Zoscin, Kuczynski, Searfoss All-State
Emma Kuczynski, Tamaqua
Emily Zoscin, Weatherly
Skyler Searfoss, Jim Thorpe
Sure, Emily Zoscin has been here before.
But this time it’s different.
Already a two-time all-state selection, Zoscin capped her most accomplished season yet with first team honors Friday when the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Girls Basketball teams were announced.
After leading the Wreckers to a second straight District 11 title and a berth in the PIAA Class 1A quarterfinals, it was a fitting end for one of the program’s most accomplished players.
“It means a lot to me just to see her progress,” said Weatherly head coach Kevin Kringe. “This is like the icing on the cake in terms of her career, for her to kind of go out on top. You always talk about being the best you can be, and here you are first team all-state in Class A.
“And not only her success, but we also had team success, which is totally awesome. I’m so proud of her, and how hard she’s worked to develop her game, and how hard our team worked together to have success, and with that comes some of these accolades, which is awesome.”
A pair of underclassmen – Jim Thorpe freshman Skyler Searfoss and Tamaqua junior Emma Kuczyinsky – were selected for the first time. Kuczynski was named to the Class 4A second team, while Searfoss, the Times News/Lehigh Valley Health Network Girls Basketball Player of the Year, was tabbed to the third team.
All three players helped their squads achieve tremendous success this past season. As the Wreckers wrapped up back-to-back district crowns, the Olympians put together an undefeated season that included the program’s first Schuylkill League title, a berth in the district title game and an appearance in the state playoffs.
The Raiders also qualified for the league playoffs and advanced to the state tournament after winning a district consolation game against Northwestern.
More often than not, they were at their best when it mattered most.
“I was watching her as an eighth grades, she was very athletic and she could get to the basket pretty much at will,” said Kringe. “She still had that throughout her four years with me. But the biggest thing I think is her ability to make her teammates better.
“Her assists went up each year, her outside shooting improved each year. Just the little nuances of how to direct the offense, how to close games out by making different plays is where she really grew the most.”
Zoscin, who was a was a Third Team Class A selection the last two years, averaged 17.85 points per game this past season, good for fifth best in the area, and finished her career with 1,703 points. She also averaged nine rebounds per game, 4.9 assists and 5.1 steals. Zoscin collected 745 career rebounds, 480 steals and 360 assists.
As a team, Weatherly averaged 56.63 ppg. and recorded 130 three-pointers, both the best marks in the area.
More than any statline she put up, it was Zoscin’s competitiveness that will stick with Kringe the most.
“Probably our first district title game, you could just see in her eyes that she was going to will us to victory,” Kringe recalled of the win over Nativity. “I felt very confident when I was looking at her coming out for that game last year, because she just had that look in her eye. I thought, ‘Oh boy, she’s ready to roll. We’re going to be OK.’
“She’s the hardest worker we have at practice, she’s always the first one doing sprints; she doesn’t take a play off. Sometimes I have to sit her down for practice, because she doesn’t know when to stop. But that’s her mentality: She’s going to go after you, go as hard as she can all the time, 100 percent. That’s what I loved about her competitiveness.”
Kuczynski averaged 20.96 ppg., second best in the area, while Searfoss tallied 18.68 ppg, the fourth best scoring average. Searfoss also made 163 of her 203 free throw attempts, an .803 clip that was the best in the area.
A double-double machine, Kuczynski finished the year averaging 10.5 rebounds per game as well as 3.3 assists and 4.2 steals for Tamaqua. Always improving, Kuczynski averaged 18.17 points per game as a freshman and 18.38 as a sophomore.
“Just seeing Emma grow since her freshman year to where she is now, and just how much she has developed to be an all-around great player, she’s more than deserving of this awesome accomplishment,” said Raiders’ head coach Erika Davis. “It just kinda summarized her junior year in a nutshell to be named to an all-state team like this.
“She’s just a complete player. She’s got it offensively and defensively, she does a lot for us. She defends very well, she rebounds, she steals, she assists; she fills all the statistical categories. She’s just an all-around complete player, and on top of that, she’s a great leader for us as well. She’s a gamer, and she has that fire in her eye and she doesn’t like to lose. She’ll do everything in her power to make all of her teammates around her better, and play her best game.”
Searfoss led a wave of talented players that helped Jim Thorpe roll to a 22-0 regular season and win its first 26 games of the year, showing remarkable versatility throughout her phenomenal campaign, averaging five rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.5 steals per game.
“Skyler has an unbelievable court sense,” Olympians’ head coach Rob Kovac has said previously of Searfoss. “She sees the whole floor and her composure allows her to make outstanding decisions with the ball.”