YATESVILLE — Kathy Healey couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the first half, with Jamie Chisdock banking in a 3-pointer well beyond the arc.
The Pittston Area head coach also saw toughness in her team in the final 16 minutes.
Alexa Noone netted 17 off the bench, 13 in the second half and Marley O’Brien had a team-high 19 points to lead the Patriots past rival Wyoming Area, 70-57, in the championship of the Pittston Holiday Tournament Wednesday.
In the third-place game, Lake-Lehman jumped out to a big lead and never looked back en route to a 54-22 victory over East Stroudsburg South.
Pittston Area’s Taryn Ashby was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, finishing with 15 in the championship – including 11 of 14 from the charity stripe. O’Brien, Noone, Wyoming Area’s Katie Wolfgang and Sarah Holweg and Lehman’s Julia Eneboe were selected to the all-tournament team.
“Coming in, we knew that they were taller than us,” Healey said. “We knew we had to crash the boards. We’ve been working hard on rebounding and taking care of the ball. We want to limit the turnovers, and I think we did a real nice job of that tonight. This is big for our confidence. They need to know they are good, and they need to pull out these close games to know they are really good.”
To say the championship was physical would be an understatement.
Need proof? Just look at the stat line on foul shots where a total of 61 were attempted.
As a matter of fact, free throws, nifty runners and floaters by Holweg kept the Warriors in striking distance – despite 3-point buckets not falling.
Wyoming Area was just 2 of 21 from behind the 3-point arc.
“We are working on the inside game, and we still have some progress we have to make there,” Wyoming Area head coach Chad Lojewski said. “We work with the tools that we have, and we’ve been making our 3-pointers. But when they don’t fall, it doesn’t look too pretty. But when they fall, it looks awfully good.”
The Warriors had a chance, down 49-41 entering the final quarter, and trimmed the deficit to just seven early in the period.
Pittston Area, though, had two key factors — namely, a hot-handed Noone off the bench and clutch free-throw shooting.
Noone dropped seven through the nets in the fourth, and the Patriots knocked down 10 of 11 from the charity stripe in the final eight minutes.
Together, it was too much for the Warriors to rally from as their rivals used a 13-5 run to build a 70-52 lead late.
“Alexa has all the talent in the world. She just has to realize it,” Healey said. “We leave her on the bench to start the game because she watches and knows exactly what she needs to get done once she gets in there.”
Pittston took a 13-5 edge after the first quarter, one where Wyoming Area connected on just 1 of 7 from the floor and turned the ball over five times.
The Patriots never looked back – scoring 20 in the second quarter and 21 in the fourth.
Holweg had a game-high 21 points, while Wolfgang ended with 12. Addison Orzel also put together a nice game off the bench, dropping 11 through the net with six rebounds.
“Right now, we are just trying to find our best rotation,” Lojewski said. “Addison had a really good tournament. She played some great games. We just have to find a way to get the right mixture in there, and it’s back to the drawing board before next week. We just can’t give up 70 points and outscore people. We have to work on defense and be patient. We are closing the gap, but we want to eventually beat a team like Pittston.”
In the third-place game, Lehman’s defense stifled the Cavaliers.
East Stroudsburg South missed all nine shots in the first quarter, and turned the basketball over 17 times in the opening half alone.
By then, the Black Knights were off and running, up 18-2 after the first quarter and 29-9 at the break.
“We did a real nice job on the boards, and we got some good shots early in the game,” Lehman head coach Charlie Lavan said. “The girls work hard and never lose confidence. This is a good starting point for them as we will get into division play now. I just hope we can carry the confidence over to league play.”
Eneboe and Miranda Parry each had 11 in the victory.
Monday night results
It didn’t even take Wyoming Area a full half to establish control of its girls basketball game Monday night at the Pittston Area Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament.
It took Pittston Area less time to establish its dominance.
Taryn Ashby and Kirsten Durling both scored 12 points as Pittston Area peppered Lake-Lehman, 62-24, in the nightcap of a semifinal doubleheader at Pittston Area High School.
That came right after Wyoming Area walloped East Stroudsburg South, 72-35, setting up a showdown between the cross-river rivals at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the tournament finals.
Neither game Monday was especially riveting after halftime, mainly because both Wyoming Area and Pittston Area battered their competition with remarkable scoring balance.
Nicole Wright led Wyoming Area with 13 points, but Lydia Edwards finished with 11, Katie Wolfgang added 10 and Sarah Holweg and Addison Orzel combined for 17 more in the Warriors’ win.
“It was a great overall team effort,” Wyoming Area coach Chad Lojewski said. “Eleven of the 15 girls scored.”
Pittston Area’s offensive attack was equally impressive.
While juniors Ashby and Durling were splitting 24 points, Megan Cummings finished with 10, while Marley O’Brien and Jamie Chisdock both scored eight and Alexa Noone wound up with seven.
“The first couple games, maybe we didn’t share the ball as much as we’d like to,” Healey said. “We really worked on that in practice. I thought they all had some good moves. I thought Alexa Noone showed some moves, Kirsten Durling showed some of her moves and Taryn (Ashby) had a great game.
“They looked for the open player a lot.”
They also played stellar defense.
The Patriots held Lehman – struggling to score in the early season – to just three points in the first quarter, to 12 points at halftime and didn’t surrender a single point in the final stanza.
Lehman received a game-high 13 points from Julia Eneboe – on the strength of her four 3-point field goals – but managed just four baskets and two foul shots the rest of the night.
Meanwhile, Pittston Area put to rest any suspense early, bursting out of the blocks on a 13-0 run fueled by four points apiece from Chisdock and O’Brien. Ashby added a three-point play in the first quarter and a 3-point field goal in the second as the Patriots extended their advantage to 31-12 by intermission.
“I think they’re getting their confidence down,” Healey said of her Patriots, the defending District 2 champion. “It shows, when they’re playing with confidence.”
Wyoming Area didn’t waste much time, either.
Wolfgang scored seven of her 10 points in the first quarter and Wright added five more as the Warriors whipped up a 20-5 lead after the opening quarter.
Then Orzell diminished any comeback hopes East Stroudsburg South was entertaining, as she scored all eight of her points in the second quarter to give the Warriors a 39-15 lead by halftime.
“We had a nice, quick start,” Lojewski said. “We do have a quality, athletic team. High-energy team, too.
“It was a positive first two quarters.”
Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski. Reach Tom Fox at 570-655-1418 or by email at email@example.com.