Hazleton, Pa. - Freshman Azaria Johnson (Richmond Hill, Ga.) led a trio of Nittany Lions in double-figures on Friday night, propelling Hazleton to a 64-43 win over Penn State DuBois. Johnson scored a season high 25 points in just three quarters of work and helped the Lions ward off a mid-game flurry from Dubois to move Hazleton to a 3-2 record in Penn State University Athletic Conference play.
Hazleton got off to a hot start on Friday night and Johnson was in the mix from the opening tip. Seven points by the freshman in the first three minutes of action helped the Lions build a multi-possession lead that would build over the entirety of the first half. By the second quarter, Johnson had tallied 17 of Hazleton's 32 first half points while she and her teammates limited the visitors to just seven field goals and 15 points in the first two quarters.
Dubois trailed by 17 at the half but came out firing in the third quarter and some early success from beyond the arc quickly turned into a 14-2 run by the visitors. With DuBois hot on their heels, Hazleton finally broke the seal on the basket with just over four minutes to play in the third. A mid-range jumper by Johnson followed by a triple from freshman Cassandra Rodriguez (League City Tx.) quickly extended the Lions' lead back to double figures and Hazleton proceeded to close out the quarter on a 15-3 run, maintaining their 17 point advantage from halftime.
Dubois failed to muster another comeback in the fourth quarter and Hazleton saw six different players crack the scoring column including four point efforts from Rodriguez and freshman Maddie Manning (Downingtown, Pa.) that put the game away. Hazleton led by as many as 24 points towards the end of the contest, their largest lead of the night and cruised to their finish line for the win.
The Lions offense found Azaria Johnson in open space throughout the first three periods and the freshman did not disappoint on open looks or contested shots alike. Johnson converted nine field goals on just 11 attempts and finished the game a perfect 7-for-7 at the charity stripe with eight rebounds to her credit. Sophomore Emily Titus (Tamaqua, Pa.) just missed out on a double-double with 11 points and a team high nine rebounds while Cassandra Rodriguez totaled 12 points to round out Hazleton's top efforts on Friday night.
Next up: Hazleton hits the road on Saturday looking to keep pace in the PSUAC as the Lions look to knock off Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport, Pa. Tip-off on Saturday is set for 3:00 p.m.