Strickland sparks Lady Tide in, 50-25, win over Damsels|
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
AMESVILLE - The Curwensville girls basketball team got off to a less-than-ideal start on Monday night at Moshannon Valley.
The Lady Tide missed their first 11 shots from the floor. Instead of calling a timeout when his team was faced with an 8-2 deficit, Curwensville head coach Rusty McCracken let his girls play through their early struggles.
McCracken's squad had it figured out at the end of the first quarter, despite facing a 10-8 deficit.
The Damsels took a 12-10 lead on an Emily Kolesar bucket, but Curwensville's Ciara Strickland scored eight unanswered points to spark the Lady Tide to a 6-point cushion that never got any smaller.
Strickland poured in a game-high 18 points, as Curwensville overcame a sluggish start to double up Mo Valley, 50-25.
"It was one of those things where we weren't mentally ready to start the game or whatever," said McCracken. "We had a little bit of trouble getting started, but we shot a lot more layups in the second quarter when our defense picked up and we were able to overcome the outside game with the inside game.
"Mo Valley has played some people well, it's just a little bit of inexperience that they're going through right now. They have some good, young players that are going to do some good things for them in the future."
The Lady Tide struggled to get anything to drop in the opening stanza, which was the Damsels' best.
Mo Valley made four of its seven shots in the stanza, whereas the Lady Tide only got three of 20 attempts to fall.
Curwensville cut into a 4-0 deficit with Tiffany Carter netting her team's opening field goal with 3:56 to play.
"We weren't doing bad things and we were getting good shots," McCracken said. "We just needed to get into the game a little bit. We did more subbing, too, just to get them out and get a little reality check. We just had to get into the game before things started rolling for us."
After Mo Valley took an 8-2 lead on Emily Smith's bucket, the Lady Tide began to roll.
Curwensville scored six of the final eight points of the quarter before a Katrina Seaburn layup opened the second to tie the game at 10.
After Kolesar's bucket, Strickland began her game-winning stretch.
By the time the second quarter buzzer sounded, Curwensville held a 22-14 edge.
"She's a really good player and she's quick, too," said Mo Valley interim coach Michelle Grube of Strickland. "I try to tell the girls, ‘if you turn it over, you have to sprint to get back or it's going to be an easy two points for them.' Their defense got some good looks off turnovers."
A key to the Lady Tide's turnaround came in the form of their pressure defense, which resulted in layups in transition.
Curwensville forced 25 turnovers in the contest, and it was able to pull away as a result.
The Lady Tide outscored the hosts 24-9 in the middle stanzas to take a 32-19 lead into the fourth quarter.
"Ciara gets her points," McCracken said, "but she's not afraid to share them, too. She does a good job finding other people, and she doesn't mind getting other people their baskets as well.
"We found each other really well (as a whole). It didn't always lead to a basket, but we were able to get more into the flow."
The Damsels were unable to get any closer than 12 points in the fourth, where Curwensville sealed the game with a 16-3 run.
Seaburn finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Becca Johnson also broke double figures to add 12 points for the Lady Tide, who improved to 9-11.
Mo Valley got six points apiece from Smith and Haley Stodart in dropping to 2-18 on the season.
Despite the final outcome, Grube was happy with how her team played against a squad that handled it 52-16 in the season-opener.
"We had too many turnovers," said Grube, "but I didn't feel the score accurately reflected how they played. We didn't play nearly as well against Curwensville the first time. It was a bigger gap and we had a lot more turnovers. We just couldn't do anything right the first time, but I was really impressed with the defense tonight.
"We just didn't get enough shots off and, therefore, we didn't get as many second and third chances."
Both teams play West Branch in their next contest.
The Damsels entertain the Lady Warriors this evening for Senior Night, while the Lady Tide travel to Allport the following evening.
McCracken is hoping that his team's battle with West Branch will be a good test with the District 9 playoffs on the horizon.
"We're hoping to continue to build (momentum for the playoffs)," McCracken said. "We have two more regular season games with a little bit of a rivalry in both of them in West Branch and Clearfield. It should be a lot of fun.
"Hopefully, we can come out and shoot a little better to start, play good defense and see what happens. It'll be a good atmosphere, and it's always a tough place to play."
The Damsels took the jayvee contest, 40-28.
Thorp 2 0-0 4, Strickland 7 4-5 18, Carter 3 0-2 6, Seaburn 5 0-0 10, Johnson 5 2-2 12, Shope 0 0-0 0, Dugo 0 0-0 0, Dale 0 0-0 0, H. McGarry 0 0-0 0, Guy 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 6-9 50.
Smith 2 2-2 6, Matchock 0 0-0 0, Kronenwetter 2 0-2 4, H. Kitko 1 1-2 3, Kolesar 2 1-2 5, Swoope 0 1-2 1, Stodart 3 0-1 6. Totals: 10 5-11 25.
Score by Quarters
Curwensville 8 14 10 18-50
Mo Valley 10 4 5 6-25