Hazleton, Pa. - Penn State Hazleton grinded out a physical 54-47 win over Penn State York on Monday night in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium, vaulting past their southern rival for third place in the eastern division standings. After leading in each of the first three quarters, the Lady Lions held off a late fourth quarter run by the visiting squad, capturing their fourth Penn State University Athletic Conference win behind a 39 point effort by senior Mckenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.)
Prutsman was dynamite all night for Hazleton, torching York from both inside and out. The senior connected on 17-of-31 shots in the game, adding five steals en route to the victory. Prutsman really made her mark in the second period, notching 16 points and outscoring the combined effort from the York squad to give Hazleton a 30-22 advantage at the break.
The Lions started the second half strong and poured on the offense in the third. Hazleton started the period on a 13-4 run, punctuated by a scoop and score by Prutsman to extend Hazleton's advantage to 17 points with 1:26 remaining in the period. York would close the quarter with five straight points but the Lions remained comfortably ahead 43-31 entering the final stanza.
Hazleton's plan for the fourth quarter was to simply stay on the path they had established all game, and they did that successfully to close out the game. York started the quarter on a five point run cutting a significant chunk out of the Lady Lions' lead, but were once again faced with the issue of containing Prutsman. Despite trimming the deficit to single digits, Prutsman responded with a four point run of her own to maintain the advantage. The senior would wind up responsible for all 11 Lady Lion points in the fourth quarter, capping the night with an assist to sophomore Devon Keiper (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) that extended the cushion back to 14 points. Combined with solid defense and work on the glass, Hazleton would take care of the ball to kill the clock and secure the win.
Overall, Hazleton created 14 steals on the night and out-rebounded York 44-40. Junior Mekenzie Wolfe (Grove City, Pa.) pulled in a team high 12 boards with six points and three steals while sophomore Lauren Pataki (Hazleton, Pa.) registered seven rebounds, four assists and a pair of swipes.
Next up: Every game counts as the Lady Lions head for towards the final stretch of the regular season. Hazleton will hit the road for three straight road games beginning Wednesday night with a 6:00 p.m. contest at Penn State Schuylkill.