Area Coaches Adjusting To New Format
WILKES-BARRE — If it is the Sunday before the start of a new basketball season, it is time for the basketball coaches from the Wyoming Valley Conference to get together and talk some hoops.
At their annual preseason press conference, the conference’s girls basketball coaches talked about their teams, the new power rating system that is being implemented for this season as well as the end-of-season tournament that is planned where a true Wyoming Valley Conference champion will be crowned.
In the past, coaches could use nonconference games as way of figuring out roles and rotations. With the new power rating system in place, strength of schedule is taken into account, and for teams that have strengthened their nonconference schedule, that is going to help the overall power rating with opponents’ winning percentage being taken into account. That means this season, every game weighs the same.
“You just have to make sure through your scrimmages everybody is prepared and understands their roles,” said new Nanticoke Area head coach Ed Grant. “We start off with North Schuylkill and North Pocono. They are two traditional powers, but that is going to help our power rating. You just have to make sure everybody is ready to go.”
In that scenario, strength of schedule does matter.
For a team like Valley West that is looking to improve upon last year’s 12-12 finish, that means working a little bit harder in the preseason to get ready for the season to begin.
“To me, it means working even harder before we get started with these games,” said Valley West coach Gary Ferenchick. “We as coaches understand that and the kids need to understand that. We are pushing them a little harder, but we have to get ready for the games no matter what. There is nothing but great competition in the Wyoming Valley Conference and the Lackawanna Conference.”
As far as the end of season conference tournament is concerned, the three division winners and the team with the highest power rating after the division winners will be the four teams to compete for an overall WVC title.
Obviously, that tournament will be conducted at the end of the regular season. But in order to make it work and to have enough time to fit that conference tournament in prior to the start of the district playoffs, the regular season schedule has been condensed. Teams still play the same number of conference games, but the conference season begins Dec. 19, and there will be two conference games played before Christmas.
It also means there will be two weeks during the conference schedule where teams will be playing three games in a week.
Along with Grant at Nanticoke Area, Amanda Golden is the new coach at Tunkhannock, while Vincent Vella takes over at MMI Prep.
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