S. ABINGTON TWP. — Abington Heights played a spirited second half, but the Lady Comets were unable to overcome a poor shooting effort during a 39-32 loss to Scranton in a Lackawanna League Division 1 girls basketball game Jan. 18.
After scoring just seven points in the first half, Abington Heights outscored Scranton, 16-6, in the third quarter to pull within four.
Abington Heights guard Hannah Kowalski scored six of her team-high 12 points in the third and Clair Marion added four in the quarter.
“We came out with a lot more energy in the second half and cut the lead to where we wanted it to be,” Abington Heights head coach Deanna Klingman said. “We changed some things around to try to help Hannah get some penetration.”
Kowalski scored on a reverse layup, off a backdoor pass from Cassie Ksiazek, to bring the Lady Comets within four, 33-29, with 2:14 left in the fourth quarter, but Scranton’s Shelby Funchess, who finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds, answered with a basket and blocked shot to swing the momentum back in the Lady Knights’ favor.
“They had a couple really key rebounds and a couple nice putbacks when it was a four point game,” Klingman said. “(Funchess) is a force to be reckoned with now.”
Colette Mulderig, a 6-foot-2 center, added 12 points and 16 rebounds for Scranton.
“They hit the boards hard,” Klingman said. “We knew they had a size advantage on us inside.”
Scranton head coach P.J. Hughes was thrilled with the play of his team on the defensive end of the floor.
“It was one of our best defensive efforts,” Hughes said. “To pull out the win against a quality squad like Abington Heights on their home court was a really big deal. You don’t come out of here with wins that often.”
Scranton point guard Sophia Glogowski, who finished with seven points, six steals and three assists, scored five in the first quarter to help the Lady Knights build an 11-5 lead.
Scranton (10-5, 5-1 Div. 1) held Abington Heights (9-6, 4-2 Div. 1) to just two points, a basket from Kowalski, in the second quarter and led 21-7 at halftime.
Abington Heights made 3 of 27 shots in the first half (11 percent) and missed both foul shot attempts.
“That’s been (our) issue,” Klingman said. “I told them you’re not going to beat any team scoring seven points in the first half. When I looked at our shot chart, we were 1-14 in the second quarter on shots all around the rim.”
Hughes was also proud of the way his group closed out the game after squandering a big lead.
“They didn’t crack and we didn’t really throw the ball away,” he said. “Missed shots are going to happen, but they kept their composure. We didn’t have bad turnovers.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.