Lady Lions escape Worthington Scranton with 81-75 win

Siva-Harrison works in the paint.
Siva-Harrison works in the paint.

Dunmore, Pa. – Sophomores McKenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.) and Haley Nalls (York, Pa.) combined for 19 fourth quarter points for the Lady Lions (15-3, 9-1 PSUAC) to hold off a late rally on the road against Penn State University Athletic Conference opponent Worthington Scranton (1-14, 1-9 PSUAC)on Tuesday night. Playing their second game on back-to-back nights, Hazleton started slow and trailed Worthington Scranton at the midway point, but Hazleton found its groove in the second half, scoring 26 points in both the third and fourth quarters to surge past the home team. Scranton made things interesting in the final period with a 30-point effort in the quarter, getting the home squad within one point of the Lady Lions, but Hazleton sunk five free throws down the stretch to escape Dunmore with an 81-76 conference win.

Top Performers

Five Scranton players hit double figures on Tuesday night including a game high 24 points from Monique Hicks. Two others for Scranton nearly approached triple double territory. Molly Burke went for 16 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds while Sara Moss scored 11 points, adding seven assists and seven boards respectively. Rounding out the top efforts for the home team were Mikaela Brutico with 11 points, eight rebounds, and Jordan Peters with 11 points, two blocks and two steals.

Hazleton was led by Prutsman, who matched Hicks with 24 points on the night. Prutsman went 12 for 15 from the charity stripe, dishing out six assists in the winning effort. Nalls struck for another double-double, piling up 10 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 14 scores and 11 rebounds.

Senior Stephanie Guevara (New Brunswick, Nj.) offered up 15 points and eight rebounds, coming up just one point shy of her career 1,000 while sophomore Ijonana Laster (Niagara Falls, Ny.) went for 12 points on the night. Junior Jacqlyn Siva-Harrison (South Brunswick, Nj.) led the team with 13 rebounds, adding nine points to her credit.

1st Half

Hazleton started off slow and trailed for much of the first quarter as Scranton used an eight-point effort from Sara Moss who connected on a pair of triples in the quarter. With 2:17 remaining in the quarter, Ijonana Laster gave the Lions their first lead of the game and Hazleton would sneak away with a two-point cushion at the horn thanks to a Prutsman runner at the buzzer.

Hazleton led 16-14 heading into the second but a pair of long range makes from Scranton left the Lions trailing once more. Hazleton would remain within one possession of the lead until the offense suddenly went cold in the final four minutes of play. Hazleton would muster just one field goal in the final four minutes while Scranton built up an eight-point cushion. Fortunately for the Lions, a late drive by freshman McKenzie Wolfe (Grove City, Pa.) found the bottom of the net, cutting the score to 35-29 in favor of Worthington Scranton.

2nd Half

Hazleton executed on the defensive end in the third frame, contesting shots and out-rebounding the home team 15-9 in the period. The Lady Lions held Scranton scoreless over a near five-minute stretch to start the quarter, outscoring the home team 12-1 to retake the lead thanks to baskets from Nalls, Guevara, Siva-Harrison and Laster. Hazleton would hold Scranton to just four field goals and 10 points in the quarter as they pulled ahead 55-45 in the frame.

The Lady Lions expanded their lead to as many as 14 points in the early stages of the final period, but Worthington Scranton would not make things easy on Hazleton in the quarter. Scranton connected on four triples in the quarter and exploited Hazleton foul trouble for easy buckets in the paint.

With less than three minutes to play, a Jordan Peters triple cut the lead to just one point before a clutch jumper from Haley Nalls pushed the Hazleton advantage back to 71-68. Following a Scranton turnover, Nalls would hit from long range after a Prutsman offensive board to push the score to 74-68 but Scranton would respond with two straight scores to get within one possession in the final minute. Guevara would slash the paint to give Hazleton a 76-72 and would add to the lead with a free throw but once more Scranton responded from beyond the arc. Molly Burkes triple with under 30 seconds to play cut the lead back to one possession at 78-75 Hazleton but Prutsman and Nalls would hit three of four from the line to seal up the victory.

Next up

A battle for post season seeding commences on Friday night when Hazleton take their home court against Penn State Brandywine. The Lady Lions will tip-off at 6:00 p.m. looking to move into sole possession of second place in the PSUAC.