SUNBURY — Seven solid days of inactivity did little to satisfy the hunger Alexis Lewis has for the game of basketball.
Well, she wasn’t exactly inactive.
Her Holy Redeemer Royals did their fair share of practicing. But it was hardly the kind of competition Lewis craves.
So when she finally got back in a game, Lewis unleashed all of that pent-up energy on the Mifflinburg Wildcats.
They were helpless to stop it.
Lewis scored 32 points Saturday, grabbed 15 rebounds led a vicious defense that sparked Holy Redeemer to a 77-54 mauling of Mifflinburg in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball opener at Shikellamy High School.
“We had the longest week of practice in our lives,” Lewis said. “There was nothing that could have gotten me more motivated than that.”
Lewis stormed out of the gates by scoring Redeemer’s first seven points as the Royals quickly took charge with a five-point lead.
And they never lost it.
Redeemer’s 6-foot forward Alyssa Platko popped in 14 points, point guard Lydia Lawson scored 10 in the second half, and by the middle of the third quarter, the 22-5 Royals rolling toward a second-round state meeting with Fleetwood on Wednesday.
“I think we definitely turned it up a notch,” Platko, the team’s lone senior starter, said. “I’m a senior. I don’t want these last games to be my last games.”
Platko responded with her second straight double-figure game — after scoring 16 points to help the Royals win the District 2 Class 3A third-place game and a spot in the state tourney when they last played, last Saturday.
“For Alyssa Platko, this is the time,” Holy Redeemer coach Chris Parker said. “In order for us to do anything in the state tournament, we need to get play from our bigs — that’s Alyssa Platko and Rebecca Prociak. If they’re playing well, we’ll have an opportunity to be very successful. I thought we played well as a team. This is two games in a row Alyssa Platko’s had a great night.”
And about 26 in a row where Lewis left a crowd breathless.
The all-everything junior forward swished her first three-point field goal to give the Royals breathing room, 20-13. A little later, she followed a missed layup off the fast break lifted it into the basket, giving Redeemer an 11-point edge.
By halftime, Lewis had 17 points, seven rebounds and two steals. And the Royals had a 33-23 lead.
“I was ready to play,” said Lewis, the daughter of former NBA draft pick Eugene “Junie” Lewis. “Playing hard defense … if we play defense, our offense will come from it. I wanted to make sure I made my contributions to the team.”
She contributed a lot of delight to the crowd.
With her Penn State pass-catching brother Eugene Lewis looking on in appreciation, Lewis fell to her knees, kept her dribble and — from the floor — bounced a perfect pass through a bunch of players that found Platko for a layup.
Early in the third quarter, a tripping Lewis grabbed a defensive rebound and hit the floor — while simultaneously unleashing a pass to a teammate across midcourt.
And she wowed the large crowd at Shikellamy High by rifling an assist from the top of one key to the other that found Platko for a layup between the numbers.
“A laser,” Parker called the pass, “one of the nicest plays I’ve seen this year. You know, I’ve said it, the kid is one of the best players in the state of Pennsylvania. She continues to show it.”
The intensity didn’t slow down for the rest of the Royals, either.
They held Kayla Kline — who led the 20-6 and District 4 champion Wildcats with 18 points — to a pair of baskets and five points in the second half while Redeemer’s lead continued to expand.
Lawson scored her first six points in the third quarter and Lewis added five more — including her third trey which built Redeemer’s lead to 46-29.
“I trust my teammates,” Lewis said. “I have faith when I pass the ball. I can’t do it by myself.”
That Redeemer advantage grew to 63-42 on a Lewis layup less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, and shortly thereafter, the Royals pulled back on their mix-and-match defensive strategy and began warming up for Fleetwood.
“We’re going to go as far as we can,” Lewis said. “That’s a championship.”
First, though, the Royals will have to get past the second round — where they fell to Villa Maria Academy last season.
“Last year, we only lost by three or four points,” Platko said. “That was more disappointing than anything. This year, we’re going to try to go farther than last year.”
Holy Redeemer 77, Mifflinburg 54
HOLY REDEEMER (77) — Lydia Lawson 3 4-4 10, Julie Kosik 0 0-0 0, Rebecca Prociak 4 0-1 8, Alyssa Platko 7 0-0 14, Alexis Lewis 14 1-1 32, Sara Flannley 4 0-0 8, Kayla Hons 1 0-1 3, Meghan Corridoni 0 0-0 0, Melanie Kusakavitch 0 0-0 0, Devon Claherty 0 0-0 0, Brittany Hebda 0 0-0 0, Courtney Kijek 1 -0-0 2, Autumn Kaminski 0 0-0 0. Totals 34 5-7 77.
MIFFLINBURG (54) — Kayla Kline 6 4-6 18, Emily Hess 1 2-5 4, Julia McArdle-Coe 4 7-8 15, Jackie Beck 0 0-0 0, Sara Stauffer 4 2-6 10, Emily Stauffer 1 3-4 5, Kylie Kuhns 1 0-0 2, Emily Weeder 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 18-29 54.
Three-point goals — HR 4 (Lewis 3, Hons); MIFF 2 (Kline 2).