In one of the most anticipated local games in recent memory, Wallenpaupack Area dealt archrival Honesdale a devastating loss Thursday night before an SRO crowd here in the Maple City.
The Lady Hornets got off to a scintillating start, using their trademark full court press to generate several early fastbreak lay-ups.
Honesdale would go on to force an eye-popping 28 turnovers and the visitors never did solve the Red & Black press.
However, Coach Adam Holtzer's girls found a way to re-focus the game.
Paupack pounded the ball inside to Alexix Roman at every opportunity. And, when the Lady Hornets collapsed around her, Roman kicked it back out to her perimeter marksmen.
The result was a game that became lopsided in the third quarter. Paupack led by as many as 15 points before settling for a 59-50 victory.
"You have to give them credit," said Coach Tracy Ludwig. "We only have two losses this year and they're both to Paupack. But, we're done with them and now it's time to start looking ahead."
With loss, Honesdale's record fell to 14-2 (5-2 in the league. Paupack is now 6-1 and all alone atop the Division Two standings.
Both teams return to the fray Monday. Honesdale hosts Delaware Valley and travels to North Pocono.
Morgan Birmelin and Kacie Johannes sparked the Lady Hornets to a lightning quick start.
Birmelin picked off a pair of Paupack passes near the midcourt stripe and turned them both into baskets.
Johannes used a textbook pump fake to elude one defender and attack the rack. Kacie powered her way in for the deuce and was fouled. She swished her free throw attempt to finish off an old-fashioned three point play.
Page 2 of 3 - Roman then began taking over in the paint.
Honesdale sophomore Natasha Hessling did an admirable job against Paupack's all star center, but Roman soon started to assert her dominance.
Alexix scored in every quarter en route to a game-high 17 points. She also hauled down 12 rebounds and blocked two shots.
"Roman is a very good player," Coach Ludwig said. "We did a pretty good job defending her, but then she started kicking the ball back out and we struggled defending the perimeter."
Bridgette Mann was the main beneficiary of this "inside-out" approach to the offensive attack.
Paupack's hard-nosed guard scored in every way imaginable. Mann buried a pair of deep treys and hit two crucial free throws on her way to 16 points.
With Roman and Mann leading the way, Paupack jetted out to a 32-24 lead at halftime.
Down the Stretch
Honesdale spread the ball around after the break, which resulted in three girls cracking double digits.
Birmelin and Hessling led the way, rattling the rims for 12 points each.
Katie Miller hit for 11, the highlight of which was a 3-ball from deep behind the arc.
Co-captains Mary Martin and Johannes also hit key shots. Martin tallied all eight of her points in the second half, while Johannes scored all seven of hers in the first half.
Bridgette Mann silenced the hometown faithful with a trey at the third quarter buzzer and Paupack just kept extending its lead.
Midway through the final stanza, the Lady Bucks were up by double figures.
Honesdale did stage one last frantic rally, but the visitors hung tough.
Page 3 of 3 - Nicki Mann contributed seven points to Paupack's cause. Kaelyn Ragonese (six pts), Danielle Palazzi (five), Paige Hiller (four), Raeann Ehrhardt (two) and Irene Dispenza (two) rounded out he scoring.
Score by Quarters...
WAL (6-0) 14 18 12 15 – 59
HON (4-2) 13 11 8 18 - 50