HOLLIDAYSBURG - State College Area High School girls basketball coach Bethany Irwin regards junior Franki Treglia as a pure catch-and-shoot offensive threat.
"Franki's strength is her outside shooting,'' Irwin said. "She has a very nice jumper, and I've been telling her to shoot the ball as soon as she catches it.''
Treglia followed instructions perfectly Friday night at the Hollidaysburg Area High School gymnasium, burying a game-winning 3-point shot from the left side of the court with just two seconds left, to spark State College to a breathtaking 49-48 victory over the Lady Tigers.
Treglia had missed a shot moments before, but made good on her chance at redemption after taking a pass from sophomore guard Carrie Mahon. Morgan Kaluza kept State College (10-9) alive by rebounding Treglia's missed shot, and got the ball to Mahon, who fed the ball back out to Treglia for the game-winning shot.
Hollidaysburg was well aware of what Treglia could do: She played for the Lady Tigers varsity the past two years before her family moved to State College.
"My teammates got me the ball, and my coach has been telling me to shoot the ball,'' a grinning Treglia said after the game. "That's all I can do. It felt good when I let it go.''
Irwin was confident Treglia's decisive shot would go in.
"She had her feet set,'' Irwin said. "I can tell when the shot is going down. This was a good win for us - probably our best of the season.''
And it turned out to be one of Hollidaysburg's toughest losses. The Lady Tigers (11-8) controlled much of the first half, bolting to a 22-11 second-quarter lead, but couldn't finish the deal. Hollidaysburg made just three of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter, and State College fashioned a 39-27 overall edge in rebounds.
"You [have to] do the little things throughout the game,'' subdued Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck said. "We missed some free throws, and they got some offensive rebounds.''
Hollidaysburg's athletic six-foot junior post Morgan Griffith led all scorers with 25 points, but rather than try to collapse on Griffith underneath the basket, State College focused its defensive efforts on Hollidaysburg senior guard Alex Gildea, and held her to six points.
"Alex Gildea is an outstanding shooter, and it was our game plan not to let her beat us,'' Irwin said. "[Junior] Allie Baney played real tough 1-on-1 defense on Gildea for us, and they got the ball inside to Griffith. One of our weaknesses is our overall lack of height.''
Griffith's dominance on the low blocks helped Hollidaysburg establish control early. Her inside bucket with 3:29 left in the second quarter gave the Lady Tigers their biggest lead of the game, 22-11.
But a young, never-say-die State College team was up to the task of accomplishing a comeback.
"We have no seniors, and no returning varsity letterwinners from last season on this year's roster,'' Irwin said. "But our girls never quit tonight. This game could have gone either way, and every single one of our kids made an impact.''
Hollidaysburg senior guard Rachel McClain made one of two free throws with 35 seconds left in the game to give Hollidaysburg a 47-44 lead.
Treglia scored a rebound off a missed free throw by Kaluza with 25 seconds remaining, pulling State College to within one, 47-46.
Gildea was fouled and converted one of two free throws with 21 seconds left, giving Hollidaysburg a two-point (48-46) lead, before Treglia's heroics at the end won it for State College, which got 13 points from sophomore Bridget King and 11 from junior Jenna Altomare.
Tough, hard-fought games like Friday's will do both teams plenty of good come playoff time in a couple weeks, but Jubeck took little solace in that.
"The fans in the stands, the playoff-type atmosphere, that's what the kids look forward to,'' she said.
Game notes: Hollidaysburg made 17 of 46 floor shots, while State College converted 20 of 59 ... Hollidaysburg pulled out the junior varsity game, 37-36, on junior Amy Tomassetti's late 3-point field goal ... The Lady Tigers visit Forest Hills Monday night.
STATE COLLEGE (49): Mahon 0 0-0 0, Baney 2 0-0 4, Altomare 5 1-2 11, King 6 1-1 13, Allison 3 1-2 7, Stevenson 2 0-0 4, Karstetter 0 0-0 0, Treglia 2 3-4 8, Kaluza 0 2-4 2. Totals - 20 8-13 49.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (48): Gildea 2 1-2 6, Ellis 0 0-0 0, R. McClain 1 2-4 4, Griffith 9 7-8 25, Mercer 2 1-5 5, Muir 2 1-1 5, Storm 1 0-0 3. Totals - 17 12-20 48.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
State College7 14 19 9 - 49
Hollidaysburg13 13 17 5 - 48
3-point goals: State College 1 (Tregila); Hollidaysburg 2 (Gildea, Storm).
Records: State College (10-9); Hollidaysburg (11-8).
Officials: Kevin Lewis, Steve Kots, Ron Williams.
JV: Hollidaysburg, 37-36. High scorers-Shelton-Burleigh, SC, 14; A. McClain, H, 15.