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Abington, Dunmore in Lynett girls title game

After ousting Prep in semis, Comets eye 3rd straight title vs. Bucks, who KO’d Scranton.

SCRANTON – Dakin Hewlett attacked the basket on offense while Jamie Halloran and Jamie Montella protected it on the other end of the floor.

Together, they helped Abington Heights open a 21-point, third-quarter lead on the way to a 51-36 victory over Scranton Prep in one of two Lynett Memorial Tournament girls’ semifinals Friday afternoon.

The Lady Comets will try to win the tournament for the third straight time tonight when they face Dunmore, which held on for a 65-62 over Scranton in the other semifinal. The championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Lackawanna Junior College.

Hewlett went 8-for-8 from the line while scoring a season-high 12 points. She hit six of the free throws in the first quarter, including four when Abington Heights ran off the final 10 points for a 15-6 lead.

“Our shooters were on so it sort of opened up the floor,” said Hewlett, who drew each of the two-shot fouls on aggressive drives to the basket. “I just penetrated to try to get some open looks for our big girls.”

Halloran, a 6-foot-1 senior, blocked seven shots while grabbing 13 rebounds and scoring nine points. Montella, a 6-foot junior, had a game-high 16 rebounds, including 14 on the defensive end.

“Halloran is such a dominant force defensively,” Scranton Prep coach Roy Gibbs said. “Even when we had dribble penetration, she could step into the lane and even block us from behind.

“We knew their size underneath and our lack of size was going to be something we had to contend with.”

Including points off foul shots on plays that originated in the lane, Abington Heights outscored Scranton Prep, 40-12, in the paint while making the most of a height advantage of nearly four inches per player. Abington Heights outrebounded Scranton Prep, 46-30.

After an early adjustment, the Lady Comets also got the defensive work done on the perimeter.

The Classics took their only lead at 6-5 when Celia Rader nailed a 23-footer for a 6-5 advantage with 3:50 left in the first quarter.

“I took a timeout after we let Rader take that shot from 3-4 feet beyond the three-point line,” said Abington Heights coach Vince Bucciarelli, who instructed his players to extend the defense farther from the basket. “We did a good job with that.

“… I thought my guards did a good job against their guards.”

The three-pointer was the only basket by the outside shooting combination of Rader and Sarah Walsh during a 1-for-14 first half. Rader finished with 14 points and Walsh eight, but most came after Abington Heights had taken control of the game.

Following the first-quarter timeout, the Lady Comets held the Classics scoreless for 6:20 to open a 15-6 lead.

After Scranton Prep scored its only field goal of the final 11:50 of the half, Samantha Paolucci had five points and Hewlett added four in a nine-point streak to a 24-8 lead with 2:47 left in the second quarter.

Paolucci came off the bench to go 4-for-5 while scoring 10 points and making two steals.

“She’s our secret weapon,” Bucciarelli said of Paolucci, who provides speed to the Abington Heights transition game. “We wait until we need a spurt and we put her in.”

Mariah Deibert had the first four points and Paolucci had the final three of a 9-1 start to the second half that produced the 35-14 lead with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter.

In the opener, Dunmore had a 12-point lead in the third quarter before Scranton closed within one twice in the final 1:42.

The Lady Bucks went 7-for-8 at the line in the final minute to hold on.

“Foul shooting is certainly something we spend a lot of time on in practice,” O’Brien said. “We really focus on it a lot. The girls were able to knock them down when they needed to.”

Lauren Carra had 29 points, including four of the late free throws. Ashley Murray added 17.

Carra had 17 in the first half when Dunmore opened a 37-29 lead.

“They started to trap Lauren, we were in a little foul trouble in a couple other spots and Nicole Korgeski’s knee started bothering her,” O’Brien said. “It was sort of a perfect storm there for a while and they did a good job getting back in it.”

Liz Borgia had 26 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to lead Scranton. Terika Turner added 11 points and 18 rebounds.

In the boys’ tournament, Dunmore knocked off defending champion Scranton Prep, 56-54, to reach Sunday’s final against unbeaten Holy Cross.

Jake Rowland scored 15 points and Matt Maldinado added 13 for Dunmore, which held off Prep by shooting 11-for-16 from the line in the fourth quarter. Prep got 20 points from Pat Mineo and 10 from Tim Lavelle.

Holy Cross defeated Scranton, 57-48, as Mark Bevacqua scored 22 points. Brett Podhyski added 12 and Louis Cipriano 11. Willie Knight (14), Bilal Floyd (13) and Terry Turner (11) scored in double figures for Scranton.

SCRANTON PREP (3-3) 36: Rader 4-17 3-4 14, Kearney 0-2 1-2 1, Grogan 0-0 0-0 0, Walsh 1-9 5-6 8, McDonald 3-1 0-0 6, Gilhooley 0-6 1-4 1, Ware 2-5 0-0 4, Opsasnick 0-0 0-0 0, FitzPatrick 0-2 0-0 0, Schultz 0-3 0-0 0, Casey 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 11-57 10-16 36.

ABINGTON HEIGHTS (4-2) 51: Kilzi 2-5 0-0 4, Hewlett 2-9 8-8 12, Deibert 2-3 4-4 8, Montella 1-5 2-2 4, Halloran 4-9 1-2 9, Fruehan 0-0 0-0 0, Bucciarelli 2-4 0-0 4, Egan 0-0 0-0 0, Paolucci 4-5 1-4 10, Gallagher 0-1 0-0 0, Heron 0-0 0-0 0, Namiotka 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-41 16-20 51.

Scranton Prep 6 7 10 13 36
Abington Heights 15 11 11 14 51

DUNMORE (6-1) 65: Carra 9 9-12 29, Pallotta 4 0-0 8, Melnick 1 1-1 3, Korgeski 0 0-0 0, A. Murray 5 6-8 17, Pelosi 0 0-0 0, Palko 0 4-6 4, C. Murray 2 0-0 4. Totals 21 20-27 65.

SCRANTON (3-5) 62: S. Miller 1 0-0 2, Corbett 3 0-1 6, L. Miller 0 0-0 0, Gatto 1 0-0 3, Borgia 10 5-6 26, Turner 3 5-9 11, Maguire 0 0-0 0, Foster 0 0-0 0, Baldacci 7 0-0 14. Totals 25 10-26 62.

Dunmore 20 17 15 13 65
Scranton 17 12 14 19 62

3-point goals: Dunmore 3 (Carra 2, A. Murray), Scranton 2 (Gatto, Borgia).

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