EXETER – Whether they’re taking in a youth basketball game, a college game or anything in between, the coach and the coach’s daughter are going to critique and discuss what they see.
Wednesday night, for the fourth time since Shavertown’s Chad Lojewski took the girls basketball coaching job at Wyoming Area while his daughter, Sara, was still in her high school career at Dallas, they had the chance to analyze each other.
Sara could not help but be impressed with what she was up against on the floor when Chad’s team put together its best half of the season in a 46-point offensive output over the first two quarters.
Likewise, Chad had to be pleased with what he saw from an opponent he was both trying to stop and deep down hoping would perform well.
Sara’s strong second half on both ends of the floor kept Wyoming Area from turning the game into a laugher, but the Lady Warriors never lost control on the way to a 62-48 victory that evened the score, giving Dad two wins to match his daughter’s two.
For all the excitement the anticipation of the matchup has created in the Lojewski household the last three seasons, Chad would be just as happy if the series ended without either getting a chance to break that tie – unless, of course, the teams can get together at the Mohegan Sun Arena for the District 2 Class 4A championship at the start of March.
“I would rather not at this point, as a father,” Chad said when asked if he wanted to repeat the matchup. “We made a nice point tonight and we did it on our home floor.
“I’m happy to move away from it, unless it’s at the arena. That would be fun.”
Without such huge stakes, another playoff rematch – Wyoming Area ended the 2015-16 Dallas season in the district tournament – might simply be stressful.
“I’d love to see their team in the playoffs because I want his team to do well and I have a lot of friends on the team,” Sara said, “but, obviously, they kicked our butts tonight.”
Wednesday’s game also provided a change of pace for Carol Lojewski, Chad’s wife and Sara;’s mother.
On most Wyoming Valley Conference league nights, Carol has texting duties, getting the basic information to Chad for whenever he gets a chance to peek at his phone and see how Sara is doing in her game miles away. On a good night, there might be time for a glance on the way to or from the locker room for a halftime update. On a tougher night at Wyoming Area, Chad might have to catch up and read back through the texts later to see how the game unfolded.
It is only about a third of the time – including when Sara helped Dallas defeat defending WVC Division 1 champion Hazleton Area on Senior Night – that Chad can see for himself.
The man who did much of Sara’s basketball coaching from kindergarten through eighth grade and a bit more during the summers until last year offered a positive review of that performance.
After adding a hug to the fist bump that other Dallas players got during pregame introductions, the Lojewskis were clearly in competition mode once the game started.
“I don’t really get nervous or excited for many of my games,” Sara said, “but for this one I get excited because he doesn’t get to come to many of my games.
“I could hear him screaming on the sideline.”
That included when Chad added a critique of game officials, asking for a traveling call on an early drive to the basket by Sara. Later, he claimed to be trying to help her as much as the men in stripes.
“She shuffled her feet,” Chad said. “That’s the only way she’s going to learn.”
By now the Lojewskis know each other’s games well, leaving little reason to even attempt to keep secrets about each other’s teams. The assessments and discussions go both ways. Chad is proud of his daughter’s maturity and their ability to “speak freely.”
When Sara watches her father’s team play, as she did Jan. 21 in a Saturday afternoon win at Hanover Area, she’ll tell him if she sees talent in a younger player who she believes Chad should give a few more minutes.
There has been a lot to discuss this season. Each has a winning team, a title contender, but perhaps with the potential to do a little more than it has so far this season.
For Wyoming Area that potential was on display in a 27-point first quarter that created the highlight of what has been a sometimes-frustrating season of a team that is close, but not quite there after coming within a double-overtime playoff loss of reaching the state tournament last season.
The Lady Warriors finished the first half 7-for-10 on 3-pointers.
When they were not hitting 3s, everything the coach has taught or drawn up seemed to be working. Wyoming Area ran the floor for easy transition baskets and expertly executed pick-and-rolls from half-court sets on the way to shooting 60 percent in the half, building a 46-24 lead.
“They were definitely excited and ready to beat us,” Sara said. “And, they could not miss from anywhere on the court.”
Sara was a big part of giving Dallas hope in the second half when the Mountaineers closed within 12 points twice. She finished second on the team in scoring and rebounding.
Maddie Kelley led Dallas with 21 points. Lauren Charlton grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive end.
Lojewski finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. She scored eight points in the fourth quarter and also had 10 of her rebounds, along with her second steal and second assist of the night during the second half.
Sarah Holweg led Wyoming Area with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
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