By Tom Robinson, NEPAElite.com
EAST STROUDSBURG – The NEPA Elite AAU club produced one championship and had another title shot come down to the final buzzer Sunday as it wrapped up play in The Hoop Group’s Girls PA Jam Fest at East Stroudsburg University.
A third team went into the final day with a title shot before losing in the semifinals.
Teams from the club out of Riverfront Sports in Scranton won more than two-thirds of their games on the weekend, going 5-3 on the final day and 16-7 for the three-day event.
A recap for each team on Sunday:
NEPA Elite 14U Alers
Jackie Gallagher provided offense and defense throughout and Kayli McHugh led the game-breaking run as NEPA Elite pulled away for the 14U Mountain Division title with a 40-18 romp over Keystone Karma 8th.
Gallagher scored 13 points, made 7 steals and grabbed 6 rebounds in the win.
The Karma scored five of the first seven points of the second half to close within 16-14 and had possession.
McHugh made a steal and drew a foul. She made two free throw, starting an 18-0 run over the next 8:36. McHugh scored all 10 of her points during the run, including making two 3-pointers for the only scoring by either team in one stretch of almost six minutes.
Emma Coleman grabbed 10 rebounds to help NEPA Elite control the boards, 27-20.
Jaelyn Alers, who had five points in the first half, and Abby Schneider shared the team assist lead with three each.
Gallagher scored the first four points and Alers hit a three-point play on a drive down the left side for an 8-1 lead.
NEPA Elite never trailed.
McHugh was 3-for-5 from the floor, 2-for-3 on 3-pointers and 2-for-2 from the line in the second half.
NEPA Elite took the division title by winning all 3 of its games by at least 22 points. It averaged 50 points while allowing 24 per game for the weekend.
Coleman and Schneider are from Abington Heights. Gallagher is from Crestwood, McHugh is from North Pocono and Alers from Scranton.
NEPA Elite 14U Clark
The Wyoming Valley Junior Clutch 9th team used a fast start to spoil NEPA Elite’s perfect record with a 48-33 victory in the 15U Stroudsburg Division.
Wyoming Valley jumped out to a 20-4 lead and held off surges from NEPA Elite the rest of the way.
NEPA Elite had started the season 16-0, including 10 of the wins while playing up against 15U teams like the Clutch.
The Wyoming Valley lead climbed as high as 27-9, but NEPA got within 31-21 at halftime and as close as eight four times in the second half before the Clutch scored the game’s last seven points.
Zya Small had 13 points and 3 blocked shots in the loss.
Cora Castellani had 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Small is from Scranton and Castellani is from Valley View.
NEPA Elite 15U Scoblick
United New Jersey 15U-Gaba defeated NEPA Elite, 46-39, in a 15U Stroudsburg Division consolation game.
Bella Dennebaum scored 16 points, 10 in the first half, in the loss.
Maeve Haggerty hit two 3-pointers while scoring all seven of her points in the second half.
Dennebaum and Haggerty are from Scranton Prep.
NEPA Elite 16U Butler
NEPA Elite played its way into the 16U Mountain Division final by winning one close game, then settled for second place out of eight teams by falling in an even closer game.
Kareena Preuss scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Legends Basketball to a 49-47 victory over NEPA Elite in the championship game.
NEPA Elite made it to the final by defeating 2025 XGen Elite Select from Buffalo, 44-40, to finish 3-0 and in first place of Pool B.
The final initially appeared to be headed to overtime when Preuss, a 5-foot-10 forward from Spring-Ford in the Philadelphia suburbs, put up a shot with her 11th offensive rebound for Legends Basketball.
That shot was ruled, by the official responsible for making the call, to have been taken after the final buzzer of regulation sounded. The three-person crew, however, then consulted and the other two officials overruled the call, determining that Preuss had scored the winning basket on time.
The basket ended a second half played entirely as a one-possession game.
NEPA Elite and Legends Basketball were tied 12 times and had 15 lead changes before settling the outcome.
Most of the first half was as close as the second, but NEPA Elite did put together a 10-1 run to the game’s biggest lead, 26-19.
Madelyn O’Shea scored 13 points in the loss.
Bella Dennebaum, who grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, and Madeleine Walsh added 9 points each.
Nevaeh Baran had eight points and three steals.
NEPA Elite outscored X-Gen Elite, 18-4, over the last 11:45 to take a 21-11 halftime lead, then fought off a second-half comeback with the help of two 3-pointers each from Dennebaum and Teagan Strunk.
X-Gen took two leads early in the second half, but NEPA Elite scored eight straight points to take the lead for good and open a 34-27 lead with 10:50 left.
A 3-pointer in the final minute brought X-Gen within 42-40.
Baran beat a trap to spot O’Shea for a layup and 44-40 lead with 27 seconds left.
Dennebaum’s post defense then forced a turnover to seal the win.
Dennebaum scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and led three double-figures scorers in the final pool game.
Walsh scored 11 points and Struck added 10.
O’Shea and Walsh each grabbed five rebounds while Strunk, Kathryn Morgan and Ryleigh Kilmer had four each as part of a 41-31 rebounding advantage.
Dennebaum is from Scranton Prep, Walsh from Abington Heights, O’Shea from Scranton, Baran from Nanticoke, Strunk from East Stroudsburg, Morgan from Lake-Lehman and Kilmer from Mountain View.
NEPA Elite 16U Rini
NEPA Elite worked its way back through a 16U Mountain Division bracket for quarterfinal losers with two wins Sunday to finish fifth in the 16-team division.
After beating Long Island Lightning 16U HGSL, 59-51, NEPA Elite rallied during overtime to beat 2025 X-Gen Elite Select, 52-49.
The overtime victory completed a sweep by NEPA Elite over X-Gen Elite teams on adjacent courts with the extra session starting minutes after the Butler team had completed its pool-winning victory.
Maya Jenkins and Ella Wilson led NEPA Elite down the stretch.
Jenkins scored the team’s last eight points, including all six of overtime.
X-Gen Elite forced overtime on a 3-pointer with five seconds left in regulation and went ahead, 49-47, with another 3-pointer in the Elam Ending overtime session.
The Elam Ending is played without a clock, with the first team to score five points getting the win.
With the teams in a race to get to 51 points, X-Gen Elite missed three shots during overtime, two of them when it was a basket away from the win.
Wilson went high to aggressively rip down rebounds of all three X-Gen Elite misses. Those rebounds finished a 14-point, 13-rebound effort.
The last rebound led to a quick outlet pass to Sophia Talutto, who fed Jenkins racing up the right side.
Jenkins made a tough finish on a contested, high-speed drive to the basket to hit the winning shot.
Quick transitions were a big part of NEPA Elite getting through the close finish.
Jenkins was on the other end of a play that erased the last NEPA Elite deficit of regulation. She got on the floor first to come up with a steal on a loose ball and fought to maintain possession before starting a fastbreak.
Wilson fed Talutto, who hit a 12-footer from the left side for a 44-43 lead with 1:02 left.
Claire McGrath added another steal, leading to Jenkins hitting both ends of a one-and-one for a 46-43 lead with 23 seconds remaining in regulation.
Talutto was 6-for-8 from the floor while scoring 15 points.
Jenkins finished with 12 points.
Jenkins and Talutto combined to finish off Long Island Lightning in the first losers’ bracket game.
Talutto went 5-for-6 from the line in the last two minutes to finish with nine points and four rebounds.
Jenkins had 15 points and 4 rebounds.
Daniella Ranieli, who hit two straight 3-point attempts, also scored nine points.
Maggie O’Shea and Wilson had eight points each. O’Shea was 3-for-4 from the floor, including hitting 3-pointers on her last two attempts. Wilson cleared a team-high six rebounds.
Jenkins and McGrath are from Scranton Prep. Wilson is from Lake-Lehman, Talutto from Dunmore, Ranieli from Pittston Area and O’Shea from Scranton Prep.
NEPA Elite 17U Macciocco
NEPA Elite received a forfeit from Long Island Lightning 17U HGSL in a 17U Stroudsburg Division losers bracket game.