Wyoming Valley West used a combined 23 second-half points from forwards Megan Kane and Cheyenne Reese to pull away from Pittston Area, 52-40, and stay hot on the heels of Crestwood in the Wyoming Valley Conference Division I at the Valley West gym Thursday.
Using the inside strength of Reese and Kane, Valley West turned a four-point halftime deficit into a double-digit lead in the third quarter, and Pittston Area never quite recovered.
It marked the second straight game where the Spartans came out a bit sluggish — at the Valley West gym, no less — and rallied for victory. Thursday’s turn-around wasn’t quite as dramatic as Valley West recovering from a 26-14 halftime deficit to sting Hazleton Area, 45-42 on Monday.
“Every win in the division is a really big win,” Valley West coach Paul Appel said. “It is so deep, anyone in our division has a chance to win it.”
Pittston Area sensed that.
The Patriots, coming off a three-point loss to Crestwood, stormed out to a quick 10-4 lead behind six points from Liz Waleski and four from Eastin Ashby.
Pittston Area kept its advantage through halftime, as Allie Barber hit the first four of her 10 points to take the Patriots into the third quarter with a 20-16 lead.
“But you know it’s going to be a great game,” said Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey, whose team fell to 4-2 in the WVC Division I with its second consecutive loss this week. “Paul’s a great coach and Valley West is a great team. You know they’re going to come at you. So you never feel comfortable.”
When the second half began, the Spartans slipped into a comfort zone.
With 6-foot-2 center Olivia Hoffman held to two points by Pittston Area’s double-team in the first half, the Spartans’ stellar forwards began pounding the paint.
Reese, who finished with a game-high 17 points, slashed inside for six of those in the third quarter. Kane began following suit, and when she converted a three-point play two minutes into the second half, Valley West had its first lead, 21-20.
It got even neater for Valley West when Kane’s drive to the bucket gave Valley West an 11-point lead with nine seconds to play in the third quarter, before Waleski’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer cut Pittston Area’s deficit to 35-27.
The Patriots just didn’t have enough to overcome a spirited Spartans’ effort that’s quickly giving Valley West the reputation of becoming a second-half team.
Pittston Area 47
Maddie Ritsick converted all 13 of her foul shots, including four big ones in the fourth quarter, as the Comets staved off a spirited Pittston Area comeback to win a battle of Wyoming Valley Conference Division I girls basketball unbeatens, 50-47, Monday.
What’s more, Pittston Area had all kinds of trouble trying to solve Crestwood’s inside defense, bolstered by Rutkowski and Ritsick. In fact, the only Patriots points of the first quarter came from Eastin Ashby — on a short jumper to get Pittston Area on the board with 2:43 remaining in the quarter and on a 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull Pittston Area with 13-5.
Pittston Area’s defense did give the Comets all it could handle.
Eastin Ashby, who led the Patriots with 17 points, flashed through Crestwood’s defense for three buckets in the fourth quarter — the last of which pulled Pittston Area within 46-40 with just over three minutes to play. Some 20 seconds later, Liz Waleski buried a 3-pointer, was fouled after the play, and suddenly the Patriots had the ball with a three-point deficit, 46-43.
Holy Redeemer 68
Wyoming Area 20
Wyoming Area was lifted by eight points from Emily Wolfgang in Thursday night’s loss to Holy Redeemer.
The Warriors failed to score more than seven points in any quarter, including a 29-2 deficit in the third period alone. Wyoming Area hit one three on the night — that came from Audrey Hiedacavage.
Alexis Lewis led the charge for the Royals with 36 points.
Wyoming Area 41
Despite Nicole Turner’s 12 points, Wyoming Area couldn’t overcome a 17-9 first-quarter lead and and 22 pionts from Meyers’ Quieterriua Gross Monday.
The Warriors were able to get back on track in the second quarter, outscoring the Mohawks 9-6. And while the second half of the game was close, Wyoming Area couldn’t get over the hump.
Nicole Wright added nine for the Warriors, while Emily Wolfgang scored six points.