Two distinctly different stretches of basketball — each lasting almost 10 minutes — carried Pittston Area past Dallas, 52-47, Thursday night in a tense Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 girls’ basketball team.
Eastin Ashby nailed five 3-pointers in six tries during a span of 9:56 from the end of the first quarter to the start of the third.
“We have great guards that drive in,” Ashby said. “When they drive in and kick out, the defense collapses on the guards and the 3-pointer is wide open.”
Ashby’s outburst was not enough to shake Dallas. It simply allowed Pittston Area to remain even at a time when the Dallas offense was clicking. The win improved the Patriots to 7-2 in the WVC, one game behind Crestwood. The two teams will meet Thursday at Crestwood.
The Lady Patriots finally came out on top when they allowed a single field goal and just four points over the game’s final 9:42.
“We challenged them at halftime because we gave up 30 points in a half and against Hazleton the other night, we gave up 39 points in the whole entire game,” Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey said. “We weren’t playing the defense that we would like them to play, so we challenged them and they agreed with us. They said, ‘we pride ourselves on our defense and we’ll do better in the second half’.”
Ashby and Liz Waleski each blocked 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter and Waleski broke up a pass, disrupting the Dallas offense as it prepared to take a shot at the tie in the final 30 seconds. When the Mountaineers missed, Marley O’Brien secured the rebound to set up the clinching free throws by Allie Barber.
“I feel like our intensity went right through the roof,” Ashby said. “We knew there was no way we were letting them beat us.”
Pittston Area needed every bit of both efforts to pull out a win in a game that remained close throughout.
The teams were never separated by more than five points and for 27:51 of the 32 minutes they were within a single possession – three points or less. The game featured 14 lead changes – half of them during a hectic stretch of 1:48 in the third quarter – and 10 ties.
It was not easy, but by beating the team it fell to in a playoff for last season’s WVC Division 1 title, the Lady Patriots gained a chance to play for a share of first place again Thursday night at Crestwood. Pittston Area is 8-2 in the division and tied for second place with Wyoming Valley West, which Crestwood defeated, 63-50, in a first-place showdown Thursday night to improve to 9-1.
Pittston Area has two wins over a young and improving Dallas team in larger part because Ashby has hit a career-high five 3-pointers in each meeting.
“She’s a really good shooter,” Healey said. “She likes to catch and shoot and she has a really quick release.
” … We try to stay with the person who’s hot.”
Ashby finished with a game-high 19 points.
O’Brien and Jamie Chisdock came off the bench and combined to put Pittston Area ahead to stay.
Chisdock and O’Brien broke the last two ties late in the third quarter.
O’Brien, who had six points and three rebounds, gave Pittston Area a 45-43 lead with 25 second left in the third quarter. Chisdock then converted a rebound for a 47-43 lead with 6:12 to play.
“They’re both sophomores,” Healey said of the two subs she turned to in the game. “It’s fun to watch them in key games.”
Samantha Missal and Maggie Michael, who had 10 rebounds, each scored 13 points for Dallas.
Michael’s three-point play with 2:21 left and Missal’s front end of a one-and-one with 1:25 left were the only Dallas points of the fourth quarter and closed the deficit to 48-47.
Pittston Area 42
Hazleton Area 39
Liz Waleski cooly guided the Patriots through a thicket of thorns Monday as Pittston Area held off Hazleton Area, 42-39 in a battle of teams trying to stay in the thick of the Wyoming Valley Conference Division I race.
Waleski guided the Patriots through a long stretch without point guard Allie Barber, who picked up two fouls little more than two minutes into the game and spent more than 11 minutes on the bench in the first half.
While Hazleton Area created seven turnovers in the opening quarter and grabbed a 14-10 lead, Waleski helped Pittston Area hang around by swiveling away from frustrated Hazleton Area defenders while running the point in Barber’s absence and making swift - and deft - passes to even well-covered teammates.
Wyoming Area 40
Wyoming Area’s Rachel Solano tallied nine points, while Nicole Wright was just behind her with eight in a losing effort against Nanticoke Thursday night.
The Warriors had a balanced scoring attack with Emily Wolfgang going for seven, while Jessica Sorick and Nicole Turner each had six points.
The Trojans’ victory was led by 20 points from Deanna Thomas and 11 points from Gianna Roberts.
Wyoming Area 63
The Warriors cooled off the Rangers by holding them to 16 first-half points Monday. Emily Wolfgang provided a 16-point effort.
Rachel Solano (11) and Jessica Sorick (10) both helped Wyoming Area.
Wyoming Area outscored Northwest 22-7 in the first period, while making 17 of its 24 free throws in the win. Nicole Turner and Solano each hit a three for the Warriors.