA champion Abington Heights.

Abington Heights (4-3) cut the 23-8 deficit to two points in the second quarter and one point in the third, but never regained the lead.

“I’m not sure if a Pittston team has ever beaten Abington Heights before,” Lady Patriots coach Kathy Healey said. “We knew they were a well-coached team and would keep hustling.

“They came back when we were up by 15. They chipped away, but in the end, we kept our composure.”

Hopkins started dishing the ball off, getting all of her assists after the first quarter. Despite playing at less than full strength because of an illness, she added a defensive presence with five of her blocked shots in the second half.

According to Healey, she provided more than the numbers.

“She’s being a leader,” Healey said of the Monmouth recruit. “She’s being vocal.

“They listen for Mia’s voice on back screens. If she has the ball, they’re cutting to the basket, because they know they’re going to get that assist from her.”

Pittston Area took the lead for good when it ran off 11 straight points, the last five on outside shots by Liz Waleski, after Abington Heights scored the first four of the game.

“When they’re out there trapping Mia, we let them know we’re out there because we’re out there hitting our shots,” Waleski said. “They have to pay attention to us, too.”

Hopkins had 10 points while the Lady Patriots were shooting 8-for-12 and forcing nine turnovers in the first quarter.

“They outhustled us in the first quarter,” Abington Heights coach Vince Bucciarelli said.

Abington Heights fought back with the first 10 points and a 15-2 run to open the second quarter.

Hopkins scored three points then hit Cales Owens for a layup with a second left to close the half with a five-point run to a 30-23 lead.

Cales Owens, who came off the bench to hit all three of her shots, scored four points during a seven-point streak to a 41-33 lead with 2:26 left in the third quarter.

Abington Heights could not get closer than six the rest of the way.

Waleski, who had six assists, and Eastin Ashby, who had three blocked shots, each added nine points for Pittston Area.

Jackie Rabender provided three steals to a defensive effort that forced 24 turnovers total.

Patriots prove to be a whole team to watch

3:33 am

YATESVILLE – Abington Heights knew exactly where Pittston Area star Mia Hopkins was at all times.

But while watching the Monmouth recruit, the Comets watched their lead go away.

The Patriots solved the Abington Heights press and rode a roller coaster to a 57-45 victory Saturday afternoon in non-league girls basketball action.

“A game like this is fun,” Patriots sophomore Liz Waleski said. “It’s more of a challenge for us. The first couple of teams we played this season laid off of us. They pressured us but we worked hard. We did a lot of cutting and looking back door.”

Down by four 100 seconds in, Pittston Area (7-0) broke the Comets press for the first time when Waleski weaved through the defense and found Eastin Ashby for a layup. That was the Patriots’ first basket in a 23-4 run that gave them the lead for good.

Hopkins had 10 points during the outburst, Ashby added seven and Waleski had five points on jumpers 28 seconds apart.

“I thought the kids really responded well,” Patriots coach Kathy Healey said. “They still played hard even when things were not going their way. They (Abington Heights) took us out of our comfort zone a little bit.”

The game became one of adjustments for both teams. Abington Heights (4-3) moved Kat Rosencrance onto Hopkins as part of its matchup and gadget zone defenses. Catie Nealon then drilled a pair of three-pointers in a 15-2 run in the second quarter that made it a one possession game.

“We had to take off our press,” Comets coach Vince Buccarelli said. “We planned to use it the entire game, but they hurt us a little bit by outhustling us in the first quarter.”

Pittston Area remained balanced in its offensive set into the second half, distributing the ball from the perimeter or running a high-low game through Hopkins at the free-throw line.

With Pittston Area holing a 34-33 lead in the third quarter, Comets center Brianna Toro was called for her third foul after Hopkins took an offensive rebound from her. After a Hopkins free throw from the play, Cales Owens made consecutive layups – one on a Waleski assist, the other on an assist from Jackie Rabender after the junior raced across the court for a rebound.

“This was one where everybody contributed,” Healey said. “Jackie Rabender hit a big layup for us. Allie Barber had a big layup for us at the end. The little things are all key, and we executed those little things well.

“Against Northwest, we had 16 assists,” Healey said after a 15-assist game Saturday. “Fifteen, that’s 30 points right there, all from teamwork.”

Hopkins finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists, six steals and five blocks. Waleski was second on the team with five rebounds and also had four assists. Ashby joined Waleski with nine points.

Patriots rout Northwest

The Times Leader staff
Dec 20

YATESVILLE – Pittston Area raced out to a huge lead over the opening eight minutes and cruised to a 76-29 win at home against Northwest in an exhibition girls basketball contest Wednesday evening.

Mia Hopkins led the Patriot effort with 21 points, while guard Allie Barber tossed in 19 of her own. Jacqueline Rabender and Cales Owens each added eight points for Pittston Area, which went up 29-2 after the first quarter.

Pittston Area storms past Nanticoke Area

By Josh Horton (Correspondent)
Published: December 18, 2012

NANTICOKE - It may be the season for giving, but don't tell the Pittston Area basketball team.

Allie Barber and Liz Waleski combined for 12 steals and 35 points to lead the Patriots to a 67-47 win over Nanticoke Area in a non-conference game on Monday night.

"You know we have been working so hard on our defense and we had so many points off of turnovers," Pittston Area head coach Kathy Healy said. "I couldn't be happier with how the girls played."

For the Patriots, it was a tale of two halves as Nanticoke Area jumped out to an early lead. The Trojanettes opened the game with two big 3-pointers from Alex Brassington and Kayley Schinski, eventually taking an 8-2 lead in the game's first three minutes.

The Patriots climbed their way back into the ball game as Mia Hopkins began to heat up, scoring six points in the final three minutes of the half and cutting the Trojanettes lead to just two at 15-13.

Barber and the rest of the Pittston Area offense awoke early in the second quarter and eventually took its first lead of the game on a Barber breakaway layup at 21-19 with 3:53 remaining in the first half. She would score four more points off of turnovers in the half.

However, Kassi Schinski ensured the Nanticoke Area lead at the half with a turnaround jumper with 18.9 seconds remaining in the second quarter, making it a 27-26 lead at the half.

The Patriots dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Trojans 20-5 led by a huge effort from Hopkins. She finished the quarter with 10 points, three steals and two blocks. Waleski added six points and three steals in the quarter, while Barber picked up two more steals.

"We really challenged the girls to pick it up at halftime, especially defensively," Healy said. "We were doing some good things, but I really thought our defense needed to pick it up a little bit and they really did. It was the turning point of the game."

The Patriot's offense didn't slow down and the defense stayed tenacious as the Patriots shut the door.

With 5:08 left in the game, Alex Brassington buried a long-range jumper bringing the Trojanettes to within eight points at 49-41. However, Waleski responded for the Patriots with two big steals and three layups to pace a 12-4 Patriots run to end the game.

"It was a huge win for us," Healy said. "Nanticoke is always such a tough test for us and they have some really good players."

Hopkins was the leading scorer for the Patriots with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Barber followed closely with 20, and Waleski finished with 15 points.

Kayley Schinski led the Trojanettes with 14 points, while Brassington followed with 10 points.

Hopkins lifts Pittston Area to win over Hanover Area

Published: December 11, 2012

At Hanover Area, Mia Hopkins had 20 points, 10 in each half, to lead Pittston Area to a 64-22 win over Hanover Area on Monday night.

Liz Waleski finished the game with 11 points for the winners.

Haylee Bobos and Amber Grohowski each scored six points for Hanover Area.


Dec 10


Coach: Kathy Healey

Last year: 17-7 overall; 8-5 WVC; Division 1 first-half champ

Postseason: Lost 40-36 to Scranton Prep in D2-3A quarterfinals

Team stats: 53.9 ppg; 41.9 pa; 61.9 FT pct; 2.7 threes

Classification: 3A

Key players lost: Grace O’Neill, first team WVC (10.8 ppg, team-high 54 threes); Kristen Fereck (1.7 ppg)

Players to watch: Mia Hopkins, Division 1 POY, Sr. (team-high 20.3 ppg, 60.4 FT pct, Monmouth recruit); Allie Barber, second team WVC, So. (7.7 ppg, 64.1 FT pct); Liz Waleski, honorable mention WVC, So. (6.0 ppg); Kelly Mitchell, honorable mention WVC, Sr. (2.7 ppg, 19 of 21 FTs); Jacqueline Rabender, Jr. (2.5 ppg)

Outlook: The Patriots lost just three off last year’s roster. O’Neill made nearly all the team’s threes last season. The key is that this year’s squad has just three seniors, but there are nine players who played in at least nine games a season ago. There are sophomores back who had big roles last season. They only have to complement the game of Hopkins, Pittston Area’s first Division I player.

Patriots win close one against Lake-Lehman

The Times Leader staff
Dec 9

Pittston Area got 28 points from Mia Hopkins and overcame a three-point deficit at halftime to knock off Lake-Lehman 48-47 on Saturday in girls basketball play.

Cayle Spencer led the Lake-Lehman effort with 16 points.

Lady Patriots off to 3-0 start

Mia Hopkins scored 70 points in three Pittston Area preseason games, all wins. In their opener on Saturday, Dec. 8, the Lady Patriots needed every one of Hopkins’ 28 as they got by Lake Lehman by a point 48-47.

Allie Barber scored 11, Liz Waleski, 4; Jacqueline Rabender, 3; and Ali Brady, 2.

Kelly Mitchell, Cales Owens and Eastin Ashby played but did not score.

The Lady Patriots shot well from the line going 8 of 11. Hopkins was 4-4 and Barber 3-4. Hopkins hit two three-pointers.

The Lady Patriots were behind after the first quarter 15-9.

PA 55, GAR 43

On Thursday Pittston Area held GAR to five first half field goals and won 55-43. Hopkins scored 22; Barber, 16; Waleski and Cales Owens, eight each. Ali Brady hit a three-pointer.

Mia Hopkins netted 22 points for the Patriots, while Allie Barber added 16 points.

Brea Seabrook led the Grenadiers with 21.

PA 64, Hanover Area 22

Pittston Area raced out to a 21-2 first quarter lead and cruised past Hanover Area for a win at Hanover on Monday

Hopkins scored 20 and Waleski added 11 points and Rabender and Ashby had six each.

Wyoming Valley Conference tipping off January 2

The Wyoming Valley Conference season opens on January 2. Pittston Area is Division 1 with Crestwood, WVW, Hazleton Area, Coughlin, Berwick, Tunkhannock, and Dallas. PA plays each of the D-1 opponents twice, home and away, for a 14 game schedule

Coach: Kathy Healey

Last year: 17-7 overall; 8-5 WVC; Division 1 first-half champ

Classification: 3A

Last season, The Lady Patriots started out 10-0, won the WVC D-I first half title, but went just 7-7 the rest of the way. Obviously avoiding a letdown this season is a goal. “I think they ran out of gas a little and lost some confidence. It’s my job to keep their confidence up. There are going to be ups and downs. It’s a marathon and we have to fight to finish.”

In fairness all but one of those last season losses were close and two of them were lost in overtime.

With the loss of Grace O’Neill who led the team with 54 three-pointers last season, another obvious challenge for the Lady Patriots is the compliment the scoring of Mia Hopkins, the D-I recruit who is the reigning D-I Player of the Year.

“With Mia getting so much attention we need some of the other girls to get six to 10 points a game. If we do that we’ll be ok.”

The point stats from the first three preseason games, all wins, bear that out. In a 42-point win over Hanover Hopkins got 20 and four other girls got six plus.

In a 1-point win over Lehman Hopkins got 28, well over half the team’s 48, but none of the other girls had more than four. In a 54-47 win over GAR Hopkins scored 22 and Allie Barber scored 16.

Barber, the soccer all-star, is the point guard. She’s extremely fast with or without the ball. She’s only a sophomore and is developing as a playmaker. She’ll take some pressure of Hopkins and it’s hoped Liz Waleski, Kelly Mitchell, Jacqueline Rabender can do the same.

Healey said the division is loaded. “It’s a dog fight every night. Dallas is good. Hazleton, Crestwood, Valley West are all tough.”

Patriots Hopkins to fly with Monmouth Hawks

Nov 18

Mia Hopkins has been able to make history at Pittston Area for some time now.

This week, she added to her list of historical accomplishments. Hopkins signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her education and play basketball at Monmouth University.

“Mia is the first D-1 scholarship player from Pittston Area,” Pittston Area principal John Haas said Thursday during her signing ceremony. “We’re extremely proud of her academically and on the basketball court. Congratulations, Mia, you’re going to go places.”

Late next summer, one of those places will be West Long Branch, N.J., where the Northeast Conference school is based. Hopkins was likely heading there in some way, as schools showing interest in her included Robert Morris, St. Francis, Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac of the NEC, as well as Ivy League Princeton.

“I really like the school and I feel like I’ll fit right in next year,” Hopkins said. “They have six seniors leaving so there’s going to be a lot of openings, a lot of opportunity.”

That’s one of the reasons Hawks coach Jenny Palmateer is adding the 5-foot-11 Patriots senior. The second-year coach, who went 19-12 in her first campaign at Monmouth, is looking for a dynamic player to build on.

“She played for a legendary coach (North Carolina State’s Kay Yow), and she really has been around some great basketball people (such as Hall of Famer Anne Donovan),” said Hopkins, an honor roll student. “I’ve talked to her and she likes me as an oversized guard. If I’ve got a guard playing me, I can take them into the paint. If a post player is on me, I’ll bring them outside.”

Basketball has been a part of Hopkins’ life from birth. Her grandfather, John Hopkins, was a successful head coach at GAR for more than two decades. His wife, Angie, was an exceptional player in her day. And Mia was a natural right from her first game of Biddy ball – a distant memory for the 1,000-point scorer in high school.

“It was at the YMCA in Pittston,” John Hopkins said. “She was very aggressive. She was aggressive, on the floor, going down to get loose balls.”

“She was the only one who could actually dribble,” added Mia’s mother, Sharon Hopkins, with a smile. “I still have the video of it.”

Since then, the second-team all-stater last season had a career-best 39-point night against Holy Redeemer on Jan. 16. She put up 20.3 points, second in the WVC, pulled down 14 rebounds per game, and rounded out her game with five assists four steals and three blocked shots per game last season.

Hopkins recognizes that, even as she is such an exceptional basketball player, the game is a team sport. She was quick to point out just how many people have helped her reach her college dreams.

“I’ve got to thank my grandparents, my mom, my Uncle Louie and my whole family,” Hopkins said. “And my head basketball coach Kathy Healey, and Stan Waleski and the whole booster club.

“Also my AAU basketball coach, Isiah Walker, with the Firm AC basketball program, and all of my great teammates from Pittston and AAU.

"Oh, and all my friends and the entire senior class for the way they’ve supported me. And a thank you to everyone else who has coached me along the way.”


WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Monmouth University Women's Basketball Head Coach Jenny Palmateer has announced the signings of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2013-14 season. Mia Hopkins (Pittston, Pa.), Jenny Horvatinovic (Red Lion, Pa.) and Christina Mitchell (Baltimore, Md.) recently made their commitments official.

"I am very happy with our class of 2013," said Palmateer. "With the loss of six seniors after this season, the class of 2013 is crucial to the future success of Monmouth University Women's Basketball. I am excited about our signees and the brand of basketball they will bring. Mia, Jenny and Chris are three exceptional student-athletes with great athletic potential. They will be expected to contribute immediately. I am confident that in a short period of time their impact will be felt not only within our team, but also within our Conference. The future of Monmouth University Women's Basketball is bright."   

Hopkins is a 6-foot guard who becomes the first Division I scholarship player from Pittston Area High School in Pennsylvania. Already a 1,000-point scorer for Coach Kathy Healey's Patriots, Hopkins was named to the Pennsylvania Sportswriters All-State Second Team in Class 3A last season. Hopkins averaged 20.3 points, 14.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 4.0 steals and 3.0 blocks per game as a junior, helping Pittston Area to a 17-7 record, including 12 straight wins to begin the season. She was named the Wyoming Valley Conference Player of the Year and led the Patriots to the Division 2 playoffs. She's shown the ability to post a huge game in high school, scoring 39 points last season against Holy Redeemer, while also pulling down 29 rebounds in her first game as a freshman. Hopkins also played AAU ball for Coach Isiah Walker with the Firm AC basketball program.

"Mia brings size, versatility and athleticism to our perimeter play," said Palmateer. "She has true passion for basketball and it shows in everything she does."

Junior 2011-2012



Hopkins named to All-State second team

By Don McGlynn


Pittston Area’s Mia Hopkins was named to the Pennsylvania Sportswriters All-State second team in Class 3A

A Pennsylvania Sportswriters All-State second team selection in Class 3A topped off a year of achievements for Pittston Area High School girls basketball player Mia Hopkins.

The junior scored her 1,000th career point, and also won the WVC Division I Player of the Year award this season.

“I think this is probably the most exciting because it’s a state thing,” Hopkins said of being named to the team. “A lot of people get 1,000 points, a lot of people get player of the year, but All-State, that’s pretty big.”

“I wasn’t sure I was going to get it this year, but it was pretty exciting news when I found out. My team was a big part of my success.”

Hopkins is the granddaughter of former GAR head coach John Hopkins. Growing up in what she calls a basketball family, Hopkins was exposed to the game early and has been playing as far back as she can remember.

“I think going to my grandpa’s games I just grew up around it, and I started to love and have a great passion for the game,” said Hopkins, the daughter of Sharon Hopkins.

Hopkins said her grandfather helped her learn the game, and is still offering lessons today.

“He still helps me, he knows the game really well,” said Hopkins. He comes to the games, and gives me a lot of pointers and things to help.”

Hopkins’ combination of passion and knowledge of the game has had a positive impact on the Lady Patriots since her freshman year when she pulled down 29 rebounds in her first game.

“She’s definitely been an impact player for the last three years,” said head coach Kathy Healey. “As far as this season, she brought the rest of our players up to her level of play.”

Averaging 20.3 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks per game, Hopkins helped the Lady Patriots get off to a 12-0 start, and finish with an overall 17-7 record.

The team made it to the District 2 playoffs, where it lost in the first round to Scranton Prep.

“It didn’t define our season,” said Hopkins of the first-round loss. “I think we could have gone further than we did.”

Healey credits Hopkins’ ability and leadership for one of the team’s best seasons in years and, with one year left in her high school career, Healy is optimistic to see what Hopkins will do during the 2012-13 season.

“I’m expecting great things for her and our team. If she can keep bringing our team up with her, we could have a phenomenal year,” said Healey.

Hopkins is equally positive about next season, and while she’s happy with the individual accolades she has received, her goals for next year are team oriented.

“We want to get the banner in the gym because no other team ever got it,” said Hopkins. “And just winning more games than ever this year, we did good this year, but we want more wins and get further in playoffs than we did.”

Hopkins will spend the summer working out at camps and playing in leagues to help make sure that happens.

After high school, she hopes to continue her basketball career in college at a division 1 or 2 school.


Hopkins, Zdancewicz lauded by the press GIRLS


Pittston Area’s Mia Hopkins and Wyoming Valley West’s Tara Zdancewicz took top honors in WVC Division I when the coaches’ honors were announced.

They both earned statewide recognition when the Pennsylvania Sportswriters All-State teams were announced Wednesday.

Zdancewicz was chosen for the second team in Class 4A and Hopkins also made second team, but in Class 3A.

Hopkins, a 5-foot-11 junior, led the Patriots to a 17-7 record and the District 2 playoffs. She averaged 20.3 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks en route to the WVC Division I Player of the Year award. Along the way, she scored her 1,000th career point.

“I was really surprised I got it this year,” Hopkins said of the all-state nod. “This season was a great season, but I don’t think we ended it the way we should have. We could have gone a lot farther.

“But it opened a lot of doors for me, especially with the way everyone stepped up this year, especially with the two freshmen (Allie Barber and Liz Waleski) in the lineup.”

Yet Pittston Area’s season ended with losses to Wyoming Valley West in the league title game and Scranton Prep in districts, leaving Hopkins with some goals for her upcoming senior season.

“As a team we have a goal of getting a banner,” Hopkins said. “It was pretty awesome when it (her 1,000-point banner) had just come out with only my name up there. But we lost the league title this year. We don’t want that to happen again.”



Hopkins, Zdancewicz named all-state

By Jill Snowdon (Staff Writer)

Published: April 5, 2012

The high school basketball season came to a close last month for Tara Zdancewicz of Wyoming Valley West and Mia Hopkins of Pittston Area, but both girls earned an honor Wednesday they hope will help open some doors for their future.

Zdancewicz was named a second-team Class AAAA all-state selection, while Hopkins received second-team honors in Class AAA.

"I was pretty excited when my coach called to tell me," Hopkins, a junior said. "This was my goal for next year, so to get all-state this year is really great. I hope it opens up some opportunities for me, maybe have some college coaches get to know my name."

Hopkins, a 5-9 forward, is a three-year starter for Pittston Area. She was second in the conference in scoring this season with 20.3 ppg and she scored her 1,000th-career point midway through the season. Hopkins helped the Patriots to a 17-7 record and a second-place finish in Division I.

"Being selected all-state is something that is going to push me to work harder for next season," Hopkins said. "My teammates did a great job of taking pressure off me this year, especially when I was double-teamed."

Both girls are members of the AAU squad Firm AC, which is coached by Crestwood coach Isaiah Walker.




PA’s Hopkins named WVC Division 1 Player of the Year

All five PA starters earn all-star honor

By Rick Notari, Dispatch Staff

Pittston Area superstar Mia Hopkins has been named the Wyoming Valley Conference’s Division 1 Player of the Year. But she wasn’t the only Lady Patriot player honored.

Four other Pittston Area players – Grace O’Neill, Allie Barber, Liz Waleski, and Kelly Mitchell were selected to the Coaches’ All Star Team.

Hopkins, a high-scoring junior, earned co-MVP honors as a sophomore along with Valley West’s Tara Zdancewicz. Zdancewicz was named the division’s Most Valuable Player this year.

Pittston Area’s go-to scorer averaged 20.2 points per game while accumulating 486 totals points in 24 games. Hopkins eclipsed the 1,000-point career mark earlier this season and currently has a total of 1,199 points after three seasons.

O’Neill was selected to the WVC Coaches First-Team after averaging 10.7 points per game. The senior sharpshooter led all Greater Pittston players with 54 three-pointers on the season. She scored 599 points the past three seasons and connected on 131 three-pointers.

The WVC Division 1 First-Team was made up of Zdancewicz, Hopkins, O’Neill, Valley West’s Kait Smicherko and Olivia Hoffman, and Crestwood’s Kayla Gregaris and Sydney Myers.

Barber, a freshman, was selected to the WVC Coaches Second-Team, averaging 7.7 points per game. Another freshman, Liz Waleski, and junior Kelly Mitchell were named WVC Coaches Honorable Mention.

Across the river, Wyoming Area’s Serra Degnan was selected to the WVC Division 2 Coaches First-Team after averaging 10.5 points per game for the Lady Warriors.

The WVC Division 2 First-Team also included MVP Alexis Lewis of Holy Redeemer, Player of the Year Ashley Dunbar of Dallas, Lisa Kinter and Kassie Williams of Tunkhannock, Tanner Englehart of Dallas, and Julia Wignot of Redeemer.

Lady Warriors’ teammate Abby Thornton was named WVC Coaches Honorable Mention to give Wyoming Area two selections.


Kristen Mullen / The Citizens' Voice

Pittston Area basketball player Mia Hopkins poses for a photo with her grandfather, former GAR basketball coach John Hopkins.

 Pittston Area's Hopkins carries on

basketball legacy

By Jill Snowdon (staff writer)

Published: January 29, 2012

In 23 years at GAR, John Hopkins coached some of the Wyoming Valley's best boys basketball players.

Little did he know at the time that a future female basketball star in the Wyoming Valley Conference was sitting behind his bench.

Mia Hopkins was only 2 years old when her grandfather was in his final season with the Grenadiers. Like most toddlers at a basketball game, Mia was in a world of her own. Now a high-scoring forward at Pittston Area, Mia is in a league of her own.

A three-year starter, Mia is second in scoring in the WVC with 20.4 ppg. She recently scored her 1,000th career point and carried the 14-2 Patriots to their first-ever Division I first-half title.

"She's a player that raises the level of play from the players around her," Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey said. "As Mia goes, we go."

Basketball runs in the Hopkins family. John played at Pittston Township High School, coached junior varsity basketball for seven years and took over as head coach at GAR in 1973. His brother, Mike, coached at Pittston Area and Seton Catholic in the early 1980s, and their father coached at Pittston Township. And then there's John's wife and Mia's grandmother, Angie, who was a standout in her own right as a basketball player in the late 1950s. Girls sports weren't readily available to female students at the time, so she reluctantly became a cheerleader instead. But John recalls her playing in some pick-up and club basketball games.

"She was a great athlete and one time she scored 35 points in a game," John said of Angie. "So she used to have one on Mia, but Mia just scored 39 points a few weeks ago."

It's common for Angie and John to still pick up the basketball. As next-door neighbors of Mia and her mother, Sharon, Angie and John often join Mia in the driveway to rebound her shots.

"I love it when one of them comes outside when I'm shooting," Mia said. "It's how I grew up."

Mia also grew up hearing about her grandfather's successful coaching career and the many outstanding players that were under his watch. He coached Division I standouts such as Bobby Sura and Larry Koretz, led the Grenadiers to 15 league championships, eight District 2 titles, two Eastern Conference runner-up seasons and three state championship runner-up trophies.

"It's awesome hearing how great his teams were," Mia said. "All I remember of being at his games was hating the sound of the buzzer."

Interestingly enough, Mia recalls looking right to her grandfather as the buzzer sounded at the end of regulation in an overtime game against Holy Redeemer on Jan. 16.

"I definitely look to him a lot and I remember seeing him at that moment and he was standing up clapping," Mia said. "That was a great feeling."

Mia may not remember her grandfather in his coaching days, but she and her Pittston teammates have the benefit of getting some tips from the coach who is fondly known as Hoppy in the basketball community.

"We even have a play named 'Hoppy'," Healey said. "He comes by to practice early in the season and he goes over some things with us. I actually really like talking to him about basketball because he really cares about our entire team and he gives me a lot of good ideas."

Mia is happy to take his advice as well. He gives her pointers on shooting, boxing out, posting up and being an all-around team player.

"He's a sideline grandpa-coach," Mia joked. "It's an honor having someone as knowledgeable as him telling me what to do. I really listen to his advice and his critiques. And he taught me to always listen to my coaches and be respectful of my teammates and opponents."

John retired from coaching in 1996 and is now a constant in the stands at Mia's (his only grandchild) games. He still thinks as a coach, analyzes as a coach and gets nervous in close games like a coach.

But he beams like a proud grandpa.

John has celebrated 10 1,000-point scorers and Sura and Koretz each topped 2,000-career points. Nothing compares, however, to standing next to his granddaughter as she was honored for reaching the 1,000-point milestone.

"I was very nervous and very tense the night she scored her 1,000th, just like I was every time one of my players was about to get 1,000," John said. "I'm very, very proud of what she accomplished."

When Mia stepped into the high school basketball scene as a freshman, she was known as Hoppy's granddaughter.

The 5-foot-10 standout put the league on notice when she pulled down 29 rebounds in her first varsity game and she's been making noise ever since. Now it's John that gets recognized as Mia's grandfather.

"Yeah, I still like when people remember me as a coach. It's like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes," John said with a laugh. "But I definitely feel very proud when people know me because of Mia."


Mia Hopkins becomes only third Lady Patriot to reach 1,000-point plateau in junior season
Josh Horton Dispatch Correspondent

Mia Hopkins did something only two other Lady Patriots have done. And she did it as she has been doing it since she burst on the scene two seasons ago – with a flair for the dramatic.

Hopkins reached the 1,000-point mark with 40.8 seconds remaining in regulation of Pittston Area’s thrilling overtime win over Wyoming Valley West on Thursday night in the Thomas R. Kelly Gymnasium. Her basket came at a time when her team needed her offensive production most.

But what makes Hopkins’ even more significant is that she still has almost a season and a half left of high school basketball to play. She is only one of three Lady Patriots to have scored their 1,000th point as a junior. The elite group she joins consists of members Kristen Baumes and Cindy Czerniakowski .
Baumes is the more recent of the two as she scored her 1,000th point during the 2007 season. Czerniakowski achieved the milestone in 1988.

“I think it’s a big monkey off of everyone’s back,” Hopkins said. “Now that this is over, it’s time to do our thing and get that banner.”
Hopkins is the first Lady Patriot to join the 1,000-point club since Lauren Smicherko did it in 2009.

“It’s a great feeling to join the names on the wall,” Hopkins said. “I just want to see how far it takes me.”
Hopkins milestone did not come easy as she went in to Thursday night’s game knowing she needed 14 points to join such elite company after pouring in a career-high 39 in the Lady Patriots first loss of the season on Monday. But perhaps more important than the 14 points, was the Patriots were playing Wyoming Valley West with the first half championship on the line.

In an ideal world, Hopkins would have gotten the 1,000th point much earlier than with 40 seconds remaining in the game. However, Thursday night’s game was far from ideal as the Spartans and Patriots went toe to toe for 36 minutes.

If Thursday night’s game were a movie, it would fall under the genre of thriller or drama, because there were plenty of both.

When Hopkins finally reached the milestone, the crowd at Thomas R. Kelly Gymnasium went absolutely nuts. Members of the JV squad brought out a banner, which had her name on it as the newest member of the 1,000-point club. The game was stopped for roughly five minutes as Hopkins received much-deserved applause and took pictures with family and coaches.
The always emotional Hopkins then turned to the Pittston Area student section and screamed, igniting a flame in the entire gymnasium which aided the Lady Patriots in their victory.
Pittston Area head coach Cathy Healey feels as though Hopkins is among some of the best players she has ever coached.
“I have coached some really good players and she is up there,” Healey said. “I mean, she scored 1,000 points as a junior.”
Hopkins had just six points in the first half, but has been notorious for being a second half player for much of this season.

“I was definitely worried I wasn’t going to get it,” Hopkins said. “It took two missed free throws to give me a gut check and to say I have to do this now.”
She feels as if she is getting better every single day, but she admits there are some things she has to work on.
“I definitely need to improve my left hand and my shot,” Hopkins said. “I am going to keep working hard and hopefully I will keep getting better.”
One would be hard-pressed to draw it up any better than the way it happened and Hopkins agrees.
“I am so happy with the way it happened,” Hopkins said. “I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”


Hopkins leads Patriots to first-half crown

By Jill Snowdon (Staff Writer)

Published: January 20, 2012

YATESVILLE - Reaching a personal milestone didn't come without making a major gutt-check first for Pittston Area's Mia Hopkins.

Hopkins flirted with the 1,000th point of her career late in Thursday night's game against Wyoming Valley West, but she also had to rebound mentally from a technical foul and the six-point deficit the Patriots faced with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

The junior forward pulled herself together, scored her 1,000th point on her own rebound, and scored four more points in overtime to give Pittston Area a 56-49 win and the Division I first-half title.

Pittston finishes the first half with a 5-1 record and improves to 13-1 overall. Valley West closes out first-half play with a 4-2 record and drops to 9-5 overall.

"I definitely gave myself a big gutt-check and told myself to focus and do what I had to do," said Hopkins, who finished with a team-high 19 points. "I was pretty rattled (after the technical) and I was getting nervous at that point. But after that, we pulled together as a team."

Hopkins went to the foul line with 1:30 left and her team trailing 45-42. Needing just one point for the milestone, Hopkins missed both free-throw attempts. A minute later, she hauled in her own rebound and eclipsed the achievement with a putback off the glass, bringing Pittston Area within one point. Senior Grace O'Neill sent the game into overtime after hitting the second of two free throws in the final 13 seconds.

"Honestly, I think it took the two missed free throws to actually get myself to say 'Hey, you need to do this, the game is on the line,'" Hopkins said.

The Patriots opened overtime with a lay-up from freshman Allie Barber. Hopkins added a short jumper and a rebound basket for a 51-47 PA lead, and followed with a defensive rebound and a steal.

Things fell a part for Valley West from there. Tara Zdancewicz was whistled for an offensive foul and head coach Curt Lloyd was given a technical after disputing the call. O'Neill nailed both free throws from the technical, stretching the Pittston lead to 53-47.

Lloyd refused comment after the game, but Zdancewicz filled in to shoulder the questions.

"I thought we played evenly as a team," said Zdancewicz, who scored a game-high 23 points. "A couple of calls didn't go our way but I really think we should have won this game. We're all going to be fired up to play the next game (against Pittston) and that's all you can really ask for. It's only the first half, so we're definitely going to come back for revenge in the second half and for the overall title."

Valley West didn't take its first lead of the game until midway through the second half, but the Spartans defense did enough to keep them in range.

Cheyenne Reese fronted Hopkins in Valley West's man-to-man defense and didn't allow her much room to get a pass from her teammates. Hopkins scored just five points in the first half.

"I think in the beginning we were playing a little tentative," Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey said. "After Mia scored her 1,000th it was like they were a whole new team out there. They relaxed, played good D and didn't force it inside."

Wyoming Valley West (49)

T. Zdancewicz 8 7-8 23, K. Smicherko 4 0-0 10, C. Reese 3 3-5 9, O. Hoffman 1 0-1 2, T. Reilly 1 0-0 2, C. Smicherko 1 0-1 2, T. Judge 0 1-3 1, Totals 18 11-18 49.

Pittston Area (56)

M. Hopkins 7 5-10 19, A. Barber 7 1-3 15, G. O'Neill 2 4-8 10, L. Waleski 3 1-2 7, J. Rabender 2 1-3 5, K. Fereck 0 0-0 0, K. Mitchell 0 0-0 0, Totals 21 12-26 56.

Wyoming Valley West 9 14 13 9 4-49

Pittston Area 11 12 11 11 11-56

3-point goals: K. Smicherko (WVW) 2, G. O'Neill (PA) 2.


Pittston Area claims WVC first-half title

Lady Patriots rally for overtime win behind Hopkins, Barber

Josh Horton Dispatch Correspondent

The pressure was on.

Pittston Area had just lost its first game of the season – and its grip on the Wyoming Valley Conference Division I race – with co-leader Wyoming Valley West coming to town.
The Lady Patriots also had something else weighing heavily on their minds. Junior forward Mia Hopkins had poured in 39 points in that first loss and was on pace to reach the 1,000-point mark a lot sooner then maybe they were ready for.
But just as they have all season long, Pittston Area stood up to adversity and came out on top.
Hopkins scored 11 of her 19 points – including her 1,000th career point – in the final 12 minutes of the game as Pittston Area defeated Valley West, 56-49, in overtime to capture the WVC Division I first-half title on Thursday night at the Thomas R. Kelly Gymnasium in Yatesville.

“We were all thinking this is our game,” Hopkins said. “As soon as I scored the 1,000th point it relieved a lot of pressure from everyone and that’s when we started playing our game.”
Hopkins’ 1,000th point came with just 40.8 seconds remaining in regulation and got the Lady Patriots to within 45-44.

The 5’11 forward created the open look underneath the basket after missing her initial shot. She pulled down the rebound and going right back up with the ball Hopkins put it through the net.

It was a big basket for both Hopkins and the Lady Patriots.
“Once the pressure was off, I think everyone kind of relaxed and played their game,” Lady Patriots head coach Cathy Healey said. “They were so worried about getting her the ball, because she means so much to our program.”
With the individual pressure off, Hopkins took the pressure off of her teammates.
Freshman Allie Barber inbounded the ball to Hopkins with less than 12 seconds remaining, and after drawing yet another double-team, Hopkins found Grace O’Neill with a perfect pass through a tight window. O’Neill made a strong move to the basket with her left hand and was fouled. She missed the first, but connected with the second and tied the game at 45-45 to send the defacto championship game into overtime.
Hopkins then took over.
The WVC leading scorer hit two pull-up jumpers to give the Lady Patriots a 51-47 lead with 2:25 remaining in the overtime period. But, it was freshman Liz Waleski who would seal the deal for PA, and it had nothing to do with her offensive play. With 56.9 remaining in the game, Waleski drew a charge on the low block.
The play allowed Pittston Area (13-1, 5-1) to add to its lead instead of giving WVW a chance to cut the deficit.
“I honestly knew I was in position to take the charge,” Waleski said. “It was nerve wracking, it was just an all around awesome game and I am so happy for Mia.”
Her coach was not surprised when Waleski drew the charge.
“Liz has a great knowledge of the game, because of her dad (Stan Waleski),” Coach Healey said. “She did a couple of little things in the beginning that I was yelling at her for, but that play was key, and she definitely redeemed herself.”
The Lady Patriots gained even more momentum when the Spartans head coach was called for a technical foul, for arguing on the play. O’Neill hit both free throws, giving the Patriots a 53-47 lead with under a minute remaining in the game.

Waleski was then fouled on her way to the basket and hit one of two free throws to give the Patriots a 54-47 lead.

Both the Spartans and the Lady Patriots each had a basket in the final 11 seconds of the game, but it was PA who would hang on for the 56-49 victory and claim the first half championship.
The game was nip-and-tuck the whole way with the teams tied at 23-23 at halftime. At that point, Healey tried to tell her players to relax and just play the game.

“We definitely talked about being calm and playing the game,” Healey said. “When we play the game and play right, good things will happen.”
Despite being double- and triple-teamed all night, Hopkins paced the Lady Patriots with her 19 points despite just having five at halftime.

Barber added 15 points and O’Neill chipped in with 10 of her own for PA. Waleski added in with seven, while Jackie Rabender rounded out the Patriots scoring with five points.



Athlete of the Week: Mia Hopkins

Published: January 25, 2012

Pittston Area
Junior, Basketball

Hometown: Pittston
Age: 17
Family: Mom, Sharon; Grandparents, Angie and John.

Accomplishment: The forward scored a team-high 19 points, including the 1,000th point of her career, in an overtime win against Wyoming

Valley West last Thursday. The win clinched the Division I first-half title for the Patriots (13-1). Hopkins is currently second in the league in

scoring with 20.7 ppg.

Favorite subject: Biology
Favorite book: ‘The Outsiders’
Favorite TV show: ‘Jersey Shore’
Favorite artist: Wiz Khalifa
Favorite food: Corn dogs
Favorite junk food: Chips
Favorite sport: Basketball
Favorite team: North Carolina basketball
Favorite athlete: Derrick Rose
Favorite color: Baby blue
Mia’s dream prom date: Drake
Away from sports, Mia enjoys. . . hanging out with friends, going out to eat and playing on the computer.
If Mia could meet anyone in history, she’d like to meet . . . Tupac Shakur
Mia’s favorite thing about basketball is . . . having good momentum.
Mia thinks the hardest thing about basketball is . . .when things don’t go your way.
Mia’s biggest role model has been . . . Becky Burke.
The one thing Mia can’t live without is . . . basketball.
The one word Mia would use to best describe herself is . . . unique.
After high school: Mia wants to play basketball in college.





Mia Hopkins (5-9 junior forward) helped lead Pittston Area to winning the WVC Division 1 first half.  She scored 39 points, but the Lady Patriots came up short against Holy Redeemer, 70-68 in overtime.  It was their first loss of the season.  Hopkins then netted 19 (including career point 1,000) as Pittston defeated Wyoming Valley West 56-49, again in overtime to lock up first half honors.  In a non-league game, the powerful forward scored a dozen in a 60-45 win over Scranton.



Run and gun

Hot-shooting Pittston Area tops Crestwood


WRIGHT TWP. – Unbeaten Pittston Area proved it had warmed to the task of playing at defending division champion Crestwood by coming out firing.

And making those shots.

And making some more shots.

Early in the second quarter, the Patriots were on pace for 109 points. They finished shooting 52 percent from the field in a 73-50 triumph over the Comets in Wyoming Valley Conference girls basketball play Thursday.

“We came out all fired up,” said Pittston Area junior Mia Hopkins, who had a game-high 29 points and 15 rebounds. “I love to run. I really love to run. We got that quick lead in the beginning, and we got into the early 1-and-1 bonus. That really gave us some momentum.”

Pittston Area took the lead for good less than three minutes in and quickly raised its lead to double digits. The Patriots made 80 percent of their shots inside the arc during a 46-point first half.

“We like to press, run, get up and down the floor,” Patriots coach Kathy Healey said. “But Crestwood played great defense. We did have a couple of more turnovers than we would have liked (unofficially, 17 to the Comets’ 18).”

Mia Hopkins had a dominating night all around, tallying six assists, three steals and three blocks as Crestwood tried everything it could to contain her.

Mia was making some crazy hard shots,” Comets’ coach Isiah Walker said after Hopkins had 19 points and seven rebounds in the first half on a variety of short jumpers, layups and spinning post moves. “We went box-and-one on her to try to slow her down.”

Crestwood was fine trading field goals in the first half with Pittston Area, but was not getting opportunities at the line. The Patriots had a 17-2 advantage in attempts from the free-throw line in the first half, accounting for nearly all of Pittston Area’s 46-33 lead at the break.

“They got all the free-throw attempts and second-chance baskets,” Walker said. “I’m not saying our girls didn’t drive to the basket just as hard, the calls just didn’t go our way. I’m not blaming the refs, Pittston’s just a very good team.”

After trailing by as many as 17 in the first half, Crestwood cut the Patriots’ lead to 52-41 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter on consecutive threes by Rebecca Rutkowski and Kayla Gegaris. But the Comets would draw no closer.

“We were playing their game,” Healey said of slowing the pace in the second half. “So we decided to go out there and take our time and take control of the game.”

Hopkins’ big night was complemented by Liz Waleski. The freshman had 19 points and eight rebounds, with 15 points coming in the up-tempo first half.

“Liz is a great player, just coming up as a freshman and starting,” Hopkins said. “You can tell she can put the ball in the hoop.”

Grace O’Neill added 14 points for Pittston Area, and Allie Barber had four assists and four steals as the Patriots won their WVC Division 1 opener.

One game after Sarah Andrews and Sydney Myers were the top scorers for the Comets, Gegaris (17 points) and Rutkowski (16 points, eight rebounds) were the top scorers for Crestwood, which is now 0-2 in Division 1 play.

PITTSTON AREA (73): Barber 1 4-4 6, Fereck 0 0-0 0, Waleski 8 3-4 19, Mitchell 1 1-1 3, Rabender 1 0-0 2, O’Neill 6 0-0 14, Hopkins 11 7-9 29, Zanta 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 15-18 73.

CRESTWOOD (50): Lutz 0 0-0 0, Andrews 3 2-2 8, Mazzoni 1 0-0 3, Rutkowski 7 1-2 16, Gegaris 6 2-2 17, Ritz 0 0-0 0, Cronauer 2 0-0 4, Wojnar 0 0-0 0, Myers 1 0-0 2, Jeskiewicz 0 0-0 0, Hislap 0 0-0 0, Ciaverella 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 5-6 50.

Pittston Area












3-Point Field Goals— PA 2 (O’Neil 2); CRE 5 (Gegaris 3, Rutchowski, Mazzoni)


PA rocks Redeemer for Holiday title

Undefeated Lady Patriots winners of 10


Josh Horton Dispatch Correspondent

Facing a highly regarded team in the finals of its own tournament, the Pittston Area girls’ basketball team was out to prove they do indeed belong in the conversation of the area’s top teams.


And they did it emphatically.

The Lady Patriots continued its winning ways, and cruised to a 71-48 victory over Holy Redeemer to hoist the championship trophy in the Pittston Area Holiday Tournament final at the Thomas R. Kelly Gymnasium in Yatesville on December 29.
A total team effort by the Lady Patriots was just too much for the Lady Royals to handle as unbeaten Pittston Area jumped out to a huge lead and never looked back.

“The girls were fired up,” PA head coach Kathy Healey said. “It’s the Holiday Tournament in our own gym and we were undefeated coming in so they wanted to keep it rolling. They were excited in the locker room so I knew it was going to be a great night for them.”
The Lady Patriots won the tip and went on a 13-2 run in the first 4:20 of the game. The main focus for the Lady Royals seemed to be to contain Mia Hopkins. This was about the only thing the visitors did in the first quarter. Holy Redeemer held Pittston Area’s leading scorer to just two points in the quarter, but teammates Allie Barber, Liz Waleski, and Kelly Mitchell provided more than enough scoring as the Patriots took a 13-4 lead.
Pittston Area (8-0 overall) really picked up the pace in the second quarter, outscoring the Lady Royals 22-12 to take a 41-16 lead into the locker room at the half.

Coach Healey told her team in the locker room to be prepared for a big punch from the Redeemer squad. The punch did indeed come as the Royals outscored the Lady Patriots 18-11.
“In the locker room we talked about them having one last punch left in them,” Hopkins said. “We knew we would have to punch back and punch back hard. They are a good team.”
One punch was all the Patriots would receive as Mia Hopkins outfoxed the Lady Royals defense and exploded for 12 third quarter points before coming out of the game after picking up her fourth foul with 15.8 seconds remaining in the period.
“She (Hopkins) is just amazing and she is only getting better,” Healey said.

The Lady Patriots sealed the deal in the fourth quarter and both teams were able to get some of their bench in the game as Pittston Area won in blowout fashion.

Prior to the game, the Lady Patriots wanted to dedicate the game to Van Rose, a Times Leader reported who passed away unexpectedly the night after the Patriots won their first round game.

“Before the game started we said we wanted to win this one for Van,” Healey said. “He was always good to me and Mia and I were so saddened to hear of his passing.”
Hopkins scored 22 points, and added 12 rebounds, six assists and three blocks in the victory. She was named Tournament MVP for her efforts. Allie Barber and Grace O’Neill also made the tournament All-Star team. Barber added 15 a career-high 15 points for the Lady Patriots.
“It feels awesome to win the MVP,” Hopkins said. “I was pretty disappointed when I got into foul trouble, but everyone played so good for us and I was just happy we won.”


 Freshman 2009-2010

December 19, 2009
Dynamic duo key PA

Hopkins has 22 points, 17 rebounds and Smicherko tallies 21 in win over GNA.


December 20, 2009
Old Forge claims 4th straight crown

A Pittston Area freshman stole the show


December 27, 2009
Mia Hopkins

PA Basketball player of the week


January 9, 2010
PA freshman Hopkins puts on a show

The 5-9 forward scores 20 points and has 15 rebounds in convincing win over Sem.


January 20, 2010
Toughness a trait for Patriots’ freshman

Mia Hopkins never backs down from a challenge, leading PA to a 9-4 record.


February 14, 2010
His love affair stars hoops, a special girl Paul Sokoloski Opinion


February 23, 2010
Coach’s select all-star teams, top coaches

Mia Hopkins


March 5, 2010
WVC stars get their time on the red carpet Dave Konopki OPINION


March 28, 2010
The best 12 area basketball players form a Dispatch Dozen


Sophomore 2010-2011

December 5, 2010
Lady Patriots will turn to young roster to

replace three of top four scorers


 December 19, 2010
Hopkins paces Pittston Area in first win

Sophomore scores 23 in victory over GAR


 December 23, 2010

Mia Hopkins


 December 23, 2010
Players to watch

Mia Hopkins


 December 26, 2010
Mia Hopkins

PA Basketball


 December 29, 2010
Hopkins, O’Neill lead Patriots


 January 2 2011

Lady Patriots rally past WA

Hopkins double-double keys 46-41 victory


 January 9  2011
Blue Devils upset Lady Vikes to start 2011

Pittston Area hands Berwick its first loss of season


 January 16  2011
Lady Patriots only team to win on hardwoods


 February 6  2011
Pittston Area snaps cold streak

Hopkins scores 20 to lead Lady Patriots over Coughlin


 February 22 2011
Coaches name 2011 all-stars


April 10 2011

Hopkins named ‘Co-Player of the Year’ in WVC-I


 April 24 2011
Mia Hopkins

Pittston Area, sophomore