By Steve Svetovich
Freshman Kaci Kranson scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds and senior Haley Bestrycki converted a key three-point play with 50 seconds left to lead the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders to its first District 2 Class AA title, 43-38, over Old Forge, Friday, March 1, at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Abbey Lentkowski added 11 points in the title win. Abby Sempa contributed seven points. Bestrycki converted on the three-point play shortly after Kranson hit two clutch free throws in the win.
The Lady Blue Devils (18-6) took a quick 9-2 lead and stayed ahead until late in the third quarter. Then the Lady Crusaders (17-8) started coming back strong under veteran coach Barry Fitzgerald.
Abby Née hit a three-pointer with 2:25 left in the third quarter giving the Lady Blue Devils a 23-19 lead. However, Lentkowski converted a give-and-go from Kranson for a three-point play.
Sempa and Kranson finished off the third quarter with back-to-back baseline three-pointers to cap a 9-0 run for a 28-25 advantage.
Then the Lady Blue Devils rallied to take the lead, 36-35, with 1:11 left in the contest.
However, the clutch Kranson hit two free throws to give the Lady Crusaders another lead.
Twenty seconds later, Bestrycki took a nifty pass from Sempa for an up-and-under scoop and 40-36 Holy Cross lead. Sempa’s free throw with 30 seconds left made it, 41-38.
The Lady Blue Devils missed four shots, but could not score on its next possession of the ball. Lentkowski capped the title win by hitting two foul shots making the final score, 43-38. Olivia Ciullo led Old Forge with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Makayla Parker added 10 points.
The Lady Crusaders will now play Marian Catholic in the first round of the PIAA state playoffs Friday, March 8.
Holy Cross defeated Northwest, 50-25, in the District 2 Class AA semifinal Friday, February 22, at Dunmore High School.
The multi talented Kranson led the Lady Crusaders with 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals in the semifinal win.
Sempa added eight points in the win. Freshman Julia Goetz scored six points, hauled down six rebounds, had four steals and dished off two assists off the bench. Kranson scored 19 of her points in the second half. Bestrycki led the Lady Crusaders with four assists.
Holy Cross put the game away with a game closing 14-0 run. Brenna Babcock led Northwest (14-10) with 10 points.