As the game clock counted down to under a minute to play South Williamsport basketball coach, Rob Houseknecht knew it was time for a curtain call for his seniors. It wasn’t the way he or his players had hoped the season would end but for Pete Sinibaldi, Cole Lentz, A.J. Flick, Ryan Weinhoffer, Tyler Trojan
As the game clock counted down to under a minute to play South Williamsport basketball coach, Rob Houseknecht knew it was time for a curtain call for his seniors. It wasn’t the way he or his players had hoped the season would end but for Pete Sinibaldi, Cole Lentz, A.J. Flick, Ryan Weinhoffer, Tyler Trojan and Ian Dunlap their high school basketball days were ending in the District Four AA third-place game at the hands of the Bloomsburg Panthers.
They had helped the Mountaineers make the playoffs for the first time in five years, but that was now a small consolation as the certainty of defeat clouded their season’s goal of making the playoffs.
“Where we’ve come from has been a positive experience this year,” said four-year varsity member and team captain Sinibaldi. “The team hasn’t been to the playoffs in five years, but it would have been great to win the district championship this year. That is the one disappointment I have.”
Disappointment aside Sinibaldi will always be able to look back on his basketball playing days at South with pride and enjoyment.
“We’ve come a long way. Since third grade, I looked up to the high school players. When I was little, they always made it to the playoffs, and I wanted to someday get to the playoffs myself. This has meant a lot to me to finally achieve that goal and have those kids playing in our elementary basketball program be able to look up to me and remember my name just like I did the varsity players when I was younger.
“We all played together on our Eighth Grade team and had a very successful season. These guys have been my friends since we started school. Now that we are seniors it has been nice to develop our game together and see ourselves get better game to game. It has meant a lot to have those guys side-by-side and has made things a lot easier.”
For Houseknecht, Sinibaldi has been a key ingredient in helping South Williamsport turn their basketball fortunes in the right direction.
“I think he has grown each and every year. He is a kid that puts in the time throughout the year and is always trying to get better. He has definitely progressed over the past four years.
“For us, his leadership has been one of the big things. He has stepped up being a leader. He had a similar role last season with the baseball team where the team went on to win a District championship, and that leadership has carried over into basketball. He has helped our younger players and shown the way for our players who have never experienced the playoffs.”
“My first two years on varsity I was just a role player,” responded Sinibaldi. “My junior year was the first time I began to be looked at as a team leader. During the past two years, I’ve learned a lot of leadership skills and how to respond when the team needed me and get the other players involved.”
Sinibaldi capped off his senior year as one of Lycoming County’s top scoring threats — averaging 18 points a game and being named to the first team Heartland Conference all-league team.
“I’ve always thought of myself as a scorer and taken on that goal to help the team as much as I could. Making the first team in the Heartland Conference really means a lot to me because other people have seen how my work has come to fruition. It feels good because I know I’ve worked hard at the sport and that honor is something I can hold showing those efforts have paid off.”
Sinibaldi’s interest in sports was homegrown.
“Basketball and baseball are the two sports I’ve been interested in since I was little. My dad didn’t play basketball but always had the games on TV and I would watch with him. My mom enjoys basketball. So it is something I’ve just grown up with and have since loved to enjoy playing both sports.”
“My parents [Kathie & Pete] have been very supportive, and I’ve really appreciated that. There are probably only a couple of games they have missed during my entire high school career. To have them in my corner is the best feeling in the world to know they are there for me no matter what I do, bad game or good game. They’ve helped me become a better person, and I’m very grateful to them.”
Sinibaldi has always been a Penn State fan, and his passion will grow even deeper as he heads off to college.
“I’m really happy that I’ve been accepted to the main campus beginning in the fall. I am planning on getting a degree in marketing and see where that will take me once I graduate from college.”
As for memories, Sinibaldi has a basket full.
“My greatest memories from high school will be my friends and all the laughs and good times we’ve had over the years. I’ll also remember those teachers and coaches who have touched me and helped along the way and molded me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t be the same without any of them.”
- August 14, 2019
- August 14, 2019