Lady Tide Draws No. 1 Seed Kane in Return to District 9 Playoffs

CURWENSVILLE — For the first time since 2007, a Curwensville Area High School girls basketball team is venturing into the District 9 Class AA Playoffs.

The not-so-good news for the 2012-13 Lady Tide, seeded No. 8, is that they must make the long bus trip to Kane Tuesday to challenge the No. 1-seeded Lady Wolves in a 7 p.m. tip-off.

And the Lady Wolves won’t be in a good mood after being edged 42-39 by Elk County Catholic in the Allegheny Mountain League championship game Saturday evening.

Kane is 19-5, with three of the losses to Elk County Catholic by a total of 10 points and one to twice-beaten Bradford.

Curwensville was beaten, 58-31, by Elk County Catholic Friday in its first appearance in the AML Playoffs after finishing the regular season 9-13.

The teams have played two contrasting games, but the Lady Wolves did win both, 59-31 on their home hardwood January 2 and 40-35 at Curwensville February 9.

The latter was a Saturday afternoon make-up of the previous night’s snowout, and the Lady Tide had the lead as late as the final minute of the third quarter. They were down only 38-34 with three minutes left but were unable to score on their next seven possessions.

Curwensville coach Rusty McCracken conceded a morning bus ride for the Lady Wolves might have been a factor in the second meeting, but he was quick to point out, “We shot the ball and handled their press better. We played more comfortable basketball at home.”

He also noted Kane coach Dave Kiehl might not have shown everything on offense and defense they probably will employ this time.

“We talked before that game, and we had a pretty good idea we were going to meet in the first round of the playoffs,” McCracken said. “They may have been keeping some stuff under wraps that they’ll pull out. That’s what I kind of had in the back of my head.

“They stayed with half-court (defense), and I would expect they’re gonna throw some full-court in there.

“We’ll have to secure the ball and maybe slow the pace down a little bit so we don’t get so anxious to shoot.  I think that will help our momentum so that we take more comfortable shots.

“We want to run when we have opportunities, but sometimes we shoot ourselves out of games by hurrying a little bit.”

The Lady Tide has struggled on offense in their last six games, topping 35 points only in a 50-25 win at Moshannon Valley.

Senior center Katrina Seaburn, who averaged a double-double with 210 points and 205 rebounds in 20 starts, missed the last two games while in Florida for a national baton twirling competition, and her status for Tuesday’s game was uncertain as of Sunday night.

If she’s not available, junior Tierra Shope would take her spot in the starting line-up and classmate Kealy Wassil would see more playing time in her third game back from an ankle injury.

Curwensville’s leading pointmakers are sophomore Ciara Strickland (301, 13.1 ppg) and senior Becca Johnson (247, 10.7 ppg).

Senior forward Tiffany Carter, averaging more than six rebounds per game, and sophomore guard Heather Thorp are the other starters.

Kane’s big gun is Kaila Jamerson, a 6-0 senior with 1,154 career points, including 324 this year for a 13.5 average that is tied for 16th place in District 9. She burned the Lady Tide for 21 points in the first game and had 11 in the rematch.

“She gets her points quietly most of the time,” McCracken said. “She gets rebounds and second chances.

“They have some quick guards who’ll try to push things, but they’re more of a set offense. They move the ball well and find each other for easy lay-ups.”

Rebounding by the front line of Jamerson, 5-9 Nerissa Rich and 5-8 Audrey Perry has been a key to the Lady Wolves scoring at a 50.2 pace.

“Our biggest key is to box out and keep their big girls off the boards and then turn around and take care of the basketball going the other way,” McCracken said.

Senior veteran Dawn Saquin and probably sophomore Taylor Morgan will be in the backcourt for Kane.

Other first-round games will send No. 7 Brookville (10-12) to No. 2 Karns City (15-6), No. 6 Clarion-Limestone (13-9) to No. 3 Cranberry (14-8) and No. 5 Redbank Valley (13-9) to No. 4 Moniteau (13-9).

Semifinal games are booked for Thursday and the championship game for Saturday, March 2, at 6 p.m., all in Clarion University’s Tippin Gym.

Lady Tide Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/10 MO VALLEY 52 – 16 1 – 0
12/11 BROCKWAY 57 – 32 2 – 0
12/14 @ Ridgway 70 – 28 3 – 0
12/19 HARMONY 60 – 15 4 – 0
12/21 @ Kane ppd. 4 – 0
12/27 @ Clearfield 52 – 60 4 – 1
01/02 @ Kane 31 – 59 4 – 2
01/04 DUBOIS CENTRAL 49 – 55 4 – 3
01/08 @ Johnsonburg 33 – 48 4 – 4
01/10 @ Harmony 66 – 28 5 – 4
01/16 @ Elk County 38 – 53 5 – 5
01/18 WEST BRANCH 30 – 51 5 – 6
01/21 @ Glendale 47 – 50 5 – 7
01/22 RIDGWAY 58 – 29 6 – 7
01/25 @ Brockway ppd. 6 – 7
01/28 @ DuBois Central ppd. 6 – 7
02/01 JOHNSONBURG 35 – 74 6 – 8
02/02 @ DuBois Central 34 – 37 6 – 9
02/04 GLENDALE 46 – 39 7 – 9
02/05 @ Sheffield 56 – 38 8 – 9
02/07 @ Brockway 31 – 57 8 – 10
02/08 KANE ppd. 8 – 10
02/09 KANE 35 – 40 8 – 11
02/11 @ Mo Valley 50 – 25 9 – 11
02/13 @ West Branch 31 – 64 9 – 12
02/14 CLEARFIELD 30 – 57 9 – 13
02/15 AML Playoffs    
  vs. Elk County Catholic 31 – 58 9 – 14
02/19 District 9 Playoffs    
  vs. Kane    
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