The candidates were many, making it difficult to determine exactly which were the most impressive shooting numbers for the NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls in their most recent event, the Hoop Group’s Spooky Nook Jam Fest Saturday and Sunday.
- Ciera Toomey did not miss a shot in the team’s highest-scoring individual effort. She had 17 points – going 7-for-7 from the floor, hitting her only 3-pointer and making both her foul shots – in the opener.
- Kaeli Romanowski did not miss any of her shots while scoring 14 points in 10 minutes to lead the team in scoring in its only loss. She made all 11 of her attempts, nine from the free throw line and one from 3-point range.
- The team went 9-for-13 (69.2 percent) from 3-point range in an overtime win, including making all three attempts it took during the last two minutes of regulation and the two-minute overtime.
- NEPA Elite began the tournament by making its first five shots and going 9-for-10.
- The starting unit of Toomey, Rachael Rose, Skylar Bianchi, Moriah Murray and Cecelia Collins combined to shoot 80 percent (20-for-25) in the first game.
- At the foul line, the team hit 90 percent or better twice, going 21-for-23 (91.3 percent) in the overtime win and 18-for-20 (90.0 percent) in its only loss.
- Murray made half of her 16 attempts from beyond the arc.
- Romanowski finished perfect in 10 free throw attempts.
- Half of the team’s players shot better than 60 percent from the floor for the weekend. Bianchi was 10-for-11 for 90.9 percent, followed by: Romanowski, 7-for-10, 70.0; Toomey, 15-for-22, 68.2; Olivia Ciullo, 6-for-9, 66.7; and Murray, 14-for-22, 63.6.
NEPA Elite won its first three games before suffering its only loss of the weekend to leave its season record at 21-4.
Toomey, a sophomore forward from Dunmore, led the way in points (46), field goals made, blocked shots (8), and free throws made and attempted (15-for-18).
Murray, a junior guard from Dunmore, led the team in 3-point shooting and assists (15).
Western Wayne junior guard Romanowski led in steals with eight.
Kylie Lavelle, a Riverside junior, led in offensive, defensive and total rebounds. She grabbed 13 of her 18 rebounds on the defensive end.
NEPA Elite 61, New Jersey Belles Fagan 44
Toomey went 4-for-4, including a 3-pointer, during the team’s 9-for-10 start, which included four assists by Murray.
Collins had five points and Toomey four during a 13-point streak to erase the last deficit and put NEPA Elite in control, 21-10.
The team finished 24-for-39 (61.5 percent) from the floor.
Six points in a matter of seconds early in the second half broke the game open.
Toomey turned Murray’s tough over-the-top entry pass into a three-point play, then Murray stole the ensuing in-bounds pass, also resulting in a three-point play for a 39-27 lead.
Collins, the Bucknell University-bound senior guard from Scranton Prep, hit three 3-pointers while adding 11 points to Toomey’s game-high 17.
Bianchi, the Valley View senior who committed to Misericordia University last week, went 4-for-5 while scoring eight points. Murray also had eight points, along with six assists.
Rose, the Scranton Prep senior who has committed to the University of South Carolina Upstate, hit all three of her shots while finishing with six points and two steals.
Scranton Prep junior Maria Belardi blocked three shots.
NEPA Elite 78, I-90 Elite-Wright 77
Collins hit the game-winning, 3-pointer in overtime after Murray had drained one late in regulation and another to begin overtime as NEPA Elite pulled out the win in one of the weekend’s most exciting games for the entire event.
The Dunmore combination of Toomey and Murray joined forces to lead the way in the second Saturday win, producing 26 points and 6 blocked shots. They also had 11 assists, including 6 that came when setting up each other.
Toomey scored 14 points, going 8-for-9 from the line, and dished out 6 assists while blocking 4 shots.
Lavelle, Murray and Rose also scored in double figures. Lavelle had 13 points and 5 rebounds. Murray had 12 points, 5 assists and 2 blocked shots. Rose had 10 points.
NEPA Elite had a total of eight players score at least five points.
Murray was 4-for-5 on 3-pointers while Collins hit both her attempts. Lavelle and Abington Heights senior Clair Marion each made their only try to contribute to the 9-for-13 effort.
The big shooting day, which included 54.5 percent (24-for-44) overall from the floor and 21-for-23 at the line, was needed.
Binghamton University commit Ella Wanzer went 5-for-9 on 3-pointers while scoring a game-high 28 points to lead I-90 Elite.
A steal and breakaway by Lavelle put NEPA Elite ahead with 32 seconds left, but Wanzer’s runner beat the regulation buzzer to force overtime.
Collins hit what proved to be the winning 3-pointer with 54 seconds left in overtime.
The win was not secured until NEPA Elite safely in-bounded the ball four times in the final five seconds while I-90 fouled.
NEPA Elite 51, Mid-Atlantic Magic 31
NEPA Elite paired suffocating defense with extreme offensive balance while winning Sunday’s first game.
The Magic led, 16-10, before being held scoreless for 11:32, including the last 9:52 of the first half.
During that time, NEPA Elite scored the last 14 points of the first half and the first three of the second half for a 27-16 lead.
After scoring 16 points in 6:08 to begin the game, Mid-Atlantic managed only 15 more in the final 25:52.
Lavelle and Toomey led the defense with two steals and one blocked shot each. Marion, Romanowski and Old Forge senior Ciullo also had two steals. Belardi also blocked a shot.
Marion and Murray shared the scoring lead with nine points each. Lavelle, who grabbed seven rebounds, and Bianchi, who made all four of her shots, added eight each.
New Hope Academy-Caldwell 55, NEPA Elite 50
Romanowski came off the bench to lead a comeback in the final 10 minutes, but NEPA Elite eventually fell short against the team from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.
The team features players from New Hope Academy, which was widely regarded as the number-one high school team in the country in 2018-19.
New Hope led, 39-29, before Romanowski’s drive with 6:10 left started a streak of six straight points by her. The streak extended to eight points with Romanowski adding a rebound and steal.
NEPA Elite moved in front, 47-46, on Romanowski’s 3-pointer from the left corner with three minutes left. The shot capped a stretch of 3:10 in which Romanowski made every shot while scoring 14 points, making three steals and grabbing two rebounds.
In addition to the 3-pointer to end the flurry, Romanowski also tied the game for the first time since 6:45 remained in the first half by making all three shots after being fouled on an attempt from behind the arc.
New Hope answered the Romanowski-led, 18-7 run by outscoring NEPA Elite, 9-3, down the stretch.
The last three points for NEPA Elite were scored by Toomey, who hit one of two free throws for a 48-48 tie with 2:13 left and tipped in a rebound to cut the deficit with 53-50 with 17 seconds left.
NEPA Elite led just once in the first half (9-7) and the game was tied three times before New Hope scored eight straight points for a 23-15 lead.
Toomey finished with 11 points. Murray had eight points, five rebounds and four assists. Rose grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.