The 20-loss seasons are in the not-so distant past for the Central Bucks West girls basketball team. There were talented girls, but the wins did not add up. But the Bucks have won 59 games over the last three seasons, one of those constants being Nicole Munger. The 5-9 combo guard has been a consistent scorer and recently nabbed first team all-state honors in her junior season.
Coach Terry Rakowsky was adamant he had at least five girls that could lead the team in scoring, but it just happens to be the Michigan commit. Maybe its because Munger made sure she was involved in every play and wanted the ball in her hands at crunch time. Munger averaged 15.5 points per game for the state playoff team.
North Penn's Vicky Tumasz was honored as a third-team selection.
"Coach Terry always says look where we came from,' Munger said. "It has been a lot of hard work. I played with the Fabians, Colloys, and Parkers that were on those (struggling) teams. The way are team works now I will just get the ball and go. I just want to win. All-state is humbling.'
The Bucks made the state playoffs for the second straight year, but there is a feeling of something left to be desired. Munger believes her team has the potential to be in Cumberland Valley's shoes. CV won a state title after beating West 46-43 in the first round.
"Things changed as soon as coach Terry came around,' Munger said. "He is a great coach who has done great things with us. When the season ended we were devastated, but it was a great success to make states.'
Munger does not go a day without a ball in her hand and never stopped working on her game and improving every aspect. The individual accolades are nice, but it is the team trophy is really what the Bucks' captain is looking for in her upcoming senior season. Next year the Bucks return their top seven scorers.
"Individually it feels great, but next year we want some team stuff too,' Munger said. "I want to work on my pull-up, my strength and speed. I also need to get better at my on-the-ball defense. It is going to be a lot of hard work, but it will be fun.'
The experience returning is what fueled high expectations for the Bucks this year and what will fuel the squad next year.
The North Penn girls' basketball team's pre-season expectations were not as high as their conference rivals, but by the end of the season the Maidens had a District 1-AAAA title to their name and were front runners to win a state championship when the state tourney started.
It was the emergence of Tumasz that allowed the Maidens to make the state semifinals for a second straight season. Tumasz joined Munger on the all-state list, the 1,000 point scorer under coach Maggie deMarteleire was named to the third team. Tumasz also averaged over 15 points per game for her team that finished the season 26-4 overall.
"The overall experience of playing basketball was a great memory to have,' Tumasz said. "I honestly did not think I would get my 1,000 points. I was like 380 points away after junior year and I thought there was no way I would get it.'
It was an uncertain start to the season for the Maidens because of freshmen being inserted into the lineup and the loss of first-team all-state forward Lauren Crisler. But the freshmen grew up and Tumasz took her talents to the next level. She went from an three-point shooter to a well rounder offensive player and an outstanding perimeter defender.
"We came into the season with three pretty good freshmen,' Tumasz said. "And losing Lauren Crisler nobody expected us to be as good as we were. Our major mind set was being the underdog and proving what we can do.'
As Tumasz has improved her passion basketball has blossomed. She is now a full-fledged hoopster who also plays softball. She credits the career she had under coach deMarteleire, from coming off the bench as a freshman, to playing in two District 1 championship games helping her realize basketball is what she wanted to continue at the collegiate level. Tumasz improved her game immensely thanks to her first season of AAU ball last summer. Now she has a chance to continue her promising career at Shippensburg next season.
"I have been playing softball my whole life and then senior year is when I decided basketball is what I wanted to do,' Tumasz said. "After my junior year I played AAU for the first time. I really concentrated on basketball. I was set on Shipp when I first walked on the campus and supposedly the coach is a lot like coach Maggie. That is a good thing.'