Athlete of the Month: Moriah Murray

Athlete of the Month Moriah MurrayBy Steve Svetovich

After an outstanding freshman season, what does Dunmore Lady Bucks sophomore guard Moriah Murray do for an encore?

She gets named to the Class 3A All-State first-team.

Daughter of Joseph Murray and Lynn Plotkin, the sophomore standout was one of five Lackawanna League players who earned berths on the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State girls’ basketball team. 

The 5-9 sophomore guard averaged 15.7 points per game in her sophomore season for coach Ben O’Brien and the Lady Bucks.

Moriah was the only player to mount a challenge for Player of the Year honors which was won again by Neumann-Goretti senior Diamond Johnson. 

In two state playoff games, Moriah picked it up and averaged 28 points per game. She scored a career high 33 points, including seven 3-pointers, on 10-of-15 shooting in the 65-51 win over Neumann-Goretti. Moriah added six rebounds and three assists. She was 18-for-27 shooting in the two PIAA playoff games. She scored 23 points and totaled five assists in the win over Constitution.

Moriah had a hot hand and hit 11-of-17 from 3-point range in the PIAA playoffs before Covid-19 stifled Dunmore’s bid at a state title.

Moriah humbly accepted the news of first-team All-State recognition. “I am so happy about it,” she said. “This is a huge honor. It is great for this team.

“Both last year and this season were nice. I could not do it without my coaches and teammates. The coaches always had us prepared.

“And I am so happy our freshman Ciera Toomey was recognized as a third-team All-State selection. We play well together and have so much fun. We definitely have a chemistry. 

“I enjoyed playing with Ciera’s sister Victoria last season, too. I am looking forward to playing at Dunmore in the future with Ciera. She has a bright future and we have such great chemistry together.”

Moriah, 16, said she has been keeping busy during the Covid-19 pandemic playing “hoops” in the backyard with her brother Matt, 23, who played four years of basketball at Dunmore.

Moriah is a member of TACT and the French Club at Dunmore. Her future goal is to play Division I college basketball.

For now, she loves going to Dunmore and playing basketball there. “Going to Dunmore and playing basketball is such an amazing experience,” she said. “It is such a small, close-knit community. The community is totally amazing. The basketball experience starts in the biddy leagues and with our parents. I always looked up to the Lady Bucks and now I am one. Our coach is great and he always puts us in a position to win. Coach O’Brien always has us prepared and ready.”

Moriah said her parents always teach her to be herself. “They just tell me to be my own person.”

The basketball stalwart likes listening to music in her spare time and would like to see Roddy Rich, a rap artist, in concert. She has a 90 academic average and her best subject is history.

She talked about what it takes to be a good guard in high school basketball. “It takes a lot of practice. You need to train by yourself. You need to eat right and take care of your body. And a lot of stretching in the gym helps.”

Moriah talked about the effect of Covid-19 and how it ended the team’s run in the state playoffs. “We were very upset, because in the beginning of the year everybody said we were a young team. No one knew how far this team could go. But we put the time and work in and were playing really well. After we beat Neumann, our attitude was that we could win it all. So it was upsetting in the beginning when we had to stop playing due to Covid-19. 

“We did stay in touch though. We did three zoom calls with our teammates and coaches. We all are staying in touch on social media.

“We really wanted to win it all this year for our two seniors, Nora Haggerty and Katherine Hopkins. It was a bummer not to win for them.

“Dunmore is so amazing. I always wanted to be a Lady Buck and always wanted to play for these coaches.”

Freshman Ciera Toomey Named 3rd Team All-State

BCiera Toomeyy Steve Svetovich

She made an impact.

Enough of an impact as aman that Dunmore freshman Ciera Toomey last month was named to the Class 3A all-state third team. 

Daughter of Pat and Carrie Toomey, Dunmore, Ciera was part of a contingent of five Lackawanna League players who earned berths on the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State girls basketball team. 

Ciera’s teammate, sophomore Moriah Murray, was a first team All-State selection.

Ciera averaged 16.5 points per game as a freshman.

The 6-2 freshman opened eyes with her play in the second half of the season and hit 51 percent from 3-point range.

Ciera showed a great ability for handling the ball and shooting with quickness and agility.

She averaged 19 points in two state playoff games, shooting 9-of-11 and scored 22 points in a win over Neumann Goretti. She hit 15-of-18 shots in the two state playoffs games before the impact of Covid-19 cancelled the rest of the state playoffs.

Ciera also averaged 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and three blocks in the two state playoff contests.

Ciera was also an All Regional pick as a freshman.

And she comes from good basketball stock. Her mom, Carrie Bowen Toomey, was a Dunmore all-star selection and 1,000-point scorer for Franklin and Marshall College. 

Her sister, Victoria Toomey, earned numerous all-star selections and awards as a Dunmore standout and currently plays for Rider University.

Ciera said she was honored by her third-team All-State selection. “We are in a league with a lot of good players,” she said. “I certainly did not expect it. It could have been anyone.”

The talented freshman said she enjoys playing with sophomore teammate Murray. “Moriah is great,” she said. “She is such a good passer. She makes plays all the time. I just love playing with her. We feed off each other very well.”

Ciera has an impressive 97 academic average at Dunmore. Her best subject is math.

She also plays on the golf team and is a member of the French club.

She praised Dunmore veteran basketball coach Ben O’Brien. “He is such a good coach. He has us prepared all the time. He is a game changer. There is a reason why the Dunmore Lady Bucks win every year.”

Ciera said her parents and older sister Victoria have been big influences. “My parents always teach me to work hard for what I want and to go after it.

“My sister taught me how to play in the post and get position. I was a guard before, so she really taught me a lot and helped with the transition.”

The scholar-athlete said she and her teammates were disappointed with the ending of the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “We were really playing well, so we wanted to keep going. It was tough ending the season like that. But we were playing great and will have all of our starters back next season. We can go further next year.”

Ciera said she is staying in shape during the stay-at-home orders by working out and playing basketball and golf with her sister Victoria.

She enjoys listening to music, especially Dua Lipa.

She called her freshman experience at Dunmore as “unforgettable” and hopes to play college basketball after she graduates in three years.

“We are a very close team. We have a great bond and outstanding coaching. We hated to see the rest of the season cancelled, but we will come back stronger next year.”

Doin’ Dunmore: Jill Korgeski Makes Memories with Honors 

Jill Korgeski

Jill Korgeski of Dunmore has been named as the 2019-20 Outdoor Track and Field Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC).. The award concludes an outstanding career by the program’s first All-American.

By Steve Svetovich

Often, good hard working people have a knack of making memories with their accomplishments. 

Take Dunmore graduate Jill Korgeski for instance. 

Daughter of Brian and Janet Korgeski, Jill, 23, capped an outstanding scholar-athletic career with her selection as 2019-20 Middle Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The Senior Scholar-Athlete Award recognizes student-athletes for their strong academic and athletic accomplishments and excellence. 

It is the most prestigious honor given to a student-athlete by the conference for combined academic excellence and athletic achievement. 

Jill earned the award despite not being able to complete in her senior year due to the COVID-19 pandemic which cancelled the season.

Jill was a two-time NCAA qualifier in the shot put, earning All-America status at the 2018 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships by placing fifth with a school record toss of 47 feet, 1 inch. 

As a freshman, she finished 13th in the shot put in the national championships. 

Three times, she was named to the USTFCCCA All-Region team. After finishing second in 2016 and 2017, she won the shot put title at the MAC Championships in 2018. Jill was a three-time selection as the conference’s Field Athlete of the Week.

Academically, Jill is scheduled to earn a graduate degree as a physician assistant major. She has an impressive 3.7 academic average.  

Jill was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team in 2017 and three times was selected to the USTFCCCA All-Academic team and twice to the MAC All-Academic team. She was three times on the MAC Academic Honor Roll.

“I was really excited when I heard about receiving this award,” Jill said from her Dunmore home. “It is a tribute to the coaches who always put school above athletics. All of the coaches at King’s preach that.”

Jill said she is looking forward to obtaining her graduate degree this August and then obtaining employment as a physician assistant preferably in orthopedics or as a hospitalist.

Also a three-year member of the women’s volleyball team at King’s, Jill was also a member of the women’s indoor track and field team at the college. She played three years of outdoor track at King’s, missing a fourth due to COVID-19. 

She talked about what it takes to excel as a shot putter. “It takes a lot of repetition and focus on technique. You need to get in the weight room and build strength. 

Jill was a three-sport standout student-athlete at Dunmore. She played four years each of volleyball, basketball and track and field while excelling in the classroom. 

An outside hitter in volleyball, Jill was Regional Player of the Year twice and an All-State volleyball player as a senior at Dunmore.

She graduated from Dunmore in 2015 and received a B.S. in biology at King’s in 2019. She will receive her graduate degree in the physician assistant program this August completing all of her studies and course work in five years.

Jill praised Kevin McHale, her track and field coach at Dunmore. “Coach McHale taught me the importance about being passionate about a sport or anything in life. He was great with our workouts. We had a lot of them. He showed us how to put passion into our weight lifting program.”

IMG_5370

Jill Korgeski of Dunmore, is shown with Michael Kolinovsky, her coach at King’s College, taken at Nationals in Boston, MA during her indoor track senior year.

The scholar-athlete said she also learned a lot from Michael Kolinovsky, her track and field coach at King’s. “He taught me the importance of dedication to the sport. He taught me to take the good days with the bad days and don’t harp on the bad days. Keep pushing towards your goals.”

The hard driving graduate student said she found her King’s College experience very much like her four years at Dunmore High School.

“It is very similar to Dunmore. Everyone knows each other. There is a lot of support and plenty of athletic programs. It is a tight knit college and a lot like Dunmore High. People help each other out.”

Jill said she enjoys music and would like to see country artist Kenny Chesney in concert. She has been keeping busy at home during the COVID-19 pandemic studying and working towards finishing her graduate studies. “The school and professors are doing a great job getting us ready for graduation,” she said.

Jill credited her parents for much of her success as she looks to the future. “They taught me about hard work and that there are no shortcuts in life. If you put your mind to something or towards a goal, then do it with passion.”