By Tom Robinson, NEPAElite.com
MANHEIM – The NEPA Elite teams played one game each Sunday, the first of three days in The Hoop Group Girls Championship Weekend at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster County.
A recap of those games:
NEPA Elite Macciocco 16U
The NEPA Elite Macciocco 16U team played a Showcase Game as a warm-up for the start of HGSL 16U Championship bracket play Monday.
United NJ 16U Platinum HGSL downed NEPA Elite, 60-50, in the Pool A Showcase Game.
NEPA Elite opens championship bracket play Monday at 10:10 a.m. against XGen Elite 16U HGSL.
Sophia Talutto scored a team-high 11 points in Sunday’s loss, including going 3-for-3 from long range during the second half when the team otherwise struggled through shooting woes.
NEPA Elite led, 23-22, with less than three minutes left in the half.
United NJ scored the last basket of the first half on a putback by 6-footer Savannah Seawell, then scored the first eight points of the second half to take a 37-25 lead. A 9-1 run, started and ended by Sarah Pettegrove made it 48-33 with 7:40 left.
Ella Cooper hit a 3-pointer and Talutto added two in a row for a 9-2 surge to get back within 56-48 with 2:10 left, but NEPA Elite could not get any closer.
Elizabeth Viglone added nine points and five rebounds in the loss.
Finley Bittenbender hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first six minutes and finished with eight points.
Kennedy Bittenbender had seven points, five assists and two steals.
Gabby Marsola scored six points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Talutto also had two steals.
The Bittenbenders are from Scranton. Talutto is from Dunmore, Cooper from Valley View, Viglone from Dallas and Marsola from Wyoming Valley West.
NEPA Elite Rini 15U
XGen Elite 15U HGSL used 3-pointers from three different players to start an 11-point streak midway through the second half, erasing the last NEPA Elite Rini 15U team lead on the way to a 52-41 victory in the first round of the HGSL 15U Championship bracket.
Jenna Hillebrand scored 17 points and grabbed 5 rebounds to lead NEPA Elite during the loss.
Maggie Coleman added nine points and three assists.
Hillebrand had five points and Coleman four during a 10-2 run to take the lead midway through the first half.
XGen led, 22-20, at halftime, but NEPA Elite took two more leads before the game-deciding run.
Hillebrand’s 3-pointer made it 28-26 and Coleman’s spin move in the post created the last NEPA Elite lead at 31-30 with 9:22 left.
Hillebrand is from Scranton Prep and Coleman is from Abington Heights.
NEPA Elite Clark 13U
The NEPA Elite Clark 13U team is playing up in a 14U division, but still managed to win for the 13th time in the last 14 games while improving to 16-2 in the last 18.
NEPA Elite has won titles in its last four events. The team went 5-0 at Spooky Nook in the Select Events Basketball East Coast Summer Showcase Wednesday through Friday. Along with being unbeaten in two of its previous four events, it was unbeaten pool champion before losing in overall bracket competition in the other two.
Chrissy Jacklinski led the latest success, pouring in 25 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 steals in a 59-36 victory over the New York Royals 2026 team in the 14U Platinum Division Pool C.
Zya Small had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
Ella Clementoni had nine points and three assists while Cora Castellani added eight points.
Clementoni and Jacklinski each hit two 3-pointers.
Jacklinski and Small are from Scranton. Clementoni is from North Pocono and Castellani is from Valley View.
MORE GIRLS COVERAGE
The NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls won in their opening effort at trying to win a third straight HGSL title. https://nepaelite.com/2022/07/defending-hgsl-champions-advance/.