Western Wayne's girls varsity basketball team is back on the winning track
The first time Western Wayne and North Pocono met this year, Alexis Stephens ran wild in leading the Trojans to a lopsided victory.
"She scored 18 points on us just in the first half," said Coach Colleen Kloss. "We knew coming in we'd have to do a better job containing her if we wanted to win."
On Thursday night before a raucous Varden Garden crowd, the Lady 'Cats did just that. Coach Kloss set up her girls in a 2-3 zone defense that gave North Pocono's center fits.
"We fronted her and tried to deny her the ball as much as possible," she said. "That was the game plan and the girls executed it perfectly."
Western Wayne limited Stephens to just four points and came up with clutch baskets late in the game en route to an electrifying 40-36 triumph.
With this win, the Lady 'Cats improved their overall record to 10-7 and 2-6 in Division Two action.
Next up for Western Wayne is a Saturday road trip to West Scranton. The local lasses will then return home for a showdown with archrival Honesdale.
Opening tip for that Lackawanna League contest is set for 7:15 p.m.
Coach Kloss set several simple goals for her girls in Thursday night's battle with North Pocono.
"The first thing I wanted us to do was get out in front early and stay there," she said. "That was our main goal on offense."
Kaitlyn Lewis had other ideas, though. The Trojans' sharpshooting sophomore guard buried the first shot she took, a deep trey that put the home team in a quick 3-0 hole.
However, the Lady 'Cats refused to panic.
Thanks to the potent 1-2 punch of Rebecca and Rachel Carmody, Western Wayne re-claimed the lead and never looked back.
Rebecca muscled her way to a game-high 17 points on the strength of six field goals and a 5-for-7 stint at the charity stripe.
Rachel scored in the low post, in transition and from beyond the arc. She finished her night with 11 points.
"The twins are have been playing well all season," said Coach Kloss. "They're both super players and a big part of this team. But, we need for other girls to step up, too."
Two players who did just that against North Pocono were Bridget Quinn and Caleigh Wildenstein.
Quinn led the defensive charge in the paint, helping to put the clamps on Stephens and still finding time to score five points.
Wildenstein also played solid defense and picked her spots offensively. In fact, Caleigh hit a big trey that gave the Lady 'Cats a bit of breathing room.
"Bridget and Caleigh came up with some very big baskets," said Coach Kloss. "Those two girls really took the heat off the twins."
Down the Stretch
Western Wayne eased out to an 18-16 lead at halftime, then extended that margin to 35-31 after three.
Carly Thorpe chipped in with a key basket down the stretch as North Pocono closed the gap.
However, Rebecca Carmody sealed the deal on a razor-thin win with two critical free throws with just eight seconds remaining in regulation.
"This was our biggest win of the year so far," said Coach Kloss.
"North Pocono is a very good team, but we had an excellent game plan and the girls executed it perfectly. I think we're getting to the point now where people around the league are starting to sit up and take notice of us."
Score by Quarters...
WW (2-6) 6 12 17 5 - 40
NP (5-3) 5 11 15 5 - 36