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Rachael Rose. (Photo Courtesy of Empire State Takeover Blog)

Club’s girls teams debut with 5-1 day

GAME DAY: Friday, 7/24

OVERNIGHT UPDATE

The NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls team ran off the first 14 points of the second half to erase its last deficit and defeat Empire State Blue Flames-Nick, 45-34, in the team’s first-ever game together.

The win came in the 11th Grade Division Pool A on the first day of the three-day Summer Tip Off at Spooky Nook in Manheim Township.

Rachael Rose, Cecelia Collins and Ciera Toomey all scored two baskets in the first seven minutes of the second half while turning a 21-19 deficit into a 33-21 lead.

The run reached 19-2 and the lead stretched to 38-23 with 6:30 remaining when NEPA Elite answered the first Empire State basket of the half with a Rose 3-pointer and a Collins basket.

The biggest lead was 40-24 with 5:20 left on a 10-footer from the right baseline by Kaeli Romanowski.

Toomey had three defensive rebounds and three blocked shots in the second half when Olivia Ciullo was grabbing three offensive rebounds.

Rose and Collins are also teammates in high school at Scranton Prep. Toomey plays at Dunmore, Romanowski at Western Wayne and Ciullo at Old Forge.

 

UPDATED: 11:56 p.m.

The NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls team as a whole, and the foursome of Cecelia Collins, Rachael Rose, Moriah Murray and Ciera Toomey in particular, made quite an impression in the team’s first day of competition.

After wins over highly regarded teams from Westchester County, N.Y. and Philadelphia, the NEPA Elite team received this praise from the Empire State Takeover Blog out of the Albany area.

The Empire State Takeover’s Twitter feed included this post: “Most impressive team I saw today? The new kids on the block. (Coach Kevin Clark)’s first-year NEPA Elite was great today in 2 impressive Ws. More on them, particularly these 4 soon. There’s some talent in the 570 that’s slept on. … Putting people on notice now.”

 

UPDATED: 11:45 p.m.

The NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls team put together an incredible offensive performance to cap the program’s impressive first day of competition.

NEPA Elite shot better than 65 percent as a team, including more than 77 percent from the starting lineup, through the first 21 minutes to run over Comets-Genther GUAA, 58-42, Friday night in the Summer Tip Off at Spooky Nook in Manheim Township.

Both 17U teams, the Clark team, coached by NEPA Elite founder Kevin Clark, and the Carra/Lewis team, went 2-0 during the debut performance by the new AAU club from Riverfront Sports in Scranton. The program was 5-1 overall, including 1-1 in 16U where the only loss came by a single point.

The Clark team is playing in the 11th Grade Division Pool A, which figures to be the strongest in an event that drew 140 teams to Lancaster County.

Comets-Genther, an Under Armour-sponsored team from Philadelphia, however, was no match for NEPA Elite Clark.

NEPA Elite made its first 6 shots and 9 of its first 10 to open a 22-8 lead in the first 5:03. It was the first of seven times that NEPA Elite built a 14-point lead in a half that ended with a 37-23 advantage.

While Comets-Genther was missing eight straight shots, NEPA Elite opened the second half by going 4-for-5.

Less than five minutes into the second half, NEPA Elite had a 47-26 lead on the last of Moriah Murray’s five 3-pointers.

To that point, NEPA Elite was shooting 19-for-29 from the floor, including 17-for-22 by the starting unit of Murray, Rachael Rose, Ciera Toomey, Cecelia Collins and Skylar Bianchi.

Murray missed her last two tries, but still finished 5-for-8 from long range while scoring 15 points.

Rose finished 6-for-7 while scoring 12 points.

Toomey was 3-for-5 while scoring seven. Collins went 2-for-2 and Bianchi 2-for-3 while adding five and four points.

Kaeli Romanowski came off the bench to add nine points.

Rose, led the team with four assists. Maria Belardi had two steals and shared the rebound lead of four with Murray.

Friday’s two games were the first by the group of high school players from District 2 since the state tournament was canceled between the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which also delayed the start of AAU play by months.

Rose, Collins and Belardi all helped Scranton Prep to a perfect 2019-20 season that included Lackawanna League Division 1 and District 2 Class 4A titles.

Murray and Toomey are teammates at Dunmore, which was also alive in the state tournament as the once-beaten Lackawanna Division 3 and District 2 Class 3A champion.

Bianchi is from Valley View and Romanowski from Western Wayne.

NEPA Elite immediately established control in its second game, trailing for the only time at 3-2.

The perfect first six shots showed off the team’s offensive versatility.

Collins hit a cutting Bianchi. Rose scored on a runner in the lane. Bianchi kicked the ball out from the post for Murray’s first 3-pointer. Rose turned a steal into a left-hand layup with one of the Comets chasing close behind but never catching up. Collins drained a 3-pointer after Rose drove baseline to collapse the defense. Toomey’s steal set up Murray for a 3-pointer from the wing in transition.

After a miss, NEPA Elite finished off the 9-for-10 start with a Toomey 3-pointer between layups by Collins and Bianchi off Murray’s steal and Rose’s dribbling through the entire Comets trapping defense.

The Comets scored seven straight points to get within 28-21, but the hot-shooting starting lineup returned to put together a 9-2 finish to the first half and a 10-3 start to the second.

Murray hit three 3-pointers in the clinching 19-5 run.

The NEPA Elite girls continue at Spooky Nook Saturday and Sunday while the program’s four boys teams are making their debut in the Pennsylvania Tip-Off at East Stroudsburg University.

 

UPDATED: 11:04 p.m.

The NEPA Elite 16U team ran out of time while suffering the new AAU club’s only loss of its first day of competition.

Nadia Evanosky made a strong drive to the basket to score and bring the team within one point with about five seconds remaining.

NEPA Elite, however, was unable to come up with a steal or stop the clock with a foul and wound up losing, 29-28, to District One Basketball Academy-Tague in a 10th Grade Division Pool E game.

While the two 17U teams from the new club, based out of Riverfront Sports in Scranton, were going 2-0 on the first day of the Summer Tip Off at Spooky Nook in Manheim Township, the 16U team went 1-1.

NEPA Elite led District One, 18-12, at halftime but struggled offensively throughout the second half.

Evanosky, from Dallas, and Katherine Shepherd, from Western Wayne, keyed the late comeback attempt, which fell short.

Dunmore’s Cadie Lewis led the team with seven points and grabbed five rebounds.

Shepherd, who led the team with six rebounds, and Evanosky added six points each.

Kallie Booth, from Pittston Area, had five points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Lizzie Pettinato, from Abington Heights, also grabbed five rebounds and Sam Polishan, from North Pocono, also had three steals.

 

UPDATED 9:18 p.m.

The NEPA Elite 16U girls team showed of an impressive defense from the start, holding the Maryland Lady Assassins-Glover 16U team to just nine first-half points on the way to a 34-22 victory in its first 10th Grade Division Pool E game.

NEPA Elite scored the game’s first four points and held the lead the rest of the way while limiting the Lady Assassins to a single 3-pointer and holding the Severn, Md. team to 10-for-36 (27.8 percent) shooting.

The 16U team, which is coached by Morgan Birmelin, finished its first day of competition 1-1 while giving up only 51 points total.

Nadia Evanosky from Dallas led the team in scoring in the opener with eight points.

Sam Polishan from North Pocono, Katherine Shepherd from Western Wayne and Julia Glowacki all made 3-pointers in the first half to help the team to a 21-9 lead. Each finished with five points.

Shepherd and Glowacki sandwiched personal, five-point streaks around a Lady Assassins basket to fuel a 10-2 run late in the half. Glowacki’s 3-pointer from the left corner put the lead at 21-8.

Shepherd also grabbed a team-high six rebounds.

Dunmore’s Cadie Lewis, who had two assists, and Pittston Area’s Kallie Booth, led the strong defensive effort on the perimeter with four steals each.

 

UPDATED: 8:49 p.m.

Balanced scoring paved the way Friday afternoon when the NEPA Elite Carra/Lewis 17U girls team completed its first day of competition with a second straight victory.

Anna Scoblick, Elisa Delfino, Emily Taylor and Mia Blume scored eight points each as NEPA Elite defeated the NJ Panthers from Basking Ridge, N.J., 48-33, in an 11th Grade Division Pool G game at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim Township, Lancaster County.

Scoblick, who is headed into her junior year at Abington Heights, also had four assists.

Taylor, who plays at Riverside, and Blume each made a pair of 3-pointers.

Delfino and Blume are teammates at Dunmore where they helped the Lady Bucks to Lackawanna League Division 3 and District 2 Class 3A titles in 2020. This was their first day of competition since Dunmore was one of the teams to have its state championship pursuit end in the quarterfinal round when the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association canceled the remainder of the tournament because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The same public health issues had kept the NEPA Elite AAU program from making its debut prior to Friday when the Carra/Lewis team led it into competition and won both games to start a 5-1 day for the three girls teams.

Talutto’s drive with five seconds left in the first half put NEPA Elite ahead, 20-19. Talutto, another Dunmore player, also contributed a team-high five assists.

The score ended a half that included nine lead changes and three ties. It also put NEPA Elite ahead to stay.

Neither team scored for 2:22 to start the second half when a drive by North Pocono’s Jenna Beach produced a three-point play.

The Panthers got within 23-22 on a 3-pointer, but Blume scored the next five straight points.

Blume scored on a drive with 12:15 remaining and followed it up with a 3-pointers from the left wing in transition 25 seconds later for a 28-22 advantage.

New Jersey made it 28-26.

Taylor, who had scored the team’s first five points, hit a 3-pointer with 9:04 left.

After the Panthers closed within a single possession for the last time, Scoblick’s 3-pointer began a 17-5 run over the final 8 ½ minutes.

The big finish was the second straight for NEPA Elite Carra/Lewis, which outscored its first opponent, Empire State Blue Flames-Chris, by a 35-8 margin over the final 15 minutes.

 

UPDATED: 7:52 p.m.

Jenna Beach and Carena Colo were the top two scorers while Kayla Rose was the leading rebounder Friday afternoon to lead the NEPA Elite Carra/Lewis 17U girls team to a 66-40 romp over Empire State Blue Flames-Chris in the first game played by any of the club’s seven teams.

The new AAU club, based out of Riverfront Sports in Scranton, had two other girls teams debut later in the day. All are playing in the Summer Tip Off at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim Township, Lancaster County.

The club’s four boys teams will all get their first seasons started Saturday during the Pennsylvania Tip-Off at East Stroudsburg University.

Beach, who scored 10 points, and Colo, who scored 9, are also teammates at North Pocono High School where they helped the Lady Trojans win the 2020 Lackawanna League Division 2 championship. One of the AAU team’s co-coaches, Lauren Carra, was an assistant coach on that championship high school team. The other coach, Kaitlyn Lewis, is a North Pocono graduate.

Rose, from Riverside, helped the team to a rebounding advantage with a team-high eight and was also next in scoring with seven points.

Abington Heights’ Anna Scoblick and Wyoming Valley West’s Trinity Johnson added six points each.

Dunmore’s Anna Talutto had a team-high three assists and joined Scoblick in providing two assists each.

NEPA Elite took a 31-29 halftime lead, but the Blue Flames, from Westchester County, N.Y., opened the second half with a 3-pointer for their final lead.

The NEPA Elite defense yielded just eight points over the final 15:18.

Rose converted one of her rebounds into the go-ahead basket and Scoblick’s steal set up Dunmore’s Alexis Chapman for another basket from close range.

NEPA Elite pulled away from there, then doubled the final margin by scoring the game’s last 13 points.

The statistical totals mentioned in this update are those compiled by Be The Beast.

 

UPDATED: 7:32 p.m.

The NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls team rolled over Comets-Genther GUAA from Philadelphia in Friday night’s game, completing the club’s first day at the Summer Tip-Off at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim Township, Lancaster County.

NEPA Elite teams went 5-1, with the only loss coming by a single point, in the first day of competition in the history of the new program out of Riverfront Sports in Scranton.

Both 17U teams went 2-0. The 16U team was 1-1.

Details are being gathered now and will be added throughout the evening.

MORE TO COME: Return to this page for more details.

 

UPDATED: 7:23 p.m.

The NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls opened a 37-23 halftime lead over Comets-Genther GUAA in the final game of the night for the club’s teams.

 

UPDATED: 7:20 p.m.

Second-half offensive struggles led to the NEPA Elite 16U girls falling behind, then coming up just short in a comeback attempt while suffering the club’s first loss on Opening Day of the Summer Tip-Off at Spooky Nook Sports.

District One Basketball Academy-Tague held off NEPA Elite 16U, 29-28, in the 10th Grade Division Pool A game.

The loss leaves the three NEPA Elite teams with a combined 4-1 record on the first day.

NEPA Elite had an 18-12 halftime lead.

Nadia Evanosky from Dallas and Katherine Shepherd from Western Wayne led the comeback attempt.

 

UPDATED: 6:58 p.m.

NEPA Elite Clark’s first game was a victory over an Empire State Blue Flames-Nick team with at least four National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I-committed players on its roster, in addition to a full scholarship Division II player and others with Division I offers.

The NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls team opened the second half of its 45-34 victory with a 21-4 run against a team that includes Northwestern commit Melannie Daley, along with Brooke Tatarian (Fairfield), Amanda Latkany (Brown) and Khya Hough (Kennesaw State).

 

UPDATED: 6:34 p.m.

All three NEPA Elite girls teams have won in their first-ever games.

The NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls were the latest to make a successful debut in the Summer Tip Off at Spooky Nook Sports Friday.

The Clark team overcame a two-point halftime deficit to defeat Empire State Blue Flames-Nick, 45-34 in Pool A of the 11th Grade Division, potentially the strongest pool at the event.

The Clark team has switched courts and is getting ready to play Comets-Genther GUAA, an Under Armour-sponsored team from Philadelphia.

NEPA Elite 17U Carra/Lewis finished the first day 2-0.

NEPA Elite 16U won its opener and is finishing up for the day now.

 

UPDATED: 6:21 p.m.

The NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls team trailed at halftime, but has taken control of its opening game against Empire State Blue Flames-Nick in the 11th Grade Pool A of the Summer Tip Off at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim Township, Lancaster County.

NEPA Elite was held without a basket for more than three minutes to end the half.

After trailing, 21-19, at the break, NEPA Elite Clark opened the second half with a 21-4 run.

NEPA Elite teams are 3-0 on their first day of competition with two teams in action on the court and the Clark team scheduled to play again soon after the completion of its opener.

 

UPDATED: 5:41 p.m.

Defense carried the NEPA Elite 16U girls team to a comfortable victory in its first game ever.

The 16U girls handled the Maryland Lady Assassins-Glover 16U team, 34-22, to make NEPA Elite squads a combined 3-0 on the first day of competition in the history of the club from Riverfront Sports in Scranton.

NEPA Elite 16U now faces another team coming off a big opening win, facing District One-Tague, which routed the Red Lion Flash, 37-12.

At the same time, the NEPA Elite Clark 17U team will be making its debut in a game against the Empire State Blue Flames-Nick.

 

UPDATED: 5:05 p.m.

The NEPA Elite 16U girls team did not give up a point for the first 4 ½ minutes of its debut, allowing the team, coached by Morgan Birmelin, to open a 21-9 halftime lead on the Maryland Lady Assassins-Glover 16U team from Severn, Md.

The teams were playing in the 10th Grade Pool E of the Summer Tip Off at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim Township, Lancaster County.

NEPA Elite scored the game’s first four points, both off of offensive rebounds, and maintained the lead for the entire half. Brooke Arnold from Old Forge scored from inside and Nadia Evanosky from Dallas drove after a long rebound for the 4-0 start.

Seven NEPA Elite players got involved in the first-half scoring.

Western Wayne’s Katherine Shepherd and Crestwood’s Julia Glowacki each had a personal five-point streak for a 10-2 run to a late 21-8 lead. Shepherd and Glowacki each made a 15-footer before hitting a 3-pointer.

 

UPDATED: 3:58 p.m.

NEPA Elite Carra/Lewis again finished strong Friday afternoon to complete its first day with a 2-0 record in 11th Grade Pool G at the Summer Tip Off.

The Carra/Lewis 17U girls team scored 11 of the game’s final 13 points in a 48-33 victory over New Jersey Panthers at Spooky Nook Sports.

As the first team to represent NEPA Elite, a new AAU club out of Riverfront Sports in Scranton, the team coached by Lauren Carra and Kaitlyn Lewis led by one point at the half of each game.

After falling behind once in the second half of the opener, Carra/Lewis never trailed in the second half of its second game.

Anna Talutto’s drive with five seconds left in the first half created the 20-19 halftime lead, then North Pocono’s Jenna Beach drove or a three-point play to open the second-half scoring.

The other two NEPA Elite girls teams will each play their first two games later today.

The NEPA Elite boys debut with all four teams playing Saturday in a Hoop Group event at East Stroudsburg University.

 

UPDATED: 3:28 p.m.

Anna Talutto’s drive with five seconds left created the last of nine lead changes in the first half and gave the NEPA Elite Carra/Lewis 17U girls a 20-19 halftime lead over the New Jersey Panthers in their second game of the day at Spooky Nook.

The guard from Dunmore took the ball on the left wing out of a half-court set and beat two defenders to put NEPA Elite back in the lead.

Emily Taylor from Riverside had created the first of three ties and the first lead change with five straight points for an early 5-2 lead. She scored inside off the press break, then hit a 3-pointer.

NEPA Elite scored seven straight points for the biggest lead of the half, 15-11, on a drive by Rachel McDonald from Abington Heights. The first five points of the streak came off of converted offensive rebounds.

 

UPDATED: 2:52 p.m.

The NEPA Elite Carra/Lewis 17U girls team made it a successful debut for the new AAU basketball club from Riverfront Sports in Scranton.

As the first of seven NEPA Elite teams to get its season started this weekend, the Carra/Lewis team used a big second half to run away to a 66-40 rout of Empire State Blue Flames-Chris in an 11th Grade Pool G game in the Summer Tip Off at Spooky Nook Sports.

NEPA Elite gave up a 3-pointer to open the second half and fall behind, 32-31, then outscored Empire State, 35-8, over the final 15:18.

Kayla Rose from Riverside converted a rebound into the basket that put NEPA Elite to stay. Anna Scoblick from Abington Heights followed with a steal to set up a fastbreak basket by Alexis Chapman from Dunmore and NEPA Elite was off and running.

NEPA Elite Carra/Lewis is taking about a 20-minute break before heading right back out on the same court to face the New Jersey Panthers.

 

UPDATED: 2:14 p.m.

The first game for NEPA Elite girls is playing out a close one.

In the club’s debut effort, the Carra/Lewis girls team took a 31-29 halftime lead over the Empire State Blue Flames-Chris team from Westchester, N.Y.

The first half was close throughout.

Empire State led, 22-21, until Anna Scoblick from Abington Heights hit a 3-pointer, then ran the floor for an easy basket. Trinity Johnson from Wyoming Valley West worked her way inside to complete the seven-point burst NEPA Elite used to take the halftime lead.

 

POSTED: 1:12 p.m.

Doubleheaders are largely a thing of the past in baseball, but they are a big part of the plan to restart AAU basketball tournament play during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The NEPA Elite program out of Riverfront Sports in Scranton is less than an hour away from making its debut during the Summer Tip Off, a Select Events Basketball event at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim Township, Lancaster County.

Three girls teams are representing NEPA Elite and each will play a doubleheader today, facing different opponents in back-to-back games. Having teams play consecutive games is a way of reducing the time spent in the facility and the number of times a team has to enter and exit the building as a whole as well as specific game areas.

The NEPA Elite News blog will have updates throughout the opening weekend of the season for the new AAU program. Both girls and boys teams from the club will be in action on Saturday and Sunday.

Up first the NEPA Elite Carra/Lewis 17U girls team playing in Pool G of the 11th Grade Division in a scheduled 1:40 start this afternoon.

Return to this page throughout the day for updates on how the teams are doing.

Check out the Recent Posts listing on the right for links to stories from the past two days preparing for the openers as well as earlier stories revealing team rosters.

The full first-day schedule for NEPA Elite teams at Spooky Nook is below:

 

Time

Team

Coach(es)

 

Division/Pool

 

Opponent

Opponent

Location

1:40 p.m. Carra/Lewis 11th Grade /Pool G Empire State Blue Flames-Chris Westchester, NY
3 p.m. Carra/Lewis 11th Grade /Pool G New Jersey Panthers Basking Ridge, NJ
4:20 p.m. Birmelin 10th Grade/Pool E MD Lady Assassins-Glover 16U Severn, MD
5:40 p.m. Clark 11th Grade/Pool A Empire State Blue Flames-Nick Westchester, NY
5:40 p.m. Birmelin 10th Grade/Pool E District One Basketball Academy-Tague 10th Westtown, PA
7 p.m. Clark 11th Grade/Pool A Comets-Genther GUAA Philadelphia, PA

 

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