GIRLS BASKETBALL: Nanticoke Area Closes Strong Vs. Lake-Lehman

January 29, 2019
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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Nanticoke Area Closes Strong Vs. Lake-Lehman

NANTICOKE — Alyssa Lewis didn’t believe it when she was told.

Nanticoke Area closed the third quarter on an 8-0 run. That’s not the surprising part, but rather, it was that the Trojanettes strung together those points in just 39 seconds.

“I didn’t even know. That’s kind of crazy,” the senior guard said.

Lewis hit a buzzer-beater to close the third quarter, and Nanticoke Area rode the hot hand of Amiah Lukowski, who drilled six 3-pointers for a game-high 22 points, as the Trojanettes pushed past Lake-Lehman, 51-44, in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 battle.

The victory boosts GNA’s win streak to seven as the Trojanettes move into a tie for second place in Division 2 behind Holy Redeemer.

“Every single girl that was on that court tonight had a part in this win,” Nanticoke Area head coach Ed Grant said. “Each one of them had a huge play at some point. When you win a game like that against a really good team, you have to put together four quarters, and everyone has to rise to the occasion for all four quarters.”

Really, it was like a heavyweight fight between two equally-matched opponents where one couldn’t find a way to land the knockout uppercut.

For a brief second, it appears the Black Knights had it. Freshman Claire Dougherty knocked down a wide-open trifecta from the right corner to give Lehman (9-2 WVC) a five-point lead early in the third quarter. The Back Mountain girls carried momentum almost the entire eight minutes, and held a 33-31 lead with 39 ticks left.

Thirty-nine seconds for Nanticoke Area (10-2 WVC) to steal the game — even though it was only the third quarter.

Lukowski hit nothing but nylon on a trifecta from the corner. Myla Vnuk popped a quick elbow jumper on the next Trojanette possession. And the back-breaker came when Bella Czeck stole the pass on the next Lehman series with less than seven seconds left, and quickly got the ball to Lewis — who drained a straight-away 3-pointer two steps behind the line as the buzzer sounded.

Just like that, eight points in 39 seconds and a 39-33 Nanticoke Area lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“Coming out of halftime, we kind of knew what mistakes we made and what we had to do,” Lewis said. “We started to knock down some shots, and Amiah was shooting great. We wanted to get her the ball a lot. It gave us a lot of momentum going into the fourth quarter. You can see how much energy everyone had. I still can’t believe it. I just saw that I had the opportunity and I shot it. I was pretty lucky that it went in.”

The rest of the game belonged to Lukowski, who was unconscious behind the 3-point stripe. Taking advantage of some wide-open looks in Lehman’s 2-3 zone, the senior stepped up each time the ball reached her hands.

She was 6 of 10 behind the 3-point stripe, and two of those pretty much rimmed out with the ball partially in the cylinder.

“We knew how important it was going to be to knock down shots in that zone,” Lukowski said. “I was shooting pretty well in warm-ups, so I was pretty confident every time I shot the ball. Some of those did rim out, so I knew that I was right on target. I knew that I had to keep shooting.”

Lehman couldn’t have asked for a better start. Short buckets by Madison Borum, Sarah Salus and Savannah Purdy gave the Black Knights a 6-0 lead midway through the opening quarter. But Nanticoke Area ended the period on a 13-5 run for a two-point edge after one.

The Trojanettes stretched the lead to six on a Lauren Casey bucket with four minutes left in the opening half, but Lehman netted six of the final eight points for a 22-22 deadlock at the break.

“Coming into this one, we knew that Lehman came out strong in a bunch of games,” Grant said. “We just had to stay the course. The game is four quarters and 32 minutes. We had to stick with it, and we were able to keep it close. I can’t say enough about Amiah. She had a bunch of big shots in this game.”

Casey added 10 points for Nanticoke Area, while Borum finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for Lehman.

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