Free Throws Lift Lady Rovers Past Lady Tide 32-24 in AML-South Opener

CURWENSVILLE – The combination of too many turnovers and a shooting percentage almost as cold as the temperature outside Patton Hall cost the Curwensville Area High School girls basketball team a great opportunity to salvage a win in their Allegheny Mountain League South Division opener Tuesday night.
Brockway was even colder with just eight field goals, one less than the Lady Tide, but cashed in at the foul line to steal away with a 32-24 victory despite making only two field goals after the first quarter, none in the final 11:17.
Jalina Sabatose, one of seven letterwinners for the Lady Rovers, converted on 14 of 18 free throw attempts, including eight in a row in the final 2:41 after the Lady Tide had, slowly, closed an eight-point gap to two, 23-21.
When informed his team had an edge from the field, though sinking only nine of 47 tries for 19.1 percent, Curwensville coach Rusty McCracken responded, “Wow, that just boggles my mind. That’s amazing.
“When you get that many shots, you want to hit at least 30, 40 percent, not whatever.”
The Lady Tide, now 0-2, did attain that goal in the first quarter, going 4-for-9 to stay close with Katrina Seaburn scoring six points.
The Lady Rovers were getting good looks with their motion offense against Curwensville’s man defense and grabbed a 12-8 lead thanks to six points by Sara Guilyard and four by Sabatose.
Neither team could find the bucket in the second period, Brockway 2-for-13 and Curwensville 2-for-14, with both field goals by Savannah Strickland.
“We went to a zone, and I thought the girls played really well against them,” McCracken said. “We moved, we got steals off it. We just did not convert when we needed to convert. We had trouble with our offense, which seems to be our big struggle.”
So, the turnover-filled first half ended 17-12.
And the scoring tempo didn’t quicken after intermission.
The only points in the first 4:24 of the third quarter were three free throws as the Lady Rovers (1-2) enjoyed their biggest lead, 20-12.
Curwensville couldn’t capitalize on Brockway’s 1-for-11 shooting, guilty of 12 turnovers and scoring only on Taylor Bumbarger’s 3-pointer and Brittany Carter’s foul line jumper that set the score at 23-18 at the buzzer.
“We were just flat in that quarter,” McCracken said. “I don’t know what we were thinking.”
The Lady Tide lost possession without getting a shot no less than 12 times and was on pace to match or exceed its opening game total of 39 turnovers.
In an unbelievable turnaround, the hosts did not commit a turnover in the final eight minutes.
But they missed 16 consecutive shots before Strickland ended the scoring drought with a difficult spinning effort in the lane with six seconds left to reach double figures.
“We had a chance to win it down the stretch if we had taken advantage of some of their mistakes,” McCracken said.
The Lady Tide couldn’t, hitting only four of nine foul shots while the Lady Rovers were going 9-for11.
Strickland made the Lady Rovers pay for a technical foul with a pair of free throws that made it a two-point game at the 4:13 mark, but the next points were two foul shots by Sabatose with 2:41 remaining.
Though unable to make a shot, Curwensville still was down only 26-22 going into the final minute.
However, forced to foul, the Lady Tide sent Sabatose go to the line three times, and she didn’t miss.
“We went to the line at the end of the game when we could have taken the lead,” McCracken noted. “We couldn’t capitalize on our foul shots. I guess that’s the big difference.
“Defensively, we played as well as we possibly could, other than some bad decisions on the fouls. We tried to go over the back a couple times and got some cheap fouls instead just letting it play out.
“We did some good things. We just did not make the shots.”
McCracken pointed to decision-making and lack of movement for the Lady Tide’s woes on offense.
“We try to force passes too much, and they wind up in the wrong hands,” he said. “And we have to a tendency to stand around, and it’s usually behind the defense. We’re not finding the gaps that could get us better shots.

“We’re still looking for that leader to step up and direct traffic or at least move the ball and make the passes.”
The Lady Tide held its own under the boards with 28 rebounds, seven by Bumbarger, to the Lady Rovers’ 26.
Brockway shot 17.4 percent and had 19 turnovers.
Curwensville will travel to Ridgway Friday for another AML-South game.
Brockway’s jayvees also were victorious 28-16 behind Brooke Carlson’s 11 points. Megan McGarry was high for Curwensville with six points.
Zoe Hawkins 0 1-2 1, Ann Moyer 3 0-0 6, Sara Guilyard 3 0-0 6, LeeAnn Crawford 0 0-0 0, Jalina Sabatose 1 14-18 16, Savannah Brosky 1 1-2 3, Julie Vokes 0 0-2 0, Alexander Wright 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS: 8 16-24 32.
Savannah Strickland 3 4-8 10, Becca Johnson 0 0-0 0, Taylor Bumbarger 2 0-0 5, Katrina Seaburn 3 1-3 7, Katie Wriglesworth 0 0-2 0, Courtney Bachelier 0 0-0 0, Brittany Carter 1 0-0 2, Paige McCracken 0 0-0 0, Cheyenne Pentz 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS: 9 5-13 24.
Three-Point Field Goal: Curwensville 1 (Bumbarger).
Score by Quarters
Brockway       12  5  6  9  –  32
Curwensville     8  4  6  6  –  24
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