Wyoming Area girls battle before relinquishing perfect record

By Tom Robinson - For Sunday Dispatch
Wyoming Area’s Cassidy Orzel, right, wins the opening tip against Crestwood in WVC girls basketball action Monday night in Wright Township. - Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Wyoming Area’s Nicole Silinskie passes around the Crestwood defense. - Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Wyoming Area’s Aleah Kranson, right, makes a move in the lane against Crestwood’s Sarah Richards. - Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

WRIGHT TWP. – Wyoming Area arrived at an important transition in its Wyoming Valley Conference schedule at less than full strength.

By the time the Lady Warriors left Crestwood Monday night, the longest season-opening winning streak in the program’s history was over and the last perfect record in District 2 girls basketball this season had been spoiled.

Division 1 leader Crestwood used superior ball movement and hot shooting early to open a 16-point, second-quarter lead, then held off a spirited comeback to turn back Wyoming Area, 64-57.

Wyoming Area is trying to keep up with Holy Redeemer, Nanticoke and Lake-Lehman in Division 2 where every team plays just one game each against all WVC opponents.

All four schools went unbeaten while running through the Division 3 portion of their schedules. When it came time to take on Division 1 teams – before eventually squaring off with each other in the final third of the conference schedule – Wyoming Area drew the assignment of opening with the first-place team from the big-school division.

Playing the second of three straight games without senior center Addison Orzel, the team’s leading rebounder and shot blocker as well as the second-leading scorer, did not help matters. Orzel and Brandi Sorokin, one of the players who potentially replaces her, were both out because of health issues.

Despite 20-point efforts from Sarah Holweg and Cassidy Orzel, Addison’s younger sister, Wyoming Area had its unbeaten run after 11 games, minutes after Dunmore had suffered its first loss in a Lackawanna League Division 3 game with crosstown rival Holy Cross.

Wyoming Area’s defense picked up its intensity in the second half and eventually disrupted Crestwood’s effective perimeter game. The Lady Warriors, however, never solved rebounding issues as the Lady Comets pounded them on the boards, 41-23, including getting five offensive rebounds off missed fourth-quarter free throws alone.

“All the stars lined up,” Wyoming Area coach Chad Lojewski said. “We have our big girl out,;they moved the ball well; they get those early shots to fall.

“It put us in a position where we had to use a lot of energy the whole game just to try to catch up. We came so close, but we just couldn’t do it.”

Crestwood was 4-for-6 from 3-point range while taking a 23-13 lead in the first quarter.

The Lady Comets built the advantage to 37-21 on a Sara Hopkins 3-pointer with 2:42 left in the half.

Crestwood finished the game at over 50 percent from the floor, including 6-for-11 (54.5) on 3-pointers and 15-for-28 (53.6) on all field goals in the first half.

Wyoming Area held Crestwood without a 3-pointer in the second half while fighting back.

Holweg, who went 5-for-10 from long distance and hit her only two shots from inside the arc, drained 3-pointers 25 seconds apart to cut the deficit to 53-48.

A three-point play by Cassidy Orzel with 1:09 left and two free throws by Ellie Glatz with 13.9 seconds left cut it to five, two more times, but the Lady Warriors did not get any closer.

Orzel hit six straight shots in the second and third quarters, then scored seven points in the last 1:09.

Holweg also had a game-high four assists and shared the team lead with five rebounds. Orzel had five rebounds and two blocked shots.

Glatz came off the bench to provide 10 points and five rebounds.

Aleah Kranson had four steals and Nicole Silinskie had three as Wyoming Area forced 21 turnovers.

Julia Makowski led Crestwood with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Hopkins added 13 points. Riley Magin, who did all of her scoring in the first half, and Sara Richards, who grabbed 10 rebounds, each scored 10 points.

Wyoming Area’s Cassidy Orzel, right, wins the opening tip against Crestwood in WVC girls basketball action Monday night in Wright Township.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_PSD012118WA-CrestwoodGBB_1.jpgWyoming Area’s Cassidy Orzel, right, wins the opening tip against Crestwood in WVC girls basketball action Monday night in Wright Township. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Wyoming Area’s Nicole Silinskie passes around the Crestwood defense.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_PSD012118WA-CrestwoodGBB_2.jpgWyoming Area’s Nicole Silinskie passes around the Crestwood defense. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Wyoming Area’s Aleah Kranson, right, makes a move in the lane against Crestwood’s Sarah Richards.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_PSD012118WA-CrestwoodGBB_3.jpgWyoming Area’s Aleah Kranson, right, makes a move in the lane against Crestwood’s Sarah Richards. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

By Tom Robinson

For Sunday Dispatch

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.