Yonda has plenty of scoring help at Conestoga

Conestoga senior Zack Yonda is among four Pioneers who are averaging more than 10 points a game. Conestoga is 13-2 overall and 9-1 in the Central League. TOM WEISHAAR   
Conestoga senior Zack Yonda is among four Pioneers who are averaging more than 10 points a game. Conestoga is 13-2 overall and 9-1 in the Central League. TOM WEISHAAR   
Posted: January 24, 2014

With the success Conestoga has had this season while sharing the ball, Zack Yonda's scoring average has dropped a bit. But it's not a problem for the senior.

"There are other kids who have the ability to step up for us," he said. "I'm not the type to force a shot if a teammate is open or has a better look at the basket."

The surging Pioneers, who are 13-2 overall and 9-1 in the Central League, have four players averaging 10.8 to 11.8 points per game. Yonda, who averaged 16 points last season, is at the top of that range.

"Teams key on Zack every game, so that frees up some of our other players to contribute," Conestoga coach Mike Troy said. "They've taken advantage of that."

The Pioneers, who have won seven straight since a 47-45 loss to Holy Ghost Prep in a holiday tournament last month, are scheduled to host Central League rival Haverford High (12-4, 7-3) at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.

They may be missing the services of Yonda, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound wing guard. He suffered a concussion in the late going of last Thursday's 56-39 win at Upper Darby.

"We were trying to break the press, I went to catch a pass, an Upper Darby player went to intercept it, and we banged heads," the 18-year-old said.

"I've since had headaches and some trouble with my vision."

Yonda, of Berwyn, said he would return to the court when "the symptoms I'm experiencing clear up."

A first-team all-Central League selection as a junior, Yonda, who netted 21 points in a defeat of Radnor last month, tinkered with his three-point shot in the offseason. "I changed my release point, raising it higher," he said.

Also making solid contributions for Conestoga are 6-4 junior wing guard Andrew Diehl, 6-3 junior forward Martin Dorsey, sophomore point guard Daryl Caldwell, 6-4 junior forward Dan Vila, and junior point guard James VanDeventer.

"Last year, we lost seven games by a total of 15 points," Troy said. "With more experience and unselfish team play, we're winning the close games this year."

When asked about Yonda's strengths, Troy immediately noted his work ethic. "He's the first guy at practice and the last to leave," the coach said. "He works as hard as any player I've ever had."

Yonda, who will play hoops at Swarthmore, is a top-notch student. He has a 4.68 grade point average on a weighted scale and takes advanced placement courses in economics and environmental science.

"I really like that Swarthmore is close to home," he said. "Coach [Landry] Kosmalski began recruiting me last January. He called me every week, and we developed a good relationship."

No. 1 vs. No. 2. The Catholic League showdown between No. 1-ranked Neumann-Goretti and No. 2 Roman Catholic, postponed Wednesday because of the winter storm, has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at Philadelphia University.

N-G (10-3, 5-0) is looking to rebound from Monday's 79-67 loss to Mater Dei (Calif.), which came in ranked No. 2 in the country by MaxPreps.com, in the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.

Roman (12-2, 6-0) has won eight straight since a 42-40 loss to Westchester (Calif.) on Dec. 20 in the 'Iolani Prep Classic in Hawaii.

Tap-ins. The 34 points scored by Central Bucks South's Matt Scamuffo in Friday's 67-61 win over Pennridge were two shy of a school record. James Bowes totaled 36 in 2004-05. Scamuffo, a 6-1 senior guard, is considering four Division III schools: DeSales, Gettysburg, Susquehanna, and York.

Philadelphia Electrical's James Suber, a 6-6 senior forward, has a scholarship offer from Maryland-Eastern Shore. He also has drawn interest from Campbell and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

In a 64-59 loss to Sanford (Del.) on Saturday at Harriton, Martin Luther King's Greg Bennett, a 6-3 senior wing, netted 20 of his 33 points in the second half and grabbed eight rebounds (six on offense).


robrien@phillynews.com

@ozoneinq

www.inquirer.com/ozone

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