SCRANTON — They may meet again down the road.
But on this particular point on their path to big plans, the Holy Redeemer Royals had to stop and think.
Madison Ashby and Scranton Prep didn’t even think twice about defending their reputation as the District 2 Class 3A kingpin, staving off Redeemer in the final 74 seconds Monday emerge with a 52-47 high school girls basketball victory in a game billed as an early-season preview of the district title game.
“It’s hard to look past this,” said Holy Redeemer coach Chris Parker, whose team has designs on taking the district. “These are the games you need to find a way to win. In order to win a district title, we are going to have to go through Scranton Prep. A devastating loss.”
The defending District 2 champion Classics saw things through to the end Monday, scoring seven of the game’s final nine points after Alana Wilson’s three-point play for Redeemer tied the game at 45 with 1:25 remaining.
Ashby responded by sinking two foul shots for the last of her 15 points, and Prep never lost the lead again.
The Classics held it for most of the night, taking a breather from being the front-runner only twice on the night. Redeemer’s Alexis Lewis buried the first of her four 3-point goals to tie the game at 7-all with 2:45 to play in the first quarter, and Wilson’s late layup and foul shot evened things again with 85 seconds to play in the game.
Prep, which shot out to a 7-2 lead on its home floor, trailed just once. And that deficit lasted about 10 seconds.
“The statement I was trying to make with my team is, we lost in the Lynett Tournament and we only scored 28 points,” Scranton Prep coach Ross Macciocco said. “It’s an exhibition (non-league) game and you want to always play the best teams. They’re one of the better teams in that (Wyoming Valley) area and surely we’ll see them down the road.”
Redeemer saw plenty of Prep’s power-packed lineup Monday.
Forward Tricia Byrne scored 15 points, 6-foot-3 center Bridget Walsh posed plenty of defensive problems inside before fouling out late and a press defense led by Sam Genco made Redeemer’s normally-fluid offense appear sluggish.
But the biggest factor was Ashby, who not only finished with 15 points, but hounded Lewis on the defensive end.
“Madison has really matured as a player,” Macciocco said. “She’s always looking - ‘Where do you want us, what are we in?’ She’s playing the ball on the floor and playing solid defense for us. It’s good.”
Ashby got the Classics off to a pretty strong start, drilling a 3-pointer among her seven points in the first quarter to get Prep out to a 13-9 lead. The advantage grew to eight points in the second quarter before Lewis’ 3-pointer pulled Redeemer within 24-23 at halftime.
Rebecca Prociak finally put the Royals on top with two free throws to open the second half, but Prep stormed back with four points by Byrne and a bucket apiece from Ashby and Philbin — an 8-0 run that staggered the Royals.
They fought back, though.
Four straight foul shots from Lewis, who finished with a game-high 23 points, cut Prep’s 10-point lead to six before her final 3-point goal made it a five-point game midway through the fourth quarter.
Prociak hit two foul shots as the Royals edged even closer, 45-43 with under three minutes remaining, and Wilson’s driving bucket and ensuing foul shot made it anyone’s game going down the stretch.
Prep grabbed the advantage, and never again gave it back.
“We fought back, got back in the game,” Parker said. “We made bad decisions, and it cost us the game. We just have to make better decisions.We got beat tonight. The positive is, it’s early. We’ll learn from this.”
Scranton Prep 52, Holy Redeemer 47
HOLY REDEEMER (47) — Alana Wilson 2 2-3 6, Alexis Lewis 6 7-8 23, Lydia Lawson 0 1-2 1, Alyssa Platko 3 1-2 7, Rebecca Prociak 1 6-6 8, Sara Flannelly 0 2-2 2. Totals 12 19-23 47.
SCRANTON PREP (52) — Tricia Byrne 6 3-5 15, Clare Philbin 2 2-2 6, Sam Genco 2 1-3 6, Bridget Walsh 1 0-0 2, Madison Ashby 5 4-4 15, Jordan Mellon 1 0-0 2, Jess Genco 1 0-0 3, Emily Pritchyk 0 3-4 3. Totals 18 13-18 52.
Three-point goals — HR 4 (Lewis 4); SP 3 (Ashby, J. Genco, S. Genco).