By Steve Svetovich
Dunmore Bucks senior guard John Mandarano comes from a family full of athletes, so being a leader seems to come rather natural.
And that’s what he has been in the early going for his coach Tony Lacertoso.
Son of John and Rita Mandarano, Dunmore, the quick senior guard scored 12 points in the team’s opening game, a tough 44-40 loss to North Pocono.
However, he led the Bucks with 11 points in Dunmore’s second game, a 35-34 win over West Scranton.
Daniel Walsh added eight points for the Bucks in the win.
A three-year member of Dunmore’s varsity basketball team, Mandarano will be playing his fourth year of baseball this season. A pitcher-outfielder, he batted .310 last season while showing great promise on the mound. He is also a three-year member of Dunmore’s cross country team.
John’s older brother P.J., a 2015 Dunmore graduate, excelled in baseball and basketball at the school.
His younger brother Joe plays baseball, basketball and runs cross country as a freshman at Dunmore.
His sister Bella, a sophomore at Dunmore, plays softball and basketball at the school.
His sister Mia, a junior at Dunmore, plays basketball and softball at the school.
John averaged over 12 points per game as a junior last season for the Bucks.
A 90 student academically, he is a member of the Spanish Club and is usually on the honor roll.
The scholar-athlete said he is not sure yet where he will attend college, but may study business management and wants to continue playing baseball or basketball.
He talked about what it takes to be a good guard in high school basketball. “You need to work hard. You need to find the open man or take the open shot for an easy basket.”
He said coach Lacertoso has taught him a lot.
“He taught me to never give up whether winning or losing. He tells me to always stay positive and give a strong effort.”
His parents give him similar advice. “They tell me I can do anything I want in life. They tell me to just work hard at it and never give up. Never give up your dreams. With hard work, you can fulfill your dreams.”
He talked about his future goals and the immediate goals of the team.
“I want to go to a good college and play baseball or basketball. I want to see where that takes me. I want to do well in school and get a good job.
“As far as the team, I want to help us finish with a good record, win the division and win the district title. Then we can try to go further.”
A country music and Luke Bryan fan, the senior stalwart talked about the Dunmore team concept. “We try to work together as a team. We take one game at a time. We play as a team and do what we can on the court to be successful. It is a team game for all of us.”
And with a family member playing sports in every single grade at Dunmore High School this year, John has certainly enjoyed his experiences. “I have really enjoyed my family, friends and work in the classroom at Dunmore. The experiences in the classroom and with sports have been great. I have made a lot of friends. It is a great place to be for me.”