S. ABINGTON TWP. — When Abington Heights’ players walked back to the bench after the first quarter, it was like a weight was lifted off their shoulders.
The Lady Comets, who had scored five points or less in eight different quarters during their last six games, erupted for 21 during the first quarter Jan. 25 and rolled to a 55-35 win over Wallenpaupack in a Lackawanna League Division 1-2 girls basketball crossover game.
Senior guard Sharon Houlihan made two 3-pointers and scored 10 of her 12 points in the first quarter to spark the offensive outburst.
Freshman guard Clair Marion also scored four points, including a 3-pointer, and senior forward Cassie Ksiazek added five in the quarter.
“In our first huddle, our main focus was staying together and running our plays correctly,” Houlihan said. “We said we know our plays, we’re going to run them right and look for each other. I think that really helped.”
Abington Heights (11-6, 6-2 Div. 1) opened the second quarter with a 5-0 run and built its lead to 32-14 at the half.
Sophomore forward Erin Albright, who finished with nine points and 15 rebounds, scored four in the second for the Lady Comets.
“It was Abington Youth Basketball (AYBL) Night and there was a lot of energy,” Albright said. “We all just really wanted to come out strong as a team, because we’ve started slow in past games. The momentum just kept building and we kept it going the whole game.
“I like to be aggressive and get all the rebounds I can.”
Ksiazek, who finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, had four points and four rebounds in the third quarter. Senior guard Hannah Kowalski, who added 13 points, six rebounds and six assists, started the third with a steal and basket for the Lady Comets.
“I think we’re finally starting to mesh very well,” Ksiazek said. “We’ve had some girls step up really big.”
Megan Guerrieri, who led the Lady Buckhorns with 13 points, made a pair of three-point shots in the third quarter. She also contributed three rebounds and three assists.
Tabitha Boyd, who finished with seven points and four rebounds, scored five in the fourth quarter for the Lady Buckhorns. Wallenpaupack’s Hannah Smith also scored four of her 10 points in the fourth.
While Abington Heights head coach Deanna Klingman was thrilled with her team’s fast start, she was also impressed with their consistency throughout the game. The Lady Comets outscored Wallenpaupack (11-4, 6-2 Div. 2) in each quarter.
“We’ve been talking, the last couple weeks, about how we have to focus better at the beginning of the game,” Klingman said. “If we can execute and focus, like we did tonight, for four quarters, we’re going to be fine.”
Klingman was also pleased with her team’s play on the defensive end, specifically on the perimeter. Wallenpaupack made just 4 of 13 3-point attempts.
“We wanted to keep an eye on all their shooters,” she said. “Our goal was to be there on the catch with our hands up. We couldn’t be a couple seconds late.”
Abington Heights’ win, coupled with a loss by Crestwood, lifted the Lady Comets into first place in the District 2 Class 5A standings.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.