CURWENSVILLE – It’s been several years since a Curwensville Area High School girls basketball team has earned the grades forthcoming when coach Rusty McCracken assesses the statistics of Tuesday night’s 59-38 win over Ridgway in Patton Hall.
Granted, the predominately-underclassman Lady Elkers have been struggling, managing only one victory.
But the Lady Tide hasn’t enjoyed much success, either, checking into the Allegheny Mountain League South Division game on an eight-game losing streak since beating Ridgway and Moshannon Valley in mid-December.
On this night, the Lady Tide put everything together.
Season-highs in field goals (25) and shooting percentage (41) produced a scoring bonanza fronted by Savannah Strickland’s career-high 21 points and included 13 points by Katrina Seaburn and 12 by Katie Wriglesworth, her first game in double figures.
“We finished, something we haven’t been able to do all season,” McCracken said after Curwensville balanced its AML-South record at 2-2 for a 3-10 log.
Strong rebounding led to several fast breaks, and the Lady Tide displayed excellent ball movement in its half-court offense against the Lady Elker 1-2-2 zone, which keyed post players Seaburn and Wriglesworth both reaching double digits in a game for the first time.
McCracken was pleased to see his team register 12 assists.
“We did a good job of finding each other, and about everybody who had a layup found a way to put it in,” he said.
Curwensville controlled the boards to the tune of 46-30, Seaburn grabbing 13 for a double-double and Wriglesworth and Bachelier hauling in six apiece.
“We’ve been doing a good job on the boards,” McCracken said. “Katrina and Katie do a good job. And then we get other people in there. It seems to carry over. Courtney stuck her nose in there and had a few rebounds on the offside, defensively.”
Through three quarters, the Lady Tide limited the Lady Elkers to just a half-dozen second chances in running up a 41-25 lead.
Curwensville never trailed, thanks to Strickland getting off to a hot start to outpoint the visitors 9-7 by herself in the first quarter. The junior forward nailed a short jumper in the lane before driving to the hoop for three layups, two on feeds by Bachelier and Wriglesworth. Bachelier’s alert outlet pass off defensive rebound set up a three-point play for Strickland.
“I don’t think she took too many (shots) that didn’t fall for her,” McCracken said. “She was seeing the basket really well.”
Then, the Lady Tide proceeded to put together by far its most impressive stretch of good all-around play in a long time.
The hosts outscored Ridgway 32-18 in the middle two quarters and expanded their lead to 48-28 in the first 2:08 of the fourth period.
They did it by going on mini-runs, including the final 10 points of the second quarter following a Ridgway timeout with Curwensville ahead 16-13.
“I said, ‘Girls, that’s not enough, let’s get some points before halftime,'” McCracken stated. “And they responded.”
The 17 points marked only the second game Curwensville has hit double figures in a second period this season, and the third quarters haven’t been much better.
“Most of the time, we go into the locker room, we’re losing and come out tense and never loosen up,” McCracken said. “We didn’t stay there too long tonight. Having the lead makes a big difference.”
The Lady Tide was anxious to get back on the floor and padded its 26-13 halftime lead by shooting 7-for-15 from the field in the third period. With Wriglesworth and Seaburn combining for 10 points, Curwensville didn’t allow Ridgway to gain any momentum and widened the gap to 41-25 going to the fourth quarter.
McCracken cleared the bench but did get a little nervous when the Lady Elkers got within 14 points, 48-34, with 4:15 left and sent his starters back out to put it away.
“We don’t win too many games, and we didn’t want it to get away from us,” he said.
Going in, McCracken was somewhat apprehensive because the Lady Tide had won the previous encounter with the Lady Elkers 40-31.
“I told the girls you can’t let anybody beat you the second time if you beat them the first time.
“Ridgway has its troubles, and one thing I was afraid of was coming out and having a lull. But we came out and took care of what we had to take care of and put some points on the board.”
In the end, the Lady Tide bettered its previous season high by 10 points.
Junior forward Nicole Breier had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Ridgway (1-14), which shot 25.4 percent for 63 attempts.
Curwensville journeys to Brockway for another AML-South game Friday, seeking to avenge a 32-24 loss to the Lady Rovers on Dec. 14.
Led by Tierra Shope’s 12 points, coach Bob Eshelman’s Lady Tide jayvees also triumphed, 37-32.
Allegheny Mountain League South Division – Brockway 2-1, DuBois Central Catholic 2-1, Curwensville 2-2, Ridgway 0-4.
RIDGWAY — 38
Bri Stenta 0 2-4 2, Bryton Dybowski 3 0-2 8, Nicole Breier 8 0-0 17, Taylor Roseto 1 0-0 2, Christine Schauer 0 1-3 1, Angela DeAngela 0 0-0 0, Dani Shirey 4 0-0 8, Jenni Thomas 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 3-9 38.
CURWENSVILLE — 59
Savannah Strickland 9 1-1 21, Taylor Bumbarger 1 1-2 3, Courtney Bachelier 0 1-2 1, Katrina Seaburn 6 1-5 13, Katie Wriglesworth 6 0-1 12, Rebecca Johnson 2 1-2 5, Brittany Carter 0 0-0 0, Paige McCracken 0 0-0 0, Cheyenne Pentz 0 2-2 2, Kaitlynn Sass 1 0-0 2, Megan McGarry 0 0-0 0, Tiara Bumbarger 0 0-0 0, Tierra Shope 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 25 7-15 59.
Three-Point Field Goals – Ridgway 3 (Dybowski 2, Breier); Curwensville 2 (Strickland 2).
Score by Quarters
Ridgway 7 6 12 13 – 38
Curwensville 9 17 15 18 – 59
Officials – Chris Sherkel and Jerry Carnicella.