Clarks Summit, Pa. - The Lady Lions bounced back from their first loss of the season last Thursday night with a convincing 77-36 victory over NCAA III opponent Clarks Summit University on Saturday afternoon. Hazleton's agressive defense sparked easy buckets on offense scoring 30 points off 33 Defender turnovers to pull away from Clarks Summit and glide to their fifth win over the season.
Sophomore McKenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.) was the main benefactor of the Lady Lion defense, notching a season high 25 points. Prutsman consistently broke free for fast break opportunities throughout the contest for easy lay-ups and finished the game 11-13 from the field, adding five steals of her own in the game. Equalling Prutsman with a team high five steals was senior Stephanie Guevara (New Brunswick, Nj.) who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds while teamate sophomore Haley Nalls (York, Pa.) continued her fine offensive play, adding 12 points in the winning effort.
Tori Erdman led the Defenders in all three major statistical categories, scoring 23 points while adding a team high eight rebounds with four assists to her credit.
Hazleton came out in full court pressure, quickly nabbing a 7-0 lead over the Defenders in the first two minutes of action. The Lady Lion defense continued to nag Defender ball-handlers, forcing turnovers throughout the first quarter to produce a 19-4 advantage at the first intermission. As the second quarter resumed, both teams traded baskets in the half court set for the first six minutes of play but Hazleton was able to produce as the half came to a close. In the final four minutes of the half, Nalls began to penetrate on the offensive end, leading to three quick close range buckets and a Prutsman triple capped a 12-4 run as the period expired, giving Hazleton a 41-15 edge.
The Lady Lions picked up right where they left off the first half, charging out of the gate with a 12-4 run that all but sealed up the victory. Hazleton's crippling defense held the Defenders to just one point in the final six minutes of the third quarter, allowing Hazleton to extend their lead to the final margin of 41 points and cruise to the finish line in the fourth quarter.
Hazleton heads into the Thanksgiving break on a high note and a 5-1 overall record. When the Lady Lions return, we'll see the start of Penn State University Athletic Conference play, kicking off with none other than a rematch of the 2016 PSUAC championship game. Hazleton will travel west to face Penn State Beaver on Friday December 2 when play resumes.