By Steve Svetovich
The Dunmore Lady Bucks finished a fabulous season with a loss in the PIAA Class 3A semifinal ending the team’s state title hopes.
The Lady Bucks (28-2) lost to Neumann-Goretti, 66-42, at Freedom High School in Bethlehem Monday, March 19.
The previous season’s state player of the year Jabria Ingram scored eight of her 18 points in the third quarter and Tattana Jones scored seven of her 11 as the Saints (21-7) silenced a Dunmore rally.
The Lady Bucks were down 15 points early in the contest, but had closed to within five points, 29-24, at the half.
The Saints were up, 15-2, less than four minutes into the game.
Then Dunmore junior guard Lisa Tallo passed to Victoria Toomey for a lay-up and a 3-point play. Toomey, who scored 18 points, had all nine for Dunmore in the first quarter.
Tallo scored 10 points and added six assists in the contest.
Dunmore played solid basketball in the second quarter starting with Tallo hitting a long shot after her team was down, 27-12.
Toomey and Gianna Delfino, who scored 10 points and hauled down seven rebounds, each hit a baskets. Toomey hit a 3-pointer to get Dunmore back in the game.
However, the Lady Bucks were hurt by turnovers in the second half and the Saints took over the game.
Plenty of controversy surrounded the Neumann-Goretti team going into the contest.
Diamond Johnson, the team’s second leading scorer in the PIAA playoffs, left her team in Hampton, Virginia, after averaging 33 points per game in 19 games, to join Neumann-Goretti, for whom she had played three games, all in the playoffs. Her fourth game came against Dunmore.
That raised a very serious question about Neumann-Goretti recruiting.
And not for the first time.
The PIAA is in the midst of the approval process to an amendment in its constitution that would address in season transfers like Johnson’s.
To the shock of many, the District 12 committee felt it could not deny Johnson’s eligibility.
Johnson matched Ingram’s 18 points and was a major factor in the defeat over the Lady Bucks coached by the veteran Ben O’Brien.
Johnson came into the game averaging 15.0 points in the three previous playoff games for the three-time defending state champions.
Still, coach O’Brien and the Lady Bucks showed class, offering no excuses for the loss.
Dunmore defeated Imhotep Charter, 57-42, in the Class 3A quarterfinal Friday, March 16, at Freedom High School in Bethlehem. Toomey led the Lady Bucks with 28 points in the win.
Tallo scored 12 points and had five assists for Dunmore. Kelly Quinn scored 11 points. Delfino added five assists.
Dunmore defeated Mount Carmel, 52-47, in the PIAA Class 3A second round game at Hazleton Area High School Tuesday, March 13.
Quinn led the Lady Bucks with 20 points, including a huge 3-pointer in the third quarter, to,lead the team. Tallo added 11 points and Toomey scored 10.
Dunmore totally dominated Philadelphia Academy, 45-9, in the opening round of the PIAA Class 3A playoffs.
Toomey led the Lady Bucks with an average of 16.8 points per game this season. Quinn averaged over 11 points and Tallo averaged close to 10.
The Lady Bucks have a lot to be proud of in a spectacular season that ended with only two losses in 30 games.