By Steve Svetovich
As a freshman in the Dunmore Lady Bucks starting five, Sophia Talutto made her mark as the season progressed.
But she really stepped up her game when all-state junior center Ciera Toomey went down with a torn ACL in the Lady Bucks district title win over Scranton Prep, 43-42, Thursday, March 3, at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Dunmore senior Moriah Murray hit the game-winning bucket in the district title win while senior Mia Blume led the Lady Bucks with 11 points, but the talented freshman Talutto chipped in with eight points, including two key 3-pointers.
Murray led the way with 32 points in the Lady Bucks 51-25 win over Shamokin in the PIAA Class 4A first round win Wednesday, March 9, but Sophia added 12 points as the team’s second leading scorer.
Murray scored 35 points in Dunmore’s 62-53 overtime win over Villa Joseph Marie in the PIAA Class 4A second round contest Sunday, March 13, at Easton Middle School. Sophia and Mia Blume were the team’s second leading scorers with 12 points each.
The Lady Bucks lost 40-39 in the PIAA Class 4A quarterfinal at Berwick High School Wednesday, March 16, but Sophia led Dunmore in scoring with 14 points.
So the scrappy freshman became a mighty contributor in the playoffs, with standout teammate Ciera Toomey on the sidelines. Sophia, Moriah, Mia and a few others stepped up their games to the max.
Daughter of Lori and Joseph Talutto, Dunmore, Sophia, 15, averaged about 8.5 points per game as a freshman shooting guard this season.
Her sister Anna Talutto was a key four-year member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks and currently attends Penn State.
“My sister was known for her defense,” Sophia said. “And I learned a lot just by watching her play. She taught me a lot about how to,play good defense. I pattern a lot of my game after her.”
Sophia said she and her teammates were thrilled with the district title win. “A lot of it was for Ciera. We became more aggressive after she went down and fought hard to help get her a district title. We all stepped up, played with more confidence, and played together as a team. We were so happy to get that win. We were happy for Ciera and all of us as teammates.
“With Ciera going down early in that game, it was bad. We all felt bad at first. There were a lot of emotions and then we came through.
“Winning the district championship was the greatest feeling ever.”
Well-spoken and intelligent, Sophia has a 98.5 academic average at Dunmore. She is a member of the TACT Club and is a left wing on the soccer team.
She has played AAU basketball for five years on the NEPA Elite.
Sophia said her parents are a strong influence. “They teach me to always keep going. If you get knocked down, you need to get right back up.”
She has learned a lot from Dunmore veteran basketball coach Ben O’Brien. “He gave me a lot of confidence and is very supportive of everything.”
Sophia enjoys rap music and said she would like to see Tyler the Creator in concert.
As a freshman, she is enjoying her time at Dunmore and looking forward to the next three years. “Freshman year has really been great,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of memories and friendships. I love the community. We have great fans.”
Sophia has time to decide on a college and major, but there is one thing she knows for sure when the time comes. “I want to play basketball in college. I love the game.”