YATESVILLE – Honesdale ended Dallas’ season a year ago, though there was plenty of drama as the Mountaineers erased a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
When the teams met in Saturday’s District 2 Class 3A quarterfinals, Dallas fell behind by 16 in the third quarter before making a ferocious comeback.
But like last season, Dallas was never able to take the lead, falling 73-64 to the Hornets at Pittston Area.
With the win, the No. 6 seed (21-3) will move on to play No. 2 seed Holy Redeemer, a 39-30 winner over Abington Heights. Dallas, the tourney’s third seed, ended its season 18-5.
“It seemed like we worked so hard to close the gap and then they would get an easy basket,” Dallas coach Kelly Johnson said. “It really took the wind out of our sails.”
The teams piled up points early, combining for 30 in the first five minutes. The Hornets, though, took over the final minutes of the quarter, turning a 16-14 Honesdale lead into a 28-16 advantage early in the second.
The lead kept growing, fueled mainly by a career-high 30 points by sophomore Tasha Hessling. She was an unstoppable force, making nearly half of Honesdale’s shots and also pulling down a team-high 12 rebounds.
The Hornets did not have a cold shooter on the floor, hitting 60 percent (12-of-20)
in the first quarter and continuing strong at 49 percent (28-of-57) for the game. Meanwhile, Dallas made just 35 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the line.
“It felt like they didn’t miss,” Johnson said of Honesdale. “We made some (defensive) adjustments specifically for this game and they still got open looks at the basket. We weren’t horrible, but we did leave eight points on the line and missed some easy shots.”
Hessling’s stickback three minutes into the third quarter made the Hornets’ lead 51-35 and had the Honesdale faithful looking forward to this week’s games.
But like last season’s stall that opened the door to a Dallas rally, Honesdale appeared to tweak its offense -- no longer running plays through Morgan Burmelin, who had seven first-half assists and none after intermission.
Ashley Dunbar scored nine straight points for the Mountaineers, followed by six from Talia Szatkowski. A Dallas outburst was formed on turnovers forced by Jessica Hiscox and Szatkowski, as well as the persistence on the glass shown by Szatkowski and Dunbar. The nine-point run by Dunbar ended with a three from the right wing, making it 53-44. Szatkowski’s six straight cut the deficit to 55-50 late in the third quarter.
Sam Missal’s jumper from the right corner midway through the fourth helped Dallas trim the Hornets’ lead to 64-60 and Katy Comitz’s shot from the same spot a little more than two minutes later made it 67-64 with 1:45 remaining. The Mountaineers forced another turnover and had a shot to tie go awry.
“This group accomplished a lot this year,” Johnson said. “I’ve been coaching this group of seniors for years, moving up the ranks with them from middle school. They’re good kids, they play hard and we had a lot of laughs. I’ve been fortunate to be around them.”
Szatkowski had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Dallas, while Dunbar posted 17 points. Hiscox added 11 points, Tanner Englehart grabbed nine rebounds and Comitz had five assists for Dallas.
Behind Hessling’s career night was another sophomore, Katie Miller, who scored 25 points.
Mary Martin 3 3-6 9, Jess Carney 1 0-0 2, Morgan Brumelin 0 0-1 0, Katie Miller 9 4-4 25, Kacie Johannes 2 0-0 6, Taylor Parenti 0 0-0 0, Tasha Hessling 13 4-5 30, Katelyn Pfeil 0 1-2 1. Totals 28 12-18 73.
: Ashley Dunbar 5 6-12 17, Tanner Englehart 1 0-0 2, Talia Szatkowski 8 2-2 18, Jessica Hiscox 4 0-1 11, Sam Missal 3 0-0 7, Katy Comitz 3 0-0 7, Rachel Olszewski 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 8-16 64.
— HON 5 (Miller 3, Johannes 2); DAL 6 (Hiscox 3, Dunbar, Missal, Comitz).