Pictured above: Mia Ashton
By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
EXETER – Mia Ashton grabbed Holy Redeemer a lead with her strong start.
Jillian DelBalso expanded it by joining in.
Together, the two seniors played major roles in making sure the Lady Royals also preserved their hold on sole possession of first place in Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 girls basketball for at least a few more days with Monday’s 49-28 victory at Wyoming Area.
Ashton finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Her seven points in the first quarter helped Holy Redeemer to a 15-4 lead.
“They kick it in to me and I turn to the basket,” Ashton said. “I know when the girl’s behind me, I’m going to shoot. If not, I’ll kick it to one of the wings and try to post back up.
“We really try to work that a lot.”
DelBalso scored 16 points, including 9 in the second quarter when the lead grew to 31-14.
“The key was taking care of the ball and not having turnovers,” Holy Redeemer coach John Jezorwski said. “We did a great job of getting the ball inside-out, getting Mia and Lucie (Racicky) touches inside, then kicking it out to Jillian and Meghan (Albrecht).
“We were just composed.”
Racicky supplied seven rebounds while Paige Kroptavich had four assists.
Holy Redeemer, the No. 3 Small School girls team in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams, improved to 9-1 in the division and 12-8 overall. The Lady Royals have the bye Thursday, giving second-place Lake-Lehman a chance to force a tie at the top of the standings with two games left.
Morgan Janeski made 8 of her last 12 shots to lead Wyoming Area with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots, but none of the other Lady Warriors managed more than 3 points, while suffering through combined 2-for-29 shooting.
“Our defensive effort was incredible,” Jezorwski said.
Olivia Rome had seven rebounds, Halle Kranson had five assists and Jocelyn Williams had three steals in the loss.
The Lady Warriors are 5-4 in the division and 11-8 overall.
Holy Redeemer, which never trailed, scored 10 straight points for a 16-4 lead early in the second quarter. It held Wyoming Area scoreless for 8:40 of the third and fourth quarters to score 12 more in a row for a 45-18 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game.