Lady Cats Advance To PIAA State Playoffs, With District Nine Consolation Victory Over Ridgway (02/29/20)
(Above photo by Kim Constantino) Noel with strong defense
The Clarion Area Lady Cats punched their ticket to the PIAA State playoffs with a 44-40 victory over the Ridgway Lady Elkers, in the District Nine 1A Girls Basketball consolation game, at DuBois Area High School on Friday (February 28th).
Ridgway opened the game with six straight points, before a bucket by Jordan Best, and a free throw and another bucket by Kait Constantino pulled Clarion to within one at 6-5. The Elkers closed the quarter with a bucket to hold an 8-5 lead heading to the second.
The second quarter ended with Ridgway holding a two point lead, 15-13, after an 8-7 Lady Cats advantage. Best scored Clarion’s first two baskets in the quarter, followed by two buckets by Constantino, who finished with a game-high 21 points; she also eclipsed the 1,300 point plateau during the game and now stands at 1,309 career points.
Best finished the game with 12 points, followed by KK Girvan, who had a big defensive game, with a number of steals, with ten points.
Ridgway pulled out to an eight point, 27-19 lead, in the third, after a 12-6 run. But Clarion answered by finishing out the quarter with a 7-0 run, on a three by Constantino, a layup by Girvan and a pair of free-throws by Best. Clarion now trailed by one, 27-26 heading to the final stanza.
After Girvan scored on a layup, after a feed by, Clarion trailed by one 30-29. Constantino hit a pair of free throws to give Clarion their first lead at the game, 31-30, with 4:33 left on the clock.
The Cats, then used an uptempo, fast break mode, with three straight steals, converted by points, on a pair of baskets by Girvan and another by Constantino, to move out to a seven point at 37-30.
The Lady Cats converted seven-of-nine free throws down the stretch, with Noel Anthony finishing it off with the last point from the line, holding off the Elkers for the win.
Ridgway’s Christina Fullem, kept the Lady Elkers in the game by scoring nine of the Elkers last ten points down the stretch. She finished with 19 points to lead her team.
The Lady Cats will now face the District 4 Champion, next Friday (March 6th).
Coach Roger Walter was very pleased with the win.
“(I’m) Just proud of the girls tonight. We knew it was going to be a battle, of course, with Ridgway being the number one seed. We knew it was going to be a class of two different styles of basketball. We want to be intense, up-tempo, fast break. They want to be slower, methodical and kind of pick you apart. They really won that battle, for quite a while. We made that one run in the fourth quarter, to give ourselves a cushion and then didn’t do some things well down the stretch. We battled and came through.”
He had some good things to say about his seniors. “KK stepped up big tonight. That’s back-to-back games where she really stepped up as a senior leader. Kait’s always tough and playing hard.”
And about the whole team, “I’m proud of the girls. We came as the sixth seed and battled, won some games, lost some games throughout the season. But it all goes back to the message we’ve been talking about for months, saying, ‘You don’t want to play us when we get to the end.’ and that’s right where we’re at.
“So, we’ve got an opportunity now. It’s exciting to be going to the state playoffs and right now any win’s a big win and strange things can happen this time of year. So we’re hoping for the best after a week of preparation and we’re proud to be here.”
( Thanks to Kim Constantino, Aryana Girvan and Nate Girvan for the great photos. CONGRATULATIONS LADY CATS!!!!)