D2 basketball: Abington Heights girls stifle Pittston Area

By Tom Robinson - For Times Leader
Pittston Area’s Alexa Noone looks to pass to teammate Leah Hodick in the lane on Saturday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Pittston Area’s Leah Hodick looks to get around Abington Heights’ Erin Albright in Saturday’s District 2 Class 5A semifinal at Lackawanna College. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

SCRANTON — Abington Heights had every part of the game covered Saturday.

Hannah Kowalski took care of the offense, Erin Albright led the rebounding efforts and the Comets defense shut down the Pittston Area attack.

With Kowalski scoring 28 points, Abington Heights gradually pulled away for a 45-29 victory Saturday night in the District 2 Class 5A semifinal at the Lackawanna College Student Union.

The last of the district semifinals completed the championship lineup at Mohegan Sun Arena for March 1-3. The Comets, who have won titles the first two years of games at the arena, will go for another March 3 at 6 p.m. against Crestwood.

Pittston Area had its six-game winning streak broken and its season ended with a 14-10 record.

Kowalski, the point guard through those two championship runs, did much of the damage. She personally outscored the Patriots, was part of the defense that shut down the Pittston Area perimeter game and helped Albright out on the boards by grabbing 10 rebounds.

“She definitely came to play,” Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey said. “She took it to us early and often.”

An illness hampered Pittston Area’s leading scorer, record-setting 3-point shooter Alexa Noone, and Abington Heights added to her struggles by collectively seldom losing track of where she was.

“You could tell that she wasn’t herself,” Healey said. “We feed off her and when she’s struggling, we struggle.”

Leah Hodick, the inside part of the Pittston Area inside-outside scoring combination, tried to keep the Patriots in the game.

The sophomore center finished with 15 points and six rebounds. She joined Kowalski as the only scorers in the first quarter, which ended with the teams tied, 6-6.

“I thought Leah kept us in it in the first quarter, but they outrebounded us a ton,” Healey said.

Abington Heights outrebounded Pittston Area, 22-11, in the middle two quarters, when the game was won. During that time, the Comets outscored the Patriots, 29-13.

Albright finished with 12 rebounds, including eight during that time and seven on the offensive end.

“They outhustled us and took over the boards,” Healey said, “and Kowalski took over the game.

“That’s what great players do.”

Albright and Kowalski combined on a 10-0 run before Noone hit the first of her three 3-pointers a second before the halftime buzzer to make it 22-12 at the break.

Noone started Pittston Area’s last surge.

Andrea Ruby hit Hodick for an inside basket to start the second half and Noone, who finished with nine points, hit another 3-pointer. That cut the deficit to 22-17, but the Lady Patriots did not score for the next 4:23.

Kowalski had the last eight points of a game-breaking, 10-0 run, including consecutive 3-pointers from about 23 feet.

Abington Heights 45, Pittston Area 29

ABINGTON HEIGHTS (45) — Hannah Kowalski 7 11-12 28, Cassie Ksiazek 4 0-4 8, Erin Albright 2 3-4 7, Henzes 0 0-2 0, Rachel McDonald 0 0-0 0, Clair Marion 0 0-0 0, Maria Tully 0 0-0 0, Sharon Houlihan 0 0-0 0, Maria Terrinoni 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 14-22 45.

PITTSTON AREA (29) — Leah Hodick 5 3-5 13, Alexa Noone 3 0-0 9, Brooklyn Pedana 0 0-0 0, Andrea Ruby 0 0-0 0, Portia Weidlich 0 0-0 0, Mary Silinskie 0 1-2 1, Kayleigh Walker 0 0-0 0, Nicole Zambetti 0 0-0 0, Emily O’Brien 0 0-0 0, Lily Savoy 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 4-5 29.

Abbington Heights`6`16`13`10 — 45

Pittston Area`6`6`7`10 — 29

Three-point goals — AB 3 (Kowalski 3); PA 3 (Noone 3).

Pittston Area’s Alexa Noone looks to pass to teammate Leah Hodick in the lane on Saturday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_TTL022518Pittston-AH-GBB_2.jpgPittston Area’s Alexa Noone looks to pass to teammate Leah Hodick in the lane on Saturday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Pittston Area’s Leah Hodick looks to get around Abington Heights’ Erin Albright in Saturday’s District 2 Class 5A semifinal at Lackawanna College.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_TTL022518Pittston-AH-GBB_1.jpgPittston Area’s Leah Hodick looks to get around Abington Heights’ Erin Albright in Saturday’s District 2 Class 5A semifinal at Lackawanna College. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By Tom Robinson

For Times Leader

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports