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Young Monarchs fall short in finale

Entire men’s roster slated to return as season ends with loss to Eastern, 11-14 mark.

WILKES-BARRE — It took less than a second for J.P. Andrejko to come up with the answer.

The King’s coach didn’t have to think hard about the last time he had no seniors for senior day.

“Never,” was the response.

In other words, it was a fittingly strange ending to the strangest season Andrejko and the Monarchs have endured in his eighth season at the helm of the program.

A season of transition officially came to an end for the Monarchs on Saturday with a 57-43 loss to Eastern at Scandlon Gymnasium.

King’s finished the season 11-14 overall and 3-13 in the Freedom Conference in a year where the team was replacing four starters – three of whom started for four years – and lost a promising prospect in Chase McGowan, who left school to join the military.

Despite all the new faces, King’s hung tough throughout the conference schedule until finally running out of steam against the Eagles.

“These kids have played hard all year long and they have been in every game we’ve played,” Andrejko said. “It was a matter of time that we’d just get beat down. And I think that they just hit that point today. The will was there to do it … but it was the 25th game of the year.”

Eastern, meanwhile, was able to grab the No. 3 seed in next week’s Freedom Conference tournament with the win. The Eagles (17-8, 10-6) edged Wilkes for an automatic spot in the semifinals thanks to a win over top-seeded DeSales last weekend.

With the entire roster slated to return for next season, the Monarchs rotated all 12 players out on the court during the first half as the Eagles took a 30-20 lead into the break.

King’s pulled within 34-29 early in the second half on a Mike Wagner three-pointer, but a quick 10-0 run by Eastern made the lead double digits for the rest of the way.

Kevin Conroy continued to be the brightest spot for the future for King’s, finishing with a team-high 16 points. The sophomore center finished the season at 16.8 points per game, good for fourth in the league.

But it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Eagles, who went 10-of-20 from the floor in the second half and shot 47 percent for the game, led by 17 points from Jason Reels.

Though the Monarchs now head into the offseason earlier than usual, they’ll build off their wins over a pair of regular-season conference champs – DeSales (Freedom) and Widener (Commonwealth).

“Coming into next year, I told them, ‘You’re not coming in here just to compete, you’re coming in here to win,’ ” Andrejko said. “I hate excuses and I don’t make excuses. And next (season) there’s not going to be any.”

EASTERN (57): Tucker 5-8 1-1 11, Reels 8-14 1-2 17, Myers 3-4 0-0 6, Soaries 4-10 0-0 12, Kaiser 1-2 0-0 2, Decker 1-3 1-2 3, Whipple 0-1 0-0 0, Coleman 0-0 0-0 0, Wright 2-8 2-2 6, Pujols 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-51 5-7 57.

KING’S (43): Stackhouse 0-3 0-0 0, Wagner 2-4 0-0 6, Schule 4-9 0-0 9, Reisig 1-3 0-0 3, Conroy 4-9 8-11 16, Fallon 0-1 0-0 0, Brasky 0-2 1-2 1, Joyce 0-2 0-0 0, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Acevedo 1-1 0-0 2, Sanderson 0-0 0-0 0, Schlichter 3-4 0-0 6. Totals 15-39 9-13 43.

Halftime— Eastern, 30-20 3-Point Field Goals— EU 4-13 (Soaries 4-6, Decker 0-1, Wright 0-1, Tucker 0-2, Reels 0-3); KC 4-9 (Wagner 2-3, Schule 1-1, Reisig 1-1, Fallon 0-1, Brasky 0-1, Joyce 0-2)

Lady Monarchs tune up for playoffs with victory

Playing in what turned out to be her final home game for King’s, senior Kaitlyn Fiorino scored a team-high 18 points to best Eastern 64-58 in a tune-up for the postseason.

The Lady Monarchs (10-15, 8-8 Freedom) will be the No. 5 seed in the Freedom Conference tournament and will travel to Misericordia for the opening-round game at 7 p.m. Monday.

Misericordia clinched the fourth seed by pulling away late on the road on Saturday, beating Delaware Valley 57-47. The Cougars also finished 8-8 in the league and split the regular season with King’s, with the home team winning both games.

“We did what we needed to do, and now we’ll get ready to go to Misericordia on Monday,” coach Brian Donoghue said. “You gotta be excited about it.”

Fiorino became just the third player in program history to hit 1,500 career points with a shot late in the first half. Fittingly, she hit the mark with a shot from behind the arc to add to her school record for three-pointers.

A cheer also went up for fellow senior Andrea Carroll, who had missed the first 23 games of the season while recovering from a torn left ACL.

Carroll, who made her season debut Wednesday at Manhattanville, was in the starting lineup for her final game at Scandlon Gymnasium and scored her first points of the year on a bucket midway through the second half, drawing a standing ovation from her teammates on the bench.

“It’s fantastic,” Donoghue said. “That was a goal for her rehab I think all the way through. To be able to do that, to start in her last game is gigantic.”

Freshman Julianna Lynott posted a triple-double of sorts – 17 points, 12 rebounds and 19 candles on her birthday.

EASTERN (58): DeCarlo 0-6 6-6 6, Roland 8-20 4-5 21, Wilson 6-9 3-4 18, Brown 0-3 2-4 2, Tobin 2-9 1-2 5, Weaver 3-5 0-0 6, Poole 0-2 0-0 0, Starkes 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 19-57 16-21 58.

KING’S (64): Muscatell 1-6 4-7 6, Fiorino 4-17 8-10 18, Carroll 1-4 0-0 2, Malshefski 3-11 2-2 6, Lynott 7-10 3-5 17, Paettie 1-5 0-0 3, Dick 2-5 0-0 5, Carlin 0-2 0-0 0, Miller 0-2 0-0 0, Magan 0-0 0-0 0, Malloy 0-2 1-2 1, Durako 0-0 0-0 0, O’Doherty 1-4 1-2 3. Totals 20-68 19-28 64.

Halftime— King’s, 30-24 3-Point Field Goals— EU 4-8 (Wilson 3-5, Roland 1-1, DeCarlo 0-1, Starkes 0-1); KC 5-22 (Fiorino 2-10, Malshefski 1-3, Dick 1-3, Paettie 1-4, Carroll 0-1, Malloy 0-1)

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