HAZLETON — Nothing seems to be a problem for the Holy Redeemer girls basketball these days.
Not having several days off due to a blizzard. And certainly not the second-ranked team in the state, riding a 20-game winning streak, with just one loss this season.
In a game that was out of reach before a late run by Mount Carmel on Friday night at Hazleton Area High School, the Royals dealt the Red Tornadoes their first loss since December, 62-50 to earn a trip to the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals.
The Royals (23-5) will face District 12 champion Neumann-Goretti on Sunday at a time and a place to be determined.
“Our girls just played fantastic,” Redeemer coach John Jezorwski said.
Redeemer junior Irelyn Jannuzzi got off to a fiery start as she scored 17 points in the first half, including 12 in the first quarter helping the Royals jump out to 18-17 lead after the first quarter. The Royals’ lead was up to as much as seven points in the first quarter, but Mount Carmel is highly ranked in the state for a reason.
The Red Tornadoes (27-2) cut into the deficit in the second quarter and took a 21-20 lead with 4:43 to go in the first half.
But a 3-pointer by Jannuzzi gave the Royals a 23-21 lead, which they never relinquished for rest of the game. A box defense that Jezorwski decided to implement at that point paid off as well.
“We knew 14 (Nicole Varano) was their scorer so we really tried to take her on,” Jezorwski said. “We’ve done that most of the year where we’ve been able to take out other team’s leading scorers.”
Redeemer ended the first half on a 15-6 run to open a 35-27 lead at the break. The lead grew to 19 points after three quarters to 56-37. While Jannuzzi tallied a game-high 19 points, it was the team’s distribution in the third quarter that helped increase the margin.
Julia Andrejko scored all 10 of her points in the third, while Sam Yencha tallied five of her seven points in the stanza.
Samantha Razja chipped in two points in the third quarter, but was the third player on the team to reach double-digits scoring 10 in the contest.
“Irelyn had a great first half and then she stopped looking for her shot a little more and started to distribute a little more. We saw some more things open in their defense and tried to incorporate and take advantage of,” Jezorwski said. “When we move the ball, we’re hard to beat because you don’t know who to stop. So everybody on any given night can be really good for us.”
If there was one thing Jezorwski would like to work on it’s that his team was outscored 13-6 in the final quarter as the Red Tornadoes got some momentum going a little too late.
But going forward, he knows his team will have work to do against Neumann-Goretti, and will be ready.
“We took it one game at a time because Mount Carmel is such a great team and we just worried about them first,” he said. “But we’ll have a game plan ready for Goretti. They’re another great team with great players. So hopefully we can make it a game.”
PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals
Holy Redeemer 62, Mount Carmel 50
MOUNT CARMEL (50) — Crespo 0 0-0 0, Arellano 5 3-4 15, Little 2 3-6 7, Bernini 1 0-0 2, Wasilewski 1 2-2 4, Nolter 2 0-0 5, Sypniewski 0 0-0 0, Miriello 2 2-2 6, Varano 5 1-2 11. Totals 18 11-16 50.
HOLY REDEEMER (62) — Kornfeld 3 2-2 8, Jannuzzi 7 2-2 19, Kuderka 0 0-0 0, Andrejko 5 0-0 10, Yencha 3 1-1 7, Kosierowski 1 0-0 2, Wasiakowski 0 0-0 0, Razja 4 1-1 10, Marcinkowski 3 0-0 6. Totals 26 6-6 62.
3-point FG’s: MC 3 (Arellano 2, Noltier 1). HR 4 (Jannuzzi 3, Razja 1)
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