Media, Pa. - After suring up the number three seed last week, Hazleton drew Penn State Brandywine in the first round of the conference playoffs on Tuesday night. Brandywine built a double-figure lead in the second quarter and kept Hazleton at arms length from that point on, capturing the quarterfinal victory over Hazleton by the score of 72-53.
The home squad used full-court pressure to stymie the Lady Lions, adding a constant rotation of fresh bodies to defend senior Mckenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.). That solid defensive prescence forced 16 first half turnovers by Hazleton and allowed just six field goals for Hazleton, holding Prutsman to six points in the half. The Lady Lions limited Brandywine to just 26.1 percent shooting in the first period but Brandywine would find their stride in the second quarter, opening the period on an 8-0 run that stretched the lead out to double figures.
Trailing by 14 at the break, Hazleton crept within 10 points as play resumed. Back to back baskets by freshman Hayley Fellin (Hazleton, Pa.) and sophomore Devon Keiper (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) gave life to the Lions' cause, but that's as close as Hazleton would get in the second half. Prutsman and the offense struck for 37 points in the second half but with no answer on the defensive end for Brandywine's Nikki Velez or Brandi James, Hazleton would be forced to trade baskets the rest of the way.
Although the final result was not the desired one, the Lady Lions season and Prutsman's impressive career came to a close with the final horn. After the slow start, Prutsman got going in the second half for 16 points, finishing the contest with a game-high 22 points that included 9-of-11 shots made from the free throw line and seven assists. Junior Mekenzie Wolfe (Grove City, Pa.) added five points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots while sophomore Lauren Pataki (Hazleton, Pa.) totaled eight points, seven boards and four steals in the loss.