WILKES-BARRE - In an attempt at last-minute glory, Julie Kosik let loose with one more heart-pounding three-point attempt.
In an act of last-second desperation, Alexis Lewis did the same.
Neither went in, and Holy Redeemer went down.
But not before the revamped Royals played a girls basketball game that was so encouraging, Holy Redeemer found renewed promise Saturday during a 65-60 overtime loss to State College at Holy Redeemer High School.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of these girls for the effort they gave,” Holy Redeemer coach Chris Parker said. “This State College team beat us by 30 points last year. Win or lose, this was going to be a learning experience for us.”
What the Royals learned was clear.
They can still compete at a pretty high level, despite the loss of junior forward Alana Wilson earlier this month.
A sharp-shooting starter, Wilson was lost for the season with a torn ACL during the early moments of a Jan. 6 victory over Nanticoke.
“Just a heartbreaker,” Parker called the injury. “Just a terrible thing to happen to a kid who worked so hard throughout the offseason. Hopefully we can get her back next year.”
It left this year’s Royals in a recent state of flux.
But Saturday’s showing has Redeemer confident the search to find a similar cohesion the Royals had with Wilson won’t be too overwelming.
Mainly because Kosik could bring some stability.
The senior swished four three-point goals Saturday — all at key points of the game — to help Redeemer gain a chance at victory at the end of regulation.
Kosik tied the game at 18-all with her first three early in the second quarter and hit two consecutive treys in the final 76 seconds of the third to again tie the game, 40-40.
And just when State College began pulling way in the game’s final minutes, Kosik stepped out and buried another three-pointer to pull the Royals within a basket. She just couldn’t get her last three-point attempt to drop with 23 seconds to play in regulation.
“I gave her the game ball,” Parker said. “Julie Kosik stepped up tonight, knocked down some huge, huge shots. If we get that production from her throughout the rest of the season, I think we’ll be good.”
Good wasn’t quite enough to describe Lewis’ performance.
The super-smooth junior carried Redeemer’s offensive load, pouring in 31 points and hitting more than a few big shots herself. She would have liked three more, but Lewis’ turn-around attempt at a trey through a challenging double-team bounded off the rim as the fourth-quarter clock ran out.
It was one of the few times Saturday that Lewis didn’t deliver in dramatic fashion.
She drained a three-pointer and followed it with a drive to the hoop, a five-point spree in the first quarter that cut into State College’s early seven-point lead. Then Lewis gave the Royals their first lead, 20-18, with a 15-foot jumper in the second quarter, and she used a trey to chop State College’s lead to three points in the third quarter.
“Obviously, Alexis Lewis is Alexis Lewis,” Parker said.
For a definition of what that means, try this: after missing one three-point attempt moments earlier, Lewis ripped a three-pointer through the net with 1:28 to play in regulation that tied the game, 52-52 and ultimately sent the teams to overtime.
“Lewis is one of the best players we’ve ever seen,” State College coach Bethany Irwin said. “I was excited to have our kids playing somebody at that level, too.”
Of course, Irwin’s own daughter wasn’t too bad, either.
State College’s 6-foot-2 sophomore center Kyla Irwin scored a team-high 24 points — the last four from the foul line to pretty much decided the game. Irwin used a pair of free throws with 1:31 remaining in overtime to give State College a 57-55 lead, and her next two free throws boosted that advantage to 61-58 after Lewis’ last of her five 3-pointers pulled the Royals within a point with 42 seconds on the overtime clock.
“Kyla is an 80 percent free throw shooter for us right now,” her mom and coach said. “Her strength was the way she ran the floor. The transition for her was her strength.”
State College found more strength in free throw numbers when guard Ali Treglia iced the game with four foul shots in the final 13 seconds to provide the game’s final points. That gave State College (9-6), which began the season on a 7-1 run, just its second win in its past seven games.
“The key for us was Ali Treglia. She didn’t start out very well, but she hit those four free throws,” said Bethany Irwin, whose tired team was playing its fourth game in five days while coming off a bus ride of over two hours. “We knew this was going to be a tough game. This was our third overtime, and we lost the first two. I said, ‘We have got to get this monkey off our back.’ “
Meanwhile, it’s back to high hopes for Class 3A Holy Redeemer, which fell to 10-3 overall but had a shot to beat a respected Class 4A opponent.
“I thought the girls played a great game,” Parker said. “We played great as a team and we played a top-notch opponent who’s very good. We had an opportunity to win the game.”
Hazleton Area 58, Pottsville 22
Alyssa Sitch scored as many points as the Pottsville team as Hazleton Area’s defense surrendered just six points through the entire second half and a total of 12 after the first quarter.
Sitch scored 14 of her 22 points in the opening quarter to get the Cougars out to an 18-10 lead, drilling three of her five three-point field goals in the first eight minutes. Then her teammate Lexi Wolk hit for 11 points over the middle two quarters as Hazleton Area pulled away with a 50-19 advantage.
State College 65, Holy Redeemer 60, OT
STATE COLLEGE (65) — Kyla Irwin 8 8-10 24, Jalyn Shelton 4 5-6 13, Ali Treglia 2 4-4 9, Maggie Hurley 1 0-0 2, Carrie Mahon 3 1-4 9, Bridget King 2 2-2 6, Margee Lenze 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 20-26 65.
HOLY REDEEMER (60) — Alyssa Platko 4 0-0 8, Alexis Lewis 10 6-10 31, Lydia Lawson 1 2-2 4, Rebecca Prociak 1 1-2 3, Julie Kosik 4 0-0 12, Sara Flannley 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 9-14 60.
Three-point goals — SC 3 (Mahon 2, Treglia); HR 9 (Lewis 5, Kosik 4).
Hazleton Area 58, Pottsville 22
HAZLETON AREA (58) — Mackenzie Yori 1 0-0 2, Lexi Wolk 4 3-3 11, Angie Marchetti 4 0-0 9, Becky Marchetti 2 2-2 4, Alyssa Sitch 8 1-1 22, Christie Kaschak 1 0-0 2, Renee Taylor 1 0-0 2, Briann Woznicki 1 0-0 2, Alyssa Shamany 0 0-0 0, Maria Trivelpiece 0 0-0 0, Syd Walser 0 0-0 0, Frankie Mattriccino 1 0-0 2, Rachel Reznick 0 0-0 0, Deanna Fox 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 6-6 58.
POTTSVILLE (22) — Mod Sherakas 0 0-0 0, Hannah Burnhauser 1 0-0 2, Meghan Cleary 0 0-0 0, Nicole Eckley 0 1-2 1, Lindsey Moser 0 0-0 0, Sadie Cresswell 3 2-2 10, Alyssa Kamrock 0 0-0 0, Olivia Connors 1 0-0 2, Julie Bulino 1 0-0 2, Kyra Schenk 0 0-0 0, Ashley Pumell 0 0-0 0, Jodecie Heck 2 1-2 5. Totals 8 4-6 22.
Three-point goals — HAZ 6 (Sitch 5, A. Marchetti); POTT 2 (Cresswell 2).