SCRANTON — In a tightly contested game, Bethlehem Catholic made 10 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter to defeat Abington Heights, 38-30, in the first round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class 3A girls basketball playoffs on Saturday at Marywood University.
Abington Heights guard Hannah Kowalski scored six of her game-high 12 points in the first quarter when the Lady Comets took an 11-7 lead.
“Our goal was to push the tempo,” Abington Heights head coach Deanna Klingman said. “Hannah does a wonderful job of getting our offense going and once we got into a half-court set, we got some really good shots.”
Bethlehem Catholic (17-10) outscored Abington Heights, 9-3, in the second quarter. The Lady Comets missed all 11 shot attempts during the quarter.
Kowalski gave Abington Heights a 20-18 lead by scoring on a strong drive to the hoop with 4:55 left in the third quarter and Lady Comets forward Emma Baker added a basket in the final minute of the quarter to tie the score entering the fourth.
A three-point play from Lady Hawks guard Nataline Rhine gave Bethlehem Catholic a 31-27 advantage with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter.
“They had a big three-point play and took back the momentum,” Klingman said.
Abington Heights’ Nicole Getz, who scored eight points, responded with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, but the Lady Hawks scored the final seven points of the game, all from the foul line, to seal the win.
The Lady Comets made just three of 11 field goal attempts in the fourth quarter and one of six shots from the foul line.
“We had two wonderful looks at 3-pointers that we didn’t knock down,” Klingman said. “That’s part of basketball.”
Alessia Brunori scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds for Abington Heights. Mariah Tulaney led the Lady Comets with three steals.
Abington Heights ends the season with a 21-6 record.
“Our kids made a valiant effort,” Klingman said. “They played hard all game, but the ball didn’t roll our way a couple times.
“It’s very hard to look back at what a great season it has been when you’re in pain. I tried to reinforce to them how proud the coaching staff was of their effort all year. We kept moving upward throughout the season and had a terrific year.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.