Enola, Pa. - After a four week hiatus, the Lady Lions returned to form with a 96-58 victory over Central Penn College on Tuesday night. Freshmen McKenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.) and Ijonana Laster (Niagara Falls, Ny.) caught fire in the first half, leading to season high scoring totals for both players as Hazleton ran away with the game to earn their eighth consecutive victory dating back to 2015.
The Knights clung to an early first quarter lead as Hazleton came out rusty, starting the game shooting just one for seven from the field in the opening minutes of play. With six minutes remaining in the first period, Prutsman, senior Alexis Daly (New Albany, Pa.) and freshman Haley Nalls (York, Pa.) combined on a 14-6 Lady Lion run to claim the lead and control of the game for good.
Prutsman lit up the field, netting three triples on six of 11 shooting from the field to post 17 second quarter points as Hazleton extended its first quarter lead to a 24 point spread at the break. Ijonana Laster worked her way to the charity stripe and nailed a pair of buckets from long range to compliment her teammate's efforts. Together the duo combined for 30 of the Lady Lions 35 points in the quarter.
Hazleton had their best shooting performance of the night in the third period as the Lady Lions shot over 47 percent from the field, outscoring the Knights 26-15 in the period and cruising to victory in the second half. By the final buzzer, Hazleton had forced the Knights into 46 turnovers leading to 46 points by the Lady Lion offense.
Nicole Schmidhamer led the Central Penn attack, scoring 27 points, going 15 for 15 from the free throw line while adding a game high 17 rebounds. Teammate Janay Nelson added 18 points on seven of 11 shooting from the field.
McKenzie Prutsman led all scorers with 31 points for the Lady Lions. The point guard hit four shots from long range while swiping six steals in the winning effort. Laster added 22 points in reserve work, including five triples and five rebounds. Alexis Daly rounded out the top scorers on Tuesday with 18 points and 12 rebounds on nine of 13 shooting from the field, her fourth double-double of the season.
Hazleton heads west on Friday for their first Penn State University Athletic Conference action of the spring semester. The Lady Lions square off with Penn State Fayette on January 15 at 6:00 p.m.