Easton Area High School’s Gabby Bloshuk got the girls basketball team’s offense started by setting up a pair of 3-pointers on Monday night.
Later, she took a couple steps back herself and showed how to connect from really long distance.
It was all part of the third-seeded Red Rovers’ start-to-finish victory over second-seeded Parkland, 51-31, in the District 11 Class 6A semifinals at Catasauqua High School.
Easton (23-4) advances to meet Nazareth, which defeated Northampton 53-42, in the district final on Thursday at a time and site to be determined. Parkland will meet the Konkrete Kids in the consolation final.
Bloshuk dished out assists to junior Kyla Smith and senior Shelby Stocker, who both knocked down 3-pointers to give the Red Rovers a 6-2 lead after a minute of play. Easton led the rest of the night.
“It had to do with the way we started the game,” said Bloshuk, a senior guard, “we hit our first two 3s right off the bat. I think there was a lot of pressure off of us after hitting the first two shots, and after that everything was coming along smoothly.”
“It’s important in any of these games (to have a good start),” Easton coach Dave Lutz said. “A good team like that, it’s much easier to play from the lead than to fight back against them the whole time.”
Bloshuk, the program’s all-time 3-point leader, hit a shot from well beyond the arc to start a 7-0 streak, which gave Easton a 24-12 lead with 3:35 remaining in the second quarter.
She also knocked down another from nearly out of bounds to start the fourth quarter. Stocker quickly followed by swishing a 3 of her own and Easton had a comfortable 39-20 lead with seven minutes to play.
“Her percentage at the (3-point) line and those deep ones is about the same,” Lutz said of Bloshuk. “She can get hot and hit four or five in a row, or five out of 10. That’s a big part of our offense.”
Bloshuk finished with a game-high 14 points. Leanna Deegan had nine points and Stocker finished with eight for the Red Rovers.
Lutz was happy with the way his team moved the ball on Monday night, often locating open teammates with passes over and across the Parkland defense.
“We did a good job of skip passing,” he said. “(Parkland does) a good job of helping off on our backdoor cuts and cutting off the high post. We went in saying that we might have to throw a lot of skip passes, and we did.”
Sophomore Kassidy Stout paced Parkland (18-7) with 11 points.
Easton defeated Nazareth, the two-time defending district champion, in the regular season (42-35) and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals (49-31).
Lutz likes the way the Red Rovers are performing entering Thursday’s final.
“They really played hard tonight and unselfishly, those are two things you always look for,” he said.” I know we outrebounded (Parkland), that usually shows effort. Whoever we face in the final, it’s going to be a hard game. We have to be ready.”
Bloshuk indicated that the senior-heavy group is determined to earn the program’s first district crown since 1999.
“All of us are really psyched about it, especially coming off the loss in the league final (to Bethlehem Catholic),” she said. “All of us want districts so bad this year.”
Kyle Craig may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KyleCraigSports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.
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