The last time Penn State Hazleton and Penn State Wilkes-Barre got together, the game was decided in the last eight seconds of the game. Wilkes-Barre hit a layup with eight seconds on the clock, but Hazleton inbounded the ball, drove the length of the court and Kendra Pfeil sank the layup with two seconds left on the clock to give Hazleton the dramatic win. Tuesday night at the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium in Hazleton, however, would be a totally different game which saw Wilkes-Barre jump come right out of the gate scoring early and often, building the lead, and cruising to the 85-77 victory. The loss further dampened the playoff hopes of Hazleton as they saw their overall record drop to 11-7 and their PSUAC record fall to 5-6.
All of Penn State Hazleton's starters hit double figures on the night with Mckenzie Prutsman topping all scorers with 26 points followed up by Kendra Pfeil's 16 points. The other three starters, Shelby Berger, Sam Varela, and Mekenzie Wolfe each added 10 points apiece with Wolfe pulling down 16 rebounds. Alaena Lloyd poured in 24 points for Wilkes-Barre and assisted by Yasmine Montgomery hitting for 14 points and Jacqualine Rabender's 12 points. Miranda Pace added 9 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the the visitors. Once again, Hazleton was beliegered by a short bench as Wilkes-Barre's bench players hit for 27 points to Hazleton's five. Wilkes-Barre hit 40% (33-82) of its fieldgoals to Hazleton's 37% (28-76), out rebounded the home team 56-48, had more second chance points 10 to 15, had more points in the paint 44 to 36, however, they had more turnovers 14-11. The game was extremely physical which found the referees getting a workout on the night with Wilkes-Barre being whistled for 19 personal fouls and a technical to Hazleton's 17 fouls.
A Kendra Pfeil layup followed by a Mckenzie Prutsman layup found Hazleton with an early four point lead at the 8:36 mark. 16 seconds later, Miranda Pace hit a layup, Hazleton turned the ball over, Raven Monet Kemper got the hoop and the harm to give Wilkes-Barre its first lead of the night. The teams went back and forth throughout the quarter, but then went cold and the last two minutes saw no one score. The quarter ended with Wilkes-Barre holding a slim two point lead, 17-15. The second quarter started as the first ended with both teams missing scoring opportunities. Shelby Berger hit a jumper to break the ice at the 9:17 mark and tie the game at 17. Both Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton would make runs, but each would counter to keep the game close. At the 5:34 mark Sadie Beaver hit a three pointer to put Hazleton up 29-28, then with 5:17 left in the quarter, Prutsman hit two fould shots to extend the lead tp 31-28. Sam Varela followed it up with a bucket and the Hazleton lead was up to five points which led to a Wilkes-Barre timeout. The strategy worked and Hazleton went cold, not scoring for the next three minutes and finding Wilkes-Barre now holding the four point lead. Hazleton could manage only one more field goal in the quarter and the first half ended with Wilkes-Barre holding the lead, 43-37
The third quarter started out almost exactly as the second quarter finding Berger hitting a jumper for Hazleton right after Raven Monet Kember sank a layup off a steal. It would be the last Hazleton would score for at least three minutes and by the time Prutsman hit a pair of free throws at 6:31 in the third they found themselves down by 13. Every time Hazleton made a run to cut the lead, Wilkes-Barre would answer. When the horn sounded ending the third quarter, Hazleton was sitting at a 14 point deficit, 69-55. The fourth quarter saw Wilkes-Barre freely substituting and pushing the ball up the court every on every opportunity. Having a short bench, fatigue started to effect Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre expanded on it's lead. Hazleton would not give in and battled to the very end, and by the end had cut the lead to eight, but the deficit was too large to over come. Wilkes-Barre wanted to make sure there was no last minute heroics for Hazleton this time around and took care of business when it counted. When the final horn sounded it was Penn State Wilkes-Barre 85 and Hazleton 77.
Hazleton will hit the road for it's final road game of the regular season playing Penn State Schuylkill in Schuylkill Haven on Friday night. Tip off is scheduled for 6 PM.