This is a week that could have defined the season for Abington Heights girls basketball team, good or bad.
So far, so good. Monday night’s 42-32 win over North Pocono was key for the No. 6-ranked Lady Comets, who could have fallen two games off the pace of Division I-leading West Scranton with a visit to No. 3 West upcoming Thursday.
Instead, Abington Heights is in position to move into a tie for a division that probably will be up for grabs into the final week of the regular season, which is now just 30 days away.
“We knew it was going to be a big week,” Abington Heights coach Deanna Klingman said. “We hadn’t talked about other than playing North Pocono.
“Now our preparation is for Thursday.”
With a young team — the Lady Comets start one senior, two juniors and two sophomores — that one play at a time, one game at a time mentality is working.
They may not have an offensive savior, but their defense did what it needed to do. Again. Eight times this year, the club has held a team to 34 or fewer points.
“I don’t think we shot the ball very well,” Klingman said of Monday’s win, and she was right (16 of 44). We got the shots we wanted. And I think our pressure in the last quarter really took an effect on them.”
One thing that’s been overlooked is the contributions from senior reserve Emma Henzes, known as a defensive specialist, who is 6 for 9 from the floor in her last two games, including a pair of mid-range jumpers in Monday’s win.
“She has been playing real big,” Klingman said. “I know she love to play defense, but I asked her to look on the offensive end when she has those open 15-, 17-footers, she’s got to be an offensive threat. Even at Western Wayne our last game, she stepped up and hit four 16-, 17-footers, and that’s going to be a big plus for us coming down the stretch.”
North Pocono now finds itself chasing No. 10 Wallenpaupack in Division II, down by two games in the loss column with nine games left. Plenty of ball remains, but the Lady Trojans are holding their breath concerning Brianna Maglio, who did not play because of an Achilles injury.
Maglio has had some problems with the Achilles earlier this season, but seemed fine when she left practice Sunday. But when she tried to climb stairs at home, she was in such discomfort that she was in a protective boot and on crutches Monday.
“We don’t have any kind of diagnosis yet,” North Pocono coach Dan Hogan said. “We’re waiting to see some swelling go down and to get a diagnosis from her doctor. We have no time frame for her.
“She’s our energy. She’s our leader, offensively and defensively, and she makes everybody play harder. For all the energy she gives us, she also keeps us calm. She communicates to everybody. If she’s out for a prolonged period of time, we need somebody to step up because she might not put a lot of points up on the board, but what she gives us is just invaluable.”
North Pocono also was missing center Aiyala Stephens, who was hit by a flu bug Monday morning.
Couldn’t blame No. 2 Holy Cross if they were peeking ahead, leading Carbondale by just one after three quarters in Monday’s 12-point win. The Lady Crusaders play winless Old Forge on Thursday with a showdown at fellow unbeaten and No. 1 Dunmore on tap Monday, provided Dunmore takes care of business with Carbondale on Thursday, which this year is not a given.
After a bumpy start, first-year coach Lauren Sheakoski has Lackawanna Trail second in the Division IV standings, just a game off the pace of Forest City and a half game in front of Elk Lake. Trail has key games Thursday at Elk Lake and Monday at Forest City.