CURWENSVILLE — After having over a week away from the hardwood, it was time for the Lady Tide of Curwensville to get back to business on their home court inside Patton Hall. The opposition on a chilly Friday night to start the 2019 portion of their schedule, the Lady Rovers of Brockway.
It did not start out extremely well for the home squad, but as the game progressed, somehow Curwensville found itself in a dog fight for the victory. A lopsided first quarter yielded to a stirring 24 minutes that saw lead changes, physical play, emotion, and even controversy. It came down to the very last second of regulation, but the Lady Tide fell one second, and one shot, short in a 34-32 heartbreaker.
Head coach Bob Desmett quickly acknowledged that the girls played well, but it was one quarter that cost them.
“Again, 24 minutes instead of 32. It has been like that every game, and I just don’t know why,” Desmett said. “We came out, thinking we’d win the tip and put pressure the defense, see if we can rattle them. Instead, we ended up down 10-0. We needed to switch (from zone to man). Maybe we waited too long, and that is on me.”
That 10-0 gap to start the game ultimately led to a 15-5 gap after the first quarter. During the break before the next quarter, something ignited in the Tide. Defensively, they were contesting shots, thanks to the swap to the man-on-man defense, and getting rebounds at both ends of the court. In the second quarter, the Lady Rovers were held to only four points, going just 1-for-9 from the floor, while turning the ball over four times.
Curwensville was not without their miscues in the second quarter, as they turned the ball over seven times. However, the score got interesting as they pulled to at one point within two possessions of the lead, and headed into halftime with a 19-11 deficit, but with possession.
The third quarter belonged to Curwensville. Led by a stellar run by Madi Weber on both ends of the court, the Lady Tide worked to get their first lead of the game with just over a minute and a half remaining in the quarter. At the same time, both squads were getting physical with rebounds and loose balls. Overall, the possession arrow swapped 16 times on jump balls, with many more that could be called, and some hard falls to the floor while fighting over the ball.
Both benches were getting upset, but play continued, and the crowd got to see a back-and-forth contest that seemed to be falling Curwensville’s way. However, one shot in the third quarter got everyone upset, from the far sidelines where parents and students sat, to the bench of white jerseys.
The final possession from Brockway pushed the ball down the court, with Selena Buttery getting a look inside, and seemed to not get the shot off near the basket before the final horn. However, the ball bounced around the backboard and rim before going in the net, and the official on the side of the court gave the signal that the ball went in, counting towards the score.
Instead of being ahead by a possession, Curwensville instead was looking at the 26-25 scoreboard, knowing they had to come from behind once again.
“What can you do at that point. I’m just not sure what to say,” Desmett said of the shot. His assistant coaches seemed to argue the call, but it was a moot point, as they turned their focus to the final quarter, one that ultimately was defined by tough calls, and argumentative moments.
Early in the quarter, the Lady Tide lost Jordan Witherite shortly after her basket gave Curwensville a 30-26 advantage, thanks to her fifth foul. But, the squads continued to battle back and forth right down to the last two minutes, where Brockway suddenly found a burst and cut the lead down to a possession.
Both teams exchanged jump balls, and free throw attempts, but the free opportunities fell more towards the visitors, as they went to the line 17 times compered to just five for Curwensville.
With under a minute remaining, the game got knotted up at 32 each, and Curwensville pushed down the court to get the lead, but saw a pair of baskets bounce off the rim, and eventually out of bounds. The ensuing inbound pass worked its way back to Danielle Wood, who worked the base line, and made the ensuing layup, giving the Rovers the two-point lead with just 22.5 ticks remaining on the clock.
Curwensville pushed the inbounds pass, and Desmett called timeout after seven seconds elapsed. He would call another timeout just prior to a jump ball near the basket to keep possession, the final timeout allotted in regulation for the Lady Tide.
On the inbound pass, the team worked the ball to Alyssa Bakaysa, who tried to get to the basket, but was fouled on the floor just prior to the ball being in the air. This foul, however, provided an opportunity. It would be the seventh foul for Brockway, meaning Bakaysa had a one-plus opportunity at the foul line.
The Rovers called their final timeout prior to the shot, with only one second left to decide the potential outcome.
Bakaysa took a couple bounces of the ball before looking up to the rim. Weber and Hannah Condon found themselves surrounded at the box with black jerseys, hoping they didn’t have to worry about a rebound until the potential second shot.
The ball left the right hand of Bakaysa…and bounced off the back of the rim. The clock wasn’t set to start until the rebound, as both went for the ball, with the Tide coaches and fans screaming at a possible push in the back to give a second opportunity.
Yet, the officials didn’t call a foul, and the missed free throw was the final shot of the night, as the final buzzer went off, and frustration from the home squad set in prior to congratulating the victors.
Weber ended the night with 11 points for Curwensville, leading her team, along with nine rebounds and three assists. For Brockway, Wood led the charge with a game-high 16 points. Macie Smith led the Lady Rovers with seven rebounds, and four assists.
Desmett admitted that the game was tough in the second half because of the style of play, stating, “It was definitely physical.” But, he wasn’t mincing words when it came to what made the biggest difference, not just on this night, but the entire season to this point.
“We just don’t play ball (for a whole game). We need to play 32 minutes, bottom line,” he said. “My coaches will be here, and we’ll keep going over (plays and observations). But when we call timeout, and draw out what we want them to do on the floor, (the girls) need to execute.
“We have to take over, and take charge.”
Desmett admitted there may have been a bit of difficulty getting into rhythm since his team had not played since December 27 against Clearfield, but did feel that now with the holiday break over, it provided a new opportunity.
“Now we’re getting back to having 2-3 games a week, so we’re going to see how that works for us. (I hope) that brings the intensity up, and we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Curwensville (1-5) returns to the court on Monday, continuing a four-game run inside Patton Hall when they host Union. Tip off for junior varsity is at 6 p.m. with varsity to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Brockway 15 4 7 8 – 34
Curwensville 5 6 14 7 – 32
Brockway – 34
Schmader 0 1-3 1, Smith 3 0-1 6, Lindemuth 3 3-4 9, Buttery 1 0-2 2, Wood 5 6-7 16, Morelli 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 12 10-17 34.
Curwensville – 32
Weber 4 0-0 11, Jacobson 4 1-2 9, Condon 2 0-0 4, McCracken 0 0-0 0, Wagner 0 0-0 0, Swindell 0 0-0 0, Witherite 1 0-0 2, Henry 0 0-0 0, Bakaysa 3 0-1 6. TOTALS 14 1-5 32.
Three-Point Shots: Weber (3)
Foul Outs: Witherite
Lady Tide Scoreboard:
Date Opponent Score Record
12/07 WEST BRANCH 23 – 64 0 – 1
12/10 MO VALLEY 54 – 62 0 – 2
12/13 @ Harmony 47 – 40 1 – 2
12/19 @ Ridgway 38 – 50 1 – 3
12/27 @ Clearfield 36 – 60 1 – 4
01/04 BROCKWAY 32 – 34 1 – 5
01/09 DUBOIS CENTRAL
01/15 @ Elk County Catholic
01/16 @ Glendale
01/24 @ Philipsburg-Osceola
01/25 @ Brockway
02/05 @ DuBois Central
02/06 @ West Branch
02/08 @ Sheffield
02/11 @ Mo Valley