Babcock, Harrison put Northwest back into girls basketball driver’s seat

By Paul Sokoloski - [email protected]

KINGSTON — It wasn’t so long ago that the Northwest Rangers were chasing a division championship.

Now they’re being chased.

And either way, Brenna Babcock, Regan Harrison and the rest of the Rangers are getting pretty comfortable during this ride to the top.

Babcock and Harrison combined for 40 points Thursday and Northwest slid back into the driver’s seat at the top of the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3 with an impressive 54-42 victory over Wyoming Seminary in a battle of division leaders at Wyoming Seminary.

“We know our competition,” Babcock said. “We knew we had to get pumped up and win this game. It means a lot.”

It means the defending Division 3 champion Rangers are once again in control of their title hopes.

They moved to 6-5 in league play with four games remaining, and after Monday’s battle with 5-7 Hanover Area, the path to a second straight championship gets pretty clear for Northwest. The Rangers end their league schedule with games against GAR, Meyers and MMI Prep — which carry a combined 3-29 record.

“It would mean so much,” Babcock, who finished with a game-high 21 points, said of a second straight divisional championship. “Now teams are taking us pretty seriously. They know we’re not a joke.”

Against an inspired Sem team that fell to 5-6 in league place and out of a first-place tie with Thursday’s loss, the Rangers didn’t spend much time fooling around.

Harrison scored seven of her 19 points in the first quarter and Babcock added six as the Rangers forged an early 15-15 tie.

After the Blue Knights used Ally Vezendy’s 3-point field goal to take the lead on the opening basket of the second quarter, Northwest took off.

Harrison scored five points to trigger a 13-0 run that lasted more than six minutes and ended when Babcock hit back-to-back baskets for a 28-18 Northwest lead.

“Sometimes it’s a little harder when you’re on top,” said Scott Miner, in his first season returning to coach the Rangers. “I’m trying to get them to understand, every single night there are teams that are going to be there that want to dethrone us from the division title. Last year, they were chasing everybody. Now it’s a little different mindset, when people are chasing you.”

Ultimately, the Rangers chased away their strongest competition in the division.

Tess Edwards came off the bench with big defense to thwart Sem’s inside game, as Northwest carried a 28-21 lead into halftime.

“Tess was great,” Miner said. “When she came in, she did a great job of trying to contest everything came into the paint.”

When she left briefly with an ankle injury during the second half, the Blue Knights mounted a mini-comeback.

Alex Wesneski pulled Sem within four points with one bucket and Anna Micca Reitsma got the Blue Knights even closer — — at 36-33 — with a basket two seconds from the third-quarter buzzer.

But Babcock put polish on Northwest’s victory, using a pair of foul shots to restore an eight-point lead with 3:25 to play and hitting a driving layup for a 47-39 advantage with 2:24 remaining.

“Obviously, she’s one of the better players in the conference,” Miner said. “We talked about expanding her game, to not only somebody who’s going to score the basketball but control the game from the point guard position. And she just finds different ways to score. I think she’s expanded her game tremendously.

“She’s been doing a great job.”

Hanover Area 66, GAR 38

Victoria Benning scored 25 points and the Hawkeyes cruised to victory to remain in the WVC Division 3 title chase.

Sarah Tuzinski added 13 points in the victory and Sara Whitesell tossed in 11.

Khira Cook led the Grenadiers with 11 points.

Northwest 54, Wyoming Sem 42

NORTHWEST (54) — Regan Harrison 6 5-8 19, Brenna Babcock 8 5-6 21, Trista Babcock 1 3-7 5, Jordan Harrison 2 0-1 4, Danielle Bowman 0 1-2 1, Tess Edwards 2 0-0 4, Maddie McLendon 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 14-24 54.

WYOMING SEM (42) — Paige Parsons 5 3-4 13, Alex Wesneski 2 1-4 5, Julia Gabriel 0 0-0 0, Ally Vezendy 3 4-6 12, Anna Micca Reitsma 3 1-2 8, Mia Raineri 0 2-3 2, Olivia Meuser 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 11-19 42.

Northwest`15`13`8`18 — 54

Wyoming Sem`15`6`12`9 — 42

Three-point goals — NW 2 (R. Harrison 2); SEM 3 (Vezendy 2, Reitsma).

Hanover Area 66, GAR 38

GAR (38) — Alana Germano 1 0-0 3, Olivia Prato 0 0-0 0, Simone Harris 1 1-2 3, Leanne Pena 1 2-2 4, Jada Redditt 1 0-0 2, Hannah Cook 2 4-7 8, Emily Engle 2 0-0 4, Mikayla Andrzewski 1 1-1 3, Khira Cook 3 5-7 11. Totals 12 13-19 38.

HANOVER AREA (66) — Victoria Benning 10 5-6 25, Genesis Rodriguez 0 0-0 0, Sarah Tuzinski 5 0-2 13, Sara Whitesell 4 0-1 11, Lauren Blazaskie 1 0-0 2, Emilee Bobos 2 0-0 4, Madison Hooper 0 1-2 1, Tanisha Atherton 2 0-0 4, Mary Slusser 3 0-0 6, Arianna Sillah 0 0-0 0, Alesha Dennis 0 0-0 0, T. Hines 0 0-0 0, Devin Karpovich 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 6-11 66.

GAR`3`11`10`14 — 38

Hanover Area`22`15`11`18 — 66

Three-point goals — GAR 1 (Germano); HAN 6 (Tuzinski 3, Whitesell 3).

By Paul Sokoloski

[email protected]

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski