By Tom Robinson,

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – While the 15U Scoblick team was playing its way into a championship game appearance, the other five NEPA Elite girls teams also had two games each Sunday in The Hoop Group Championship Weekend at the Convention Center.

Here is a recap of how each team did:

NEPA Elite 17U Haefele

Brenna Hunt scored the game-winning layup at the buzzer as NEPA Elite picked up its first win under Brian Haefele.

Haefele took over as head coach of the team for the final two multi-day events of the season.

Ella Cooper penetrated the defense on the game’s final possession and dished off to Hunt for the basket and 37-35 victory over Unique Hoops HGSL in a 17U Platinum Division consolation bracket.

Both of the team’s games for the day came down to the closing seconds.

The New York City Lady Bulldogs used a basket with 12 seconds left to pull out a 43-42 victory in the last game of the night.

The first game was tied when NEPA Elite forced a turnover with its pressure, then called timeout with 34.8 seconds left.

NEPA Elite worked the clock down before Cooper and Hunt collaborated on the winning play.

Mackenzie Perluke had 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists to lead the victory.

Frankie Martinelli hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half and finished with eight points and four rebounds.

Hunt, who also made two steals, and Mackenzie Schirg each contributed six points and six rebounds.

Cooper had three steals.

Martinelli led the team with nine points, five assists and two blocked shots in the night game.

Perluke added eight points, six rebounds and four steals.

Molly Jenkins had seven points.

Schirg had six points and seven rebounds.

Cooper had six rebounds and blocked two shots.

The Bulldogs opened their biggest lead at 35-26, but NEPA Elite answered with a 9-0 run to tie the game. Perluke scored twice and Martinelli converted a three-point play during the streak. Jenkins then scored five straight points for the last NEPA Elite lead, 42-40, with 40 seconds left.

Hunt and Jenkins are from Lake-Lehman. Perluke is from Wyoming Valley West, Martinelli from Marian Catholic and Schirg from Lackawanna Trail.

NEPA Elite 16U Rini

NEPA Elite’s pursuit of a possible Hoop Group Showcase League championship ended in a quarterfinal loss to the eventual second-place finisher, but the team bounced back with a victory in its first consolation game.

The Lady Runnin’ Rebels defeated NEPA Elite, 54-30. NEPA Elite then defeated New Jersey Soldiers 16U HGSL, 50-44.

NEPA Elite made 11 second-half steals while holding the Soldiers to 12 points and erasing a seven-point halftime deficit.

Sophia Talutto went 3-for-5 on 3-pointers while scoring a team-high 13 points. She also had five rebounds and three steals.

Ella Smith led the defensive effort by making six steals and grabbing all five of her rebounds on the defensive end. She also scored eight points, going 6-for-7 from the line in the second half.

Maya Jenkins made all six of her free throws while finishing with 12 points.

Claire McGrath, who grabbed seven rebounds, and Jenna Hillebrand, added seven points each.

Maggie Coleman had a team-high three assists and three steals.

The Soldiers used a 17-5 run, ending the first half and starting the second, to open a 37-27 lead.

NEPA Elite responded by scoring the next 15 points, spread among 6 players, and did not trail again.

The Soldiers forced one more tie, but NEPA Elite scored the game’s last six points, including a key 3-pointer by Jenkins with 1:30 left.

The Lady Runnin’ Rebels used a 29-11 rebounding advantage to control the quarterfinal game.

Jenkins hit three 3-pointers to lead NEPA Elite with nine points.

Maggie O’Shea, Smith and Talutto each scored five points. O’Shea had a team-high three rebounds while Talutto was the only player with two steals.

Jenkins, McGrath and Hillebrand are from Scranton Prep. Talutto is from Dunmore, Smith from Wallenpaupack, Coleman from Abington Heights and O’Shea from Scranton.

NEPA Elite 16U Butler

Bella Dennebaum continued a strong tournament performance while leading NEPA Elite to a pair of 16U Platinum Division consolation bracket victories.

NEPA Elite edged Boo Williams Red Tide, 47-45, then handled Lady Raiders, 51-36, in the semifinal of the eight-team bracket.

Dennebaum had 17 of her 24 points while rallying NEPA Elite from 14 down in the final 14 minutes of the first bracket game. She then went 11-for-13 while scoring 25 points in the second win. In one stretch carrying over between the two games, Dennebaum made 15 of 18 shots.

Boo Williams was in front, 32-18, after a three-point play to begin the second half.

At the midway point in the second half, NEPA Elite had never led.

Dennebaum twice put NEPA Elite in front with 3-pointers.

After Boo Willams recovered to force a tie, Teagan Strunk’s long outlet pass set Madelyn O’Shea free to produce the game-winning basket with 35 seconds left.

Neither team scored again, but NEPA Elite held on with the help of coach Greg Butler quickly getting an official’s attention for a timeout as his team was saving a possession by running down a loose ball in the corner with 14.9 seconds left.

Madeleine Walsh added nine points and five rebounds in the win.

Dennebaum also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out two assists, made two steals and blocked two shots.

Ryleigh Kilmer made four steals.

Nevaeh Baran had five rebounds, three steals and two assists.

O’Shea also contributed three steals and two assists.

Dennebaum made her first six shots on the way to 25 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals against the Lady Raiders. She got started immediately with the game’s first five points and four rebounds in the first 1:16.

By halftime, Dennebaum already had a double-double and NEPA Elite led 27-9.

NEPA Elite pushed the lead as high as 40-17 on consecutive 3-pointers by Strunk and O’Shea midway through the half.

Strunk finished with seven points and five rebounds while O’Shea had six points and three steals.

Baran and Walsh each had four assists.

Dennebaum is from Scranton Prep, Strunk is from East Stroudsburg, O’Shea from Scranton, Walsh from Abington Heights, Kilmer from Mountain View and Baran from Nanticoke.

NEPA Elite 14U Clark

Playing in the 15U Platinum Division, NEPA Elite lost its championship bracket opener, then a losers’ bracket game.

NEPA Elite fell to Comets 8th GUAA, 55-41, in a rematch of the NEPA Elite victory in the 14U Nike Tournament of Champions Diamond Division title game in Chicago. It then lost to Northeast Elite, 50-47.

The Comets built a 15-point lead in the first half and still led 32-20 at the break. They extended the lead to 18 twice and withstood a comeback that brought NEPA Elite as close as 7 points twice.

Zya Small scored seven points during a 10-point streak. Ella Clementoni started the run with a drive and ended it with a free throw.

The game was interrupted with NEPA Elite trailing, 43-34, with 7:31 left. The Convention Center was evacuated because of fire alarms going off and players from all courts stood outside for 15 minutes while the building was checked. Everyone was let back in and, after warm-ups, the game resumed.

Small missed some first-half time with foul trouble. She had 11 of her 13 points in the second half and also finished with 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

Chrissy Jacklinski had 11 points.

Clementoni had seven points, three assists and four steals.

Cora Castellani went 4-for-6 on 3-pointers while scoring 14 points in the losers’ bracket game.

Chrissy Jacklinski, who scored 9 while helping the team to a 26-23 lead, and Small finished with 11 points each. Small had seven rebounds and two steals. Jacklinski led the defense with six steals and two blocks.

Castellani had nine points and two assists.

NEPA Elite 14U Alers

Jersey Pride 8th defeated NEPA Elite, 34-32, in a 14U Platinum Division consolation bracket opener.

NEPA Elite then picked up an exhibition game that it won, 39-38, over the Syracuse Nets.

Kayli McHugh made three 3-pointers while scoring 12 points in the regularly scheduled game.

Jackie Gallagher hit her three free throws while scoring eight points.

Emma Coleman had five points and five rebounds.

McHugh had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Syracuse.

Jaelyn Alers added 10 points.

Jackie Gallagher scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Coleman had five points, six rebounds and two steals.


The breakdown on how the 15U Scoblick team qualified for the age group championship: 15U girls to play for HGSL championship – NEPA Elite Basketball.

Coming soon: the wrap-up of results from Monday, the final day of the season.