Athlete of the Month: Emma Conte

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore Lady Bucks senior shortstop Emma Conte is once again among the Lackawanna League Division III leaders in homers and batting average.

Emma, 18, at press time was leading Lackawanna League Division III hitters with six home runs. She was also among the league’s leading hitters with a .522 batting average.

And last season she hit a robust .550 with seven homers.

Daughter of Rich and Kim Conte, Emma is a three-year member of the Dunmore softball team. She is a two-year member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks volleyball team and is a member of the Spanish Club, French Club, SADD and TACT. Emma has a 91 grade point average at Dunmore.

A transfer from Riverside, where she played softball as a freshman, she was first team all-state, All Regional and a first-team Lackawanna League all-star last season.

Emma has not selected a college yet, but knows she wants to continue her softball career and study to become a physician’s assistant.

The slick fielding senior shortstop said her parents taught her a lot about the game. “They both played and were pretty good at it, so I learned a lot from them. They tell me to always be at my best and to be a leader. They tell me to get my teammates going. Keep them up.”

She talked about her future goals. “I want to continue playing softball in college and study to become a physician’s assistant. I want to work hard and get a good job.”

Emma, personable and hard working, said she enjoys listening to music in her spare time and would like to see Post Malone in concert.

The senior standout talked about what it takes to excel at the shortstop position in high school softball. “You need to be loud and call out the plays. You need to be a leader and keep your team up and positive. You need to be able to pick your team up when things aren’t going right.”

She has learned a lot from Dunmore Lady Bucks softball coach Ryan Ferguson. “He is a great coach,” Emma said. “I can’t begin to tell you how much I have learned from him. He teaches us we have to work as a team. He is very big on that. He tells me I have to be a leader. He is not just a coach, but a friend to all of us. We are a team under him.”

Well-spoken and always positive, Emma said she has thoroughly enjoyed her experience at Dunmore.

“We have great success here at Dunmore because of my teammates. We all get along so well. You are playing with your best friends.

“My teammates are my best friends on and off the field. We work as a close knit team.

“And that is one of the big reasons I love it here at Dunmore. I have the best friends and teammates all in one.”

Dunmore Freshman Steps Up Her Game

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.”

Dunmore Lady Bucks’ Unsung Hero is Senior Mia Blume

By Steve Svetovich

The Dunmore Lady Bucks are always known for a team-oriented approach.

And one of its biggest team players and leaders is senior Mia Blume.

Daughter of Teddy and Grace Blume, Mia is the team’s third option after junior center Ciera Toomey, a Division-I recruit, and senior guard Moriah Murray, who will play basketball at Drexel University next year.

However, the senior guard is making a name for herself as Dunmore’s unsung hero.

Mia scored nine points and added four key assists in Dunmore’s 65-30 win over Scranton High School in the Lynett Girls Memorial Tournament semifinal Monday, Dec. 27, at Lackawanna College Student Union. Toomey scored 30 and Murray added 20 in the semifinal.

Mia contributed four points in Dunmore’s 46-17 win over Scranton Prep to help the Lady Bucks regain the Lynett Tournament title Wednesday, Dec. 29, at Lackawanna College Student Union.

Murray scored 17 and tournament MVP Toomey added 15 points in the Lynett title win.

Mia drew praises for her leadership and poise on the court in both games.

A four-year member and three-year starter on the Lady Bucks, the senior guard is averaging over seven points and about four assists per contest.

Enthusiastic and team-oriented, Mia also is an excellent softball player at Dunmore. She is a second baseman and two-year member of the Dunmore softball team.

The senior scholar-athlete has an impressive 3.7 academic average and is a member of the National Honor Society. She is a member of the Spanish Club, French Club, TACT and SADD.

Mia, with great energy, said she and her teammates were “super excited” in recapturing the Lynett Tournament crown.

Mia plans on attending Newmann University in Aston, PA where she will major in sports management and play basketball.

“I am looking forward to continuing my basketball career there,” she said. “I love the school, too. I am looking forward to the sports management classes too. I want to manage players someday. I want to branch off into that. We worked hard and turned in the right direction.”

Mia praised her parents for influencing her towards basketball. “My parents are huge influences as to why I always played basketball,” she said. “They shaped me into who I am today. They are the reason I started playing basketball. They got me into it at an early age. And I love the game.”

The well-spoken senior said Dunmore basketball coach Ben O’Brien has also taught her a lot. “He is a great coach and we all love him,” she said. “He brings the best in us. He helps us all play to our full potential.”

A consummate team leader, Mia said playing with Toomey and Murray rubs off on her game and makes the team more successful. “Obviously, it is a great experience playing with two elite players like Ciera and Moriah,” she said. “We all have roles on the team. It just helps us come together and have success as a team. We all work together to make a true team. It’s all about teamwork in the end.”

Mia said she enjoys country music and would like to see Morgan Wallen in concert.

She talked about what it takes to excel at the guard position. “It takes a lot of hard work on and off the court,” she said. “You need to put in the extra time. You need to work hard when no one is watching.”

Mia was an honorable mention for basketball at the guard position in her sophomore and junior years.

She is enjoying her senior year at Dunmore. “Our hard work is paying off. Things are going in the right direction for us. I love it here at Dunmore.”