York, Pa. - The Lady Lions dominated the middle quarters of Friday night's game at Penn State York, outscoring the home team by a margin of 14 points to build a double digit lead late in the second half. Led by a 10 point effort from junior Jacqlyn Siva-Harrison (South Brunswick, Nj.) in the third quarter, Hazleton managed to double York's offensive output in the frame as the Lady Lions stormed ahead for good. York rallied in the final period, scoring 14 points in the final three minutes of the game to give the fourth ranked Lady Lions a late scare, but the Lady Lions cushion held up to give the squad their third straight win in the Penn State University Athletic Conference by the final score of 61-55.
Siva Harrison was blanked in the fourth quarter, but her 17 points for the Lady Lions in the first three frames out-paced the competition and gave Hazleton the buffer it would need in the final period. The junior shot 60 percent from the field, adding eight rebounds and three blocked shots in the win. Sophomore Haley Nalls (York, Pa.) served up her third double-double of the year, notching 13 points, 10 rebounds and four steals while sophomore McKenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.) added 12 points, four assists and three steals respectively.
Emily Colon led all scorers on Friday night, totaling 22 points on eight of 17 shooting from the field. Colon hit three triples on the evening, and led York with 10 rebounds and four assists. Katie McNamara went seven for eight from the free throw line to total 13 points on the evening while pulling in seven rebounds to round out the top efforts from Penn State York.
The Lady Lions jumped ahead from the opening whistle for a 6-2 early lead, but Hazleton would cool off, netting just two field goals over the next 8:30 of regulation extending into the second quarter. Emily Colon and Penn State York would take full advantage of Hazleton's cold shooting. Colon and McNamara would each connect on triples to nab a 14-10 lead by the first quarter's end, then continue to roll in the early stages of the second quarter, ultimately outscoring the Lady Lions 21-7 over a near ten minute stretch of the first half. Kara Thompson hit a jumper to give York its largest lead of the game with 7:28 to play in the second quarter, but there was no panic in the Lady Lion huddle.
Trailing 23-13, Hazleton responded with baskets from Nalls and senior Stephanie Guevara (New Brunswick, Nj.), sandwiching a triple from Siva-Harrison that quickly cut York's advantage to just four points. Back within reach, Hazleton continued to pound away defensively, holding York to just one free throw over a five minute stretch of the second quarter as the Lady Lions rallied to square the match.
Field goals from Siva-Harrison and Nalls coming with 2:48 remaining in the half gave Hazleton its first lead since early in the first quarter at 26-24, but a pair of makes from Emily Colon put York back on top. Prutsman and Nalls closed out a 19 point quarter from Hazleton with a trio of free throws to give the Lady Lions a slim 29-28 edge at halftime.
The Lady Lions came out of the locker room with renewed intensity, and translated that energy to points on the scoreboard. Hazleton would score six straight points off turnovers to start the half coming off a pair of steals from Haley Nalls and one from Guevara. Siva-Harrison converted two of two from the charity stripe as Hazleton started the period on an 8-0 run to put the Lions on top 37-28.
But York would stop the bleeding with six minutes to play in the quarter on an Aysha Cotto jump shot that sparked an 8-0 run from York over the next two minutes of play. Guarding a one point lead at 37-36, Siva Harrison took command, attacking the basket to earn a pair of free throws and knocking in Hazleton's next two scores to carry Hazleton on a 6-0 run. Good field goals from freshman McKenzie Wolfe (Grove City, Pa.) and Stephanie Guevara would have Hazleton end the quarter on 10-1 run and a 47-37 advantage heading into the fourth period.
Hazleton would increase their lead to as many as 14 midway through the fourth quarter, but York refused to go quietly. With under three minutes to play and fouls mounting for the Lady Lions, York earned their way to the charity stripe to connect on four of six free throws to get within ten points. Colon's third triple of the game followed to cut the lead single digits but a clutch field goal from sophomore Ijonana Laster (Niagara Falls, Ny.) pushed the lead back to 57-48 in favor of Hazleton.
Katie McNamara followed Colon with another basket from long range, shrinking the Hazleton lead to six points at 57-51, but with just forty seconds remaining, York was forced to send Hazleton to the stripe in an effort to extend the game. Prutsman and Guevara would combine at the line to sink four of six attempts to hold off the late run from York, resulting in the 61-55 finish.
Hazleton heads finished fall play with a 7-2 overall record and three straight wins in the PSUAC. The Lady Lions will resume play on January 10 with non-conference game against Central Penn College before a five game stretch of important matchups in the PSUAC.