HAZLE TWP. — Be careful what you wish for.
Maddy Grilz and Nanticoke Area are granting requests and turning them into nightmares.
Grilz scored 15 points Monday and the Trojanettes tortured fellow up-tempo team Hazleton Area with a dizzying press defense that forced 24 turnovers in a 53-32 victory in a high school girls basketball showdown that gave Nanticoke Area its 13th consecutive victory.
“I guess it’s a little bit of pressure,” Grilz said of the streak. “We all have our goals set. We all want to keep winning and keep it going.”
Grilz got the Trojanettes going early, hitting two 3-pointers and eight of her game-high 15 points in the first quarter as Nanticoke Area scored 10 of the game’s first 12 points and took a 15-10 lead after the first eight minutes.
Then the vaunted Trojanettes press went to work, forcing eight turnovers in the second quarter and 10 more in the third as Nanticoke opened a 21-point advantage.
“They pressed us,” a miffed Hazleton Area coach Joe Gavio said. “I like attacking teams. I’m thinking, ‘I hope they keep it up.’ That’s the style we like. Press is good. But we got that little look, like we were off. And that’s what they want you to do.”
Meanwhile, Nanticoke Area barely missed a beat while continually breaking Hazleton Area’s press.
Trojanettes top scorer Lisa Radziak flurried with a 3-point field goal and dropped in a layup off her steal as Nanticoke Area took a 10-2 lead less than three minutes into the game. But she didn’t score again as the Cougars shifted heavy defensive coverage Radziak’s way.
Enter Grilz, who found a way to score in every quarter.
After her hot-shooting start, Grilz hit her third 3-pointer early in the second half to give Nanticoke Area a 15-point lead, then polished off her night by hitting two free throws in the fourth quarter.
Not bad for a shooter who was having a rough go of it in the minutes before tipoff.
“In warmups I was kind of off,” Grilz said. “When I got in the game, I just relaxed.”
Her high-scoring night helped Nanticoke Area remained tied with Holy Redeemer at the top of the WVC Division 2 at 9-0. It also took some some weight off the shoulders of Radziak, one of the conference’s deadliest outside shooters.
“That’s the thing with this matchup, they had to pay a lot of attention to Lisa,” Nanticoke Area coach Alan Yendrzeiwski said. “Early in the game, Maddy was on fire. That’s the kind of play we’re going to need from her the rest of the way.”
Alyssa Lewis picked up the Nanticoke Area offense in the middle quarters to finish with 14 points. She scored five in the second quarter to help the Trojanettes to a 30-19 halftime lead and flashed for five more in the third. Speedy track and field star Amiah Lukowski came off the bench with a speedy get-away, as her 3-pointer in the second quarter took the Trojanettes to a 27-13 advantage and her steal and converted layup late in the third quarter pumped the lead to 46-25.
Meanwhile, a defense fueled by Katie Butczynski held the Cougars to single-digit scoring in each of the final three quarters and to 13 points in the second half.
”I think all-around, it’s really great,” Grilz said. “We have other players on the court, like Katie — she really takes over on defense.”
It all left Hazleton Area beaten at its own game, as the Cougars dropped to 5-3 in the WVC Division 1, a game and a half out of first place — behind 7-2 Crestwood.
“Look, they’re pretty good,” Gavio said of the Trojanettes. “But we’re breaking down mentally. We’re just not getting where we want to. That doesn’t mean we won’t get there.
“But we’re not there yet.”
Crestwood 65, Tunkhannock 34
Sara Hopkins and Julia Makowski combined for 33 points in the Comets victory over Tunkhannock.
Becca Avery scored nine points for Tunkhannock.
Dallas 60, Wyoming Area 43
Hannah Doran led Dallas with 15 points. Teammate Hanna Johnson added 13 points in the victory.
Wyoming Area’s Cassidy Orzel had 12 points.
Wyo. Valley West 53, Berwick 46
Wyoming Valley West had three players — Nicole Boutanos, Toni Amato and Grace Giza — combine for 35 points. Megan Dalo scored 16 points for Berwick.
Holy Redeemer 78, Coughlin 31
Lauren Wasiakowski scored 13 points in Holy Redeemer’s win over Coughlin.
Arianna Brittingham paced Coughlin with nine points.
Hanover Area 43, Meyers 28
Genesis Rodriguez and Sara Whitesell combined for 33 of Hanover Area’s 43 points. Allycia Harris led Meyers with 13 points.
Wyoming Seminary 46, MMI Prep 15
Alex Wesneski finished with 19 as 10 Blue Knights scored in their win against visiting MMI Prep.
Kim Amentler scored seven for Prep.
Lake-Lehman 52, Pittston Area 48
Sarah Salus scored eight of her nine points in the fourth quarter as Lake-Lehman rallied to defeat Pittston Area.
Savannah Purdy paced Lehman with 19 followed by Jodie Salansky with 10.
Alexa Noone had 19 and Leah Hodick tossed in 16 for Pittston Area.
Nanticoke Area 69, MMI Prep 48
Nate Kreitzer scored 17 points and Andy Kozlofski added nine as the Trojans defeated visiting MMI Prep.
Matt Marchetti led MMMI with 18. George Palmero added 12.
Tunkhannock 62, Lake-Lehman 31
Tyler Faux 16 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter as the Tigers eased away by halftime.
Sean Harder added 13 for Tunkhannock.
Alex Magdalinski had 10 and Max Paczewski netted nine for Lake-Lehman.
Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski