Su­per start

Lady Cougars ad­vance to tour­na­ment fi­nal

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - SPORTS - BY STEVE STAL­LONE

HA­ZLE TWP. — Ha­zle­ton Area didn’t waste any time re­veal­ing its game plan for the up­com­ing bas­ket­ball sea­son Fri­day night.

The Lady Cougars gave Wil­liamsport a heavy dose of its big girls, and sprin­kled in con­tri­bu­tions from up and down the lineup for a 64-51 sea­son-open­ing vic­tory in the an­nual Lady Cougar Tip Off Tour­na­ment at Hughie McGee­han Gym­na­sium.

Marissa Triv­el­piece pumped in a game-high 20 points, and fel­low for­wards Faith Grula and Kyra An­tolick com­bined for 22 more as Ha­zle­ton Area rolled past the Mil­lion­aires and into this evening’s fi­nal.

The Lady Cougars will face off with Lake-Lehman, which dis­man­tled Lib­erty 54-20, in the cham­pi­onship game. Lib­erty and Wil­liamsport will meet in the 6 p.m. con­so­la­tion game.

The Lady Cougars rode Triv­el­piece’s 15 first-half points to a 39-21 lead by in­ter­mis­sion, and upped the ad­van­tage in the third quar­ter, outscor­ing Wil­liamsport 17-10 for a 56-31 lead head­ing to the fourth.

With a 60-33 ad­van­tage early in the fourth quar­ter, head coach Joe Gavio cleared his bench.

At that point, the Mil­lion­aires ral­lied with a 16-0 run over the next four-plus min­utes, get­ting to within 11 (60-49) on Jada Wha­ley’s steal and layup with 1:54 to play.

At that point, Gavio rein­serted his starters to fin­ish things off. Free throws from Brooke Boret­ski and Katie Lip­in­ski, and a Triv­el­piece put­back closed out the 13-point vic­tory and sent the Lady Cougars on to the ti­tle game against a Lake-Lehman­teamthat­beattheminthe open­ing round last sea­son. 570-501-3596; @sstal­lone5 on Twit­ter

BOB GAETANO / CON­TRIBUT­ING PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Ha­zle­ton Area’s Marissa Triv­el­piece beats Wil­liamsport’s Emily Pardee to the hoop dur­ing their open­ing-round game in the Lady Cougar Tip Off Clas­sic on Fri­day night.

BOB GAETANO / CON­TRIBUT­ING PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Ha­zle­ton Area’s Diane Gar­nett drives against Wil­liamsport’s Kate­lyn Wil­son dur­ing their sea­son-open­ing girls’ bas­ket­ball game on Fri­day night at Hughie McGee­han Gym­na­sium.

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