SAXTON - Tussey Mountain's Morgan Lemin has been one of the premier post players in the area for much of her four years with the Lady Titans.
What makes that fact so impressive is that the senior is generously listed at 5-foot-7 inches tall.
Lemin was at it again Thursday, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against much larger competition, including 6-2 Northern Bedford center Briana Beach, in a 47-41 Tussey Mountain victory on senior night.
Mirror photo by Gary M.?Baranec
Ashley McGhee from Northern Bedford shoots over Tussey Mountain’s Caitlin Foster.
"I just work hard and have determination," Lemin said. "Our whole team is pretty small, but our passes and quickness inside really help us."
Whether it was a jump shot from the outside to extend the Lady Titans' lead to 11 midway through the third quarter, or a hook shot in the paint as Northern Bedford had worked its way back within four points late in the game, Lemin came through when the Lady Titans needed her.
Four years ago, Tussey Mountain coach Todd Gates needed Lemin on the floor but didn't have room for a freshman guard.
"I wish Morgan was 5 or 6 inches taller, because she would just dominate," Gates said. "She's a mismatch, because she's really hard for bigger girls to cover in the paint with her quickness and nice moves.
"She's developed into an outstanding post player. When she was a freshman, she was a guard, but we were loaded with guards like Rachel Zimmerman and Krista Swope so we moved her inside to get her some playing time. That's how she ended up there, and she's done an excellent job."
Lemin likely won't face a more daunting challenge this season than Beach. The Northern Bedford junior scored 10 points and pulled down 29 rebounds to help NBC outrebound the Lady Titans, 44-28, but Tussey Mountain forced 25 turnovers that did in the Lady Panthers.
"We outrebounded them, but we just couldn't convert on the offensive end," Northern Bedford coach Todd Eckenroad said. "We need to come off of screens a little better and get open more. We can bounce back from this."
The loss dropped Northern Bedford to 14-4, but NBC is now 0-2 on the season against the Lady Titans who also are 14-4.
"It feels amazing to win this game, especially on senior night," Lemin said. "I think if we keep playing this well, we can make it through [the] District 5 [playoffs]."
After trailing by as many as 11, Northern Bedford fought back to within two points when Beach made a bank shot midway through the final quarter. Seconds later, after holding Tussey on its next possession, the turnover bug hurt the Lady Panthers again.
Katie Runk stepped in front of an errant pass and took it for a layup before Lemin scored four consecutive points to extend the lead back to eight.
"Our defensive pressure put them out of their rhythm," Gates said. "What shots they did get were contested. I thought our defensive intensity played havoc with their offense."
Leah Hershberger led the Lady Panthers with 11 points.
"I think once we get into the playoffs, we can be very tough," Eckenroad said. "We made it far last year. These kids know that, and we're just going to have to bounce back."
NORTHERN BEDFORD (41): Cottle 3 0-2 8, Hershberger 3 3-5 11, Smith 2 0-0 5, Beach 5 0-3 10, McGhee 2 3-4 7, Potter 0 0-0 0. Totals - 15 6-14 41.
TUSSEY MOUNTAIN (47): Abbott-Watkins 4 0-0 9, Gates 0 0-0 0, Runk 2 2-2 6, Foster 1 6-10 8, Lemin 7 6-8 20, Claycomb 2 0-0 4. Totals - 16 14-20 47.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northern Bedford9 5 13 14 - 41
Tussey Mountain10 13 9 15 - 47
3-point goals: Northern Bedford 5 (Hershberger 2, Cottle 2, Smith); Tussey Mountain 1 (Abbott-Watkins).
Records: Northern Bedford (14-4, 8-3 ICC South, 8-3 Sideling Hill); Tussey Mountain (14-4, 9-2 ICC South, 9-2 Sideling Hill).
Officials: Jim Cushion, Jim Klausman, Sue Kovensky
JV: Tussey Mountain, 53-13. High scorers-Krista Burket, NB, 6; Breana Kendrick, TM, 11.