It was February 5, 2008, when the Lady Tide of Curwensville traveled north to face Ridgway. That night, Curwensville won 38-33. It was the only win for that squad the entire 2007-2008 season. Little did anyone at that time know that a streak would begin with the following game.
Last season the Lady Tide went winless in then-coach Vic Gearhart’s final season on the sidelines. They wanted to send him away with victory, but luck would not come their way.
Enter new coach Rusty McCracken, who seemed to light a fire under his girls at the opening tip of the season. Despite some moments of hope, a victory would not come.
Tuesday night, inside Patton Hall, the Lady Tide took the court facing off against the Ramettes of Johnsonburg. After nearly two years of waiting, all the practice, preparation and on-court play came together. Curwensville put together four strong quarters of play, and held strong defensively as they defeated Johnsonburg, 38-34.
When the final buzzer sounded, the entire Lady Tide team embraced, some in tears as the emotions began pouring out. The fans stood in unison cheering for their players. Afterwards, McCracken held back his emotions to talk about his team.
“I really don’t know what to say. It feels really good. Those girls played hard and they deserved that game,” McCracken said. “Everyone played a big part tonight.”
The girls played well as they played physical on the floor while making big shots, finishing the night 13 of 43 from the floor while shooting 14 of 24 from the free throw line. Senior Tess Bloom led the Lady Tide with 16 points and nine rebounds, going 10 of 11 from the line. Taylor Bumbarger had a team-high six assists.
For Johnsonburg, the entire team was held to only 12 shots from the field, but what hurt the team the most was the foul shooting. The Ramettes ended the night only 9 of 20 from the line. Junior forward Justis Myers had a team high eight points, while guard Rhianon Fowler led the team in rebounds with seven.
Curwensville came out strong in the first quarter, but were behind 10-9. A foul shot by Taylor Harvey for Johnsonburg opened the second quarter, but then Curwensville turned up the heat and went on a tear for the next seven minutes. Not one Johnsonburg player scored a point, while Curwensville created turnovers and scored 12 unanswered points.
“We had a good run there in the second quarter, and it wasn’t just one player. Everyone played smart and we just got some good looks,” McCracken said.
Coming out of halftime, Johnsonburg got on a roll scoring eight points right off the opening whistle, eventually going up 23-21. Curwensville fought back to tie the game, using different strategies and play as the Ramettes changed their defense.
“They decided to go box one on Tess, which gave the other girls some opportunities.,” McCracken said. “We were struggling, but I give the girls credit, they just didn’t quit.”
Johnsonburg outscored Curwensville 11-4 in the third quarter to tie the game at 25, but got in foul trouble in the final eight minutes, as both Myers and Taylor Harvey fouled out. That gave Curwensville enough of an opening to force Johnsonburg into making tough shots.
The Ramettes pulled to within three with less than 30 seconds to play, but Bloom made her final two foul shots to extend the lead. Following a Curwensville foul with just four seconds remaining, Fowler went to the free throw line. She made the first shot, but the second bounced to the right of the rim.
Both teams went for it, but Taylor Bumbarger recovered for Curwensville who then made a quick pass to Bloom as the scoreboard read all zeros.
McCracken said afterwards that his team worked very close the last few nights to get prepared, both on and off the court.
“This is a tight knit group. I think the last few nights they’ve all went out to dinner together,” McCracken said. “The girls look out for each other, and this win will definitely bring them even closer.”
Johnsonburg won the junior varsity game to open the evening, 36-23.
The Lady Tide (1-6) look to carry over their success Wednesday night as they go on the road to face DuBois Central Catholic. The junior varsity game will tip off at 6 p.m. with the varsity match up set for approximately 7:30.
Johnsonburg 10 4 11 9 34
Curwensville 9 12 4 13 38
TWO-POINT SHOTS: JB-12/27 CV-13/38
THREE-POINT SHOTS: JB-0/9 CV-0/5
TEAM FOULS: JB-21 CV-21
REBOUNDS: JB-17 CV-13
TURNOVERS: JB-16 CV-20
Myers 0 0-0 0, J. Myers 4 1-3 9, K. Myers 1 0-2 2, Fowler 3 1-2 7, Harvey 1 3-6 5, Polaski 2 3-4 7, Dwyer 1 0-0 2, Randolph 1 1-3 3. TOTALS 12 9-20 34
Bloom 3 10-11 16, Bachelier 4 0-1 8, Bumbarger 2 3-6 7, Wriglesworth 1 0-0 2, Strickland 3 0-0 6, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Seaburn 0 0-0 0, Barrett 0 1-6 1. TOTALS 13 14-24 38
FOUL OUTS: JB-J. Myers, Harvey CV-Wriglesworth
TECHNICAL FOULS: JB-J. Myers CV-None