Lackawanna Trail holds off Blue Ridge in Division 4 girls basketball game

By Robert Tomkavage -

CLINTON TWP. — Lackawanna Trail managed to score only 11 second-half points, but the Lady Lions held off Blue Ridge, 40-39, in a Lackawanna League Division 4 girls basketball game Jan. 15.

Trail’s Lexie Kwiatkowski scored six of her 11 points, on two 3-pointers, and Blue Ridge’s Abby Hartman scored all eight of her points in the first quarter as the teams played to a 12-12 tie.

Blue Ridge (0-11, 0-4 Div. 4) scored the first three points of the second quarter, but Trail ended the half on a 17-4 run to lead, 29-19, at the half. Lady Lions guard Allison Decker scored 11 of her team-high 15 points in the first half.

Blue Ridge’s Danielle Goff scored 10 of her game-high 21 points in the third quarter when the Lady Raiders cut their deficit to four points.

“They always say they don’t want halftime, because that always tends to be where our downfall is…and they’re kind of right,” Lackawanna Trail head coach Lauren Sheakoski said. “At some point, they have to start gutting through that a little bit.”

Ashley Torres, who finished with six points, scored to pull Blue Ridge within one with 5:52 left in the fourth quarter, but Trail’s Rachael Beemer made one free throw and Samantha Baltrusaitis sank two to put the Lady Lions back ahead by four points with 1:07 left to play.

“She’s probably the heart of our team,” Sheakoski said of Baltrusaitis. “She always brings so much energy and she’s never going to give anything less than 110 percent.”

Goff answered with four consecutive points, including a basket off an offensive rebound, to tie the score at 49 with four seconds remaining in the game.

Beemer made one of two free throws and Blue Ridge failed to get off a desperation shot as time expired.

“We just kept each other really encouraged and pushed through like we needed to do,” Beemer said.

Lackawanna Trail (2-9, 1-2 Div. 4) played without two starters, Laurelann Penn (jaw) and Cali Fauquier (ankle), who are battling injuries.

According to Sheakoski, both are considered day-to-day in terms of recovery.

“It hurts to have starters out, but it gave some younger girls an opportunity to get some varsity experience,” Sheakoski said. “I had a lot of girls step up and I’m proud of them for sticking it out.”

Sheakoski recognized the Lady Lions could have put the game out of reach much earlier if they converted on some opportunities. The team made just 16 of 36 free throw attempts.

“You’re not going to win many games like that,” she said. “A win is a win, I’m going to take it, but it should have never been that close if we made some of the easy shots and took care of the basketball.”

By Robert Tomkavage

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.