By Tom Robinson, NEPAElite.com
MANHEIM – Saturday’s action was full of close games for NEPA Elite girls teams playing in the Prime Event East, a Select Events Basketball competition at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster County.
Daniella Ranieli and Bella Dennebaum led their teams to overtime victories.
Of the eight losses NEPA Elite teams suffered on the day, three were by two points and two more were by three points.
A recap of each NEPA Elite team:
NEPA Elite 17U Macciocco
NEPA Elite dropped two games in the 17U Silver Division, falling to Team Thrill National, 41-38, in the championship bracket, then, 53-39, to Sideline Cancer in a losers’ bracket game.
Ella Cooper and Jewlya McCullon hit 3-pointers for NEPA Elite’s only leads late in the first half.
Sideline Cancer then closed the first half on a 12-2 run for a 27-18 lead.
McCullon and Brenna Hunt had 3-pointers in a 10-2 run to begin the second half as NEPA Elite held Sideline Cancer without a field goal for 6½ minutes to get within a point.
Mackenzie Perluke and McCullon each scored nine points.
Jenna Luciani and Hunt each had six rebounds.
Cooper had four assists and joined McCullon with two assists each.
Cooper is from Valley View, McCullon from Old Forge, Hunt from Lake-Lehman, Perluke from Wyoming Valley West and Luciani from Holy Cross.
NEPA Elite will play two games in a new losers’ bracket Sunday afternoon.
NEPA Elite 16U Rini
NEPA Elite opened with a 52-51 overtime victory over Lady Rivals 3SSB, but could not overcome an extreme disparity in height during a 60-42 loss to New Jersey Gemz EYBL in the 16U Platinum Championship bracket.
Neither team scored an overtime basket in the first-round game.
Ranieli made two free throws to lift NEPA Elite to the victory, completing an 18-point, 4-assist effort.
Jenna Hillebrand also scored 18 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
Maggie Coleman made three 3-pointers while scoring 15 points.
Maggie O’Shea had a team-high five assists.
New Jersey Gemz had an advantage of several inches in height at each position and usually had the three or four tallest players on the floor.
The Gemz took advantage of their height with 18 offensive rebounds in the first half and a 56-28 advantage on the boards for the game.
New Jersey’s first 18 baskets were from inside 3 feet, including 10 putbacks.
Ranieli made four straight 3-point attempts during the second half to cut the deficit from 19 to 7. She finished with 19 points.
Claire McGrath added 10 points.
O’Shea had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Hillebrand had seven points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots.
Dennebaum made three steals.
Hillebrand, McGrath and Dennebaum are from Scranton Prep. Ranieli is from Pittston Area, Coleman from Abington Heights and O’Shea from Scranton.
NEPA Elite drops into a losers’ bracket where it will play two games Sunday afternoon.
NEPA Elite 16U Butler
NEPA Elite opened with a 31-29, overtime victory over Hunting Park Warriors in the 16U Gold championship bracket, but fell to WeR1/Lady Sharks Rise, 46-22.
Dennebaum scored 23 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and provided all four of the team’s overtime points to pull out the victory in the opener.
Madeleine Walsh scored eight points and Madeline O’Shea had seven in the loss. Dennebaum grabbed seven rebounds. Teagan Strunk blocked three shots.
Walsh is from Abington Heights, O’Shea from Scranton and Strunk from East Stroudsburg.
NEPA Elite finishes up in a consolation bracket with games Sunday morning and afternoon.
NEPA Elite 15U Scoblick
NEPA Elite dropped two close decisions in the 15U Division Pool A, falling to Exodus National, 47-45, and Elevate Elite S40, 35-32.
NEPA Elite ran off 11 straight points for a 20-9 lead late in the first half of the game against Elevate Elite.
Elevate Elite then went on a streak of 20 straight points, holding NEPA Elite without a field goal for 13 minutes while taking a 31-21 lead.
NEPA Elite committed six turnovers before getting a shot off while Elevate Elite was taking the lead early in the second half.
Addison Kilmer kept NEPA Elite in the game with seven rebounds and three blocked shots in the second half, then Lily Scoblick came up with six steals in the final seven minutes as NEPA Elite closed with an 8-2 run.
Scoblick also had a putback and an assist in the closing run, setting up Amanda Dempsey off one of her steals for the basket that made it a three-point game with less than two minutes remaining.
Kilmer is from Mountain View, Scoblick from Abington Heights and Dempsey from Dunmore.
The team has losers’ bracket games Sunday morning and afternoon.
NEPA Elite 14U Clark
NEPA Elite rallied from 18 down to lead late before losing to BBA GUAA, 62-60, in its 15U Platinum Division championship bracket game.
The loss was the second straight for the team following a 16-0 start, the majority of which has been playing up against older competition.
NEPA Elite bounced back to defeat Mid-Atlantic Magic, 62-45, in its first losers’ bracket game.
Zya Small scored 22 points in each game.
Cora Castellani made four 3-pointers while adding 16 in the loss.
Small made all four of her second-half shots in the win, finishing 9-for-13 from the floor and 4-for-5 from the line. She also had six rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots.
Ella Clementoni went 7-for-7 from the line to finish with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
Castellani had 12 points and 5 assists.
Jackie Gallagher did all her scoring in the second half, making her first four shots, including two 3-pointers, for 10 points.
Small scored off a Kam Gallis feed with three seconds left in the half, then Gallagher hit a 3-pointer and Castellani an elbow jumper in the first 45 seconds of the second half for a 7-0 run to open a 31-21 lead.
Small is from Scranton, Castellani from Valley View, Clementoni from North Pocono, Gallagher from Crestwood and Gallis from Notre Dame of Bethlehem.
NEPA Elite 14U Alers
NEPA Elite rolled over New York Royals, 53-27, before having a comeback fall short in a 35-33 loss to Glen Arm Gladiators in Pool H games.
Jaelyn Alers led the win with 17 points. Gallagher added 16 and Emma Coleman had 13.
Kayli McHugh went 5-for-6, hitting three 3-pointers to lead the team with 13 points in the second game.
Gallagher grabbed eight rebounds.
Castellani provided a spark with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in less than 12 minutes coming off the bench.
After being hurt by 20 Gladiators offensive rebounds in the first half, NEPA Elite cut a 30-11 deficit with nine minutes left to the final margin of two. NEPA Elite scored the game’s last nine points on two 3-pointers by McHugh and one by Gallis.
Neither team scored in the last 2:02.
Alers is from Scranton, Coleman from Abington Heights and McHugh from North Pocono.
Pool play concludes Sunday morning with NEPA Elite needing a win and some help to advance to the championship bracket.