CURWENSVILLE — A pedestrian start by the Curwensville Area High School girls basketball team and too many second chance points by Kane doomed the Lady Tide to their first loss of the season Friday night in Patton Hall.
The Lady Tide, who had tucked away four wins, fell behind 16-2 in the first 10 minutes by misfiring on 12 of 13 shots and committing six turnovers.
They battled back to within four points, 34-30 late in the third quarter, only to watch the small but quick and scrappy Lady Wolves go on an 11-2 run for a 13-point lead midway through the final period and eventually hand coach Dave Kiehl his 200th victory, 49-38, in the Allegheny Mountain League cross-over game.
Coach Rusty McCracken had no explanation for the way Curwensville was unable to stay with the visitors in the early going.
“I thought they were ready to come out and play,” he said. “We just couldn’t buy a basket, and we had good looks.”
Ciara Strickland’s baseline drive that knotted the score at 2-2 was the lone shot to fall in the first quarter for the Lady Tide, who were staring at a 10-point deficit when the buzzer sounded.
“If you think about it, that was the game,” McCracken said. “They’re up 12-2 and we end up losing by 11.”
All but one of Kane’s field goals during the run that extended into the second period came from point-blank range, including two fast-break lay-ups off turnovers and a putback.
“We did play a little weak defense in the first quarter,” McCracken acknowledged. “We were on our heels and tentative, and I don’t know why.
“I tried to get the girls to understand that the team out there isn’t any better than you are, but we’re making them look better by our mistakes.”
Tierra Shope, on a pass from Strickland, ended the Lady Tide’s drought 2:08 into the second period.
Strickland then scored nine points in four minutes to keep the Lady Wolves in sight at the half. Included were three backdoor cuts that were rewarded by guard Heather Thorp.
Another Strickland-to-Shope pass and a Strickland steal for two sliced Kane’s lead to 24-18 in the first minute of the third quarter.
Then, the teams matched runs with the Lady Wolves opening a 32-18 bulge before the Lady Tide amped up their defense with full-court pressure and made it a game in the next five minutes.
Pairs of field goals by Hannah Dixon, Strickland and Shope sliced Kane’s once-comfortable lead to four points.
A short jumper by Camryn Cummings that just beat the buzzer put the Lady Wolves up 36-30.
“That’s probably the best third quarter we’ve ever played since I’ve been around,” McCracken said. “Give the girls credit for that. They came back with heart.
“We were in reach and just couldn’t finish it off.”
After Thorp’s runner in the lane with 6:48 remaining offset a peep by Taylor Morgan , the Lady Tide went three minutes without a point, and the Lady Wolves sealed it with seven points in a row for a 45-32 lead.
They stayed in front by at least 10 the rest of the way even though they made only four of 12 free throws in the last 3:13.
One reason the Lady Tide struggled in the fourth quarter was Kiehl’s decision to slow down Strickland with a box-and-one defense.
It worked to perfection.
Limited to three contested shots, the junior forward was unable to dent the scoring column after tossing in a game-high 17 points through three periods.
“They’re going to stay in it unless somebody else is either working to get her open or scoring points,” McCracken said. “Again, we had the shots. We just couldn’t make them.
“That‘s not the last time we‘re going to see a box-and-one.”
Shope hit a pair of jumpers and two free throws down the stretch for a 14-point game to go with six rebounds.
Kealy Wassil, plagued with foul trouble in the second half, had seven rebounds for the Lady Tide, whose total of 22 was more than doubled by the Lady Wolves.
Kane grabbed no less than 18 of their own misses and turned them into putbacks or trips to the foul line, where they outscored the hosts 15-4, the difference in the outcome.
“We’ve gotta rebound better, that’s for sure,” McCracken said. “It was like we were letting them shoot til they scored. You just can’t do that and win.
“It’s not like we were undersized either. It just comes down to who wants the ball. Tonight, they wanted it more than we did.”
Morgan (13) and Sydney Dyne (10) combined to outrebound the Curwensville team, and Cummings pulled down nine more.
Morgan had a team-high 13 points for a double-double, while Cummings added 10.
Five underclassmen started for the Lady Wolves, who are 3-2.
The Lady Tide jayvees wound up on the short end of a 28-17 count. Christine Limbert accounted for seven points.
Curwensville will welcome backyard rival Clearfield to Patton Hall for a non-league encounter next Friday.
KANE — 49
Taylor Morgan 5 3-4 13, Emily Truden 0 2-4 2, Sydney Dyne 1 2-4 4, Camryn Cummings 4 2-5 10, Kiley Kinney 2 3-6 7, Emily Hauser 1 2-2 4, Kelsey Johnson 2 0-0 4, Lindsay Hottel 1 0-0 2, Katelyn Moran 1 1-6 3, Alaina Barner 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17 15-34 49.
CURWENSVILLE — 38
Heather Thorp 1 0-1 2, Tierra Shope 6 2-4 14, Ciara Strickland 8 1-2 17, Abby Dugo 0 0-0 0, Kealy Wassil 0 0-0 0, Hannah Dixon 2 0-0 4, Shauna Guy 0 1-4 1, Christine Limbert 0 0-2 2. TOTALS: 17 4-13 38.
Score by Quarters
Kane 12 12 12 13 - 49
Curwensville 2 12 16 8 - 38
Officials – Rich Gormont and Bill Zupich.
Lady Tide Scoreboard:
|12/09||@ Mo Valley||36 – 35||1 – 0|
|12/10||@ Brockway||46 – 35||2 – 0|
|12/13||RIDGWAY||57 – 20||3 – 0|
|12/16||@ Harmony||60 – 23||4 – 0|
|12/20||KANE||38 – 49||4 – 1|
|01/03||@ DuBois Central|
|01/06||@ West Branch|