SCRANTON — Abington Heights guard Hannah Kowalski did all she could to will her team to victory, scoring 25 of her game-high 27 points in the second half and overtime, but West Scranton’s Destiny Jefferson sank five of nine free throws in the extra period to help the Lady Invaders defeat the Lady Comets, 56-53, in a Lackawanna League Division 1 girls basketball game Feb. 10.
“We went down four points in overtime and were able to claw back,” West Scranton head coach Leo Ciullo said. “We were able to get to the line and hit a couple big free throws to seal it.”
Ciullo spoke highly of Kowalski after the junior’s second-half heroics.
“She’s a warrior and was really impressive tonight,” he said. “Good players can put a team right on their back and lead them, and that’s what she did.”
It was Senior Night at West Scranton and Jefferson made it a memorable one by recording a triple double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
She scored six in the first quarter when West Scranton jumped out to a 9-5 lead.
“We started slow out of the gates again, but came back and still had a chance,” Abington Heights head coach Deanna Klingman said.
Abington Heights center Alessia Brunori, who finished with eight points and 11 rebounds, scored six in the second quarter to help the Lady Comets cut their deficit to two points going into halftime.
West Scranton’s Tatum Repshis knocked down two 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half during a 7-0 Lady Invaders run. Kowalski converted two 3-pointers of her own and scored 10 points in the quarter, but the Lady Comets trailed by eight heading to the fourth quarter.
“I knew we definitely needed to pick up the intensity a little bit,” Kowalski said. “I felt at halftime that my shots were going to fall. We felt they were a beatable team and we could outplay them. Once one of my shots fell in the second half, I got going and kept pushing until the end.”
The Lady Invaders began the fourth with a 4-1 run to take an 11-point lead with 5:14 left in the game, but Abington Heights scored 14 of the next 16 points to send the game into overtime. Kowalski, who scored 10 points during the quarter, hit one of two free throws with three seconds left to tie the contest.
“We stepped aside and said we can come back and win the game,” Kowalski said. “It took a lot of heart from each and every person. I think everyone did a really good job of giving their best effort.”
Kowalski made two baskets and Albright, who finished with seven points and eight rebounds, added another during a 6-2 run by Abington Heights to start overtime. But, West Scranton’s Nya Johnson scored four of her 10 points and Jefferson added seven in overtime clinch the victory.
West Scranton connected on 20 of 41 throws and made 11 of 22 in the fourth quarter and overtime while Abington Heights converted 13 of 20 and 7 of 14 in the fourth and overtime.
“We did a great job defensively down the stretch,” Klingman said. “Either way, it came down to free throw shooting at the end of the game, but we were in the position we wanted to be and I was really happy.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.