Holweg’s 7 3-pointers steal show in girls basketball Battle of the Valley

By Paul Sokoloski - psokoloski@timesleader.com
WVC’s Sam Rajza of Holy Redeemer, right, shoots a runner over Lackawanna League’s Kelly Quinn of Dunmore in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
WVC’s Reese Mensinger of Berwick, left, goes in for a layup ahead of Lackawanna League’s MacKenzie Hartman of Forest City in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
WVC’s Julia Mackowski of Crestwood, left, drives past Lackawanna League’s Lexi Walsh of Holy Cross in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
WVC’s Lisa Radziak of Nanticoke Area, left, shoots as Lackawanna League’s Kianna Williams of Mid Valley defends in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
WVC’s Sarah Holweg of Wyoming Area makes a pass against the Lackawanna League in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center. Holweg hit seven 3-point field goals and scored 27 points Monday to lead the WVC to an 87-70 victory in the inauguaral game between seniors from the two rival leagues. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
WVC’s Maddie Mrochko of Hazleton Area, left, looks to pass around Lackawanna League’s MacKenzie Hartman of Forest City in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — She played in a new girls basketball rivalry, in a gym that was also new to her, with a whole bunch of new teammates.

In the end, it was the same old Sarah Holweg.

The Wyoming Area senior star swished seven — count ‘em seven — 3-point field goals Monday and poured in 27 points to lead the Wyoming Valley Conference senior all-stars over the Lackawanna League, 87-70 in the inaugural Battle of the Valley girls game at Wilkes University’s Marts Center.

“This is the Dream Team,” Holweg grinned. “It was fun to play with all these players who have such great talent. We usually play against them and they end up beating us.

“Tonight, they were on our side and it feels good.”

Good doesn’t even describe the shooting of Holweg.

In a game featuring some of the most gifted outside shooters in the WVC, Holweg easily stole the show.

She buried her first three 3-point shots in the opening quarter to get the WVC out to a seven-point lead, came back to score the final five points of the third quarter while lifting the WVC into a two-point advantage and finished up three more treys and 11 points to help the WVC pull away over the final 10-minute quarter.

Turns out, she had a little added incentive above the Luzerne and Lackawanna County boundary.

“I play travel ball with a lot of those girls,” Holweg said of the Lackawanna League. “I have a lot of friends on the Scranton team.”

Apparently, she was in no mood to play the part of a pal.

The West Chester-bound sharpshooter wound up connecting on seven of her 10 attempts from 3-point range and hit 10 of her 14 attempts from the floor. Berwick’s Reese Mensinger added 11 points as the only other WVC player to reach double figures.

“My teammates got me open and got me the ball,” Holweg said. “We had fun, too. This if the first time I’ve ever played in this gym. I like it.”

It wasn’t like a usual, run-and-gun all-star game, either.

WVC coach Chris Parker of Hanover Area employed a press defense, while the Lackawanna League pressed back from a couple of doubl-digit deficits behind 18 points from Scranton’s Shelby Funchess and 14 more from Cassie Ksiaszek to take a lead late in the third quarter.

“I think it was important to win because of the sense of bragging rights — our city vs. their city,” said Parker, a former Wilkes star who played his high school ball in the Lackawanna League. “First one (between the two leagues), I think this is a great idea. And its for charity, what a great cause.

“Right from the first day of practice, they came in focused.”

Holweg doesn’t remember the two days of preparation last week being especially intense.

“We practiced two times,” Holweg said. “Honestly, all we did was really practice shooting for an hour and a half, had some fun with it.”

The laughs were just starting for her.

Holweg blitzed the Lackawanna League with a trio of darts from 3-point land to hand the WVC a quick 11-4 lead. Sam Rajza from Holy Redeemer flurried with five of her seven points in the first half, Berwick’s Roni Isenberg and Victoria Benning from Hanover Area each scored four and the WVC took a 39-34 lead into halftime.

That blossomed to 11 points in the third quarter, as Crestwood’s Sara Hopkins cut loose with six of her nine points to put the WVC up, 53-42. It didn’t take the Lackawanna League to turn things around, though, mustering a 14-point run in a matter of little more than three minutes. Dunmore’s Kelly Quinn tied the game with two free throws and Ksiazek dropped a layup to give the Lackawanna League a 56-53 lead.

But Holweg came off the bench to drill another trey, then added a jumper as the WVC regained the edge, 58-56 with a quarter remaining.

Then the WVC’s perimeter game really got going.

Holweg hit three more treys in the fourth quarter, Mensinger matched her with three triples Hazleton Area’s Maddie Mrochko buried her second 3-pointer of the night and Pittston Area’s Alexa Noone swished a 17-footer as the WVC opened up the gap at the end.

“There are shooters all over the place,” Parker said, “Holweg, Noone, Mensinger, (Nanticoke Area’s Lisa) Radziak, Mrochko, the two kids from Crestwood (Hopkins and Julia Makowski). There was so much talent on this team. Any kid could have started, really.

“I had fun coaching this game.”

WVC’s Sam Rajza of Holy Redeemer, right, shoots a runner over Lackawanna League’s Kelly Quinn of Dunmore in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_TTL032718BattleOfTheValleyGirls_1.jpgWVC’s Sam Rajza of Holy Redeemer, right, shoots a runner over Lackawanna League’s Kelly Quinn of Dunmore in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

WVC’s Reese Mensinger of Berwick, left, goes in for a layup ahead of Lackawanna League’s MacKenzie Hartman of Forest City in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_TTL032718BattleOfTheValleyGirls_2.jpgWVC’s Reese Mensinger of Berwick, left, goes in for a layup ahead of Lackawanna League’s MacKenzie Hartman of Forest City in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

WVC’s Julia Mackowski of Crestwood, left, drives past Lackawanna League’s Lexi Walsh of Holy Cross in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_TTL032718BattleOfTheValleyGirls_3.jpgWVC’s Julia Mackowski of Crestwood, left, drives past Lackawanna League’s Lexi Walsh of Holy Cross in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

WVC’s Lisa Radziak of Nanticoke Area, left, shoots as Lackawanna League’s Kianna Williams of Mid Valley defends in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_TTL032718BattleOfTheValleyGirls_4.jpgWVC’s Lisa Radziak of Nanticoke Area, left, shoots as Lackawanna League’s Kianna Williams of Mid Valley defends in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

WVC’s Sarah Holweg of Wyoming Area makes a pass against the Lackawanna League in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center. Holweg hit seven 3-point field goals and scored 27 points Monday to lead the WVC to an 87-70 victory in the inauguaral game between seniors from the two rival leagues.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_TTL032718BattleOfTheValleyGirls_6.jpgWVC’s Sarah Holweg of Wyoming Area makes a pass against the Lackawanna League in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center. Holweg hit seven 3-point field goals and scored 27 points Monday to lead the WVC to an 87-70 victory in the inauguaral game between seniors from the two rival leagues. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

WVC’s Maddie Mrochko of Hazleton Area, left, looks to pass around Lackawanna League’s MacKenzie Hartman of Forest City in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_TTL032718BattleOfTheValleyGirls_5.jpgWVC’s Maddie Mrochko of Hazleton Area, left, looks to pass around Lackawanna League’s MacKenzie Hartman of Forest City in the Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on Monday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Wyoming Area star drills seven 3-pointers to lead WVC girls over Lackawanna League

By Paul Sokoloski

psokoloski@timesleader.com