CURWENSVILLE — Dani Struble and Jackie White combined for 38 points as the Curwensville Area High School girls basketball team remained undefeated at home with an easy 56-19 win over a very young and struggling Ridgway team Wednesday night.
The Lady Tide, 7-0 in Patton Hall and 8-3 overall, tightened the Allegheny Mountain League South Division race by improving to 3-1, a half game behind frontrunning DuBois Central Catholic, which is 4-1.
Struble, the No. 2 scorer in District 9, started slowly against the Lady Elkers\’ man defense but heated up in the middle two quarters to finish with 23 points. She padded her average to 19.6.
\”She couldn\’t find her shot early,\” Lady Tide coach Vic Gearhart said. \”We told her, \’If you\’re not shooting outside, get a lay-up.\’ Well, she worked hard and got some lay-ups.\”
Several drives resulted in fouls, and Struble made the visitors pay by sinking nine of 10 free throws. White canned five of her six foul shots in here 15-point, seven-rebound performance.
\”We\’ve been working on our inside game, and I thought Jackie played a real strong inside,\” Gearhart said. \”That\’s the first time we\’ve actually got the ball in to her all year with consistency, and she made some nice turn-in moves.\”
Though the outcome never was in doubt, both teams were sluggish at the outset. Ridgway, with a junior, two sophomores and a freshman in its lineup, was plagued by turnovers and missed shots in falling behind early. Kathy Shirey, another freshman, came off the bench to hit a short jumper for the Lady Elkers\’ only points of the first quarter with 2:44 remaining.
By that time, Curwensville had seven points as Struble and White traded assists for lay-ups and Struble also dished out an assist to Shannon Hamm. In the final 1:15, White grabbed passes from Struble for two buckets and set up Holly Lansberry for any easy two before Struble tacked on two free throws to set the score at 15-2.
Curwensville\’s smothering 1-2-2 zone continued to give Ridgway fits as the lead ballooned to 24-2 before Shirey connected again midway through the second period and then to 30-5 before he Lady Elkers scored six of the last eight points to make it 32-11 at the break.
Gearhart, who ordered a full-court press for a short time in the first quarter \”just to get ourselves moving,\” was pleased with the Lady Tide\’s best defensive effort of the season by far. The fewest points Curwensville had allowed previously was 34 against Glendale on Dec. 18.
\”We were pretty active in it,\” he said of the 1-2-2. \”We\’re finally starting to get outside, turn the ball in and then shut down the dribble and pick up the passing lanes. So, it\’s starting to come together.\”
Struble and White accounted for all but one of the Curwensville\’s 15 points in the third quarter, which ended with the spread at 47-15.
Because Ridgway is 1-11 with a 1-4 AML-South record after its eighth loss in a row, Gearhart was concerned the Lady Tide had only a 31-24 rebounding edge and was guilty of two dozen turnovers.
\”We still aren\’t rebounding the way we need to, and we gave up a lot of loose balls,\” he said. \”And we have a tendency to get a little careless in games that the intensity is not there.\”
The Lady Tide will be on the road for its next five games, starting with Friday\’s long trip to Sheffield (5-8) for a non-league test.
Ridgway\’s junior varsity, led by Shirey\’s 22 points, won the prelim 34-27. Tess Bloom scored 10 and Alesia Bressler eight for Curwensville.
RIDGWAY — 19
Kirstie Shirey 2 0-0 4, Jacki Davison 0 0-0 0, Jordan Cowan 0 0-0 0, Emily Mitchell 2 0-0 4, Bekka Leitzel 0 0-1 0, Kathy Shirey 3 0-0 6, Lacey Gosnell 1 1-2 3, Andrea Redmond 1 0-0 2, Olivia Horning 0 0-0 0. Totals: 9 1-3 19.
CURWENSVILLE — 56
Dani Struble 7 9-10 23, Ronna Knepp 0 0-0 0, Jackie White 5 5-6 15, Mindy Desmett 1 0 -0 2, Shannon Hamm 1 0-0 2, Holly Lansberry 3 2-3 8, Shannon McDonald 0 0-0 0, Alesia Bressler 0 0-0 0, Tess Bloom 0 0-0 0, Jenea Stiles 0 1-5 1, Jenessa Stiles 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 18-26 56.
Score by Quarters:
Ridgway 2 9 4 4 — 19
Curwensville 15 17 15 9 — 56
Allegheny Mountain League South Division:
DuBois Central Catholic 4-1, Curwensville 3-1, Ridgway 1-4, Brockway 0-4.