Lady Cats Advance To District Nine Semi-Finals With Victory Over Elk County Catholic (02/22/14)
Maci Thornton, Kyla Miles and Grace Kroh all scored in double figures, as the defending Class-A Champion, Lady Cats opened District Nine Championship play with a 67-40 victory over Elk County Catholic, at Brookville High School, on Friday.
Thornton had 20 points, Miles had 16 and Kroh had ten. Miles and Kroh were tough under the hoop and when Thornton wasn’t scoring, she was stealing the ball or feeding her teammates with some of the crispest passes you’d want to see. When asked about Thornton’s assist game, Coach Roger Walter answered, “That’s Maci. The more intense the game is, the faster paced it is, the stronger she is. She’s at her best when she’s not thinking. And those passes were just -automatic.”
Thornton opened the game, in which the Lady Cats would never trail, with a jump shot, then Lady Crusader, Julia Sweeney answered with a layup, knotting the game at two. But a breakaway bucket by Miles, on one of those patented feeds from Thornton, started an 11-0 Clarion run which was followed by an ECC foul shot, and the Cats had a ten point, 13-3 lead, after one period.
A 3-point shot by ECC’s Macy Neuriter, to open the second, was answered immediately by Anna Reed with a trey of her own, moving the score to 16-6, Bobcats. A 6-2, Crusader run cut the lead to six points, at 18-12. But ECC would get no closer, as a Nicki Glenn free-throw started an 11-5 run by the Lady Cats, to give Clarion a 29-17, halftime lead.
The second half started just like the first half did, with Thornton scoring the first bucket. Thornton and Miles had 8 points and 6 points respectively, in the third, as five Lady Cats combined to score 21 points, giving Clarion a twenty-one point, 50-29 lead heading into the final stanza.
The Bobcats held twenty-eight point leads (the biggest of the game), three times, at 59-31, 61-33 and 63-35, part way through the fourth, before settling for the twenty-seven point final advantage. The quarter would see Kroh score 8 of her 10 points.
For the game, Laken Ganoe had 7 points, Reed had 6, Glenn had 4 and Lauren Wiser and Olivia Bartley scored two apiece.
Coach Roger Walter was very pleased with his team’s play, stating, “I thought it was a perfect game. We all stepped up and played to our potential. You could see the energy in us. You could see that we were having fun again.”
If this game was a litmus test, as to how the Lady Cats would bounce back from a stretch that saw them lose two of their last three games, they passed with flying colors. Coach Walter said “We went through a week where things kind of slipped away from us. We lost that game against VC at home. We lost the KSAC Championship. And it’s like, ‘Well, how are you going to bounce back.’
“I think we made a pretty big statement, how we were going to bounce back. We beat a real good team. And I hope now we are ready to make another run.”
Leading the Lady Crusaders, who finished a fine 19-6 season, was Macy Neurieter with 11 points, Erin Petroski with 10 and Haley Dacanal with nine.
The number 4 seed, Lady Cats will now face number 1 seed, Port Allegany, in a District Nine Semi-Final game, next Wednesday (February 26th), at Kane High School, at 7:00PM, in a rematch of last year’s District Final, won by the Cats. The winner will face the winner of the Keystone – Venango Catholic, Semi-Final match-up.