By Steve Svetovich
Seniors Abbey Lentowski and Emily Ferguson scored 21 and 15 points, respectively, and team leading scorer Kaci Kranson added 17 as the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders defeated Old Forge, 59-38, Friday, March 12, in the Class 2A final to earn the school’s second District 2 title at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Ferguson hit on three-of-five 3-pointers in a district title win that was especially sweet considering she tore her right ACL in the state tournament last March. Her 15 points were a season high.
Lentowski, who added seven rebounds was feeling a sense of revenge stemming from last season’s loss to Old Forge in the final.
Five first quarter steals set the tone for the Lady Crusaders. The steals helped Holy Cross build a nice, early lead.
Ferguson drilled a 3-pointer near the midway point to put Holy Cross up, 8-4.
Kranson then scored off Lentowski’s steal and then hauled down a rebound and went the length of the floor for a bucket.
Lentowski did the same following her steal and the Lady Crusaders had a 14-4 lead.
A tight Holy Cross defense held Old Forge’s Olivia Ciullo to one field goal and four free throws in the first half. Ciullo was held to 13 points, well below her season average, in the contest.
Makayla Parker led Old Forge with 17 points in her final game.
Ferguson got things going in the second quarter by hitting a 3-pointer as part of a 7-0 burst. Lentowski capped off the scoring spree by hitting a long shot at the top of the key.
Old Forge staged a comeback in the second quarter when Parker scored six points and Ciullo added a free throw.
But Ferguson and Lentowski then came through in the clutch.
Ferguson hit on two free throws and added a bucket on a baseline drive.
Lentowski added two more buckets around a Parker drive in the final minute of the half as Holy Cross built a 34-17 halftime lead and never looked back.
The closest Old Forge came in the second half was a 45-34 deficit with 5:42 left in the game.
However, Lentowski, Kranson and Julia Goetz scored the next eight points to seal the win and district title for coach Barry Fitzgerald and the Lady Crusaders.
Kranson, who averaged 21.4 points, added three assists and two blocks. Lentowski, who averaged 18.3 points, had three steals.
Holy Cross advanced into the Class 2A quarterfinals after Linden Hall withdrew due to COVID-19 circumstances within its program.
Holy Cross then lost, 50-47, to Mount Carmel, Friday, March 19, in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal at Mount Carmel.
Mount Carmel all-state center Dani Rae Renno scored four points in the final 47.8 seconds and forced a turnover with seven seconds left to help the Red Tornadoes edge Holy Cross.
Holy Cross had staged a dramatic comeback after trailing, 41-31.
Kranson, who led all scorers with 22 points, hit a 3-pointer to start a 12-0 Holy Cross run giving the Lady Crusaders a 43-41 lead with 2:11 left in the contest. Kranson hit two free throws to give Holy Cross the lead. Lentowski hit a clutch 3-pointer and Caitlyn Bestrycki hit a big shot in the 12-0 run.
Renno then tied the game with a put back.
Then Lentowski hit a huge 3-pointer and the Lady Crusaders had the lead back with 1:46 left.
Renno scored on a layup. Mount Carmel regained possession after a ball was ruled out of bounds by Holy Cross. Renno missed a shot, but was fouled when she went for the rebound. She hit two foul shots to give her team a 49-47 lead with 29.1 seconds left.
A play was set up for Kranson, but as she drove, Renno tried to cut her off. Kranson was knocked off balance and she was called for traveling.
A Mount Carmel free throw made it 50-47 with 4.8 seconds left.
Kranson then drove the length of the floor, but missed a 25-footer to end the contest as Mount Carnel (17-5) advanced.
Lentowski scored 10 points for Holy Cross in the loss. Sophomore Krista Carachilo added six points on two first quarter 3-pointers which helped the Lady Crusaders build an early 15-9 lead.
Kranson had 10 rebounds and two blocks for Holy Cross (12-5) in the loss.