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Emotional seniors fuel WA victory

Lady Warriors seniors score 40 in win over Lady Patriots

Pictured above, Wyoming Area’s Michelle Gitkos (3) drives past Pittston Area’s Kelly Mitchell during the Lady Warriors victory. Below left, WA’s Lauren Wysocki goes baseline against PA. Below right, Pittston Area’s Mia Hopkins (23) puts up a shot over WA’s Becca Zielen.

Photos by Tony Callaio

At right, Wyoming Area’s Sara Radzwilka (15) drives to the basket during the Lady Warriors win over PA.

photo by tony callaio

Every meeting between Cross River rivals Pittston Area and Wyoming Area is fueled by emotion. To add a little gasoline to that emotional fire, the match-up between the two on Monday night in Exeter was Senior Parents Night for the Lady Warriors.

In their last game ever in Wyoming Area uniforms, the Lady Warrior seniors led the way by scoring 40 of WA’s 56 points in a 56-48 win over the Lady Patriots.

“Emotions were high,” said WA senior Katie Scalzo. “Coach told us all week that emotions are really running high when we play our rivals but we had to keep them in check for this game, and we did.”

After falling behind in the first three minutes, Wyoming Area went on a 12-2 run to end the first quarter with a 16-8 lead. During the run, Scalzo scored seven of her nine first-quarter points, including a steal for a layup and another lay-in as the quarter came to an end. Aubrey Wargowsky added a three-pointer off a Scalzo assist during the run and Rebecca Zielen scored the other two for the Lady Warriors.

Wyoming Area came out cold in the second quarter.

Shooting just 3-of-12 from the field, the Lady Warriors allowed Pittston Area to get back into the game. Mia Hopkins and Kelly Mitchell each had four points while Grace O’Neill hit five free throws and Shannon Gilhooley added two as the Lady Patriots took the lead 23-21 with 1:20 left in the half.

However, Ashlee Blannett hit a shot and Wargowsky added two from the charity stripe after Hopkins committed an offensive foul on a backdoor alley-oop attempt to allow Wyoming Area to take a 25-23 lead into the half.

Each team scored eight points in the third quarter and none of them came in the last two minutes as both squads struggled to find any rhythm from the floor. In the quarter, Zielen and Scalzo had four points each for the Lady Warriors, while Hopkins had four and Gilhooley and Kristen Fereck chipped in with two each for the Lady Patriots.

Michelle Gitkos sparked a nine-point WA run to open the fourth quarter and push the Lady Warriors lead to 42-31.Gitkos hit a three-pointer and then converted a three-point play after taking a beautiful feed from Serra Degnan and getting fouled.

“I think that could have been the turning point in the game,” said WA coach Mike Judge. “Michelle came out and scored the six for us which is great for her. It’s her last game here and it’s great to see her do that.”

A baseline jumper by Wargowsky with 5:50 left to play was the last field goal scored by Wyoming Area as they spent the rest of the game on the foul line.

Degnan assisted on the first three buckets of the quarter and scored the final 12 points for Wyoming from the foul line to seal the victory for the green and gold.

“I was really proud of her,” said Judge about Degnan’s fourth-quarter play. “She stepped up when it counted.”

Pittston Area didn’t score in the fourth until Hopkins hit a short shot with 3:18 left in the game. The sophomore was the game’s leading scorer with 20 points and she also grabbed 12 rebounds.

O’Neill finished with 14 points while Mitchell and Gilhooley added six each.

Scalzo led the Lady Warriors with 15 points while Degnan had 12 and Zielen 10.

Wargowsky scored nine while Gitkos and Blannett notched six and four respectively.

“They are going to be missed and they are a great group of kids, not only on the basketball floor but academically,” said Judge about his five seniors, Gitkos, Scalzo, Wargowsky, Lauren Wysocki and Zielen.

“They are truly going to be missed.”

OF 35, Holy Cross 42

Old Forge let a five-point halftime lead slip away in a 42-35 loss to Holy Cross in the Lackawanna League Division II finale on the road in Dunmore on Monday night.

The Blue Devils used a 15-9 run in the second quarter to take a 17-12 lead at the half as both teams struggled to find the bottom of the net in the first eight minutes.

Holy Cross rallied to within three points in the third and then outscored Old Forge, 20-10, in the final eight minutes for the win.

Morgan Malia led the Blue Devils with 11 points. Lauren Carey and Nicole Marianelli added eight points each for Old Forge, and Andi Alsalahat chipped in with six.

Old Forge resident Mary Grace Sempa led the Lady Crusaders with a game-high 14 points.

D2 Class 1A playoffs

The three-time defending District 2 Class 1A champion Blue Devils have earned the No. 2 seed in the upcoming district tournament.

Old Forge will take on Northwest (6-14) in the semis, tentatively slated for March 2at a site and time to be determined.

Top-seed Forest City (15-7) will also play that night against the winner of the Blue Ridge (3-16) v. Susquehanna (0-20) quarterfinal winner.

The championship game will take place on March 5 at a site and time to be determined.

The Blue Devils beat the Lady Foresters the last three seasons for the district crown.

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