Steve Borgia Named Scholar-Athlete of Year by LIAA

Steve BorgiaBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore High School graduating senior Steve Borgia is the male recipient of the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association (LIAA) scholar-athlete of the year award. 

“This is a great honor that goes far beyond athletics,” the Dunmore quarterback said. “This is about my teachers, coaches, teammates and my parents. They all took part in it. Everyone in Dunmore High School is a part of this. I could not have received this award without all of these great people who took part in it.”

Son of Steve and Terry Borgia, Dunmore, the scholar-athlete was a key member of Dunmore’s football, baseball and basketball teams. 

He was quarterback and defensive back on the football team, center fielder on the baseball team and a guard on the basketball team. Steve had a 3.8 academic average at Dunmore. He said his best subject is math and will study architectural engineering at Penn State University in the fall. 

He simply excelled on the football team earning first team all-star selections on offense and defense and first team All-Region for defense as a sophomore, first-team all-star for defense as a junior and first-team All-Region for defense and first-team All-State on offense as a senior. 

The senior stalwart passed for 1,294 yards this past season under Dunmore football coach Kevin McHale. He combined for over 20 touchdowns passing or running. 

His career totals include 2.007 passing yards, 21 touchdown passes, 1,110 rushing yards for 16 touchdowns, 368 receiving yards for four touchdowns, four touchdowns returning punts and kicks and eight interceptions as a defensive back. 

Football was more than his forte as he demonstrated versatility from numerous positions on the field.

He talked about what it takes to excel as a high school quarterback. “You need to know what is going on in your surroundings and how to read defenses. It really slows the game down. It makes the game a lot easier.”

Steve said he has spent time fishing, golfing and working during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I missed baseball,” he said. “It was not a good feeling to not have a baseball season.”

The three-sport standout said he has learned a lot from his parents. 

“They teach me to express myself in a good manner on the field and in the classroom and be appreciative to those around me.”

Confident and team-oriented, the talented senior said he owes a lot to Dunmore football coach Kevin McHale. “I learned perseverance from him. He teaches you to persevere and never give up. It kept us in a lot of games and won some games for us.”

Steve said he enjoys listening to music and is a big fan of country singer Chris Stapleton.

He credits his high grade point average in school to learning how to manage time. “When you are playing a lot of sports,” he said, “managing your time for the classroom is so important. It sets you up in the classroom.”

Steve said he is looking forward to studying at Penn State and becoming an engineer. 

He leaves Dunmore High School with great memories.

“Dunmore was awesome,” he said. “I had so many great mentors. The teachers and coaches set us up for success both for high school and after graduation. There are so many great people in the Dunmore community.” 

Mia Chiaro Named Scholar-Athlete of the Year by LIAA

Mia Chiaro2By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore High School graduating senior Mia Chiaro is the recipient of the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association (LIAA) female scholar-athlete of the year award.

“I was really excited when I heard about this,” Mia said. “It was a big moment for me and everyone else because of all the disappointments we had in sports this year due to COVID-19. It was nice to be recognized for something after going through all of that.”

Daughter of Alyssa and Nick Chiaro, Dunmore, the scholar-athlete was a key participant at Dunmore for soccer, swimming and track and field. She was also a football cheerleader. She had a 3.8 grade point average, including a 99 average in her final two quarters.

Mia was first-team all-star for track and field in her sophomore and junior years. She was a first-team all-star for soccer once and second-team twice. 

She ran the 100 meter and 300 meter hurdles and participated in the 4 by 1 and 4 by 4 for the Dunmore track and field team.

She credits her swimming coach John Andreoli for being a strong mentor. “He really cares about us,” Mia said. “He inspired us to be better. He had a talk with us that really gave us confidence and got us motivated. We became highly competitive and we kept improving to become an excellent swimming team. We had a great team bond. I will never forget the lessons learned and the spirit of our team.”

Mia, well spoken and articulate, said she will attend the University of Pittsburgh and study political science in the fall. She wants to attend law school in the future.

“I want to become a lawyer and possibly become a politician in the future,” she said. “I hope to play some club soccer at Pitt.” 

Mia enjoys listening to music and is a big fan of Kanye West. 

Mia Chiaro1As a three-sport athlete and cheerleader, she proved to be highly versatile. “I like to be involved and active,” she said. “So that is a no brainer for me. I like being a part of something special. And as most know, being a part of any sport at Dunmore usually results in something special. The coaches here teach you so much about sports and life. And the teammates you have result in lifetime friendships. You develop a great bond with your teammates.”

Mia said she gets her competitive spirit from her parents.

“My parents always tell me nothing gets handed to you. You need to work hard to develop a competitive work ethic.”

The aspiring law student and politician lit up when speaking of her experience at Dunmore High School. “You get a lot of opportunities to express yourself and get involved at Dunmore,” she said. “You develop lifelong friendships and you are a part of something special. All of the sports you participate in at Dunmore are special. 

“Our coaches and teachers at Dunmore teach us to be competitive on and off the field and in life. And this all translates to life as you transition beyond high school. It is such a great experience at Dunmore.”

Doin’ Dunmore: Remembering the Apollos of the EBA

By Steve Svetovich

There was a time 50 years ago in this region when minor league basketball was king.

And the Catholic Youth Center (CYC) was rocking. 

And if you are 55 or more and loved basketball, you probably were lucky enough to catch a few games at the Catholic Youth Center where the Scranton Apollos called home. 

The former Catholic Youth Center is now owned by Lackawanna College. 

The CYC was also the home of local high school basketball teams and hosted the Lynett Tournament, professional wrestling, boxing events and rock concerts. 

But the Scranton Apollos ruled the CYC in the early 1970’s when the team, coached by Stan Novak, won two EBA championships in a four-year period. Novak was EBA coach of the year three times in a four-year stretch. 

In those days, the CYC was packed. Games were sold out and you could feel the frenzy with the large, loud, enthusiastic crowd. The players were paid very little with hopes of getting noticed and having a shot at the NBA or ABA. 

The competition was fierce and exciting. 

In the 1970-71 season, the team’s first after changing its name from the Miners to the Apollos, the Scranton entry of the EBA lived up to its name by rocketing to the top of the standings and winning the Southern Division crown.

The record shows the Apollos clinched the Southern Division title with a win over the Wilkes Barre Barons, its arch rival, March 14, 1971. 

It was Novak’s first season coaching the team after coming over from Wilkes Barre. He quickly began the task of rebuilding a team that finished a dismal seventh place the previous season. He prepared a list of rookies to draft and veterans he wanted to add.

Eventually, rookies Dan Kelly, Chuck Lloyd and Johnny Jones along with veterans Mike Morrow and Dave Scholtz were added to the roster. All played key roles.

 Lloyd’s contributions were so noticed that he was eventually picked up by the Carolina Cougars of the now defunct ABA, a professional league that used a red, white and blue basketball and utilized the three-point shot years before the NBA adopted it. Four of the ABA teams – Indiana, San Antonio, Denver and New York (now the Brooklyn Nets) eventually merged into the NBA after the ABA’s 10-year run.

The Apollos caught the attention of local fans as Novak’s concept of team play and hustle became the talk of the town. The CYC was the place to be when the Apollos were in town.

On the road, opposing owners looked forward to the visit from the Apollos. Opposing owners knew the biggest crowds of the season could be expected.

Local fans flocked to arenas in Wilkes Barre, Allentown and even Trenton, New Jersey to see the Apollos perform on the road.

Midway through the campaign, the team lost the league’s leading rebounder and its No. three scorer, Lloyd, to the ABA. 

Other teams thought the Apollos would collapse, but management signed Bill Green, who played before under Novak, to fill the void. 

The local fans followed the team in droves, filling buses and private cars, on the way to a championship season. It was considered Scranton’s most successful season of professional basketball as fans chanted loudly, “We’re Number One.”

Art Pachter was team president and visible at the games and throughout the town. Del Shaw was vice president. Charles Mesko was team secretary. Charlie Lee was team trainer. Bob Payton was the public address announcer at the CYC. 

There were eight teams in the EBA back then. Teams played a 28-game season followed by playoffs. Scranton finished 21-7 during the regular season in 1970-71. The other teams included Allentown, Sunbury, Wilkes Barre, Trenton, Hamden, Hartford, Camden and Delaware. There was plenty of strong competition. 

The diminutive guard Willie Somerset, the MVP of the EBA  and its All-Star game, was the team’s leading scorer averaging 26.2 points per game in 1970-71. He also led the EBA in scoring average while finishing third in the league in total points with 683, ninth in assists with 90 and was a first-team league all-star. Charles Wallace of Trenton, the league’s Rookie of the Year, and veteran guard Stan Pawlak of Wilkes Barre, the league leader in assists, finished ahead of him in total points. 

The veteran forward  “Jumping Jimmy” Jackson, who earned the EBA’s Sportsmanship Award, scored 464 points and averaged 16.6 points per game and totaling 267 rebounds for the Apollos. 

Bill Green came onto the team midway to score 478 points and average 20.3 points per game. Lloyd had scored 386 points in 19 games averaging 20.0 per contest. Lloyd also totaled 240 rebounds at the time of his departure to the ABA.

Kelly, a guard, averaged 13.7 points per game and finished eighth in the league in assists with 93. The rugged Scholtz averaged 12.2 points and totaled 255 rebounds. The athletic Jones added 11.8 points per contest. 

The bespectacled veteran Jimmy Boheim, who has gone on to a legendary coaching career at Syracuse University, averaged 14.0 points per game and had 63 assists in 15 games with the team. Boheim, one of the smartest players in the league, was in his fifth year in the EBA and absent for almost half the games due to his coaching assignments at Syracuse. He is one of the EBA’s most heralded players making his mark at the CYC. 

Other team members included the tough Morrow who averaged 9.0 points, Willie Teague, Willie Murrell, Cal Graham, Carey Bailey and Carlton Poole.

Somerset at 5-9, quick as lightning, fun to watch and always hustling, was team captain. Known as the “Little Dynamo,” he was one of three members who played on the Scranton Miners’ 1967 division champion team. Always a fan favorite, he was not only EBA MVP but voted as “Most Popular Apollo.”

Like the ABA, the EBA eventually folded, but in the early to mid 1970’s, the Scranton Apollos ruled the CYC like no other event in town.