Hot shooting night leads Hazleton Area girls to first District 2 title since 2010


Hazleton Area wins 1st D2 championship since 2010

By Nick Wagner - [email protected]



Hazleton Area girls basketball coach Joe Gavio lifts up Hazleton Area basketball player Mackenzie Yori during the medal ceremony at Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena.


Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

Hazleton Area girls basketball players Maddie Mrochko, left, and Ashley Martincek celebrate their win over Pittston Area in Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena.


Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

Hazleton Area girls basketball coach Joe Gavio reacts to a basket scored by Hazleton Area during Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena.


Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

Hazleton Area’s Mackenzie Yori lays up over Pittston Area’s Portia Weidlich in Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena.


Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

Pittston Area’s Marley O’Brien (32) reaches for a pass in front of Hazleton Area’s Maddie Mrochko during Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena.


Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — Hazleton Area coach Joe Gavio wasn’t sure how Friday night’s game would turn out when he saw his players making every shot they took in warmups. He said that could be a good thing or a bad thing.

It turns out the arena just might be the Cougars’ new favorite place to play.

The top-seed Cougars shot 65 percent from the floor in the first half and shot 55 percent from the field for the game in a 70-32 win over third-seed Pittston Area in the PIAA District 2 Class 4A championship game Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.

The win marks Hazleton Area’s first district championship since 2010 when the team beat Wyoming Valley West.

The Patriots won the Class 4A championship with a win over Hazleton Area last season. With this win, Hazleton Area improves to 21-3 and will face the third seed in District 12 on March 4 in the PIAA Championships.

“We’ve been here,” Gavio said. “We’ve beaten championship teams, and champions are hard to come by. You lose one and you start pressing a little bit. This time we able to take it.”

The Cougars got 65 of their 70 points from their starting lineup. Hazleton Area senior standout Mackenzie Yori scored 16 points in the first half and finished the game with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists.

“She put this team around her and she took them for a ride,” Gavio said. “It was an awesome performance by a kid who is the best player in the area.”

Ashley Martincek finished the game with 14 points and five rebounds. Kendra Pfeil and Maddie Mrochko each had 10 points, while other starter Alyssa Shamany finished with eight points and four assists.

The Cougars, who beat Pittston Area twice this season, jumped out on the Patriots early. Yori scored nine points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer, to open a 23-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. And the shots continued to fall for Hazleton Area.

Hazleton Area, led by seven points from Yori and six points from Martincek in the second, went on an 11-1 run to open the second quarter. Yori’s 3-pointer midway through the quarter put the Cougars up 32-14.

“I couldn’t believe we were up that much when I would look at the scoreboard,” Gavio said. “We were just hot in the first half. I was watching warmups and we were just shooting lights out.”

Pittston Area’s scoring chances were few and far between most of the game. The Cougars used a full-court press the majority of the first half, and the Patriots couldn’t get much going on offense.

Senior Marley O’Brien scored 17 points and added 11 rebounds. Kirsten Durling had seven points in the first half. Pittston Area didn’t help itself at the free throw line either. The Patriots finished just 4 for 16.

“They came to play,” Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey said. “They were the better team tonight. We thought we could dig ourselves out of the hole but we didn’t have it.”

The Cougars opened up a 52-23 edge heading into the fourth quarter. By that time, substitutes were in the game and the only thing left for Hazleton Area to do was lift the championship plaque following the game.

“We put the pedal to the medal a little bit and by that time we were up 20 points,” Gavio said. “They were motivated tonight.”

PIAA District 2 Class 4A Championship

Hazleton Area 70, Pittston Area 32

PITTSTON AREA (32) — Kirsten Durling 3 1-3 7, Mary Silinskie 0 0-0 0, Jamie Chisdock 0 0-0 0, Megan Cummings 0 0-2 0, Portia Weidlich 0 0-0 0, Rachel Ferrance 0 0-0 0, Cherokee Musto 0 0-0 0, Alexa Noone 1 0-0 2, Krista Maurizi 0 0-1 0, Andrea Ruby 1 1-2 3, Marley O’Brien 8 1-3 17, Brooke Gorey 0 0-0 0, Taryn Ashby 1 1-5 3, Kayleigh Walker 0 0-0 0, Megan Mihalka 0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Pendana 0 0-0 0, Emily O’Brien 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 4-16 32.

HAZLETON AREA (70) — Kendra Pfeil 3 4- 5 10, Ally Yale 0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Yori 9 3-4 23, Maddie Mrochko 3 2-7 10, Lauren Pataki 0 0-0 0, Rachel Wech 0 0-0 0, Erica Book 1 0-0 2, Alyssa Shamany 4 0-0 8, Ashley Martincek 5 4-4 14, Alexis Sheeto 0 0-0 0, Jessica Zapotocky 1 0-0 2, Megan Trivelpiece 0 0-0 0, Jaycie Jennings 0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Jones 0 0-0 0, Destiny Houston 0 1-2 1. Totals 26 14-22 70.

Pittston Area`11`7`5`9`—`32

Hazleton Area`23`16`13`18`—`70

Three-point goals — HA 2 (Yori 2).

Hazleton Area girls basketball coach Joe Gavio lifts up Hazleton Area basketball player Mackenzie Yori during the medal ceremony at Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_hazletonpittston01.jpgHazleton Area girls basketball coach Joe Gavio lifts up Hazleton Area basketball player Mackenzie Yori during the medal ceremony at Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena. Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

Hazleton Area girls basketball players Maddie Mrochko, left, and Ashley Martincek celebrate their win over Pittston Area in Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_hazletonpittston02.jpgHazleton Area girls basketball players Maddie Mrochko, left, and Ashley Martincek celebrate their win over Pittston Area in Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena. Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

Hazleton Area girls basketball coach Joe Gavio reacts to a basket scored by Hazleton Area during Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_hazletonpittston03.jpgHazleton Area girls basketball coach Joe Gavio reacts to a basket scored by Hazleton Area during Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena. Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

Hazleton Area’s Mackenzie Yori lays up over Pittston Area’s Portia Weidlich in Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_hazletonpittston04.jpgHazleton Area’s Mackenzie Yori lays up over Pittston Area’s Portia Weidlich in Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena. Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

Pittston Area’s Marley O’Brien (32) reaches for a pass in front of Hazleton Area’s Maddie Mrochko during Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_hazletonpittston07.jpgPittston Area’s Marley O’Brien (32) reaches for a pass in front of Hazleton Area’s Maddie Mrochko during Friday’s District 2 Class 3A Final at Mohegan Sun Arena. Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader
Hazleton Area wins 1st D2 championship since 2010

By Nick Wagner

[email protected]

Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

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