WILKES-BARRE – The Wyoming Area girls basketball senior class made great strides in its four years together with coach Chad Lojewski.
That progress made it a particularly bitter feeling to fall one game short of the first state tournament berth in the program’s history for the second time in the last three years.
“It’s tough always with the last game,” Lojewski said following Tuesday night’s 50-35 loss to Berwick at Holy Redeemer High School in the District 2 Class 4A third-place game. “But this one was even a bit tougher because this is the first group that I’ve coached four years.
“We had five seniors and the bulk of them I coached the last four years.”
In both 2016 and this season, Wyoming Area placed fourth in a classification where the top three teams made the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament. As a semifinalist both seasons, they had four shots at the one more win needed to make state play.
“It’s tough to see them walking off the court without going to states and at least playing another game or two,” Lojewski said.
Wyoming Area, trying to win a rematch with a team it had lost to by 48 points in the regular season, played a to a tie at halftime before running into offensive problems.
The Lady Warriors missed their first 16 shots of the second half, going without a field goal for 10:14.
“We felt great at halftime,” Lojewski said. “Unfortunately, we had some breakdowns in the third quarter.”
The Lady Warriors committed seven turnovers in the quarter and had several shots rattle out.
By the time Cassidy Orzel hit a 3-pointer, Berwick had gone on a 20-1 run to a 38-19 lead.
Reese Mensinger led the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
“Once we get out in transition, Reese is a great finisher,” Berwick coach Bill Phillips said of Mensinger, who had 36 points in the first meeting.
Sarah Holweg, who finished her career as Wyoming Area’s all-time leading scorer, kept the Lady Warriors in the game early. She did all of her team’s scoring in a 9-4 start and finished with 17 points and three steals.
Wyoming Area led, 13-6, early in the second quarter, then recovered from a 10-point Berwick streak to force the halftime tie.
Addison Orzel grabbed 11 rebounds. Cassidy Orzel had seven points and eight rebounds.
Wyoming Area finished 16-9 in a season that began with a school-record, 11-game winning streak.
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