Lions hang on to top Scranton 77-67

Alexa Clark walks the ball up court.
Alexa Clark walks the ball up court.

Dunmore, Pa. - Just two days into the spring semester, the Lady Lions were back in action as they traveled to Penn State Scranton on Tuesday night for a Penn State University Athletic Conference matchup to kick off the new year. Led by four players in double figures, Hazleton took an early lead in the first quarter and slowly stretched that advantage throughout the contest to nab their second conference win of the year 77-67 over Scranton, improving their record to 4-6 on the season. 

Hazleton trailed 13-12 in the opening period until the Lions ripped off a seven point run to close out the quarter with a six point cushion. Freshman Scarlet Vargas (Bronx, Ny.) capped the late rally with her second triple of the game as the Lions held Scranton without a bucket for the final three minutes of the first. 

The Lions would maintain their lead into the halftime break and midway through the third quarter, extended their cushion to as many as 16 points as freshman Alexa Clark (Effort, Pa.) led Hazleton on a 10-0 in just over a one minute stretch of play. That run left the Lions in solid command but Scranton roared back with an 11-0 run of their own as Hazleton struggled to find the basket during what was nearly a four minute scoring drought for Hazleton that resulted in Scranton trailing by just five points heading into the final stanza. 

Scranton would eventually cut the lead to just two points as the fourth quarter began, but the sophomore Jaclyn Hess (Bangor, Pa.) came up with a pair of triples in response to the Scranton threat that gave Hazleton a 60-51 edge with just under seven minutes remaining. After that the Lions kept Scranton out of striking distance with eight free throws down the stretch and a 10 point effort by freshman Katura McCorkle (Philadelphia, Pa.) that gave Hazleton a comfortable double-digit win 77-67 in the end. 

Clark shot 50 percent from the field and would end the night as Hazleton's top scorer, notching 17 points in relief work for the Lions, followed by McCorkle with 16 points to her credit. Jaclyn Hess added a game high five triples to tally 15 points with six rebounds while freshman RosaLydia Caputo (Howard Beach, Ny.) added 11 points and six boards respectively in the win for Hazleton. 

Next up: Hazleton will host the University of Maine - Fort Kent  on Thursday, January 16 for a 6:00 p.m. non-conference game.