SCRANTON — Abington Heights guard Hannah Kowalski rattled off five consecutive points in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Comets earn a 43-38 win over Scranton in a Lackawanna League Division 1 girls basketball game Feb. 12.
Scranton’s Colette Mulderig, who finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, scored off her own miss to give the Lady Knights a 34-28 lead with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter.
Then, the Lady Comets went to work.
Guard Maria Tully started the rally by knocking down a corner jumper with 5:26 left to start a 7-0 run.
“Maria came off the bench and did a great job,” Abington Heights head coach Deanna Klingman said. “She hit a big shot and played really good defense.”
Abington Heights forward Erin Albright, who finished with nine rebounds, four assists and three steals, forced a turnover that sprung Kowalski for a 3-point play to pull the Lady Comets within one.
“We needed that…we were a little bit stagnant on the offensive end,” Klingman said. “We struggled at times in terms of looking where we were going to score, but that was a big play.”
Kowalski, who scored seven of her game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, added another bucket to cap the run and give Abington Heights a 35-34 lead with 3:49 left.
“We definitely wanted to redeem ourselves, since we lost to Scranton at home last time,” Kowalski said. “We didn’t want to lose right before going into the playoffs, so we knew we had to do whatever it took in the fourth quarter and I think we did a good job executing.”
Lady Knights forward Shelby Funchess, who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, scored to put Scranton (15-7, 10-3 Div. 1) back ahead, 36-35, with 3:30 to play, but Kowalski answered with a reverse layup and Abington Heights never trailed again.
“Hannah wanted the ball at the end of the game,” Klingman said. “She wanted to make the big play, which she did.”
Abington Heights forward Cassie Ksiazek grabbed 10 rebounds and made 6 of her final 7 free throws, including three in the fourth quarter, after missing her first three.
“I’ve been struggling with my foul shots all season,” Ksiazek said. “It’s really frustrating because they are free shots and I work hard to get them. I knew at halftime that I needed to make my foul shots to help us win.”
Lady Comets guard Sharon Houlihan scored eight of her 11 points, and made two 3-pointers, in the first half to help Abington Heights (15-7, 10-3 Div. 1) hold a 20-19 lead.
“She’s a big factor,” Klingman said. “She really wanted (to win) this game as a senior and she hit some big shots for us.”
Abington Heights currently holds the top seed for the District 2 Class 5A playoffs, which begins Feb. 21, and Klingman believes the squad is battle-tested.
“We played a lot of good teams and we’ve been in a lot of close games this year,” she said. “I think we’re prepared mentally and now we have a week off where we can regroup.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.