Holy Cross senior is a strong leader

By Steve Svetovich

Holy Cross senior small forward Gabe Gonzales is one of the leaders on the hardwood for veteran coach Al Callejas this season.

Coach Callejas has not missed a game this season following a cancer diagnosis the previous year. His players continue to support and rally around him.

“Coach Callejas is doing good,” Gabe said. “He comes to practice ready every day. He hasn’t missed a practice or a game. He is going right after it and we continue to support him.”

Son of Melissa Gonzales, Gabe said his mom is a strong support for him.

“My mom tells me to always work hard because nothing comes easy. She tells me you only get good results with hard work.”

The senior stalwart said coach Callejas has taught him so much about life.

“Coach Callejas has taught me so many life lessons,” he said. “There are so many. He tells us that people will get on you all the time, but you just have to keep fighting.

“He tells us life is full of highs and lows, but you need to learn from the lows. The lows are the most important, That’s where you learn. You have to keep moving forward.”

The senior scholar-athlete has a 3.3 grade point average. His favorite subject is math. Gabe is not sure where he will attend college, but is leaning towards Wilkes University. He wants to study nursing and play college basketball.

The talented forward scored 16 points in his team’s 58-52 loss to Scranton in the semifinal of the 71st Lynett Memorial Basketball Tournament Tuesday, Dec. 27, at the Lackawanna College Student Union. Oliver Almonte led Scranton with 18 points.

Gabe scored 10 points in the consolation game–a 61-48 Holy Cross win over Dunmore–of the Lynett Tournament.

The hard-working senior is also a tight end on the Holy Cross football team.

Gabe, who led the Crusaders to four wins in the first seven games this season, talked about what it takes to excel at the forward position in high school basketball. “You need to create three things,” he said. “You need to be able to shoot the ball, post up, and finish off. You need to be a good overall scorer, to make the right passes, and play good defense.”

He talked about his future goals. “I want to play some more basketball, finish college with a nursing degree and make good money with a great career. I want to be a registered nurse.”

His goal for the rest of the basketball season is an ambitious one. “We don’t want to lose another game for the rest of the season. We want to win the league title and go on from there.”

The strong-willed senior talked about his decision to study nursing in college. “It’s a great career and you get to help people. You are always secure with a job, too, so it is an easy decision for me.”

Gabe enjoys listening to music and would like to see Drake in concert.

He has enjoyed his experience at Holy Cross. “It’s been just a great overall experience,” he said. “The education here is great. The faculty, teachers, students, my teammates and coaches have been great.”

Dunmore sophomore guard leading Lady Bucks

By Steve Svetovich

During the absence of injured Dunmore stalwart Ciera Toomey, Lady Bucks sophomore guard Sophia Talutto has taken on a leadership role.

Daughter of Joseph and Lori Talutto, Dunmore, Sophia led the Lady Bucks to four wins in its first five games this season averaging 17.0 points and 5.0 assists per contest.

Sophia led Dunmore with a game-high 19 points in the Lady Bucks 58-42 win over Scranton Tuesday, Dec. 27, at the Lackawanna College Student Union in the semifinals of the 19th Lynett Memorial Girls Tournament.

The contest marked the return of North Carolina-bound center Ciera Toomey who has been sidelined since March with a torn ACL. The three-time all-state center returned at the start of the second half and hit a top-of-the key 3-pointer. The shot, her only one, swished through the nets to the crowd’s delight. She played a little more than two minutes in the contest as her teammate Sophia took control of the game for the Lady Bucks.

Dunmore held a 28-22 halftime lead before Ciera entered the contest.

Dunmore lost to Scranton Prep, 52-33, in the Lynett Tournament final Thursday, Dec. 29.

Sophia is a second year starter on the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team.

The talented sophomore guard has a 98.5 academic average at Dunmore. Her favorite subjects are chemistry and math.

Sophia is unsure where she will attend college, but most definitely wants to play basketball and probably study business in college.

The scrappy sophomore said her parents taught her a lot. “They taught me to be humble and above all be consistent and work hard at anything I do.”

She talked about the Lady Bucks starting the season without Ciera on the court and under new coach Carrie Bowen Toomey, Ciera’s mom, who replaced Ben O’Brien.

“It was definitely different without Ciera’s leadership early on. And we lost Moriah Murray to graduation. So I did take more of a leadership role. As long as we stay consistent and focused at practice, we will be successful as a team.

“This team is very good. We saw that some are doubting us, but that keeps us very motivated. We are going to have another good year. With more practice, we will be very good. We are focused on it. We also know Ciera will be with us at full strength during districts.

“Our new coach was an assistant under coach O’Brien. So we are doing many of the same things. The transition is going very well.

“Sure, we miss coach O’Brien. But Carrie Toomey is doing great as our new coach.”

Well-spoken and polite, Sophia is also a left wing on the Dunmore soccer team. She is a member of TACT and the French Club at Dunmore.

Sophia enjoys listening to music and would like to see Bruno Mars in concert.

The hard-working scholar-athlete talked about what it takes to excel as a guard in high school basketball. “You need to stay consistent and focused,” she said. “And you should be humble.”

Sophia was an honorable mention on the Lackawanna League all-star team last season. She was named the 570 Sports Freshman of the Year. “That was surprising,” she said. “A lot of people talked about it and I received some very nice messages. A lot of people supported me.

“It was a great feeling.”

Sophia said she loves living in Dunmore and playing for the Lady Bucks.

“It’s definitely memorable,” she said. “I have loved Dunmore since being a little kid. Our community is great. Everyone supports us.”

Scholar of the Month: Jack Maloney

The Dunmorean Scholar of the Month for January is Jack Maloney, son of Casey and Erin Maloney. A student at Scranton Prep, Jack’s activities include basketball, baseball, Spanish Club, Business Club, Chess Club, shadowing program, and freshman orientation guide.

Jack’s favorite sport is basketball, and he likes the following quote by Tim Notke: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Jack believes in working hard every day toward one’s goals. To prepare for a game, he listens to pump-up music, and does stretches and visualizations of the plays.

His favorite subject is English, and he loves to read and write. Jack says: “There is nothing better than reading a piece of literature and being in suspense, wondering what will happen next.”

His favorite place to visit is his grandparents; house, which is just a few blocks from his, and his favorite way to relax is is to out back to play basketball with some music. He also likes to hang out with his friends and younger cousins during his free time.

Jack’s favorite spot in Dunmore is Grande Pizza, where he goes often with his friends. “It is a fun, local place to watch sports and eat great food.”  

Jack says, “I love growing up in Dunmore because it is such a close-knit and kind community. I have made so many friends at Prep, but I am still so close with my buddies from Dunmore. When I reached sixth grade, I gained a lot more freedom to go out and walk around with my friends down near the Corners, where we would get food and just hang out. I love that we can walk around and have many businesses to visit within a short distance. 

Jack Maloney, Dunmorean Scholar of the Month is shown with his parents, Casey and Erin Maloney of Dunmore, and his sisters, Mollie, 8, second from left, and Ally, 13, second from right. Jack is a sophomore at Scranton Prep.

“I have learned many things from growing up in Dunmore, such as how to be a good neighbor, how to help others, how to be a good friend, and how important it is to have strong values and morals. It’s important to be willing to help others in the community when needed. People of Dunmore are tightly bonded together and root each other on in a positive way. 

Jack’s goal after high school is to attend the University of Notre Dame (“My dream school”), and then attend law school and one day join my uncle’s law firm, Maloney Law P.C. 

Jack’s high school plan is “to enjoy everything and not take anything for granted. I do not want to look back years from now and regret not doing something, which is why I try to get involved with anything I can and try new things. I want to make sure to excel, not only in academics and sports but also to help out in the community and contribute to something more important. “

Jack’s advice for others? “My hope for other Dunmore kids is to be selfless and just take a little time out of your day to help a neighbor or friend, who you see is struggling. Sometimes it only takes a second to listen or just be kind.  That can help turn someone’s day around.”