Cecelia Collins helped the Scranton Prep girls basketball team continue its winning ways.
In a season-opening 71-27 win over Wallenpaupack, the senior scored 16 points. Then in an early-season showdown, Collins had 20 points, seven rebounds and five steals as the top-ranked Classics rallied past No. 2 Dunmore, 50-45, to run their winning streak to 29 games dating to last season.
Here is more from Collins’ Athlete of the Week interview:
Other sports I play: I play soccer in the fall, I’m the varsity goalie. I plan on throwing the javelin in the spring.
Favorite sports teams: I’m a big fan of the Villanova basketball team, the 76ers, Eagles and Phillies.
Athletes I admire: Sabrina Ionescu. She plays in the WNBA now. She played at Oregon. I really like her. I think she’s a really good team player and asserts herself in every single game she plays. My favorite men’s basketball player is LeBron James. He’s a really good player, obviously one of the best. I strive to play somewhat like him.
Favorite food: BLT
Superstitions and rituals: I wear the same socks. Last year I wore these plain white socks for every game. This year I have a pair of Bucknell socks. I wore them for the first game and I felt like we played well as a team, so I’ll just be wearing those. They’re white with the Bucknell “B” that’s half blue, half orange.
Three people I’d like to have dinner with: My grandfather James Haggerty, who passed away in 2011; LeBron James; and my grandmother Cecelia Haggerty
What was the key to the comeback against Dunmore? Definitely our defense. We kind of have that defensive mindset. Even if our offense isn’t working great for us, we just rely on our defense. Our aggressive play is what helps us win games.
With five seconds left, you made a steal that led to the game-clinching free throws. What is it like being at the line in that situation? I just try to be as confident as possible. Hit that first one and the next one will come. I missed two before that, so I wasn’t happy about that. But I just tried to put them aside and focus on hitting the two to win the game.
Talk about the defense you played against Dunmore’s Ciera Toomey. You held her scoreless for the first 10 minutes and limited her to just 10 points in the game: Ciera is an amazing player. I give her props for how good she has gotten. She’s really tough. I just tried my best on her and tried to stay tough in the post. Obviously she has a height advantage. Luckily, my teammates were able to catch some of the lob passes they tried to throw to her. But I just tried my best, stayed aggressive and not give up on her in the post.
The team has won 29 straight games. Is there any pressure mounting because of the streak or is it something you don’t think about? Honestly, that isn’t a goal we ever put into place. To have a winning streak or go undefeated. It’s a nice thing to have, but that’s not something we really focus on. We just take it one game at a time and try our best ever time we go out on the floor.
How tough was it to have your undefeated season abruptly taken away last year due to the coronavirus pandemic? I think it’s going to help us this season because we have that chip on our shoulder. We’re just going to come out and play every game like it’s our last game because it could be our last. We know this is the seniors’ last ride. This is me and Rachael (Rose’s) last time playing together and that’s just something really big to us since we’ve played together since sixth grade. So just go out and play hard every single time.
But it was very disappointing (last year). The fact that it kept getting postponed made it worse. We never got that closure. It wasn’t a good feeling not knowing what could happen. But we’re just focused on this year and that end goal of a state championship.
How good is it to be playing finally this season? It’s an amazing feeling to be back on the court after 10 months. What is it like playing with a mask? It’s tough. But I feel like once you get in the rhythm of the game, you kind of forget it is there. I went through a couple different kinds of masks, like cloth ones, disposable ones. I found the disposable ones are a little bit lighter and easier to wear. So I’ve been wearing those throughout the game.
You are continuing your academic and athletic careers at Bucknell University. It’s an amazing school and an amazing program. It was kind of an easy decision for me. I got real close with the coaching staff and close with players coming in and it’s not too far away. I’m really excited for it. I don’t know what I’m going to major in yet. How does making your college decision let you just focus on playing your senior season? I think I’ve gotten more confident because of it. Obviously, it’s a weight lifted off your shoulders knowing where you are going to college. Just having it out of the way and not having to worry about it. There was a lot of pressure my junior year and junior AAU season, just wondering if I would have a chance to play Division I basketball. Now I don’t have to think about it.
During more than 30 years at The Times-Tribune, Scott has covered everything from high schools to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. His current beats include motor sports, local colleges, high school cross country and high school baseball. He also is a copy editor and page designer. His articles have won awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors, American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Eastern Motorsports Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Keystone Press. He also has been honored by the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League and the Minor League Football Alliance. In 2016, he was presented the Media Service Award by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. A Long Island, New York, native, Scott graduated from the University of Scranton in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He lives in Peckville with his wife, Andrea, and daughters, Bridget and Emily. Contact him at email@example.com; 570-348-9100, x5109; or @swalshTT on Twitter