ARCHBALD – As regulation rushed toward the buzzer Thursday night, Dallas was again poised to shoot a tying buzzer-beater.
Unlike Saturday's quarterfinal, where Ashley Dunbar hit a shot along the baseline to force overtime, Katy Comitz unleashed a 17-footer from the right wing after taking a kickout pass from Tanner Englehart.
The jumper caught the back of the rim, popped up, then fell away, ending the Mountaineers' season. Dallas lost to Honesdale 53-51 in a District 2 Class 3A girls basketball semifinal at Valley View.
"We got a good shot," Dallas coach Kelly Johnson said. "These are great kids. They upset Pittston Area, upset Holy Redeemer last Saturday, upset Scranton Prep. I'm really proud of what this group accomplished."
The game had nine lead changes and seven ties until Honesdale (20-6) began pulling away late in the third quarter. The lead struck six (40-34) when the Hornets went into their weaving stall with more than 10 minutes remaining.
"They were the first team all year that tore through our press the way they did," Honesdale coach Tracy Ludwig said. "I knew our girls were getting tired. It may have been a gutsy call, but I have complete confidence in my girls that they can handle it."
Dallas (14-8) forced more turnovers (five) than field goals allowed (three) down the stretch, finally tying the game at 51 with 45 seconds to play. Englehart snared a missed free throw and outletted to Talia Szatkowski. The freshman ran the break to perfection to tie the game.
"She's a great player," Johnson said of Szatkowski, who had 11 points. "She's provided us with a spark all season. You can't ask for more from a freshman."
Morgan Bierman's driving layup with 13 seconds remaining gave Honesdale the lead for good. Dallas had two more shots from the line with seven seconds left, but missed both.
"The big thing was we didn't shoot the line," Johnson said of her team, which was 6-of-16 from the line a game after going 24-of-32 against the Royals. "When you lose by two points, free throws can kill you. We missed too many and that's the game."
Englehart rebounded yet another miss on a one-and-one by Honesdale, and Dallas had a chance after calling a timeout with two seconds remaining. Dunbar (18 points) inbounded from just inside midcourt to Englehart in the paint. With no opening to shoot, Englehart dished to the first shooter she saw in position – Comitz – who got off a quality attempt for the tie.
Honesdale advances to play Nanticoke in the district final Saturday at 2 p.m. at Pittston Area.
"Our goal, late in the season, was let's go to the district championship," Ludwig said. "If you had asked me in November if we'd be here, I'd have said ‘no way.' Nanticoke … I'm going to walk into the gym a little confident."
Mary Martin led the Hornets with 17 points. Kacie Johannes had 14 points and Katie Miller added 11.
DALLAS (51): Dunbar 7 4-6 18, Englehart 4 0-4 8, Szatkowski 5 1-4 11, Hiscox 2 0-0 4, Missal 2 0-0 5, Comitz 1 0-0 2, Zurek 0 0-0 0, Michael 0 1-2 1, Flaherty 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 6-16 51.
HONESDALE (53): Martin 6 5-9 17, Birmelin 1 4-8 6, Miller 3 4-4 11, Johannes 6 0-0 14, Hart 0 0-0 0, Pfeil 1 0-0 2, Rickard 2 0-0 5. Totals 18 13-21 53.
3-Point Field Goals— DAL 1 (Missal); HON 4 (Johannes 2, Miller, Rickard).