CURWENSVILLE — A strong stretch run that got the Curwensville Area High School girls basketball team into the District 9 Class AA Playoffs will give the Lady Tide an opportunity to accomplish something that eluded them during the regular season, and that is recording a three-game win streak.
The fifth-seeded Lady Tide posted back-to-back wins on four occasions, including last week’s road victories over West Branch and Harmony that gave them a share of the Moshannon Valley League championship with Glendale and a 10-12 record.
Standing in their way of a third win in a row is No. 4 seed Port Allegany, which also has enjoyed a successful February with wins in its last six games to finish 9-7 in the Northern Tier League and 13-9 overall.
Curwensville first-year coach Jocelyn Bash was happy when informed Tuesday’s 7 p.m. quarterfinal game was shifted from Port Allegany High School to Elk County Catholic High School.
“That was good news, because we don’t travel well,” she said. “We always seem to start off slow in faraway games. Hopefully, we can get into it early at St. Marys.”
Port Allegany’s top scorers are senior playmaker Autumn Buchsenschutz and freshman Cailey Barnett. They accounted for about two-thirds of the points in statistics that were available.
Buchsenschutz went over 1,000 points for her four-year career on Feb. 7.
She and Barnett give the Lady Gators an outstanding backcourt presence on both ends of the floor as they total about seven assits and nearly 10 rebounds a game.
Junior Hannah Lathrop and sophomore Erin Stauffer also are good rebounders.
Bash anticipates defensive pressure from the Lady Gators.
“Me being a new coach, I assume that is happening at this level, and I think we will definitely be doing some adjusting,” Bash said. “We have to play our game. If we can start fast, that’s the games we seem to do well.”
Curwensville will counter with its own 1,000-point scorer in senior guard Hannah Dixon, who is averaging 18.9 on 405 points after pouring in 220 in the last 10 games, as well as sophomore Madison Weber with 273 points (12.4 ppg) and senior Christine Limbert (7.4 ppg), who probably owns the Lady Tide record for rebounds.
Dixon has 45 three-pointers but also will slash through much taller defenders to attack the basket. The diminutive playmaker, a Lock Haven University commit, has become a complete all-around player.
“For as little as she is, she’s always in the mix,” Bash said. “She can handle the ball, she can play defense and she will get in there and rebound.
“Her leadership will be key, too.”
Weber has evolved into one of the better underclassmen around with a more aggressive approach under the boards to go with her ability to score from everywhere on the floor. She has 30 three-pointers but hit a career-high 30 points in a big win over Clearfield with putbacks.
“I really like where her game has gone,” Bash said. “It has gotten more solid since early in the year. A lot of things came together, scoring, rebounding and passing. She’s really using her talents the way they need to be, and she’s been playing her A game.”
Limbert has been invaluable in the low post for Lady Tide teams throughout her career.
“She’s very special at her game,” Bash said. “Obviously, the rebounds, but I really think she is the heart of the team. She’s always a big part of our mental game. She does a lot to keep the team together and on point when we’re not all on the same page.”
Senior Nikki Wormuth and junior Maddie McCracken are the other Lady Tide starters, with freshman Tarah Jacobson usually first off the bench. Juniors Mikayla Warren and Madison Olson are other top reserves.
Ridgway is the only common foe, beating Curwensville 48-31 at home in a game Limbert missed, and 53-45 in a rematch that was must closer than the score indicates while losing 40-32 at Port Allegany in early December.
“We’ve had some great games in the last three weeks, and I hope we can keep that going,” Bash said. “If they can keep their nerves out of it and play their A game, I think it will be a good game. Anything can happen in playoffs.”
The winner will take on No. 1 seed and Northern Tier League champion Coudersport (21-1) in the semifinals. No. 2 Kane (19-5) will meet No. 3 Cranberry (17-5) in the other semi next week.
Three of the five teams will advance to the PIAA Playoffs.
Ticket prices for all District 9 tourney games are $6 for adults and $3 for students.
Lady Tide Scoreboard:
|12/09||@ Glendale||27 – 37||0 – 1|
|12/12||@ Mo Valley||52 – 46||1 – 1|
|12/14||WEST BRANCH||51 – 48||1 – 2|
|12/19||KANE||26 – 57||2 – 2|
|12/28||@ Clearfield||51 – 52||2 – 3|
|01/04||@ Ridgway||31- 48||2 – 4|
|01/06||BROCKWAY||42 – 44||2 – 5|
|01/09||MO VALLEY||58 – 56||3 – 5|
|01/10||DUBOIS CENTRAL||ppd.||3 – 5|
|01/11||@ West Branch||ppd.||3 – 5|
|01/14||HARMONY||51 – 36||4 – 5|
|01/16||DUBOIS CENTRAL||41 – 56||4 – 6|
|01/17||@ Elk County Catholic||47 – 63||4 – 7|
|01/20||KANE||37 – 57||4 – 8|
|01/25||RIDGWAY||45 – 53||4 – 9|
|01/27||@ Brockway||31 – 40||4 – 10|
|01/31||@ Harmony||ppd.||4 – 10|
|02/01||GLENDALE||46 – 35||5 – 10|
|02/03||JOHNSONBURG||48 – 47||6 – 10|
|02/07||@ DuBois Central||34 – 49||6 – 11|
|02/08||CLEARFIELD||57 – 54 ot||7 – 11|
|02/10||@ Sheffield||65 – 40||8 – 11|
|02/14||@ Hickory||42 – 64||8 – 12|
|02/15||@ West Branch||57 – 53||9 – 12|
|02/16||@ Harmony||58 – 50||10 – 12|
|02/21||District 9 AA Playoffs|
|02/21||vs. Port Allegany (@ ECC)|