NEPA Sports Nation

Valley West hands PA first defeat

There are no more unbeaten basketball teams in District 2.

Wyoming Valley West’s defense made sure of that.

The host Lady Spartans limited Pittston Area to a single field goal in each of the second and fourth quarters Thursday night on the way to a 41-27 victory to force a tie at the top of the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 standings.

Kalia Saunders had six points during a game-ending, 16-2 run to break away from a tie early in the fourth quarter. She finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

The game matched two of the top five Big School girls teams in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Basketball Power Rankings of District 2 teams.

Both teams came out of the game with 6-1 records, a game in front of Wilkes-Barre Area. No. 2 Pittston Area dropped to 14-1 while No. 5 Wyoming Valley West improved to 11-3.

Wyoming Valley West had its own offensive troubles to start the game, falling behind 7-0.

The Lady Spartans, however, finished the first quarter strong, closing to within 9-6 with the help of a 3-pointer by Thalia Irizarry.

Irizarry shared game scoring honors with Saunders with 10 points. She had five points in the second quarter as Wyoming Valley West took a 15-12 halftime lead.

The Lady Spartans allowed just one 3-pointer in the game, Ava Callahan’s third-quarter, buzzer-beater that combined with the first two points of the fourth quarter to lift Pittston Area into a 25-25 tie.

Wyoming Valley West pulled away down the stretch when Saunders made all four of her free throws to help offset a 3-for-9, fourth-quarter effort from the rest of the team.

Claudia Siegfried, Haylie Oliphant and Mackenzie Perluke all added six points in the win. Siegfried hit a 3-pointer during the fourth-quarter run.

Pittston Area was coach by assistant Natalie Winters in the absence of head coach Jeff Gregory.

Daniella Ranieli led the Lady Patriots with seven points, five of which came in the first quarter. Kallie Booth scored all six of her points in the second half.

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