Ain’t It Grand: Yencha Scores 1,000th Career Point In Holy Redeemer’s Semifinal Win
WILKES-BARRE — With the game pretty much under control, the only suspense left for Holy Redeemer’s Sam Yencha was whether or not she would reach a personal milestone in Thursday night’s Wyoming Valley Conference championship tournament semifinal.
After a Wyoming Seminary turnover led to an easy layup for Yencha, the junior forward watched as the 1,000th point of her career dropped through the net. It was all part of a big night for the Royals who picked up a 65-32 victory at Holy Redeemer High School.
Redeemer advances to Saturday night’s WVC championship game at Hazleton Area against the host Cougars at 6. The Cougars advanced to the title game after knocking off Berwick, 45-38 in the first game of the night in the four-team tournament that matched up the three regular season division winners and a wild-card team.
Yencha’s special night came one night after teammate Julia Andrejko scored her 1,000th career point in a win over Tunkhannock.
“Back-to-back, we almost had it in the same night,” Holy Redeemer coach John Jezorwski said of the milestones. “That really would have been something. I asked around and nobody ever heard of it happening in the same game. Back-to-back is something special because each one was able to have their own night.”
And once again, Andrejko and Yencha had big nights to propel the Royals to the victory.
Yencha finished with a game-high 20 points, while Andrejko finished with 18. The two combined for 16 points in the first quarter that helped the Royals pull away from Wyoming Seminary.
“Sam has a motor like nobody else,” Jezorwski said of Yencha. “When she shoots the ball she wants to go get it. I can’t say enough about the role players on the team. They do all the little things to get Sam and Julia the shots they need.”
After Holy Redeemer raced out to an early lead, Wyoming Seminary fought back. Margaret Mihalick converted a three-point play to tie the game at 8 but Redeemer’s Cameron Marcinkowski scored five quick points as part of a 13-2 over the final 2:39 of the first quarter to open up a double-digit lead.
Wyoming Seminary was playing without the services of Kelsey Reznick and Alex Wesneski. According to Wyoming Seminary coach Abbey Rodway, the two were away from the team fulfilling field hockey responsibilities. Reznick was named to the U.S. U19 women’s national team, while Wesneski was selected to the U17 team.
“They had a field hockey camp,” Rodway said. “They are on the national team, and that is bettering them. All the girls were very excited and they still thought they had a chance to win. In this situation when girls are out of position, we don’t have a great advantage. They never give up. They play until the end. That is something you can’t teach.”
Ultimately, Holy Redeemer’s on-the-ball pressure was a little too much for the Wyoming Seminary guards to handle. Redeemer was able to create turnovers that led to some easy baskets on the other end of the floor, and that allowed the Royals to take control of the game.
“I think our girls did really well tonight,” Jezorwski said. “The defensive intensity was very good and we moved the ball really well. Wyoming Seminary is a good team, they are their division champ. The difference is our girls never quit playing hard right through the end.”
Mihalick finished with 13 points for Wyoming Seminary, while Ally Vezendy had eight. Now the Blue Knights will focus their attention on preparing for next week’s district tournament with a likely opening-round matchup on Wednesday against Meyers.
“They are extremely excited and very motivated,” Rodway said. “They know they have to come ready to play. They are looking forward to trying to make it to Mohegan Sun Arena.”
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