SCRANTON — Abington Heights struggled to generate any production on offense early in the game, but tough defensive play kept them within striking distance. Despite scoring just 11 points in the first half, the Lady Comets forced Scranton Prep into 12 turnovers and trailed by just one point, 12-11, at the half.
It was another turnover to begin the third quarter that proved to shift the momentum in the game.
Lady Comets guard Hannah Kowalski knocked the ball loose near half court and Nicole Getz converted the steal into points with a layup to give Abington Heights its first lead of the game with 6:33 left in the third.
Abington Heights never trailed again and defeated Scranton Prep, 39-26, in the eighth annual Hoops for Hope girls basketball game on Monday, Feb. 1 at the Xavier Center.
The two teams presented The Foundation for Cancer Care with a check for $25,400 prior to the start of their game on Monday, Feb. 1.
“We thought we needed to put a little bit more pressure on them,” Abington Heights head coach Deanna Klingman said. “We came out with a lot of fire, a lot of energy and converted. We looked to trap more and when you get a couple turnovers and a couple easy baskets, it makes it look easier.”
Scranton Prep controlled the game early, outscoring the Lady Comets 9-4, in the first quarter led by four points from Holly Daveski.
Abington Heights (15-4) limited the Classics to three points in the second quarter and got two baskets from Olivia Baker to end the half.
“She did a terrific job posting up and and converting layups,” Klingman said of Baker.
Getz’s basket to start the third quarter was part of a 12-4 run for the Lady Comets to give Abington Heights a 23-16 advantage.
“We knew we had to come out and play a lot harder than we did in the first half,” Getz said. “We tried to play really hard defense and that set up our great offensive plays.”
After Scranton Prep (9-10) closed to within four points at the end of the third, Olivia Baker converted a 3-point play early in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Comets pull away.
“This is a really special game for me and my team,” Baker said. “I just wanted to play as good as I could for them. It means a lot to me and it has forever because I know people who have had breast cancer, and people in my family have been personally affected by it.”
The Lady Comets converted 10 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal their ninth straight win.
“They’re playing with great confidence, they trust each other and they have a good idea where the other people are going to be on the floor,” Klingman said.
Daveski and Jillian Paulus, who made two 3-pointers, led Prep with 11 points each.
Baker scored a team-high 10 points for Abington Heights and Nicole Getz added nine.
Abington Heights will travel to play Honesdale in a league crossover game at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4 while Scranton Prep will host North Pocono in a league at 7:15 on Feb. 4.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage