Misericordia men use size advantage to defeat King’s in Freedom Conference hoops

By DJ Eberle - [email protected]
Misericordia’s Tyerell Mann catches a pass as King’s Chris Fazzini goes for the steal in MAC Freedom men’s basketball action in Dallas Township on Wednesday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
King’s Lenny Radziak drives to the hoop against Misericordia defender Noah Rivera. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Misericordia’s Kalynn Sefcik looks to penetrate as King’s Mackenzie Yori pursues in MAC Freedom women’s basketball action in Dallas Township on Wednesday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Misericordia’s Jaclyn Hajec, center, grabs a rebound against King’s. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Misericordia’s Tony Harding grabs a rebound ahead of King’s Lenny Radziak. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

DALLAS — Tony Harding knew he’d have a opportunity to make some plays Wednesday night.

Standing at 6-foot-5, the sophomore forward was taller than all but three members of the King’s men’s basketball team and each one of the Monarchs’ starters. Facing a smaller lineup, he’d have a chance to feast both in the paint and on the boards.

When the Cougars faced an eight-point deficit midway through the second half, Harding was the player they turned to.

And he came through.

Harding scored a game-high 30 points as Misericordia (10-6 overall, 5-0 MAC Freedom) rallied for an 85-78 victory over King’s (7-9, 3-2) to remain perfect in MAC Freedom play.

“Compared to other teams, it’s a smaller team that we played and I had an advantage inside on guys tonight,” Harding said. “My teammates looked for me tonight and got me open. That’s why I was able to take advantage.”

But not only was the 6-5 Harding able to be disruptive in the paint, scoring 14 points inside to pair with six rebounds and a game-high six blocks, but the Lakeland alum was also 2-for-4 from behind the arc.

In fact, when the Monarchs took a 60-52 lead with 11:47 remaining in regulation, it was a 3-pointer, 19-foot jumper and 21-foot jumper from Harding that helped Misericordia regain the lead for good.

“He just gets up and dunks it and shoots threes. He’s just a great player, a very good compliment to Jason Kenny,” Misericordia head coach Willie Chandler said of Harding. “The guys responded and that’s what great teams do. I think we have something special here. Everyone looks at us as the defending champs, but I tell these guys, ‘Listen, we haven’t done nothing yet. February 25th’s a long time away.’”

While Harding was taking control offensively, the Cougars made a crucial defensive switch that also helped spring the comeback. They went from playing man-to-man to zone in the defensive end.

It was a move King’s head coach J.P. Andrejko said his team has seen frequently this season when the opponent has trouble matching up against them. However, this time King’s had trouble responding to the defensive switch.

“We’ve done a really good job of attacking zones up until this point and I thought tonight we were just passive,” Andrejko said.

Misericordia’s move to zone came in part because of the second-half emergence of Chris Fazzini, who only played six minutes in the first half due to early foul trouble.

After scoring six points in the first 20 minutes, Fazzini finished with a team-high 28 points on 12-of-19 shooting. The Crestwood grad scored 12 points in a 8:13 span to help the Monarchs overcome a 35-34 halftime deficit and take a 60-52 lead.

“I thought he played really well,” Andrejko said of Fazzini. “I thought he got the ball in good positions to score. I thought he was probably our most-aggressive players tonight. He gave us a great effort.”

Misericordia senior guard Tre Fields finished with the game’s lone double-double, scoring 13 points and registering 12 boards. The 13-point effort propelled Fields into the Cougars’ 1,000-point club.

WOMEN’S

Misericordia 64, King’s 38

The Cougars defense suffocated first-place King’s for all four quarters, holding the Monarchs to a 26.4 shooting percentage. King’s shot 37.7 percent from the field on average coming into Wednesday’s tilt.

The Monarchs (8-8, 3-2) struggled even more from 3-point range, converting just three triples on 14 attempts.

“For us, I feel like it was more of the mentality of, ‘Let’s just play and go out there just play defense,’” Misericordia head coach Jason Rhine said. “Before the game I said, ‘We’re going to live by E.F.E.’ Which is our acronym, and it was everyone for everything. If you’re on the bench, you’re the best bench you can be. If you’re out on the floor and you’re a 5-foot-2 point guard and we’re asking you to play forward, you better be the best forward we ask you to be.”

Misericordia (9-6, 2-2) had a well-rounded effort in the first half — eight players scored — to build a 38-20 lead at the break.

Rachel Carmody and Paige Wampole took over in the second half and finished with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Carmody registered the lone double-double, grabbing 10 boards.

“That’s kind of what we’re about and when it works it works really well for us,” Rhine said of the team effort. “We knew that when we brought in our six newcomers this year, and we brought in our transfer, it worked really well for us tonight. The rotations worked really nice.”

Rebecca Prociak’s 12-point, seven-rebound effort led the Monarchs. Olivia Hoffman finished with six points and a team-high eight boards.

After a slow start to the season, winning just one of their first five games, the Cougars were victorious for the eighth time in their last 10 contests.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

Misericordia 85, King’s 78

KING’S (78) — Chris Fazzini 12 4-5 28, Connor Callejas 3 7-7 16, Tyler Millan 4 0-0 10, Joshua Bailey 3 1-2 7, Tony Maloney 1 2-3 5, Pat Mitchell 2 0-0 4, James Willis 1 0-0 3, Lenny Radziak 1 1-2 3, Noah Tanner 0 2-4 2, Dan Angelo 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 17-23 78.

MISERICORDIA (85) — Tony Hardin 12 4-5 30, Jason Kenny 9 2-4 21, Tre Fields 4 4-7 13, Stone McCreary 3 0-0 7, Alec Rodway 2 0-0 6, Tyerell Mann 2 0-0 4, Noah RIvera 2 0-0 4, Patrick Douthit 0 0-0 0, Brendan Leonard 0 0-0 0. Totals 34 10-19 85.

King’s`34`44`—`78

Misericordia`35`50`—`85

Three-point goals — KIN 7 (Callejas 3, Millan 2, Maloney 1, Willis 1); MIS 7 (Rodwary 2, Harding 2, Fields 1, Kenny 1, McCreary 1).

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Misericordia 64, King’s 38

KING’S (38) — Rebecca Prociak 3 6-8 12, Olivia Hoffman 3 0-0 6, Mackenzie Yori 2 0-0 5, Lindsey Dippre 1 1-2 4, Rachel DeTore 2 0-2 4, Erin Schmidt 1 0-0 3, Alexis Steeber 1 0-2 2, Sara Wolbert 1 0-0 2, Kayla Dillinger 0 0-0 0, Amber Farnholt 0 0-0 0, Alexis Houghton 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 7-15 38.

MISERICORDIA (64) — Rachel Carmody 7 1-1 15, Paige Wampole 5 0-0 20, Japriya Carroll 3 0-0 7, Quintessa Zamolyi 2 0-2 5, Liz Waleski 2 0-0 5, Erica Haefele 2 0-0 5, Brenna Karnish 2 1-2 5, Kaylnn Sefcik 2 0-0 4, Jaclyn Hajec 2 0-0 4, Leanne Forsyth 1 0-0 2, Kristen Schmale 2 0-0 2, Shea Matt 0 0-0 0, Shelly Anderson 0 0-0 0, Lena Williams 0 0-0 0, Emma Hayes 0 0-2 0, Lauren McEwen 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 2-7 64.

King’s`10`10`8`10`—`38

Misericordia`21`17`15`11`—`64

Three-point goals — KIN 3 (Yori 1, Dippre 1, Schmidt 1); MIS 4 (Zamolyi 1, Carroll 1, Waleski 1, Haefele 1).

Misericordia’s Tyerell Mann catches a pass as King’s Chris Fazzini goes for the steal in MAC Freedom men’s basketball action in Dallas Township on Wednesday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_TTL011818CollegeHoops_1.jpgMisericordia’s Tyerell Mann catches a pass as King’s Chris Fazzini goes for the steal in MAC Freedom men’s basketball action in Dallas Township on Wednesday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

King’s Lenny Radziak drives to the hoop against Misericordia defender Noah Rivera.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_TTL011818CollegeHoops_2.jpgKing’s Lenny Radziak drives to the hoop against Misericordia defender Noah Rivera. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Misericordia’s Kalynn Sefcik looks to penetrate as King’s Mackenzie Yori pursues in MAC Freedom women’s basketball action in Dallas Township on Wednesday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_TTL011818CollegeHoops_4.jpgMisericordia’s Kalynn Sefcik looks to penetrate as King’s Mackenzie Yori pursues in MAC Freedom women’s basketball action in Dallas Township on Wednesday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Misericordia’s Jaclyn Hajec, center, grabs a rebound against King’s.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_TTL011818CollegeHoops_5.jpgMisericordia’s Jaclyn Hajec, center, grabs a rebound against King’s. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Misericordia’s Tony Harding grabs a rebound ahead of King’s Lenny Radziak.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_TTL011818CollegeHoops_3.jpgMisericordia’s Tony Harding grabs a rebound ahead of King’s Lenny Radziak. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By DJ Eberle

[email protected]

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle