HOLLIDAYBURG - The Hollidaysburg Area High School Lady Tigers have not exactly been playing their best basketball of late - losing their last two games and struggling a to win ballgames in most of the month of January.
However, with the postseason starting in less than two weeks, the Lady Tigers made a serious statement, routing the Ambridge Bridgers, 83-42, Tuesday night at home.
The game was a makeup game that was originally scheduled for Jan. 21.
"We lost our last two games," Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck said. "We knew how important it was to win this one."
After Hollidaysburg jumped out of the gates by going on a 12-2 run - with both Susie Ellis and Rachel McClain each sinking treys - Ambridge ended the first quarter with an 11-8 run of its own.
Following the Bridgers cutting their deficit to just five points early in the second quarter on a layup by Rachel Deiter - who led all Ambridge (5-14) scorers with 16 points - the Lady Tigers outscored their foes, 11-2, for the rest of the second quarter.
Ellis and Hannah Mercer, a pair of juniors, had the hot hands, scoring a combined nine points during that time.
For as well as the Lady Tigers played in the first half, however, it was nothing compared to the show they put on for the home fans in the third quarter.
Hollidaysburg exploded by totaling 31 points in those eight minutes. The Lady Tigers reigned 3-balls all over the Bridgers, making five of their nine treys in the third quarter. Ellis made a pair, while Amy Tomassetti, Gildea and Mercer each made one.
"We are still looking to shoot more consistently, but if we shoot the ball like this, I'll like our chances," Jubeck said.
Ambridge coach Kim Tirk agreed.
"They are a really good team," Tirk said. "They have more shooters. But we're young."
After three quarters of play, the Lady Tigers had built a 64-27 lead, but the teams played a much more evenly matched fourth quarter. Still, Hollidaysburg outscored the Bridgers, 19-15, in the quarter to seal the victory.
The balanced scoring was a big deal for Hollidaysburg with three players finishing with at least 16 points, and three others scoring at least eight points. Mercer paced her team with 17 points, while Gildea and Ellis both scored 16 points.
The Lady Tigers upped their mark to 11-7 and now host the Little Lions of State College Friday night.
Hollidaysburg defeated State College by six early in January on the road, but Jubeck will be extremely cautious because it's a rivalry game.
"It should be tough," Jubeck said. "It is any time you play rivals."
AMBRIDGE (42): Fischer 6 0-0 14, Mueller 0 0-0 0, Rossick 0 0-0 0, Korol 0 0-0 0, Hilkendigger 2 2-2 6, Deiter 6 2-2 16, Frederick 1 0-0 2, Haslett 1 0-0 2. Totals - 16 4-4 42.
HOLLIDAYBURG (83): Gildea 5 5-7 16, Ellis 6 0-0 16, McClain 3 1-2 8,Mercer 7 1-2 17, Griffith 3 3-4 9, Storm 4 0-0 8, Muir 1 0-0 2, Uzmack 1 0-0 2, Tomassetti 1 2-2 5, O'Donald 0 0-0 0. Totals - 31 12-17 83 .
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Ambridge 13 6 8 15 - 42
Hollidaysburg 20 13 31 19 - 83
3 point goals: Ambridge 4 (Fischer 2, Deiter 2); Hollidaysburg 9 (Gildea, Ellis 4, McClain , Mercer 2, Tomessetti).
Records: Ambridge (5-14); Hollidaysburg (11-7).