CURWENSVILLE — After failing to score in double figures for three quarters and facing an eight-point deficit, the Curwensville Area High School girls basketball team got its act together in time to pull out a 42-39 win over visiting Moshannon Valley in the season opener Friday night.
In the final six minutes of the Moshannon Valley League game, the Lady Tide matched its offensive production for the first 26 minutes, three-year letterwinners Dani Struble and Jackie White leading the rally with all but two of the 21 points.
Curwensville never led until Struble\’s drive through the right side of the Damsel zone with 2:11 remaining made it 33-32. The senior playmaker was fouled and added the free throw. After White hit two foul shots, Struble came back with a lay-up off a Lady Tide steal and again converted at the foul line for another three-point play that widened the gap to 39-32 with 1:42 left.
Holly Fink countered Damsel Shannon Greslick\’s baseline drive with an key offensive rebound and putback at the 1:00 mark, and the Lady Tide survived field goals by Greslick and Kiersten Elder in the final 28 seconds to emerge victorious.
\”We were very fortunate,\” Curwensville coach Vic Gearhart said. \”They outplayed us for over three quarters. We played the flattest first half of basketball I\’ve ever seen. You\’ve got to come and make things happen, not wait for them to happen. Our passing was bad. We didn\’t even get any shots off.
\”But even though we didn\’t play well, we were able to pull it out and I have to give the girls credit for that. We were in a tough situation down eight starting the fourth quarter. They could have rolled over, but they didn\’t.\”
Better execution of the Lady Tide\’s full-court zone press on defense and attacking the basket on offense were the keys to the comeback, according to Gearhart.
\”We finally stepped into the passing lanes and made some good traps instead of trying for steals,\” he said. \”And we worked for better shots.\”
The Damsels were the more energetic team from the outset and managed to slowly build their lead after freshman guard Vanessa Rowley\’s three-pointer snapped a 5-5 tie, the second of the game, with 47 seconds left in the first quarter.
Greslick swished a set shot from behind the arc and later added a conventional three-point play as the Damsels extended their lead to 18-12 by halftime, and Jordan Cook got open looks inside the Curwensville zone for all nine of her points in the third quarter, which ended with Mo Valley in front 29-21.
However, the Damsels couldn\’t hold off the Lady Tide, with Rowley\’s three-pointer from the top of the key their only points in the first 6:39 of the fourth quarter.
Struble paced Curwensville with 23 points, while White tallied 13. Greslick was high for Mo Valley with 16.
The Lady Tide will travel to St. Marys Friday to play Elk County Catholic.
MOSHANNON VALLEY — 39
Godin 0 1-2 1, Tomasko 0 2-2 2, Cook 4 1-2 9, Greslick 7 1-1 16, Rowley 2 0-0 6, Charney 0 0-0 0, Murarik 0 0-0 0, Elder 1 0-0 3. Totals: 15 5-7 39.
CURWENSVILLE — 42
Struble 8 6-7 23, Walls 2 0-0 4, Knepp 0 0-0 0, Fink 1 0-0 2, White 3 7-12 13, Lansberry 0 0-2 0, Desmett 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 13-21 42.
Score by Quarters:
Moshannon Valley 8 10 11 10 — 39
Curwensville 5 7 9 21 — 42
Three-Point Field Goals — Moshannon Valley 4 (Greslick 1, Rowley 2, Elder 1). Curwensville 1 (Struble).