SCRANTON – Pittston Area had the momentum, both in terms of its season and game performance.
Abington Heights took it all away, ending the Lady Patriots season one win short of a trip to the Mohegan Sun Arena and a berth in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament.
The Lady Comets controlled the boards, shut down the Lady Patriots and rode the offensive exploits of Hannah Kowalski to a 45-29 victory Feb. 24 at the Lackawanna College Student Union.
Pittston Area entered the District 2 Class 5A semifinal on a six-game winning streak.
The Lady Patriots ended the first half and started the second with an eight-point streak to close within, 22-17, but the Lady Comets dominated from there.
Kowalski scored eight of her game-high 28 points in the 10-0 Abington Heights run that broke the game open. She capped the run with consecutive long 3-pointers for a 32-17 lead.
“They outhustled us; they got the boards and Kowalski took over the game,” Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey said. “That’s what great players do.”
Pittston Area’s own high scorer, Alexa Noone, who set a pair of school 3-point shooting records on the way to Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 Player of the Year honors, was hampered by an illness and was not as effective as usual against the defense of the defending district champions.
“You could tell that she wasn’t herself,” Healey said. “We feed off her and, when she’s struggling, we struggle.
“I thought Leah (Hodick) kept us in it in the first quarter, but they outrebounded us a ton.”
Hodick finished with a team-high 15 points, including matching Kowalski in the first quarter when each scored all their team’s points in a 6-6 tie. She also had a team-high six rebounds, but Abington Heights had a 38-27 edge there.
Abington Heights outrebounded Pittston Area, 22-11, and outscored it, 29-13, over the second and third quarters to take control.
Noone did all her scoring on three 3-pointers, including two in Pittston Area’s last shot at keeping the game close. She ended the first half with one 3-pointer and followed up Hodick’s basket with another to get the second half off to a strong start.
Pittston Area finished 14-10.
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