By Steve Svetovich
It was another basketball season to remember.
A season ending loss, but a lot to be proud of.
The Dunmore Lady Bucks advanced all the way to the PIAA Class AA semifinal losing to Neumann-Goretti, 52-26, Tuesday, March 15, at Bethlehem Freedom High School.
It was the third straight season Neumann-Goretti eliminated the Lady Bucks in the playoffs.
Dunmore finished the season 27-3, a magnificent showing under veteran coach Ben O’Brien.
The Lady Bucks won the Lackawanna League Division III title in a season that featured a 20-game winning streak.
Dunmore lost to Neumann-Goretti, 64-61, in the quarterfinals last season. The Lady Bucks lost, 55-30, to Neumann-Goretti in the semifinals in 2014.
In the state semifinal this year, Syracuse-commit Alisha Kebbe led Neumann-Goretti with 16 points. Morgan Lenahan scored 13 and Chyna Nixon added 12.
Dunmore had only nine field goals on 28 attempts against a tight Neumann-Goretti defense. Dunmore senior Izzy Cooper hit on four of her eight shots from the paint to lead the Lady Bucks with eight points.
The Lady Bucks did not score in the fourth quarter. Neumann-Goretti scored 14 in the final quarter to close the win.
The Lady Bucks came close in the third quarter when senior Megan Hartshorn, Maddie Martin and Erika Bistran each hit 3-pointers. Dunmore was able to close the gap to 33-24 after Bistran hit her 3-pointer.
Emily Sheehan scored on a hoop with 30 seconds left in the third quarter as Dunmore was down, 38-26.
However, Dunmore did not score again.
The Lady Bucks defeated Imhotep Charter, 45-44, in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinal game, Friday, March 11, at Bethlehem Freedom High School.
Dunmore star junior guard Maddie Martin led the team with 13 points in the contest. She scored Dunmore’s first points of the game to go up, 3-2.
Bistran scored nine, Hartshorn eight, Sheehan seven and Cooper six to aide a balanced Dunmore scoring attack.
The clutch Martin hit a third-quarter lay-in to put the Lady Bucks up, 22-21.
Bistran and Hartshorn hit on back-to-back 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
A Hartshorn hoop and two Martin free throws put Dunmore up by five late in the contest.
The Lady Bucks, led by Martin’s superb ball handling, held onto the ball in the final minutes before Sheehan hit on two free throws and Martin on one to give Dunmore a 45-41 lead.
Imhotep’s Shadera Jenkins hit on a 3-pointer with a half second left, but Dunmore sealed the win, 45-44.
Bistran hit on three 3-pointers in the win. Cooper hauled down seven important rebounds.
Beginning a stretch in 2005-06 that includes six straight District 2 Class AA titles and nine total, the Lady Bucks have been in the state playoffs in each of the past 11 years. In that time, Dunmore has a record of 276-47, including 20-11 in the state playoffs.
Dunmore finished 25-4 under coach O’Brien last season. The Lady Bucks graduate six seniors this year.