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Haefele’s role continues as high school career ends

Erica Haefele

FOREST CITY – Whether Erica Haefele was playing for JB Hoops, was playing in a game for the Mid Valley Spartanettes or is picturing herself playing in the future at Misericordia University, her role does not change.

So, when she lined up with top seniors from all over the league for Monday night’s Lackawanna League Senior Girls Basketball All-Star Game, Haefele took the same approach she always does.

“I’m not a big scorer,” Haefele said after joining JB Hoops teammate Julia Sirotnak from Scranton Prep in playing major roles in the Orange’s come-from-behind, 98-95 victory over the Maroon at Forest City High School. “I feel like if I’m open, I’m going to shoot, but my better side is passing.

“I like to get into the lane and kick it out to shooters. It’s usually like that on all my teams.”

Although she downplays her point production, Haefele was the leading scorer on a balanced Mid Valley team while also helping encourage that balance by getting the ball to her teammates.

The same was true Monday night.

Without forcing any shots, Haefele’s 15 points were second-highest on the winning Orange team, one behind Sirotnak. And, her four assists shared the team lead with two other players.

Sirotnak, a Scranton Prep senior who plans to further her basketball career at Moravian College, kept the Orange in the game in the first half, hitting four of five shots, including a pair of 3-pointers while scoring 10 of her 16 points.

The Maroon built a lead as high as 50-34 with 2:15 left in the half.

Although the game was ultimately decided on a 3-point shot by Orange MVP Abby Anderson from Holy Cross with three seconds left in a one-minute overtime, it could not have happened without the 19-minute stretch that turned the Orange’s biggest deficit into its biggest lead.

Haefele was an efficient 6-for-9 from the floor, including making the two 3-point shots that were her only attempts of the second half. Her final shot, with seven minutes left, gave the Orange an 89-75 advantage.

Sirotnak and Haefele were both prominent in the 55-25 dominance by the Orange from late in the second quarter to nearly midway through the fourth quarter of the game that featured 12-minute quarters.

Sirotnak hit 3-pointers 33 seconds apart in the final minute of the half to fuel an 11-point streak. She connected again from long range to end the nine-point, third-quarter streak that put the Orange ahead for the first time and one more time to cap eight straight points early in the fourth.

Haefele nailed a 3-pointer early in the second half, then kept the Orange offense firing in a 36-point third quarter during which she had three of her assists.

“We did a lot better job of distributing the ball to everyone,” Haefele said of the stretch that overlapped the third quarter. “I think in the first half we were on top of each other because we didn’t know what everyone was used to.

“By the second half, we just did a little motion offense and we just knew where everyone was.”

Haefele also grabbed four rebounds and made a steal.

Sirotnak shot 6-for-10, including 4-for-6 on 3-pointers. She also contributed seven rebounds, an assist and a steal to the victory.

JB Hoops was also represented on the Maroon team.

Isabella Cosmello from Blue Ridge made three of her five shots, including a 3-pointer. She had seven points, a rebound and a steal.

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