By Steve Svetovich
Three times is a charm.
Freshman Ciera Toomey, sophomore Moriah Murray and junior Anna Talutto combined for 38 points as the Dunmore Lady Bucks beat Holy Redeemer, 52-24, for its third consecutive District 2 Class 3A girls basketball title.
All three have come over Holy Redeemer who captured the district title the previous two years.
The district title win was Dunmore’s 12th in the past 15 seasons as the team continues a dominant run under veteran coach Ben O’Brien.
The 6-2 Toomey led the Lady Bucks (24-1) with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. She also had four assists.
Murray added 13 points, five steals and four assists.
But it was junior reserve Talutto who initially sparked the Lady Bucks by coming off the bench and scoring eight of her team’s first 13 points. She hit on a pair of 3-pointers which triggered a 14-0 Dunmore run into the second quarter stunning Holy Redeemer.
Simply put, the scrappy Talutto changed the momentum of the game in Dunmore’s favor.
Her drive down the paint put the Lady Bucks up, 5-2. Murray then fired a pass to her along the baseline and Talutto nailed a 3-pointer for an 8-2 Dunmore lead.
Talutto’s second 3-pointer to open the second quarter sent the Lady Bucks on a surge and Dunmore never looked back.
Holy Redeemer only hit on 3-of-30 shots in the first half.
Dunmore held a convincing 24-7 lead at the half.
Standout freshman Toomey, who played a tremendous all-around game and keeps getting better, hit a 3-pointer at the third quarter buzzer to give Dunmore an even more commanding 41-13 lead.
Her power moves and sharp, aggressive cuts towards the basket throughout the contest were too much for Holy Redeemer to handle.
Toomey scored nine of her points in the third quarter and hit sophomore stalwart Murray, who played a nifty all-around game, for a back door layup to start a 12-2 spurt.
The Dunmore defense held Holy Redeemer leading scorer Sam Yencha to only three points on 1-for-13 shooting in the district title win. Yencha came into the contest averaging 18.5 points per game and with over 1,500 career points.
Dunmore will now open the PIAA state playoffs against Constitution, the fourth place team from District 12 Friday, March 6.
Dunmore defeated Mid Valley, 51-15, in the quarterfinals, and Wyoming Seminary, 60-27, in the semifinals. Both were dominant wins.
Murray is Dunmore’s leading scorer at 15.7 points per game. Toomey is close behind at 15.5 points per game. Mia Blume averages 7.3 points. Talutto averages close to seven points per game off the bench.
Dunmore and Holy Redeemer have now met four years in a row in the district title game. Dunmore won, 33-27, and 48-44, the previous two years.
The two teams met two days before this past Christmas when Murray scored 29 points in a Dunmore 59-41 road win.
This district title win was Dunmore’s 18th straight victory this season. The team’s lone loss came December 29 at the hands of Scranton Prep.