S. ABINGTON TWP. — Scranton Prep’s Rachael Rose had made just two of her first 14 shots, but that didn’t stop the freshman from coming through with two key baskets down the stretch, including a three-point play, to lift the Classics to a 43-37 win over Abington Heights in a Lackawanna League Division 1 girls basketball game Jan. 8.
“Rachael is a very mature freshman and has played in countless big games growing up,” Scranton Prep head coach Bob Beviglia said. “This might have been the biggest stage for her and she made a big, three-point play.”
First, she drove past several Abington Heights defenders and converted a three-point play to give Prep a 35-32 lead with 2:26 left in the fourth quarter.
“I saw that I had an opening and I took it,” Rose said. “Every girl on our team supports me and they gave me confidence throughout the whole game.”
She also knocked down a 16-footer to put Scranton Prep (9-2, 2-0 Div. 1) back ahead by two, after Abington Heights’ Clair Marion hit a 3-pointer, with 1:30 left in the game. The 5-foot-5 guard added a team-high eight rebounds, including three in the fourth quarter.
Rachael’s sister Kathleen, who scored a team-high 15 points and dished out four assists, scored six points and went 4-4 from the line in the fourth quarter to help seal the win for Prep. The 5-foot-6 guard also had a team-high four assists and was tasked with guarding 5-foot-10 forward Cassie Ksiazek as the team employed a box-and-1 defense on Abington Heights’ leading scorer.
“We wanted to bring the intensity in the fourth quarter,” Kathleen Rose said. “The entire team came out so energetic because we really wanted to win this game.
“The whole team played their hearts out.”
Rachael Rose scored six of her 14 points, on two 3-pointers, to help Scranton Prep take a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Claire Szymanski gave the Classics a spark of the bench in the second quarter. The senior guard hit a 3-pointer and made two free throws to give Prep a 30-25 advantage, but Abington Heights (7-5, 1-1 Div. 1) closed the first half with a 7-0 run. Sharon Houlihan scored five points during the spurt for the Lady Comets.
Both teams struggled to generate offense in the third quarter as they combined to score six points. Abington Heights missed all 12 shots from the field and shot 2-6 from the foul line. The Lady Comets shot 23 percent (8 for 35) in the game.
“We’re trying to work on putting the ball in the basket,” Abington Heights head coach Deanna Klingman said. “We were 0-12 in the third quarter, but we were still in the game.”
Alaina Weston and Kathleen Rose each made a basket in the third as Prep tied the score.
Abington Heights’ Hannah Kowalski, who finished with a game-high 16 points and six assists, hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and Marion added another to give the Lady Comets a 30-26 lead with 5:13 left in the fourth.
“I thought she played very composed for a freshman,” Klingman said of Marion. “She wasn’t afraid to take the big shot when we got down, which I liked. She’s very scrappy and she’s only going to get better.”
Scranton Prep’s Holly Daveski answered with a 3-pointer that bounced high off the backboard and fell through the net to pull the Classics back within one on the ensuing possession.
“It seemed like every time we got momentum, they took it back,” Kowalski said. “We played a really hard game and fought to the end, but we just didn’t seem to be able to make a good run.”
Beviglia was pleased with his team’s execution in the fourth quarter and overall effort throughout the game. The Classics held Abington Heights to two points over the final 1:45.
“We did some things offensively at the end, but we won the game with our defense,” he said. “We were fortunate they missed a few (shots) at the end. I’m thrilled for my kids; they played gutty the whole night and didn’t go away.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.