For the second time in as many nights, the Penn State Hazleton women's basketball team had to pick it up a notch after the first quarter to out-play their opponent for three quarters to win the game. Different night, different gym, much earlier start time - but the same result. The Lady Lions of Hazleton overcame a slow sloppy start to win the next three quarters to beat Penn State Fayetter 69-51 in a game played at Fayette. It was originally scheduled for earlier in the year but was wiped out due to winter storms. With the win, Hazleton evens it overall record at 8-8 and improved its PSUAC record to 5-4. After the loss, Fayette goes to 3-11 on the year and 2-6 in conference play.
Hazleton was led by KeKendra Pfeil who led all scorers with 27 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. She got help from the usual suspects Mckenzie Prutsman (20 points and 6 rebounds) and Shelby Berger (10 points and 8 rebounds). Ashley Parylak and Mekenzie Wolfe helped the cause by pulling down 9 rebounds each on the night. On the other side of the table, Fayette placed a trio of players in double figures, led by Haley Moreland's 14 points as well as Hanna Stockwell's 12 points and Kori Whitehead's 10 points.
The long afternoon bus ride coupled with an early tip off may have affected Hazleton as they came out as cold as the outside temps. The Lady Lions missed their fair share of shots and layups and found themselves at the short end of the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter, 19-13. The second quarter seemed to mirror the first as Hazleton missed opportunities and turned the ball over repeatedly. Finally at the 5:19 mark of the quarter, a Prutsman layup ignited Hazleton back to life. Sam Varela hit a layup six seconds later followed by a Pfeil three pointer. Still down by 12 points at the 4:20 mark, Varela hit another field goal and Hazleton found themselves down by only four points at the end of the half despite missing three layups and a jumper.
The halftime strategies discussed were put into action right off the bat to start the third quarter. Pfeil hit one from behind the arc at the 9:32 mark to make it a one point game. Hanna Kline then hit a jumper to answer the Hazleton score. Both teams went cold for a three minute stretch until Pfeil hit another three point shot give Hazleton it's first lead of the night. Pfeil continued to have the hot hand from long distance and pumped in another trey to push the lead to six points. Prutsman and Berger layups extended the lead and Fayette would not score again until the 2:41 mark of the quarter. Fayette would not go away as Stockwell hit a three followed up by a Whitehead field goal and the quarter ended with Hazleton clutching to a 5 point lead, 44-39.
Hazleton turned up the heat to start the final frame and the defense clamped down on Fayettes offense. Prutsman hit a layup at 9:15 and again at 8:47 to push the lead back to seven points. Fayette then picked a bad to to go cold as they would not score until 6:15 left in the quarter. The teams traded baskets and turnovers for the remainder of the game and when the quarter ended, Hazleton found it's self on the top side of the score, 69-51.
Riding a two game winning streak, Hazleton hopes to continue it's winning ways and hopes of a post-season playoff berth when it travels to Penn State Brandywineon Friday night in a rematch of last year's PSUAC Championship. Tipoff time is set for 6:00 PM