NEPA Elite News
The NEPA Elite Rini 17U girls team has won consistently throughout the AAU basketball season.
In each of four weekend events – all consisting of at least four games – the team has come away with a winning record, losing just one game.
For their final week together, the team’s players want more.
“We always go 4-1, 3-1,” said coach Jess Rini, whose team will follow up three days at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim, Lancaster County with a three-day weekend trip to Atlantic City following just one day off. “I think the girls just want a weekend where we win it all and don’t have that one loss; that one bad game.
“That’s all they keep saying.”
The Rini girls took the first two of five needed steps Tuesday winning a pair of games in the East Coast Summer Showcase, three days of Select Events Basketball at Spooky Nook.
The Rini girls were one of two NEPA Elite teams, joining the Butler 15U girls team, to win twice on the first day of the event.
Starting the day’s action for the AAU basketball club out of Riverfront Sports in Scranton, the Rini team defeated Connecticut Premier White, 42-29, in the morning. It followed that up by cruising to a 47-31 win over Matrix Black to improve the season record to 15-4.
“We played really well today,” Rini said. “We had very even distribution of scoring. Everyone played a role in the win in both games.”
The coach said the team did not shoot particularly well, but succeeded by taking care of the ball, committing just 8 and 10 after averaging about 16 previously.
“Kallie (Booth) and Mia (Blume) did a really good job of handling the ball,” Rini said. “Nadia (Evanosky) and Meg (Desmet), too. All the guards really did their job pushing it in transition.”
Throw in Claire Dougherty running the floor and Chase Purdy crashing the offensive boards and the Rini team found ways to score.
Blume scored all of her game-high nine points as NEPA Elite added to its 22-15 halftime lead in the opener.
Dougherty, who did all her scoring in the first half, and Blume added seven points each. Avery McNulty chipped in six points as the Rini team overcame 16-for-55 (27.7 percent) shooting.
Purdy led with seven rebounds, then grabbed five more in the second game to again lead the team.
The shooting improved to 18-for-38 (47.3 percent) in the second game and NEPA Elite won more comfortably.
Dougherty went 6-for-7, hitting her only 3-point attempt, to lead the way with 13 points. Booth added 10.
Blume hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second half for her six points.
Purdy and Dougherty are high school teammates at Lake-Lehman. Booth is from Pittston Area, Blume from Dunmore, Evanosky from Dallas, Desmet from Wallenpaupack and McNulty from Scranton Prep.
A recap of the other teams on the first day:
Butler 15U (2-0)
Elizabeth Viglone was the high scorer in both games as the Butler team won both its games in the 2024 Division Pool D.
Viglone had 10 points in a 42-38 victory over Mid-Penn Motion and 13 in a 53-31 victory over Blackhawk Academy.
She had plenty of help.
Lily Soller scored 8 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the first game, then pulled down 12 rebounds in the second.
Bella Rebar had six points, six rebounds and four assists against Mid-Penn.
Mackenzie Schirg had 12 points and Sophia Summa 10 to give the team three double-figures scorers in the win over Blackhawk Academy.
Viglone is from Dallas, Soller from Pocono Mountain East, Rebar from Valley View, Schirg from Lackawanna Trail and Summa from Dunmore.
The Delaware Lady Sharks are the only other team in the eight-team pool to make it through the day 2-0. The Lady Sharks are one of two teams in the pool that NEPA Elite does not face.
Scoblick 15U (1-1)
The Scoblick team recovered from an opening loss with a win its second game of the 2024 Division Pool C.
The Empire State Storm downed NEPA Elite, 57-38, before it bounced back to pound Premier Basketball New York-Hafner, 52-13.
Elyse Montgomery led the team with 13 points during the loss, then contributed 7 points in the win.
Finley Bittenbender had 10 points against Empire State.
Ella Wilson led the way in the victory with 14 points.
Emily Romanowski joined Montgomery with seven.
Montgomery is from Honesdale, Bittenbender from Scranton, Wilson from Lake-Lehman and Romanowski from Western Wayne.
Sheehan 16U (0-2)
The Sheehan team dropped a pair of games in the 2023 Division, losing a Pool C/A crossover, 60-51, to Rhode Island Huskies-Kiser, then falling in Pool A, 54-42, to the Maine React-Team Siebert.
Two Tunkhannock players led the offense in the first game. Erin Van Ness scored 15 points and Lexi Corby added 14.
Cadie Lewis chipped in with 11.
Van Ness had 10 points and Lewis hit two 3-pointers for eight points and a 29-29 tie at halftime.
Corby went 7-for-9 from the line while scoring 10 points in the second half.
Anna Williams had a team-high six rebounds and Julia Glowacki added five.
Lewis again hit a pair of 3-pointers while scoring 12 of her team-high 14 points in the first half of the game against Maine React. She also grabbed four rebounds in the first half while Corby had five.
Molly Murphy added 12 points and Glowacki had 9.
Williams is another player from Tunkhannock, Lewis is from Dunmore, Glowacki from Crestwood and Murphy from Valley View.