AP NEWS

Sem Ousts Meyers

February 22, 2019
Cougars Top Mountaineers

YATESVILLE — Meyers understood the situation. A loss to Wyoming Seminary, and the historic program comes to an end.

That’s why it came as no surprise to see the Mohawks, down by double digits most of the second half, trailing by just seven with less than four minutes to play. The Mohawks were literally fighting to extend the program another day.

But that’s when the ever-cool, never-waving Wyoming Seminary swagger kicked in.

Alex Wesneski and Ally Vezendy combined for 11 points in the final quarter as the Blue Knights advanced to the semifinals of the District 2 Class 3A tournament with a 51-40 victory over Meyers Thursday night at Pittston Area.

The win vaults the No. 4 seed into the semifinals and a date with state-ranked Dunmore. For Meyers, it spells the end of the program as Wilkes-Barre Area will consolidate next year.

“We were able to start off the game strong, and the posts and guards were able to connect well,” Wesneski said. “I don’t think we had any nerves. We knew our opponent pretty well, and I think we were pretty hyped for this game. We feel like we have nothing to lose.”

It was all about the Blue Knights’ defense.

Seminary held Meyers without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes — a span that lasted from the end of the first quarter until Bella Gray’s jumper banked off the glass with six minutes left in the third.

Sem held the Mohawks without a field goal in the second quarter as the team missed all 12 of its attempts from the field. The only points came by way of Allycia Harris, who drained 5 of 6 from the charity stripe. Meyers shot just 18 percent (4 of 22) in the first half.

“I think our defense is one of our strengths,” Sem head coach Abbey Rodway said.

“Assuming we play Dunmore, they are a pretty talented team offensively. It’s going to be important to hold them down as much as possible. We tell the girls how important every minute can be, and how big every possession will be. We know we will be the underdogs, but I have confidence in our girls.”

Seminary was off and running from the opening tip.

Vezendy had the hot hand, scoring eight points and hitting all but one shot as Blue Knights found themselves up 13-10.

Really, the second quarter was the difference.

Kelsey Reznick knocked down two shots off the bench, Mia Raineri got two layups to fall and Seminary outscored Meyers 13-5 in the quarter to take a 27-15 lead into halftime.

“Defense wins games. We work a lot on it, and we take pride in it,” Wesneski said. “You just want to contain the shooters. We knew who the shooters were, so we wanted to make sure they didn’t hurt us.”

Meyers tried to claw back behind Harris.

She scored eight of her game-high 17 in the third, but Meyers was only able to outscore Sem by a single point, still down double digits entering the final quarter.

The Mohawks opened the fourth by scoring six of the first eight points to cut the lead to 40-33 with 3:53 left, and was within six with less than two minutes remaining.

But Seminary was clutch from the charity stripe down the stretch, hitting 9 of 10.

“It was a little nerve-racking as they started to get closer, but I never lost faith in my girls,” Rodway said. “I knew if they stuck to the plan, we would be fine. I just want them to play with the confidence that we have. I just always tell them to play our game.”

Vezendy and Wesneski combined for 32 points for Seminary, while Harris and Da’Naiya Ballard each had double-doubles. Harris had 17 points and 14 boards, while Ballard added 16 points and 19 rebounds.