LORETTO - The Central PA girls allowed Blair County to rally from 15 down to tie the score in the sixth annual Altoona Mirror Classic at DeGol Arena Friday night.
No big deal, right? It's just an all-star game.
all-star basketball game
Central PA opened the fourth quarter with a 13-0 run and never looked back in a 71-63 victory in front of a crowd near 1,500 to give the regional team a 4-2 advantage in the series that began in 2006.
"We didn't want Blair County to win," Glendale's Morgan Biddle said. "It was really important that we came back. It was a lot of fun, and I feel like I have been friends with these people and they are my team. I've actually only known most of them for two days."
One of those new friends, Indiana's Marita Mathe, was named Central PA's Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high 17 points. Mathe scored 13 points in the first half as Central PA built a 35-22 lead.
Mirror photo by J.D.?Cavrich
Blair County’s Kelsey Livoti (left) and Marrysa Moyer close in on Central Pennsylvania’s Nicole Miloser.
"This was a really good experience," Mathe said. "I'd never met any of these girls before, and it was a really fun experience to be able to play in a game like this.
"It's an honor to get the MVP. I'm not the type that is okay with losing, so it's really good that we came back from their run and got the win."
Blair County was led by Altoona's Marrysa Moyer (nine points) and Hollidaysburg's Hannah Gildea (eight points). Moyer was named the Blair MVP.
"It's exciting to win MVP, but it would have been better if we had won," Moyer said. "It was an amazing experience. You get to know girls from your rival schools who you think are just rude girls, but then you get to know them, and they are great people."
Moyer and Gildea were both on the floor as Blair County made an 18-4 run in the third quarter to tie the game at 43.
"You're so used to coaching these girls against each other that it's nice to see them together," Blair County coach Jill Helsel said. "It was nice [to see Moyer and Gildea working together], because they have been going against each other since they were little, and I think from our first practice right up through the game, they had a lot of fun together."
Blair County actually held a 10-5 advantage after the first quarter thanks to seven early points from Bishop Guilfoyle's Kelsey Livoti. The former Lady Marauder was fresh off an appearance in the PIAA Class A state championship and looked a step faster than most of her competition.
Central PA pulled away in the second quarter, using a 25-6 run to take a 30-18 lead.
"It's great coaching a team full of die-hard basketball players," Central PA coach Jana Klezek said. "Just to watch them display their talents is amazing."
Klezek, the coach of Central Cambria, had one player from the Lady Red Devils in the game in Emily Wright. Wright scored eight points and had six rebounds.
"Emily plays up to her competition," Klezek said. "She played very solid tonight. I was really pleased. I knew she could do a good job."
Marion Center's Nicole Miloser scored seven straight points midway through the fourth quarter to extend Central PA's lead to 61-47. Miloser had nine points in the game.
Bald Eagle Area's Anne Hoover joined Mathe as the only player in double figures with 10 points.
CENTRAL PA (71): Stapleton 1-9 0-0 3, Mathe 5-10 4-4 17, Wright 3-8 2-4 8, Biddle 1-5 3-4 5, Yewcic 1-4 3-4 5, Beatty 0-5 0-0 0, Sellers 0-3 0-0 0, Nellis 0-6 2-2 2, Fairman 4-9 0-0 9, Miloser 2-8 4-4 9, Hoover 5-7 0-0 10, Weyant 1-5 1-2 3. Totals - 23-79 19-24 71.
BLAIR COUNTY (63): Gildea 3-10 1-1 8, Dry 2-5 0-0 5, Livoti 3-8 0-0 7, Damiano 0-1 0-0 0, McDonald 2-6 1-2 5, Collins 3-8 1-2 7, Everhart 1-5 2-2 5, Grannas 2-6 0-0 4, Greenleaf 0-3 1-2 1, Moyer 1-6 7-10 9, Reimer 1-9 3-4 6, Patterson 2-3 0-0 6. Totals - 20-70 16-23 63.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central PA5 30 13 23 - 71
Blair County10 12 25 16 - 63
3-point goals: Central PA 6-24 (Mathe 3-8, Miloser 1-2, Stapleton 1-3, Fairman 1-4, Biddle 0-1, Yewcic 0-1, Nellis 0-1, Sellers 0-2, Beatty 0-2); Blair County 7-32 (Patterson 2-3, Dry 1-3, Livoti 1-3, Gildea 1-4, Everhart 1-5, Moyer 0-2, Collins 0-5). Assists: Central PA 19 (Biddle, Beatty, Fairman, Miloser, 3 each); Blair County 16 (Collins 5). Rebounds: Central PA 66 (Yewcic, Sellers, Fairman, 7 each); Blair County 45 (Moyer 7).
Officials: Tona Williams, Justin Fraker, Todd Parker