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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2019:03:09 06:25:05

JESSE CAREY / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Erin Albright in first half action.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2019:03:09 19:21:32

JESSE CAREY / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Abington Heights’ Clair Marion puts up a jump shot Saturday against Mechanicsburg at Marywood.

SCRANTON — Just when it appeared Abington Heights would take a final step out of a deep hole, it just could not finish the comeback.

Instead, Mechanicsburg slammed the door and powered its way into the second round of the PIAA Class 5A girls basketball playoffs.

By stonewalling Abington Heights’ best threat and controlling final 11 minutes, the Wildcats posted a 48-27 win last Saturday night at the Insalaco Arena on the campus of Marywood University.

Talia Gilliard paced a balanced attack with 14 points for Mechanicsburg (21-6).

The Lady Comets end the season with a 20-6 record.

“I want to credit them. We were expecting that, but it’s different when you are in the game situation,” Abington Heights coach Deanna Klingman said. “With this experience, I feel our team is going to grow a lot.”

Abington Heights struggled early coping both with the pressure of the state playoffs and the intensity it faced from Mechanicsburg, the sixth-place team from District 3.

In a sluggish first half, the Lady Comets trailed, 21-11, and had 13 turnovers while shooting 3 of 10.

“Their pressure and a little bit of a lack of focus by us in the first half,” Klingman said. “I thought, defensively, we played well overall in the first half.”

Abington Heights, which starts all underclassmen, came out roaring in the third quarter and closed to within 25-21 with 3:52 on the clock.

Erin Albright fueled the surge with a pair of free throws and a layup, while Clair Marion started it with a bucket, Anna Scoblick had a free throw and Rachel McDonald had a 3-pointer for the Lady Comets.

“I challenged them at halftime,” Klingman said. “We had a good first four minutes and cut into the lead. But, we just didn’t shoot the ball well and you have to shoot the ball well now.”

Mechanicsburg called a timeout and settled down.

Allison Schrass, who finished with five points and six rebounds, hit a pair of free throws that started a dominant 5-minute stretch by the Wildcats. Rylee Everett, who finished with 12 points, scored seven, including a 3-pointer and two on an offensive rebound that pushed the lead to 34-21 with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter.

Abington Heights did not score its next field goal until the 1:25 mark of the fourth on a layup by Arla Davis, scoring only on four free throws from Scoblick. By that time, the Lady Comets trailed, 43-22.

“I told them that they did exactly what we wanted them to do in the first four minutes of the half, but you have to continue to make shots and we did not,” Klingman said.

Mechanicsburg closed the game with a 5-0 run as Maddie Hurst scored three and Jenna Skurcenski had two.

Albright finished as the leading scorer for Abington Heights with seven points, while McDonald had six and Marion had five with six rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks.

“This is a young group,” Klingman said. “We worked a lot in the offseason, so I know what they are capable of, and I know they are capable of playing a lot better than they did.

“I think you are going to see a lot of kids working very hard in this offseason for another shot.”

Contact the writer:

jbfawcett@timesshamrock.com;

570-348-9125;

@sportsTT on Twitter

Mechanicsburg (21-6) — T. Gilliard 5-14 3-4 14, R. Everett 4-9 2-2 12, L. Nutt 5-8 0-0 10, A. Schrass 1-2 3-3 5, M. Hurst 0-1 3-4 3, J. Skurcenski 0-2 2-3 2, A. Strong 0-0 2-2 2, A. Engle 0-4 0-0 0, J. Rainey 0-0 0-0 0, M. Schrass 0-5 0-0 0. Totals: 15-45 15-18 48.

Abington Heights (20-6) — E. Albright 2-5 2-2 7, R. McDonald 2-11 0-0 6, C. Marion 2-11 0-0 5, A. Scoblick 0-3 5-8 5, M. Tully 1-2 0-0 2, A. Davis 1-1 0-0 2, S. Henzes 0-1 0-0 0, A. Dammer 0-0 0-0 0, M. Kohanski 0-0 0-0 0, L. Lombardo 0-0 0-0 0, A. Murray 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 8-34 7-10 27.

Mechanicsburg 12 9 8 19 — 48

Abington Heights 6 5 10 6 — 27

3-point shooting: MEC 3-14 (R. Everett 2-5, T. Gilliard 1-4, A. Schrass 0-1, A. Engle 0-4), AH 4-17 (R. McDonald 2-8, C. Marion 1-4, E. Albright 1-2, A. Scoblick 0-1, M. Tully 0-1, S. Henzes 0-1). Rebounds: MEC 33 (A. Schrass 6), AH 24 (Marion, Albright 6). Assists: MEC 7 (A. Schrass 2), AH 3 (Marion 2). Steals: MEC 11 (Nutt, A. Schrass, Strong 2), AH 7 (Marion, Tully 3). Blocks: MEC 1 (Engle), AH 3 (Marion 2). Turnovers: MEC 14, AH 20.

Boys

Trey Koehler scored 24 points and added 10 rebounds and three assists to lead Abington Heights to a 72-48 win over Pottsgrove last Friday night in opening defense of its state crown in the PIAA Class 5A boys basketball playoffs.

Abington Heights advanced to play Mastery North, the second-place team from District 12, in the second round Tuesday. The Comets were victorious in a 54-42 contest. They will advance to the quarterfinal for the third consecutive season and will play Friday night against the top seed from District 1, Sun Valley (21-7).

Against Pottsgrove, the Comets shot 65 percent from the floor and had 20 assists on their 30 field goals. Jack Nealon fueled the offense with 12 assists.

George Tinsley scored 19 points and added 10 rebounds.

Corey Perkins added 12 points.

Pottsgrove (15-13) — K. Smith 7-14 4-6 18, M. Clark 7-18 2-2 17, J. Robinson 2-13 0-2 5,

C. Mowery 1-3 2-2 4, J. Springfield 1-2 0-0 3,

L. Kaiser 0-3 1-2 1, J. Thompson 0-1 0-0 0,

E. White 0-0 0-0 0, J. Sisko 0-0 0-0 0, G. Applebach 0-2 0-0 0, M. Dopwell 0-1 0-0 0, N. Stringer 0-1 0-0 0, L. Hills 0-1 0-0 0, R. Bodoulus 0-0 0-1 0. Totals: 18-59 9-15 48.

Abington Heights (24-2) — T. Koehler 11-15 2-2 24, G. Tinsley 8-13 1-3 19, C. Perkins 5-7 2-5 12,

J. Nealon 2-6 2-2 7, M. Malone 3-3 0-1 6, D. Nealon 1-1 0-0 2, P. Johnson 0-0 2-2 2, A. Keris 0-1 0-0 0, M. Pusateri 0-0 0-0 0, J. Lefchak 0-0 0-0 0, H. Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 30-46 9-15 72.

Pottsgrove 9 17 9 13 — 48

Abington Heights 16 19 16 21 — 72

3-point shooting: POT (M. Clark 1-7, J. Springfield 1-2, J. Robinson 1-5, Smith 0-1, Mowery 0-1, Kaiser 0-1, Applebach 0-1, Dopwell 0-1, Stringer 0-1), AH 3-8 (G. Tinsley 2-3, J. Nealon 1-4, Keris 0-1). Rebounds: POT 28 (Clark, Robinson 5), AH 33 (Koehler 10). Assists: POT 6 (Springfield, Mowery 2), AH 20 (J. Nealon 12). Steals: POT 4 (Smith 2), AH 3 (Perkins, J. Nealon, Koehler). Blocks: POT 1 (White), AH 4 (Tinsley, Koehler 2). Turnovers: POT 9, AH 14.

Penncrest 53, Wallenpaupack 42

At Plymouth Meeting, Marquis Tomlin scored 15 points to lead Penncrest to a first-round win.

The Buckhorns cut a 17-point halftime deficit to five in the third quarter, but could not draw closer.

Elijah Rosenthal scored 15 points for Wallenpaupack and Alex Pillar hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points.

Wallenpaupack (18-8) — E. Rosenthal 6 2-3 15, A. Pillar 4 0-0 11, G. Springer 3 2-2 8, D. Vosburg 2 0-0 5, I. Santiago 1 0-0 3, G. McGrath 0 0-0 0,

W. Peifer 0 0-0 0, J. Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 4-5 42.

Penncrest (23-7) — M. Tomlin 5 2-3 15, M. Williams 4 6-7 14, M. Arbogast 4 1-4 9, A. Carroll 2 1-2 7, I. Rice 1 0-1 3, D. Atkinson-Boyer 1 1-2 3, Battle 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 11-19 53.

Wallenpaupack 7 7 16 12 — 42

Penncrest 16 15 8 14 — 53

3-point goals: A. Pillar (WAL) 3, E. Rosenthal (WAL), I. Santiago (WAL), D. Vosburg (WAL), M. Tomlin (P) 3, A. Carroll (P) 2, I. Rice (P) 1.