COVINGTON TWP. — A 9-0 deficit is something the Wyoming Area girls basketball team is accustomed to as of late. The Warriors have now dealt with that margin to start their last two playoff games. That margin was quickly erased against Dallas last week.
Unfortunately, that deficit was something the Warriors couldn’t overcome on Monday.
Abington Heights’ Hannah Kowalski scored a game-high 19 points and added six assists to help take down Wyoming Area, 60-44, in the semifinals of the PIAA District 2 Class 3A championships Monday night at North Pocono High School.
The Comets advanced to the district final against Scranton Prep, who beat Nanticoke 40-36 Monday night at Pittston Area H.S. The two teams will square off at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
In four meetings over the past two years, Wyoming Area has yet to figure out how to get past Abington Heights. The Warriors fell to the Comets in the opening round of last year’s district playoffs, 60-29.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way and the shots don’t fall,” Wyoming Area coach Chad Lojewski said. “I thought we had to match up with them physically and I don’t think we did that in the middle quarters.”
That physicality got the best of the Warriors in the second and third quarter – Abington Heights outscored Wyoming Area 22-11. It was the third quarter, however, the Warriors would want back. The Comets busted out a 14-4 advantage in the quarter to take a commanding 41-23 lead into the final stanza.
With the loss, however, Wyoming Area’s season isn’t quite finished. The Warriors will play Nanticoke on Wednesday at a site and time to be announced. The message Lojewski had to his team was a simple one.
“We’re one of four teams that are still playing,” he said. “Even though we lost we still have something to play for. We have an opportunity to play for third place in the district.”
Coming off a school record 44-point night against Dallas in the quarterfinals, Wyoming Area’s Sarah Holweg was limited most of the game thanks to the stout, physical Abington Heights defense that kept her away from the hoop. Holweg scored just two points in the first half and finished with nine overall. She also added six rebounds and three assists.
“It was a little bit of physicality,” Lojewski said. “We knew that coming in and we have to work on that. We have to figure out how to get over the hump against (Abington Heights).”
The Comets had the pressure on Wyoming Area most of the game. The Warriors did their best to stay in it thanks to forward Nicole Wright. The senior scored four straight points late in the second quarter pull the Warriors within four. Kowalski, however, scored the final four points of the half and gave Abington Heights a 27-19 lead at the break.
Wright finished with a double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds. The much smaller Warriors took care of business on the glass, however. Abington Heights outrebound them by just one. Addison Orzel added eight rebounds in the loss.
PIAA District 2 Class AAA semifinals
Abington Heights 60, Wyoming Area 44
WYOMING AREA (44) — Jordan Kelly 2 1-4 5, Aleah Kranson 1 0-0 3, Rachael Solano 1 0-0 3, Sarah Holweg 4 1-2 9, Lydia Edwards 2 1-2 6, Addison Orzel 1 4-6 6, Nicole Wright 6 0-0 12, Jessica Sorick 0 0-0 0, Kristi Skok 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 7-14 44.
ABINGTON HEIGHTS (60) — Tiana Yarns 0 0-0 0, Emma Henzes 0 2-2 2, Hannah Kowalski 8 3-7 19, Nicole Nealon 0 1-2 1, Grace Hambrose 0 0-0 0, Mariah Tulaney 2 0-0 4, Grace Evans 0 0-0 0, Sharon Houlihan 0 0-0 0, Cassie Ksiazek 6 1-4 13, Nicole Getz 4 2-2 11, Alessia Brunori 5 0-2 10. Totals 25 9-19 60.
Three-point goals — WA 3 (Kranson, Solano, Edwards); AH 1 (Getz).
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick