Coughlin’s Lauren McGinley goes up for a shot as West Scranton’s Amanda Greene (52) and Colleen Cadden (11) defend in the second quarter of the opening round of the District 2 Girls Class 3A playoffs in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday night.BILL TARUTIS/FOR THE TIMES LEADER
WILKES-BARRE – Sometimes good things happen by accident.
Certainly, that was the case when Coughlin coach Tony George was forced to call a timeout in the fourth quarter to avoid a turnover when one of his players was trapped on the baseline.
On the ensuing inbounds play, senior guard Jordan Britt broke wide open for an uncontested layup that was perhaps the turning point in the Crusaders’ 39-33 victory over West Scranton in first-round action of the District 2 Class 3A girls basketball playoffs on Saturday night.
No. 5 seed Coughlin (18-5) will face No. 4 seed Scranton Prep in second round play 6 p.m. Tuesday at Scranton High School.
“It was a designed play that we just set up this week,” George said. “Kacee (Rava) is a horse. She set a nice screen that enabled us to get the ball to Britt.”
Britt, who paced Coughlin with 12 points, said the play worked like a charm.
“I set up on the right side and Kacee screened up. I had a clear path to the basket and had an easy layup.”
The teams played on virtually even terms for the first three quarters. However, with Britt and Lauren McGinley leading the way, the Crusaders gained the upper hand in the final period.
Coughlin took a 30-20 lead with 5:15 remaining in the game on a driving layup by McGinley and appeared to be in control.
However, the Invaders came storming back. They trimmed the margin to 33-29 on a layup by Amanda Greene with 1:17 left. Coughlin countered with a field goal by Britt and a pair of free throws by Alison Banks to widen the gap to 37-31.
West Scranton (9-13) drew to within 37-33 with 15 seconds remaining on a basket by Sabrina Coleman, but Coughlin sealed the deal when Britt stole the ball and passed to McGinley for a driving layup with just four seconds left.
McGinley, a 5-foot-10 senior forward, was held to two points during the first three quarters. She rose to the occasion by scoring eight points in the fourth quarter.
“I stepped up my game,” McGinley said. “I just got it in my head that there was no way we were going to lose our last game on our home court. We were determined not to let that happen.”
The Crusaders shot the ball much better in the final period, outscoring the Invaders 19-14 to keep their playoff run alive.
“We definitely gained momentum the fourth quarter,” said McGinley. “We didn’t get rolling in the first half because I think we were rusty from not having played for a week and a half.”
Coughlin scored only 12 points in the first half, but trailed by just one point at intermission because West Scranton also was ice cold.
“We were just rusty early on,” said Britt. “I also think we were nervous, but we finally played our game in the fourth quarter.”
The Crusaders also got a strong effort from Rava, a 6-foot junior center who scored 10 points, including two straight baskets at the start of the third quarter.
“I was able to take the ball to the basket because I got a few drop steps,” said Rava. “You have to give West Scranton credit – they played very hard.”
George said his team came out a bit sluggish and appeared lackadaisical through much of the first half.
“We got itchy to shoot the ball instead of running our offense.”
Greene led the Invaders with 12 points, followed by Coleman and Nora Joyce with 10 points each.
“We played well for three quarters,” said Joyce. “They found our weak spots in the fourth quarter and turned them into steals.”
WEST SCRANTON (33): Codden 0 0-0 0, Joyce 4 0-0 10, Perry 0 1-2 1, Coleman 5 0-0 10, Greene 6 0-0 12. 15 1-2 33.
COUGHLIN (39): Hayward 0 0-0 0, Rava 3 4-7 10, Kushner 1 2-2 4, Banks 0 3-5 3, McGinley 5 0-0 10, Britt 5 1-2 12, Baron 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 6-8 39.
3-Point Field Goals— WS: Joyce 2. COU: Britt.