The Old Forge girls were the last District 2 basketball team standing, playing until March 22, the final day of the Pennsylvania season as state runners-up in Class A.
The Blue Devils had one last sendoff Thursday night in the Lackawanna League Senior Girls’ Basketball All-Star Game.
The game was stopped for one final substitution and Old Forge’s four senior leaders were joined by coach Tom Gatto on the court for the Blue team for the final 32.6 seconds.
Dressed in street clothes, Gatto fumbled for control of the ball before throwing it well short of the basket from near midcourt. Still, he returned to his seat to the loudest cheers of the night as the crowd at Forest City Regional High School’s Julius Prezelski Gymnasium saluted the Lady Devils and their run to Hershey.
Old Forge finished 24-4, placed second in Division 3 of the Lackawanna League behind state Class AA semifinalist Dunmore and won the District 2 Class A title before taking down four straight state tournament opponents.
The Blue Devils fell short of their state title dream when they lost, 58-34, to Vincentian Academy, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Vincentian Academy is 2-2 in state finals since 2002.
Brenna Wise, who had 38 points in the state semifinals, led the way for Vincentian Academy with 21 points and 11 rebounds in the title game.
Lauren Carey had 18 points and Taylor Nemetz grabbed eight rebounds for Old Forge.
Vincentian Academy used a strong run from midway through the first quarter to late in the half to open a 27-10 lead. Old Forge scored the last six points of the second quarter to close within 11 at the half, but Vincentian Academy pulled away for good early in the second half.
Carey, Nemetz, Rhyan Barnic and Teri Vieira represented the Lady Devils giving Old Forge the most players in the league all-star game. They were on the team that lost to the Red, 57-39.
Barnic won the pre-game 3-Point Shooting Contest.
Nemetz led the Red with eight points and hit two of the team’s three 3-pointers. Carey added six points.
Catie Nealon of Abington Heights, for the Red, and Myra Lattimore of Montrose, for the Blue won the team MVP awards.
Carey’s free throw for the first point of the second half was the only point scored by the Blue for a 15-minute stretch that decided the game.
After Nemetz scored off an offensive rebound with 8:15 left in the second quarter, the Red scored the next 11 points for a 35-16 halftime lead.
Breanna Toro had two of the Red’s five blocked shots in the third quarter, extending a stretch in which the Blue managed only seven points for 22:11.
Jimmie Aversa represented Old Forge in the Lackawanna League Senior Boys’ Basketball All-Star Game Monday at Valley View.
Aversa hit two of his three 3-point attempts while scoring seven points, grabbing two rebounds and adding an assist for the Blue in its 115-114 entertaining, overtime victory over the Red.
Bucknell University recruit and Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year J.C. Show of Abington Heights was named Blue MVP after scoring a team-high 19 points, including the winning three-point play with four seconds left in overtime.
Connor Jones of Holy Cross won the 3-Point Shooting Contest and was named Red MVP after scoring 26 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out three assists.