Lady Tide Stifle Lady Vikings 63-28 to Clinch Share of MVL Crown

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CURWENSVILLE — Curwensville’s suffocating defense shut out Glendale in the first nine minutes, and the Lady Tide rolled to a 63-28 victory on “Cancer Awareness Night” in Patton Hall Monday night to lock up at least a share of the 2014 Moshannon Valley League girls basketball title.

Coach Rusty McCracken’s team is 7-0 for its MVL finale at home February 12 against West Branch, which would be 6-1 for the showdown by beating Moshannon Valley and Harmony.

After a rather slow start with only a short one-hander by Tierra Shope and a lay-up by Ciara Strickland in the first three minutes, the Lady Tide scored 14 points in the final 4:44 of the first quarter to make sure the Lady Vikings weren’t going to have any chance to play the role of spoilers.

Man-for-man pressure begat turnover after turnover, which begat lay-up after lay-up.

Nine of Glendale’s 12 turnovers in the opening period were steals as the Lady Vikings got off only four shots.

“We’ve been playing tough defense the last couple games,” McCracken said. “Even in some of the losses, we’ve had pretty good defense, and we had poor shooting some nights.

“Tonight, that wasn’t the case. Everybody seemed to find the basket pretty easily. And everybody contributed.”

Strickland was the beneficiary of fast-break passes from Abby Dugo, Kealy Wassil and Heather Thorp while going all the way to the hoop with one of her own steals for eight of her game-high 21 points during Curwensville’s 20-0 run that was punctuated by Thorp’s steal and runout before Courtney McMurray ended Glendale’s drought one minute into the second period.

“I didn’t expect us to go out to that kind of a beginning,” McCracken said. “It made things very comfortable for me standing over here on the sideline.”

With the majority of their baskets coming at point-blank range, the Lady Tide shot a sizzling 56.3 percent to create a 36-9 cushion by halftime.

Curwensville (12-6) cooled off a little in the final 16 minutes for a 26-for-56 showing, 46.4 percent, and a season high in points.

Behind Strickland’s nine points, the Lady Tide outscored the Lady Vikings 14-8 in the third period and then got a three-pointer from Dugo, a putback from Christine Limbert and a conventional three-point play from Hannah Dixon to evoke the Mercy Rule at 58-18 with 6:23 remaining.

Seven players joined Strickland in the scoring act, while six had at least one assist.

“Everybody’s looking for everybody,” McCracken said. “They are very unselfish. Everybody is dishing the ball. It doesn’t matter who’s scoring as long as whoever is closest to the basket gets a chance.”

Dixon came off the bench to score 11 points and grab seven rebounds, Tierra Shope chimed in with 10 markers and Dugo added a career-high eight.

Shope’s double-figure contribution was her fourth in a row and fifth in the last six games.

“She’s really coming along,” McCracken said. “She’s moving well to get open so that the girls can find her. She really been contributing, especially when teams try to shut Ciara down with a gadget (defense). Tierra kind of takes that away from their effort.”

Shannon Rickets netted 10 points and McMurray had nine for Glendale (2-15, 2-5 MVL). The Lady Vikings wound up with 31 turnovers, 14 more than the Lady Tide, and were outrebounded 27-20.

In keeping with the theme for the game, both teams wore t-shirts during warm-ups with “Supporting the fighters, Admiring the survivors, Honoring the Taken, And Never Ever Giving Up Hope” printed on the front and “Whoever said winning isn’t everything has never had to fight cancer” on the back.

McCracken noted that “Cancer Awareness Night” was initiated several years ago to keep alive the legacy of former coach Alan Fairman in conjunction with raising funds to fight cancer.

“Curwensville girls basketball is family, and we’re trying to keep family involved,“ McCracken said.

The Curwensville junior varsity also won handily, 46-25, Shauna Guy leading the way with 21 points.

Still clinging to a shot at the Allegheny Mountain League Playoffs, the Lady Tide conclude their South Division slate with cross-over games at home against Sheffield Tuesday evening and at Kane Friday.

At 4-4, they can tie for second place with wins in both games and a loss by Brockway at Kane Tuesday. The league’s tiebreaker criteria then would determine the South’s No. 2 representative in the championship playoffs.

“We have to take care of our business first, and it’s not gonna be easy,” McCracken said. “Sheffield’s played people tough, and Kane beat us by five here earlier in the season.”

Moshannon Valley League - Curwensville 7-0, West Branch 4-1, Moshannon Valley 2-3, Glendale 2-5, Harmony 0-6.

GLENDALE — 28

Amber Matier 1  0-0  2, Courtney McMurray 3  3-5  9, Anna Fowler 0  0-0  0, Alisha Plummer 0  1-2  1,  Shannon Ricketts 5  0-0  10, Meagan McMillen 0  0-0  0, Kiana Johnston 3  0-2  6, Jaslynn Wimberly 0  0-0  0, Sydney Gallaher 0  0-0  0, Meaghen Krepps 0  0-0  0, Niki Glass 0  0-0  0.  TOTALS 12  4-9  28.

CURWENSVILLE — 63

Heather Thorp 2  0-0  4, Tierra Shope 3  4-4  10, Ciara Strickland 9  2-2  21, Abby Dugo 3  1-2  8, Kealy Wassil 2  0-0  4, Hannah Dixon 5  1-1  11, Sarah Guy 1  1-2  3, Christine Limbert 1  0-2  2, Kayli Sedgwick 0  0-0  0, Katie Evans 0  0-0  0.  TOTALS: 26  9-13  63.

Three-Point Field Goals – Curwensville 2 (Strickland, Dugo).

Score by Quarters

Glendale         0    9    8  11  –  28
Curwensville  18  18  14  13  –  63

Officials – Sarah Guy, Don Donaldson and Lee Martell.

Lady Tide Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
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
12/27 CLEARFIELD 50 – 46 ot 5 – 1
01/03 @ DuBois Central 34 – 55 5 – 2
01/06 @ West Branch ppd. 5 – 2
01/07 JOHNSONBURG ppd. 5 – 2
01/10 MO VALLEY 45 – 30 6 – 2
01/13 HARMONY 59 – 21 7 – 2
01/15 ELK COUNTY 46 – 51 7 – 3
01/17 JOHNSONBURG 43 – 47 7 – 4
01/20 @ Glendale 57 – 39 8 – 4
01/21 @ Ridgway 52 – 24 9 – 4
01/24 BROCKWAY 37 – 46 9 – 5
01/27 DUBOIS CENTRAL 27 – 34 9 – 6
01/29 @ West Branch ppd. 9 – 6
01/30 @ West Branch 53 – 37 10 – 6
01/31 @ Johnsonburg 51 – 42 11 – 6
02/03 GLENDALE 63 – 28 12 – 6
02/04 SHEFFIELD    
02/07 @ Kane    
02/10 @ Clearfield    
02/12 WEST BRANCH    

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