YATESVILLE – Cassidy Orzel’s emergence as a consistent force on the Wyoming Area girls basketball is taking place at the same time her older sister Addison’s high school career is rapidly nearing its conclusion.
When Addison Orzel was cleared to play Monday night for the only time in the last eight games, while trying to work her way back from an injury, Cassidy went to coach Chad Lojewski and sacrificed her starting spot for her sister.
Cassidy’s waiting 3:54 to enter the game gave host Pittston Area a little additional hope in the second annual Tigue-Denisco Game.
Cassidy Orzel finished with 17 points and seven steals while earning the Tony Denisco Award as Wyoming Area’s Most Valuable Player for leading the 57-43 road victory in what was also a Wyoming Valley Conference crossover game.
The effort kept the award in the Orzel family. Addison won it a year ago with a spectacular 30-rebound effort.
“(Lojewski) told me I would be starting against Pittston,” Cassidy Orzel said. “Since it is my sister’s last year, I wanted to give her the opportunity to start, especially since she hadn’t been able to play the past couple week.”
Foul trouble limited Addison Orzel to 19 ½ minutes in which she grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. She took just three shots while scoring four points.
Cassidy Orzel went 6-for-9 from the floor, including 1-for-2 from 3-point range, and hit all four of her free throws while leading the offense. She entered the game with Wyoming Area in a 7-0 hole, then played all but 56 second the rest of the way.
Wyoming Area outscored Pittston Area, 56-31, with Cassidy Orzel on the floor and was outscored, 12-1, in the 4:50 she sat out.
“She has great versatility,” Lojewski said. “She’s increased her 3-point shooting ability; she can drive, but what I think makes her the best is that her defense is tremendous. It’s just so instinctive and it just makes our team so much better.
“When she goes in, it’s not a bench player coming in.”
Earlier in the season, Lojewski held back on starting Cassidy Orzel because of her propensity to commit fouls. She has conquered that issue and now starts most games.
“We knew if Cassidy didn’t start, she’d come off the bench pretty quickly,” Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey said. “We knew she’d make an impact.
“We scouted them a few times, so we knew she would make a difference.”
The Lady Warriors got offense from many different directions Monday.
Aleah Kranson scored 11 and had a team-high five assists. Nicole Silinskie went 3-for-4 on 3-pointers while scoring 10. Ellie Glatz added nine in her 11 minutes.
Sarah Holweg chipped in with four steals and three assists.
Alexa Noone had a game-high 21 points while earning the Tom Tigue Award as Pittston Area’s MVP. She also had five rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Leah Hodick added 13 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out.
Noone scored the game’s first seven points, but the offense soon stalled, committing 14 turnovers in the first half and 25 in the game.
“We really didn’t take care of the ball as much as we needed to in a game like that with a lot of emotions and the crowd,” Healey said. “ … It was a great atmosphere for both teams.”
The game honors the memories of Tom Tigue, a state representative from Hughestown, and Denisco, the West Pittston mayor, who both died in 2016. In addition to the individual MVP awards, the teams play for the Tigue-Denisco Cup.
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