Uniontown, Pa. - Hazleton sought to bounce back after a disappointing first round exit in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association with a consolation round matchup against familiar foe Penn State Brandywine. After scoring nearly 20 points under their season average in the previous two contests, Hazleton found renewed offense in Friday's affair with double figure efforts from three Lady Lions, but continued to see their opponent's dominate the game from beyond the arc.Hazleton would succumb to Brandywine 76-69, allowing 14 triples, nearly identical to the long range effort Brandywine supplied in the Penn State University Athletic Conference title victory over Hazleton.
Sophomore USCAA All-American McKenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.) led all scorers on Friday with 21 points coming on 7-of-20 shooting from the field. Prutsman struck for 7-of-8 free throws and served up game highs with six assists and four steals to lead Hazleton statistically.
Freshman Shelby Berger (Weatherly, Pa.) found her stroke from beyond the arc, connecting on 5-of-9 long range attempts, finishing the afternoon with 18 points off the Lady Lion bench, 14 of which came in the second half. Sophomore USCAA All-American Haley Nalls (York, Pa.) bounced back with a 14 point, 14 rebound effort to cap her breakout season on a high note.
Playing in her final game in a Lady Lion uniform, 1,000 point scorer and 2017 USCAA All-American senior Stephanie Guevara (New Brunswick, Nj.) came up just shy of a double-double, toting eight points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Four Brandywine players reached double figures in the winning effort, sinking 13 of the team's 14 three point makes. Leading the way was newcomer of the year Nikki Velez who topped all Brandywine scorers with 17 points. Velez shot 5-of-12 from long range adding three steals in the victory.
Chrissy Gledhill and Alyssa Abbonizio each netted 13 points with three triples each to their credit while Chelsea Dent tallied 15 points and five assists.
After falling behind in the late stages of the first quarter, Hazleton would score seven unanswered points to knot the score at 23 midway through the second frame. Prutsman would take over in the final five minutes of action, notching eight points over that stretch to help give Hazleton a 36-35 lead heading into halftime.
After knocking in seven triples in the PSUAC championship game, Chrissy Gledhill would find her rhythm in this one as play resumed. Gledhill torched the net for all three of her long range makes in the first three minutes of the third quarter, sparking a 17 to nine run that gave Brandywine a seven point edge midway through the quarter. Brandywine would sink six triples in the period to swing the game back in their favor by nine points heading into the final act.
Brandywine would continue to pour on the offense as the fourth quarter progress, advancing their lead to as many as 18 points, their largest margin of the game. Hazleton would hold Brandywine to just three points in the final four minutes of the game, surging on a 14-3 run, but the deficit proved to much to overcome in the waning stages of play.
The Lady Lions showed no quit as their season came to a close, but end the year on a three game skid to finish the year with a 19-8 overall record. Hazleton wraps up another outstanding season earning their third straight appearance in both the PSAUC title game and the USCAA national championship tournament.