WILKES-BARRE — Defending its district championship wouldn’t be easy – Pittston Area knew that. The last two times the Lady Patriots played the Cougars, it was Hazleton Area coming out with the win.
And by the time the final buzzer sounded at Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, the Patriots wouldn’t be taking home gold. Instead, the Patriots finished the season 18-7 and send off a group of seniors who had a 40-11 mark over the past two years.
Pittston Area’s run was halted by Hazleton Area in a 70-32 loss in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 2 Class AAAA championship game. That, however, doesn’t take away from what a quartet of seniors did in the last two years.
Jamie Chisdock, Marley O’Brien, Megan Cummings and Rachel Ferrance held Pittston Area to a district championship last season, the first in school history. They’ll go down in the history books at Pittston Area with a gold and now a silver medal.
“The seniors led us to this silver medal,” Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey said. “I told them to be proud and hold their heads up high. I can’t say enough about them.”
O’Brien finished her career as a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 First Team all-star. She scored a team-high 17 points and added another 11 rebounds in the loss to Hazleton Area.
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.
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,” Healey said of the Cougars. “They were the better team tonight. We thought we could dig ourselves out of the hole but we didn’t have it.”
Friday night’s game marked the sixth time the two teams have played in the past two season. Heading into the game, Hazleton Area beat Pittston Area twice in the Wyoming Valley Conference regular season.
“We didn’t play our best tonight,” Healey said. “They played amazing.”
The Patriots road to the district championship game wasn’t an easy one. Earning the third seed, the Patriots were matched up with Williamsport in the first round subregional at Holy Redeemer.
Pittston Area was led by Taryn Ashby in a 53-37 win that saw the Patriots hold the Millionaires to just three points in the third quarter. Following the win over Williamsport, it was off to the semifinals.
Against Wallenpaupack at Mid Valley, Durling poured in a game-high 17 points to power the Patriots back to the district championship game.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick