By Steve Svetovich
In a tight defensive battle, the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders defeated Dunmore, 35-30, in the District 2 Class AA semifinal Monday, Feb. 22, at Lackawanna College.
Senior point guard Alyssa Alfano hit a clutch 3-pointer with 2:20 left in the contest to give the Lady Crusaders the lead for good.
But the Lady Bucks battled back.
With five seconds left in the contest and Dunmore down, 33-30, Maddie Martin, a strong force all season, attempted a shot, but was guarded tight by Mollie Burda of Holy Cross. Her shot hit off the rim and Lexi Walsh hauled down the rebound, her 10th of the game.
Walsh then hit two free throws with 2.1 seconds left to seal the game, 35-30.
At press time, Holy Cross is scheduled to play top-seeded Holy Redeemer in the district final Friday, Feb. 26.
The Holy Cross defense was so tight that Dunmore shot only 23.9 percent from the floor. Dunmore had only 12 points in the first half. The Lady Bucks made only 11 of 46 shots in the game. The Holy Cross defense never slacked.
Both teams played solid defense the entire game. There were no points scored by either team for the first five minutes of the game.
Dunmore’s Victoria Toomey hit on a 3-pointer for the first score of the game.
Walsh was clutch with her rebounding and scoring. She scored nine of her team-high 11 points in the first half. She scored seven of her points in the second quarter when Holy Cross built an 18-12 margin.
Dunmore, coached by Ben O’Brien, got into foul trouble early on and that hampered the Lady Bucks from playing their normal game.
The Lady Bucks were able to rally and take a 23-22 lead when Martin scored six of her 15 points and Emily Sheehan, who was in early foul trouble, hit on a 3-pointer.
Sheehan scored 10 points in the game.
The lead changed five more times in the hard-fought defensive battle.
Lauren Franklin, who scored eight points, hit a 20-foot shot for Holy Cross with 4:16 left in the game.
Martin then stole the ball for Dunmore and drove through the Holy Cross defense for a bucket to give Dunmore its final lead.
Alfano, who scored nine points, then came through for the Lady Crusaders in the biggest moment of the contest. The speedy point guard took a pass from Abby Anderson and quickly swished a 3-pointer for the lead, 32-30.
Anderson, who averages 19.7 points per game, scored seven points in the game.
The Lady Crusaders, coached by Barry Fitzgerald, continued with stingy defense and closed the door on Dunmore.
Alfano had three assists in the game. Anderson had three steals.
Martin scored 16 points to lead Dunmore over Riverside, 58-22, in the district quarterfinal. Izzy Cooper scored 14 and Sheehan added 11.
Holy Cross beat Lakeland, 51-39, in the district quarterfinal. Walsh led the scoring brigade with 15 points. Anderson, Alfano and Franklin added 11 each.