WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Victoria Toomey was the most dominant girls player and Gianna Delfino was one of the most versatile when District 2 held its basketball championships at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for the third time.
The long-time teammates, who also play together on the JB Hoops AAU team, led Dunmore to a 48-44 victory over Holy Redeemer in the battle between state-ranked teams that highlighted the 12-game schedule at the arena March 1-4.
Five of the six girls games featured a team with a JB Hoops player or players on the roster. All five of those teams won and they did so with a significant boost from those players.
Dunmore got the biggest contribution from the inside combination of Toomey and Delfino, allowing the Lady Bucks to get past two-time defending champion Holy Redeemer in the Class 3A championship game that opened the March 3 schedule.
Toomey, a 6-foot-1 junior center, was the weekend’s top girls scorer with 28 points. Delfino, a 5-10 junior forward, often ventured away from the basket to get better angles for passes into Toomey in the post.
“Gianna is such a great player to play with because she always knows where I am,” Toomey said. “We played each other since about fourth grade, so we’re always able to read each other.
“To play with her is great because she always sees me.”
Toomey went 11-for-14 from the floor, hitting her last 6 shots. She also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots.
“Victoria’s incredible,” O’Brien said. “Her teammates do a great job of finding her and she does a great job of really working hard to get position.”
Delfino had eight assists, six of which led to Toomey baskets. She also had 9 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals.
The JB Hoops contributions to Dunmore’s win did not end there.
Lisa Tallo made a steal and hit one of two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to clinch the win. Tallo also grabbed eight rebounds while often running a Dunmore offense that committed just 11 turnovers while standing up to Holy Redeemer pressure.
Freshman guard Anna Talutto, who played on a JB Hoops eighth-grade team last year, was also on the Dunmore roster. She did not play in the final, but saw key minutes in several games as the once-beaten Lady Bucks were on their way to the Lackawanna League Division 3 and District 2 Class 3A titles.
Abington Heights, Scranton Prep, Old Forge and Susquehanna also won championships with JB Hoops players in their starting lineups.
Cassie Ksiaszek was the second-leading scorer and top rebounder and shot blocker when Abington Heights became the only girls team to win titles all three seasons at the arena.
Abington Heights defeated Crestwood, 51-45, in Class 5A with help from Ksiaszek’s 15 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
Clair Marion, a freshman guard who played on a 2017 eighth-grade team at JB Hoops, scored all six of her points in the first half for Abington Heights. She also had five rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Hannah Hughes came off the bench in the win. She grabbed one rebound.
Three Scranton Prep starters and four of the seven players the Classics used in a 45-29 Class 4A romp over Nanticoke played on JB Hoops teams.
Holly Daveski and Kathleen Rose were joined in the starting lineup by Rachael Rose, who played on the eighth-grade AAU level in 2017, as did Cecilia Collins.
Daveski and Kathleen Rose each scored 10 points. Daveski also had five rebounds and a blocked shot. Kathleen Rose had four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Rachael Rose had six points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Collins came off the bench to provide two assists, a rebound and a steal.
Old Forge won its ninth district title in 11 years by beating Northwest, 41-33, in the Class 2A game.
Olivia Ciullo, another player from the strong eighth-grade group at JB Hoops in 2017, led the Lady Devils in rebounds (11) and steals (7). She also had eight points, including the game’s last two points on free throws, and an assist.
Ciullo was 8-for-10 from the line.
Susquehanna’s Class A title repeat was led by the JB Hoops combination of sophomores Taylor Huyck and Mackenzie Steele and junior Bethany Maby.
Huyck and Maby had nine points each and Steele added eight in a 39-36 win over Forest City.
The Lady Sabers outrebounded the Lady Foresters, 49-42, with the help of 11 by Steele, 10 by Huyck and 8 by Maby.
Huyck also had three assists, three steals and two blocked shots. Steele blocked three shots. Maby had an assist, a steal and a block.
Susquehanna fell short of the state tournament because of a loss in the District 2-11 Class A Subregional semifinals, but Abington Heights, Scranton Prep, Dunmore and Old Forge all continue into the state tournament, which opens with first-round games Friday and Saturday.
Mid Valley, which qualified by finishing third in District 2 Class 3A, is also in the state tournament. JB Hoops players Morgan Haefele and Kiana Williams are among the leaders for the Spartanettes.
The first-round state tournament games for the teams with JB Hoops players are:
2-1, Old Forge (12-12) vs. 4-2, South Williamsport (11-14) at Scranton High School, Friday, 6, in Class 2A.
2-1, Dunmore (25-1) vs. 12-4, Philadelphia Academy Charter (12-7) at Marywood University, Friday, 6, in Class 3A.
2-3, Mid Valley (17-8) vs. 11-2, North Schuylkill (23-8) at Pottsville’s Martz Hall, Friday, 7:30, in Class 3A.
2-1, Scranton Prep (23-2) vs. 3-4, Wyomissing (21-5) at Marywood University, Saturday, 4, in Class 4A.
2-1, Abington Heights (18-7) vs. 3-6, Solanco (17-10) at Marywood University, Saturday, 5:30, in Class 5A.