WILKES-BARRE TWP. — A four-minute scoreless drought to start the game put Lackawanna Trail in an early 9-0 hole and despite a rally in the fourth quarter, the Lady Lions were defeated by Forest City, 40-29, in the District 2 Class A girls basketball title game Saturday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Lackawanna Trail sophomore guard Allison Decker, who led the Lady Lions with nine points and 10 rebounds, scored all seven of the team’s points in the first quarter.
Decker is confident the group will learn from their mistakes and will be an improved squad next season.
“Getting to this point let us show people that we’re not what our (4-20) record showed,” she said. “I think we definitely have a lot of room to improve and I think we definitely will with our coach.”
Forest City’s Kendra Bendyk outscored Trail by herself in the first quarter with nine points and the Lady Foresters led 16-7.
“(Bendyk) has hurt us every time we played them, whether it be inside or outside,” Lackawanna Trail head coach Lauren Sheakoski said. “Once we took her out of the game, we had a chance. It comes down to coaching changes and making sure we all understand each other.”
Lady Lions sophomore guard Lexie Kwiatkowski made a 3-pointer in the second quarter, but Forest City stretched its lead to 13 points at the half.
Lackawanna Trail sophomore forward Laurelann Penn scored four of her six points in the third quarter, but the Lady Lions lost more ground and trailed 35-18 entering the final quarter.
Despite the loss, Penn, who also contributed six rebounds, cherished the experience of playing in the title game at the arena.
“It was very big for us,” Penn said. “We haven’t won districts or even come close to it since 1985, so being here and playing here was amazing.”
Lackawanna Trail opened the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run and outscored Forest City, 11-5, in the fourth. Sheakoski was pleased with how her team finished the contest and believes playing in the championship game on a big stage will be beneficial for the girls moving forward.
“I think it’s awesome that we’re ending the season on a high note, whether we lost or not, we still got to the district final and it’s a new experience for these girls,” she said. “It was also very important to me for my senior (Alyssa Sohns) to be able to experience it in her last year.”
Forest City head coach John Duffy complimented Trail and the progress the team has made since the beginning of the season.
“(Lackawanna Trail) always plays us tough,” Duffy said. “We played them in the first game of the year and they’re much improved. Coach Sheakoski and her staff have done a terrific job with them.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.