Honesdale and Abington Heights opened the second half Lackawanna League girls hoops schedule Wednesday night here in the Maple City. However, the game took a backseat to a much bigger message.
Before Wednesday night's game, Honesdale Coach Tracy Ludwig had a simple message for her team.
"I reminded the girls that tonight we were part of something a lot bigger than ourselves," she told TWI Sports. "Win or lose, I wanted them to remember that."
Something bigger than a Lackawanna League battle with perennial powerhouse Abington?
Absolutely. Much bigger.
In fact, several hundred Maple City hoops fans turned out to reinforce that very message. Wednesday's game was the culmination of the fourth annual "Think Pink" celebration.
Thanks to the efforts of sophomores Sam Krempasky and Katelynn Pfeil, Honesdale students spent the day raising funds and awareness for the plight of cancer victims.
"They did such a fantastic job," said Coach Ludwig. "Katelynn and Sam did an awful lot of work in just over a month. I'm very proud of them."
Players and coaches from both teams wore "Think Pink" shirts all through pre-game warm-ups.
Following a large group photo op that even included cheerleaders and officials, the game tipped off... witnessed by an enthusiastic, pink-clad crowd.
Sadly for Lady Hornet fans, Abington broke this one open early. The Comets built a double-digit lead by halftime and cruised to an eventual 57-40 win.
"This was kind of a tough loss, but I told the girls about the bigger picture after the game," said Coach Ludwig. "I want them to remember all the good that came out of tonight's game."
All proceeds from the sales of "Think Pink" shirts, special concessions and raffles will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
While official totals weren't available at press time, Coach Ludwig expects an impressive amount.
"I can't wait to get home and crunch the numbers," she said. "The girls really were art of something much bigger than themselves tonight."
On the Court
Maggie Fruehan was a one-woman wrecking crew Wednesday night.
Abington's all-star center shredded Honesdale's defense for more than three quarters. By the time she finally took a seat, Fruehan had poured in a season-high 27 points. Maggie also pulled down 11 rebounds.
With Fruehan leading the way, Abington took a 30-20 lead at intermission. The Comets put this one away in the third quarter by going on an 11-2 run.
Audrey Calkin and Randi Jo Kowalczyk did their best to keep Honesdale in the game.
Calkin, an explosive senior center, recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. This performance earned rave reviews from her mentor.
"Audrey played an excellent game," said Coach Ludwig. "She truly gave it her all tonight on offense. Audrey worked hard on every possession and it showed. They had a really tough time stopping her."
Kowalczyk is Honesdale's emotional leader on the court. RJ isn't the team's leading scorer, but she is aggressive on the boards and tenacious on defense.
She does all the little things that rarely show up in a box score....but, which are absolutely essential to a successful team.
"Randi Jo is the heart & soul of this team," said Coach Ludwig. "She bring so much emotion to the floor. RJ is a total team player."
Marisa Gallik and Abby Rickard also turned in solid efforts, scoring six points apiece.
Mary Martin and Kowalczyk contributed five each to the Lady Hornets cause.
Score by Quarters...
HON (1-7) 11 9 6 14 - 40
AH (7-1) 14 16 14 13 - 57