There were some obvious evaluations to be made after No. 1-ranked Scranton Prep outlasted No. 8 Honesdale, 43-34, on Thursday, a game that pitted the District 2 Class AAA finalists from last season, won by Honesdale.
That wasn’t going to happen this time after the Lady Hornets went 13 for 45 from the field. What’s amazing is that Prep shot worse than that (11 for 45) and came away a winner.
“This was probably the game we struggled the most,” said Prep’s Clare Philbin, whose glasswork on the offensive end, free throw shooting and seven points down the stretch helped bail out the Classics. “We were just out of rhythm but the second half we came because back a lot stronger because we were more focused.”
And because the winners got contributions from everyone over the final two quarters.
Bridget Walsh, all 6-foot-2 of her, cleared 14 boards and scored 10 points. She also played like the center I’ve been expecting to see dominate.
Philbin had an offensive board and putback, scored off an inbounds play, and added 3 for 4 at the foul line to go with two steals in the fourth.
Madison Ashby and Jess Genco each knocked down a big 3 and Tricia Byrne did what you expect a big-time player to do. Her shot was off (1 for 14), but she had a key O.R. and assist on Genco’s 3 and hit 10 of her last 11 free throws.
“That definitely was a huge basket,” Byrne said after attacking the paint and coming up with a key rebound that led to Genco’s triple and a 35-30 lead. “I remember it vividly. I was obviously struggling on offense and I was trying to find alternative ways to contribute to my team because they were doing so much. I felt like I had to carry some of the load.”
That Prep hits clutch free throws is no accident. When the Classics don’t settle for jumpers and attack the tin, they get to the line, where they shoot an impressive 69 percent as a team.
Prep is currently ranked third in Class AAA, according to pennlive.com, and right now, I’d have to say they’re overrated. The good news for Prep is most of their players and coaches would agree to that.
Head coach Ross Macciocco explained.
“We still haven’t played our best game,” he said. “We’re putting together a quarter or a half where we play outstanding, so I’m happy with that.”
Besides, who wants to peak in January?
There are three teams (Dunmore in Class AA and Old Forge in Class A) who, like Prep, have a legit chance to get to at least the third round of the state playoffs. And if you check in with any of them, none are satisfied with everything in the arsenal — at this time.
And Honesdale certainly isn’t the same team it was a year ago. The graduation of Mary Martin has much to do with that, as does the ACL injury suffered by Natasha Hessling, who gives Honesdale an inside threat and rebounder, and someone who can hit the 15-footer and take pressure off Katie Miller and Morgan Birmelin. Hessling has played in the last three games, but two of them were on the JV level.
So, the Lady Hornets have issues. Mostly, the swagger that went with the press-you-off-the-floor-mentality is missing.
Head coach Pilar Beam said: “Today or tomorrow or against North Pocono, whenever it is, and we get back into the swagger with a push into the districts, that is what we want. Everyone knows we’re a good team. The girls work hard and know the game. It’s a matter of playing four quarters. that’s basically what it is. We need to play four quarters.”
Right now, there seems to be a lot of that going around, even among the elite teams.