WILKES-BARRE – Kelly Johnson got to coach her twin daughters Olivia and Hanna, along with classmate Kendra Saba, one last time while the Dallas seniors had some new teammates for their final game.
“These kids have been playing against each other since they were in third or fourth grade, so it’s nice that in their last high school game, they get to play with some of those girls,” said the Dallas coach, who guided Team Johnson (Green) to an 82-71 victory over Team Jezorwski (White) in the girls opener to the 49th annual Dr. George P. Moses All-Star Classic April 6 at Holy Redeemer High School. “They had a lot of fun.
“It was good to see that.”
Kelly Johnson was assisted by Gary Ferenchik from Wyoming Valley West and Ed Stepanski from Crestwood while leading the Green team that included their players, along with players from Pittston Area, Northwest, Hanover Area, Coughlin and GAR.
John Jezorwski from Holy Redeemer coached the White, with assistance from Tunkhannock’s Joe Reno and Wyoming Area’s Chad Lojewski. The team included their players along with those from Berwick, Hazleton Area, Meyers and Nanticoke.
The Green blended together well, producing an improved defensive effort in the second half to erase a seven-point halftime deficit, then taking control of the game with a 28-point, fourth-quarter outburst.
“We just wanted them to go out and do what they’re good at and have some fun together,” Johnson said. “We practiced twice. We introduced a couple basic man(-to-man) plays, then let them run with it and think outside the box from there.”
While in many cases the all-star game was a function of new teammates working together, Olivia Johnson and Saba are future teammates as well. Both plan to play at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.
Olivia Johnson played a role in an 11-2 run that put the Green ahead to stay and opened the advantage to 72-64 with less than four minutes left. She assisted one of three baskets by Wyoming Valley West’s Grace Giza and hit a 3-pointer to complete the run.
Hanna Johnson finished with six points, Olivia Johnson had five and Saba had two.
Alexa Noone from Pittston Area had 13 points and four assists while earning team Most Valuable Player honors for the Green.
“It’s a great group of kids,” Kelly Johnson said. “It was just nice to see them play their last high school game together and be laughing and joking and having a great time together.”
Jessica Ell from Tunkhannock hit a 3-pointer for the White.
Wyoming Area’s Sarah Holweg led the White with 14 points and won the 3-Point Shooting contest. Reese Mensinger from Berwick added 13 points and was named her team’s MVP.