NEPA Sports Nation

OT win puts Wolfpack in big game

Wilkes-Barre Area won one first-place battle to set up another.

Eternity Aiken’s basket with 20 seconds left in overtime Thursday night lifted the Wolfpack over visiting Wyoming Valley West, 48-46, in one of two games that trimmed the list of teams tied for first place in Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 girls basketball from four to two.

While Wilkes-Barre Area was beating Wyoming Valley West, defending champion Pittston Area was winning at Hazleton Area.

Those two games set up Monday night’s battle at Pittston Area.

The Wolfpack and Lady Patriots will meet to break the first-place tie at 3-0 in the division. The rematch of a playoff that was needed to decide last season’s division title also will decide which of the two 11-0 teams is the last unbeaten basketball team, boys or girls, in District 2 this season.

Just getting to that point was not easy.

Pittston Area rallied in the fourth quarter at Hazleton Area.

Wilkes-Barre Area had to come from behind in overtime at home.

Wyoming Valley West’s Mackenzie Perluke scored a game-high 20 points and hit a floating drive through the lane with 30 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. She made both ends of a one-and-one to give the Lady Spartans their only overtime lead, 46-44, midway through.

Aiken then scored the game’s last two baskets.

Shelby Ardo-Boyko penetrated, then bounced a pass through the lane for her second assist of overtime, setting up Aiken’s tying layup.

Diamond Thornton found Aiken in a crowd in the lane and she was able to convert for the winning basket.

Wilkes-Barre Area stopped Wyoming Valley West once, then turned the ball over in the backcourt, giving the Lady Spartans one last chance from under the basket on an in-bounds play with 4.5 seconds left.

The Wolfpack defense forced the Lady Spartans away from the basket and Ardo-Boyko picked off a pass out near midcourt in the final two seconds, allowing her to break away and kill the clock.

The first half of overtime was dominated by hot offenses answering each other.

Thornton made a mid-court steal and took it in for a three-point play to open the scoring.

Gabby Marsola tied it for Wyoming Valley West with a deep 3-pointer from the right side.

Emma Krawczeniuk hit the same type of shot on the other end to restore Wilkes-Barre Area’s three-point lead.

Claudia Siegfried then drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key for her only points of the night to tie it again for Valley West, leading to Perluke’s go-ahead free throws.

Krawczeniuk led the Wolfpack with 15 points. Thornton added 14 and Aiken 12.

Marsola added 11 points for the Lady Spartans (2-1, 7-3).

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