Athlete of the Month: Moriah Murray

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore junior Moriah Murray scored her 1,000th career point and three weeks later led her team to another Lackawanna League Division III title.

And then COVID-19 placed a pause in the fate of the Dunmore girls basketball program in the hands of District administrators. 

At press time, a total of three Dunmore girls players tested positive for COVID and because of the timing and state mandated quarentine protocols, the earliest the Lady Bucks can return to action is Friday, March 5. The team is currently seeded second in the Class 4A playoffs, but the dates initially posted by District 2 call for that bracket to begin play Thursday, March 4. 

Eight other Lsckawanna League teams are also on pause due to COVID protocols.

Daughter of Joe Murray and Lynn Plotkin, Moriah said she and her teammates remain prepared, focused and ready for the district playoffs. 

“We are on pause now with nine teams affected due to COVID,” she said. “We won the league title and we’ve been practicing hard. We will be ready for everything. We can’t wait to get going again. We will take it game by game.”

Moriah hit five 3-pointers and scored 21 points as No. 2 Dunmore clinched the Lackawanna League Division III title with a 71-35 win over No. 6 Old Forge Wednesday, February 24. Ciera Toomey added 17 points and Cadence Lewis added 10 points for the Lady Bucks. 

Three weeks prior, Moriah reached a personal milestone scoring her 1,000th career point in a 71-45 win over Holy Cross Wednesday, February 3. The junior standout reached the milestone on a 3-pointer in the third quarter. Moriah scored 15 points in her milestone game. Toomey led the Lady Bucks with 19 points. Anna Talutto added 18.

The Lady Bucks are 16-1 under veteran coach Ben O’Brien going into playoff action.

Moriah took a pause to reflect on her 1,000th point. “It was kinda crazy,” she said.

“You don’t think about the points, but rather about your teammates and coaches who put you in a position to accomplish something like that. My heart stopped when the buzzer sounded… It was just such a great feeling.”

Moriah has a 92 academic average. Her best academic subject is math. She committed to play college basketball at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She will play there with Riverside standout basketball player Kylie Lavelle, another junior and 1,000-point scorer who is a good friend.

“I am undecided on a major, but I am looking forward to playing basketball with Kylie at Drexel. She is a very good friend. We played in AAU leagues together over the years. I am looking forward to the type of intensity of basketball at that level.”

Moriah has learned a lot about the game of basketball from her dad. She started at a young age playing in AAU leagues. She said her parents always taught her to “be myself.”

Confident and articulate, Moriah said her Lady Bucks team has a simple goal. “Get into the districts and win the district playoffs. Then win the state playoffs. We were on our way last year when COVID struck. We feel there is a need to finish off a goal. And we are ready for it. We want a state championship. We don’t want to come up short for any reason. We’ll go game to game until we reach our goal.” 

“I am not even thinking about college now. I am excited about that down the road. But right now I am focusing on Dunmore and our team.”

The junior scholar-athlete is a member of the French Club and TACT at Dunmore. She is also a key member of the Lady Bucks softball team as a shortstop and pitcher.

Moriah started playing in AAU leagues at age seven, “It was such a great experience,” she said. “I picked up so many skills and moves from the other girls in the AAU  leagues.” 

Moriah said she loves Dunmore and her friends and teammates. “I just love the whole Dunmore experience,” she said. “I love the whole town of Dunmore. It is such a small borough. Everyone is so close, especially our basketball team. We have been together through thick and thin.” 

Temperino: A Three-Sport Stalwart at Dunmore

By Steve Svetovich

He was All Regional in football and averages over 11 points and eight rebounds in basketball, yet baseball is his best sport.

That is Dunmore senior three-sport standout Dom Temperino. 

Son of June and Jack Miles, Dunmore, Dom is all about Dunmore High School, having great friends and playing sports.

” I love it here,” he said. 

After being named first team Lackawanna Conference all-star and to the All Regional football team as a defensive end, Dom wasted no time getting ready for the basketball season. 

He made his presence known on the hardwood when he scored seven of his game high 18 points in the fourth quarter of Dunmore’s come from behind win, 57-54, over Riverside Saturday, January 30. He added 10 rebounds in the big win. 

The All Regional senior defensive end recorded 30 tackles and five and one-half sacks in just a five game season for Dunmore. 

He was a four-year member of the Dunmore football team. Dom, 18, is a member of the French Club, TACT and has a 90 academic average. He is a four-year member of the basketball team and also plays baseball for the Bucks.

And with all of his football and basketball accolades, he said baseball is his best sport. Dom plays first and third base for Dunmore and hit .335 as a sophomore. His team was unable to play in his junior year due to COVID-19. 

“I really like baseball the best and look forward to playing this year,” he said. 

Dom said he enjoys playing football for Dunmore coach Kevin McHale. ” He is a great coach and I learned a lot from him.”

A forward averaging 11.2 points per game on the basketball team, Dom said his coach Kevin Clark teaches him about the value of hard work. “Coach Clark tells us we can accomplish anything with hard work. With hard work, it pays off in the end.

“Hard work beats talent.”

The senior scholar-athlete said he will attend West Chester University and study criminal justice in the fall. “I would like to play baseball there. Eventually, I want to become a state policeman or a corrections officer.”

Humble and hard working, Dom said he enjoys listening to music in his spare time and would like to see Motley Crue in concert. 

He talked about goals. “I want to help Dunmore win district titles in both basketball and baseball this year. I want to graduate with honors and go on and do well in college.” 

Dom said he will never forget his experience at Dunmore High School. 

“It is the greatest school and I love being a part of it all,” he said. “Everyone is great here. 

“I would not trade it for anything else in the world.

“Dunmore is the best place to grow up. There is nothing better.” 

Doin’ Dunmore: Remembering the “Dick Clark” of Dunmore

By Steve Svetovich

There was a time in Dunmore when New Year’s Eve was celebrated in November. 

And it lasted for almost a quarter of a century. 

That was when Dunmore’s Billy Weller celebrated his birthday and invited over 500 of his best friends, many from Dunmore, to his annual “Weller Bash” held each year in late November from 1979 into the early 2000’s until his passing. 

Billy was in his early 60’s when he died suddenly in the early 2000’s ending an era of great kinship among close friends.

“It was like New Year’s Eve,” former Dunmore Councilman Joe Tomko said. “I never missed it.”

And once you were invited to the annual Billy Weller Birthday Bash, you were invited for life.

Weller, who worked in the dietary department of the Moses Taylor Hospital and was a statistician for over 30 years at Dunmore’s Schautz Stadium, would hold the annual event for himself and invite over 500 of his best friends at no charge. He expected no gifts.

He would hire eight rock bands who all performed an hour each. The rock bands performed at no charge and were considered his guests. A hot buffet, drinks, cake and all different kinds of pizza and wings would always be served to guests. 

“It was like the Who’s Who,” said former Dunmore Mayor Patrick “Nibs” Loughney who attended every event since its inception.

“It’s something you start looking forward to in September,” he said. “People start talking about it. By October you really look forward to it. It was better than New Year’s Eve.”

The annual birthday celebration began in 1979 at the Steering Wheel, Moosic, where it was held through 1985. Then it was held at the old Palms, Keyser Avenue, Scranton, from 1986 through 1990 before moving to the old Gallagher’s, South Blakely Street, Dunmore, from 1991 through 1998 when the establishment closed. The last several events were held from 1999 until the early 2000’s at St. Stanislaus Hall, Old Forge.

“I never receive regrets,” Weller once said. “And if I invite you once, it is like a lifetime invitation.” 

The initial gig began with about 35 people, but grew over the years to over 500.

Weller called it “a reunion of friends” and for his friends to meet and have a good time.

“Billy had so many friends from so many different walks of life,” Tomko said. “I would look forward to it every year.”

The guest list included Tomko, former Dunmore Mayor Loughney and his wife Donna, former Dunmore Councilman Paul Nardozzi, former Dunmore Councilman James McHale, Jr.; late Dunmore School Director James McHale, Sr.; late Dunmore School Director Al Frioni, Sr., former WBRE-TV weatherman Vince “Said it would be like this” Sweeney who always attended with his sister, local TV photographer Tony Ingargiola, former Dunmore Police Chief Sal Mecca, former Moses Taylor Hospital President Andy Anderson, local community activist Chris DiMatteo, Mike “Sid” Hallinan, Rose and William Grochowski, Michelle and Teddy Gresko, Billy Deininger, Larry Sykes, Steve Gall, Stella Nardozzi, Laurie Nardozzi, Mike Ducas, Matt and Rose Michalek, Dunmore school teachers Richie Sluko, Bill Ross and Bill McDonnell, John and Frannie Loughney, Mark Greenfield, Mike and Sally Celano, Atty. Joe Ferguson, Amy Witko, Tom and Alicia Hallinan, John Farris and various members of local bands.

The lineup of bands included East Coast, Kartune, Take Five, Jim Cullen, Deuce, Double Take, Dakota, Roy Propes and his Elvis Show, Weller’s niece Jennifer Taylor, Billy Sullenberger and his Stones show and Charlie Newcombe, an annual guest who provided the lighting and sound system. One highlight came in 2000 when a couple members of The Buoys,,a high profile rock band of the 1970’s, performed their signature hit, “Timothy.” 

Weller was also a popular local disc jockey who loved music. He enjoyed reading off the list of musicians and usually had a surprise each year to mention during his annual pre birthday bash interviews with The Dunmorean.

His guests usually attended the annual eight-plus hour event from beginning to end, dancing and enjoying the food and drink while not wanting to miss the listed bands perform for an hour each. Billy would end the night with great enthusiasm, as was his nature, prancing, dancing and singing his signature song, “Teenager in Love.” No one wanted to miss that ending.

And if you thought the late Warren Zevon on was “The Excitable Boy,” you should have seen Billy Weller. Another signature moment would come mid way through the event when Billy did “The Twist,” with guests dancing around him. 

Billy hoped to continue with his annual bash into his late 70’s and beyond. “I look at this as a gala,” he once said. “It it like a wedding, a New Year’s Eve event, It is quite an endeavor.”

Weller was the DJ for many years at Dunmore’s annual Crime Watch event. He performed at local weddings, special events and block parties in the Dunmore borough.

“He was the Dick Clark of Dunmore,” Nibs said. 

“He was 62 going on 16.

“He was really amazing, very special. And he is surely missed.”

Today the annual Billy Weller Bash is just a great memory, gone for the past two decades with Billy’s passing. 

But those who attended still smile and never forget.

Billy Weller impacted many. 

It truly was a wonderful life. 

And November will never be quite the same in Dunmore.