Lady Warriors split, have one more shot at state berth

By Tom Robinson - For Sunday Dispatch
Wyoming Area’s Nicole Silinskie, right, avoids Dallas’ Hanna Johnson to makes a pass at Pittston Area High School. - Sean McKeag | Sunday Dispatch
Wyoming Area’s Aleah Kranson dribbles towards the hoop during Tuesday’s game against Dallas at Pittston Area High School. - Sean McKeag | Sunday Dispatch
Wyoming Area’s Cassidy Orzel hustles towards the basket against Dallas at Pittston Area High School. - Sean McKeag | Sunday Dispatch
Wyoming Area’s Cassidy Orzel (No. 22) heads to the basket on a fast break in the first half against the Nanticoke Trojans. Orzel had 9 of the Warriors 21 first half points. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Warrior head coach Chad Lojewski has a chat on the sideline with sophomore guard Nicoke Silinskie (No. 3). - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Aleah Kranson (Mo. 10) attempts to dribble past a Trojan defender. In the end, Nanticoke’s full court press proved too tough for the Warriors losing, 50-43, in a District 2 4A playoff game Friday night at King’s College gym. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

One win earned two chances.

Wyoming Area coach Chad Lojewski was glad his team did not think that way at the time, but when the Lady Warriors defeated Dallas, 54-41, Tuesday night at Pittston Area in the District 2 Class 4A girls basketball semifinals, they earned two chances to reach the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament for the first time in school history.

Nanticoke spoiled the first chance Friday night when it stopped Wyoming Area from reaching the district final by rallying for a 50-43 victory at King’s College.

The Trojanettes prevented the Lady Warriors from making their first appearance at Mohegan Sun Arena, but, with District 2 sending three teams to state play in Class 4A, Wyoming Area still has one more chance.

The Lady Warriors will play Berwick Tuesday night for the district’s third and final state berth.

“It’s a unique situation, but the girls never talked about it,” Lojewski said. “It was all about Nanticoke, Nanticoke, Nanticoke.”

Wyoming Area’s season, which started with 11 straight wins, reached its low point Feb. 9 in a 68-20 loss at Berwick when Reese Mensinger hit six 3-pointers while scoring 36 points.

“Wyoming Area has never played in states,” Lojewski said. “So, to play in a qualifying game for states is a tremendous opportunity.

“These girls deserve it. This one is going to sting a little while, but we’re going to get over it and move on. We have to get hungry again because we still have something to play for.”

Wyoming Area and Berwick are both 16-8.

Wyoming Area 54

Dallas 41

YATESVILLE – Sarah Holweg shot her way into the Wyoming Area school record book with a playoff-opening performance against Dallas for the second time in three years.

Holweg, who set a single-game record with 44 points in an upset win as a sophomore, became the Lady Warriors career scoring leader with an efficient effort Tuesday.

“She was very patient and composed,” Wyoming Area coach Chad Lojewski said. “We talked about what Dallas might come out with as a game plan and she was very patient.

“When she needed to get the points, she got them.”

The senior guard shot 8-for-10, including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers, to score 19 points in the quarterfinal win.

“I thought, for the whole team, that the shot selection was very good,” Holweg said.

There was more to like.

“Our defense was tremendous,” coach Chad Lojewski said.

Holweg made six steals, the same number of turnovers committed by the entire Wyoming Area team in the game.

Cassidy Orzel had eight points in the fourth quarter to finish with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

“She has a little bit of an edge to her,” Lojewski said of the sophomore’s aggressive effort on the boards. “ … She’s tough to defend.”

Addison Orzel, who had eight points, and Aleah Kranson each dished out four assists.

Nicole Silinskie hit a pair of 3-pointers.

“There is a great flow we have in our offense now and it’s peaking at the right time,” Lojewski said.

Wyoming Area trailed just once, midway through the first quarter.

Holweg took a steal the length of the floor, then added a 3-pointer 35 seconds later for five straight points, putting Wyoming Area ahead, 9-5.

The record-setting basket came on a steal and breakaway with 5:05 left in the first half, completing a 15-4 run to a 19-9 lead.

After adding 12 more points Friday, Holweg has 1,543 career points. Cathy Kopcza, a 1989 graduate, had 1,519 points.

Nanticoke 50

Wyoming Area 43

WILKES-BARRE – Alyssa Lewis led a second-half comeback that carried Nanticoke into Thursday’s championship game at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Lewis had 18 of her 26 points and four of her five steals in the second half while leading a Trojanettes defense that forced 28 turnovers, including 17 after halftime.

“They’re probably the most athletic pressing team that you’re going to face,” Lady Warriors coach Chad Lojewski said.

Nanticoke got at least three steals from all five starters.

Nicole Silinskie opened the game with a 3-pointer and Wyoming Area, which led the entire way in an upset win over Nanticoke just two weeks earlier, stayed in front until midway through the third quarter.

The Lady Warriors built the lead as high as nine points.

Nanticoke rallied for the first tie and first lead with a streak of nine straight points for a 25-23 lead with 3:20 left in the third.

The teams battled back and forth from there, until Wyoming Area struggled down the stretch and Lewis hit seven of eight foul shots in a nine-point streak over the final 3:11.

The lead changed hands seven times and the game was tied six times because Nanticoke’s closing flurry.

“It seemed like there was a stretch there where we kept getting steal after steal after steal and they really struggled with something that had been successful for them early on,” Nanticoke coach Alan Yendrzeiwski said.

Sophomores Cassidy Orzel and Nicole Silinskie led Wyoming Area with 13 points each. Orzel missed key minutes with foul trouble. Silinskie fouled out with 42.2 seconds left.

Nanticoke outscored Wyoming Area, 11-1, in the 6:52 that Cassidy Orzel sat. When she committed her fourth foul with 5:24 left, Lojewski left her in the rest of the way.

“Cass is a very special player,” Lojewski said of Orzel, who earned a starting spot when she improved on avoiding foul trouble. “She’s certainly evolving into one of the better players in the conference. I have to find a way to keep her on the floor longer.

“We’ve talked about it and she’s matured tremendously.”

Sarah Holweg had 12 points. Addison Orzel grabbed 20 rebounds, including 18 on the defensive end, and blocked four shots. Aleah Kranson had six assists.

Wyoming Area’s Nicole Silinskie, right, avoids Dallas’ Hanna Johnson to makes a pass at Pittston Area High School.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_WAgirls1-1.jpgWyoming Area’s Nicole Silinskie, right, avoids Dallas’ Hanna Johnson to makes a pass at Pittston Area High School. Sean McKeag | Sunday Dispatch

Wyoming Area’s Aleah Kranson dribbles towards the hoop during Tuesday’s game against Dallas at Pittston Area High School.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_WAgirls2-1.jpgWyoming Area’s Aleah Kranson dribbles towards the hoop during Tuesday’s game against Dallas at Pittston Area High School. Sean McKeag | Sunday Dispatch

Wyoming Area’s Cassidy Orzel hustles towards the basket against Dallas at Pittston Area High School.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_WAgirls3-1.jpgWyoming Area’s Cassidy Orzel hustles towards the basket against Dallas at Pittston Area High School. Sean McKeag | Sunday Dispatch

Wyoming Area’s Cassidy Orzel (No. 22) heads to the basket on a fast break in the first half against the Nanticoke Trojans. Orzel had 9 of the Warriors 21 first half points.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_Roundup1.CMYK_-1.jpgWyoming Area’s Cassidy Orzel (No. 22) heads to the basket on a fast break in the first half against the Nanticoke Trojans. Orzel had 9 of the Warriors 21 first half points. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Warrior head coach Chad Lojewski has a chat on the sideline with sophomore guard Nicoke Silinskie (No. 3).
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_Roundup2.CMYK_-1.jpgWarrior head coach Chad Lojewski has a chat on the sideline with sophomore guard Nicoke Silinskie (No. 3). Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Aleah Kranson (Mo. 10) attempts to dribble past a Trojan defender. In the end, Nanticoke’s full court press proved too tough for the Warriors losing, 50-43, in a District 2 4A playoff game Friday night at King’s College gym.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_Roundup3.CMYK_-1.jpgAleah Kranson (Mo. 10) attempts to dribble past a Trojan defender. In the end, Nanticoke’s full court press proved too tough for the Warriors losing, 50-43, in a District 2 4A playoff game Friday night at King’s College gym. Tony Callaio | 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.

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Video Caption: Sarah Holweg speaks after the Wyoming Area Lady Warriors defeated Dallas in the District 2 Class 4A Girls Basketball Semifinals
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Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.