By Tom Robinson
DUNMORE – Cecelia Collins and Rachael Rose each scored 20 points and made other contributions Saturday night when Scranton Prep rallied past host Dunmore, 50-45, in a highly anticipated showdown between top local high school programs.
The game served as a showcase for the current high level of girls basketball in District 2 as a whole, but also specifically within the NEPA Elite AAU program at Riverfront Sports in Scranton.
Scranton Prep returns the top six players from an unbeaten team in 2019-20. Dunmore played in the 2019 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 3A state championship game, lost only to Scranton Prep last season and brings back its top six players.
When the teams squared off Saturday night, 8 of the 10 starters and 2 of the 3 reserves that were used in the game were coming off AAU seasons with NEPA Elite.
Collins led the team with eight rebound and five assists. She made four steals, three of them a fourth-quarter comeback that saw the Classics outscore the Lady Bucks, 15-3, over the final six minutes.
Rose made five steals, along with four assists and four rebounds.
Rose hit two 3-pointers and Collins added five points, including a 3-pointer, in a 13-point streak to move ahead for good.
Collins then clinched the win with two free throws with 4.9 seconds left.
Moriah Murray led Dunmore with 14 points and 5 assists. Ciera Toomey had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Seniors Collins (Bucknell) and Rose (University of South Carolina Upstate) have signed National Collegiate Athletic Association Letters of Intent for full scholarships.
Murray, a junior, has made a verbal commitment to a scholarship from Drexel University.
Toomey, a sophomore, already has nine Division I offers.
“When is it going to be before this area sees four players on the court with this much talent?” Scranton Prep coach Bob Beviglia asked. “I think probably a long time.”
Mia Blume added nine points for Dunmore on three second-half 3-pointers.
The game matched the top two Big School girls teams in the My City Mortgage Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams on NEPABasketball.com.
Both won division and district titles last season and were alive in the quarterfinals when the state tournament was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Maria Belardi was 2-for-3 on 3-pointers while adding six points for Scranton Prep.
Elisa Delfino was 2-for-3 from long range while scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds for Dunmore. Anna Talutto was 2-for-4 on 3s while also scoring six points.
“I thought it was a great high school basketball game,” Dunmore coach Ben O’Brien said. “A lot of terrific players on the floor; people making big shots for both teams.”