Curwensville– The Curwensville Area High School girls basketball team continued to make the most of a favorable December schedule Monday night by pulling away from stubborn Glendale in the second half for a 52-34 win and 4-0 start in the Moshannon Valley League.
Jackie White showed her versatility inside and outside in scoring 15 points, Hanna Walls nailed a trio of three-pointers in netting 11 and leading scorer Dani Struble, who didn\’t start because of undergoing surgery for a broken nose earlier in the day, provided a big boost after intermission with 10 points for the once-beaten Lady Tide.
\”We\’ve been very fortunate and we\’re happy to be where we are,\” coach Vic Gearhart said after his team completed a home court sweep of MVL opposition. \”Everbody\’s chasing us now. If they bump each other off, which is likely to happen somewhere, we just ahve to take care of business. We\’re in a good situation in that league. Now, we\’re not going to see any Mo Valley League opponents for a while. We\’ve got to look at the AML (Allegheny Mountain League South Division) and concentrate on that.\”
Glendale, which won the MVL championship with an all-senior cast last season, still is searching for an identity in the early going. The Lady Vikings, who are 0-2 in the MVL and 1-6 overall, played from behind most of the game but still had their deficit under double digits until going six minutes without a point during a stretch that began in the final minute of the third quarter.
After Brittany Boulton gave the Lady Vikings a 3-2 edge when she was fouled on the putback with 1:08 gone, the Lady Tide grabbed a 10-4 lead when White and Walls sandwiched Mindy Desmett\’s short jumper with three-pointers. The visitors countered with Tiffany Twigg\’s putback, Catie Dick\’s long set shot and Tara Dick\’s three-pointer and appeared headed to the first break with an 11-10 lead, but Curwensville\’s Holly Lansberry beat the buzzer with a long one-hander from the top of the key.
Kristen Gates backed in for a lay-up and banked in a runner in the lane to give Glendale leads at 14-13 and 16-14 in the second quarter, and Katee Budzinski scored on the inside to forge the last of three ties at 18 with 3:55 left in the half. Those were the Lady Viking\’s final points of the quarter.
A steal and lay-up by Walls put Curwensville in front to stay 1:20 before halftime, and she added a long-range three-pointer 38 seconds later to make it 23-18.
While Glendale\’s offensive woes continued at the outset of the second half, Curwensville went on a 10-2 run bracketed by White\’s lay-up off Struble\’s steal and assist and, later, a baseline drive and a reverse lay-up.
Much of the 33-20 lead evaporated when Tara Dick was on target with three-pointers from both sides of the Curwensville zone, and Catie Dick hit a long three to chop the Lady Tide\’s margin to 38-29 with 44 seconds left in the period. However, the Lady Vikes didn\’t get to score again until the Lady Tide had ballooned the spread to 49-29 with 2:28 remaining.
Gearhart credited better defense and Struble\’s contributions, including two steals that produced buckets, for Curwensville\’s improved play in the second half.
We\’ve made some (defensive) adjustments, and they responded, so we\’re pretty pleased with their effort,\” he said. \”There wasn\’t anyone who didn\’t go out there and give us a good effort. It wasn\’t like soembody dominated the game. If we had an open shot, somebody took it.\”
Because of the injury she suffered– and played with for two quarters– against West Branch Thursday– Struble wasn\’t in Gearhart\’s game plan. But she\’s a competitor and persuaded Gearhart to end her stay on the bench at the start of the second half.
\”The doctor\’s pretty much left it up to her and her mom,\” Gearhart explained. \”How she responded coming out of anesthesia was pretty much what their concern was. When I talked to her after school, we really didn\’t think she\’d play. But she ate some supper and came down to the gym. She said she felt good. She talked her mom into signing a waiver, but we weren\’t going to use her if we didn\’t need to. She sat around just itching (to play) the whole first half. I said, \”Well, if you\’re going to play, when area you going to?\”
\”She said, \’I want to start.\’ So we got her out there, and she made a difference, a big difference. She just makes things happen at both ends of the floor.\”
Gearhart singled out senior Ronna Knepp for her best game of the year in the post.
\”She did a lot of nice things underneath the hoop that really paid off, maybe not in the stats, but they made a difference in the game,\” he said. \”Some of the little things she did don\’t always show up. Somebody went in for the lay-up one time, and she sealed off and opened up a wide-open lane. It was something we\’ve been working on all year, and she got us a basket out of it.\”
Curwensville has a non-leagued home date with backyard rival Clearfield Wedensday and then will be on the road for eight of its next 10 games, including the Penns Manor Holiday Tournament next week.
In the junior varsity game, Catie Dick scored 11 points to lead Glendale to a 37-27 victory. Alesia Bressler had 10 points for Curwensville.
Bouton 1 3-3 5, Budzinski 1 1-2 3, C. Dick 2 0-0 5, Strong 1 0-0 2, Twigg 2 1-2 5, T. Dick 3 0-0 9, S. Noel 0 1-2 1, K. Gates 2 0-0 4, Legrand 0 0-0 0, K. Kovach 0 0-0 0 , B. Dick 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 6-9-34.
Lansberry 2 0-0 5, Walls 4 0-2 11, Knepp 1 1-2 3, Fink 2 0-1 4, White 6 2-6 15, Desmett 2 0-0 4, Stuble 3 4-5 10, Hamm 0 0-0 0, McDonald 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 7-16 52.
Three-Point Field Goals: Glendale 4 (T. Dick 3, C. Dick 1). Curwensville 5 (Walls 3, Lansberry 1, White 1).
Scores by Quarters:
Glendale 11 7 11 5– 34
Curwensville 13 10 17 12– 52