TYRONE - The Tyrone Lady Eagles lost their first game in nearly two months on Friday night.
They returned home Saturday night, although they shared the same gymnasium that the Tyrone boys traditionally play their home games.
It didn't take the Lady Eagles long to get the sour taste out of their mouths or to make themselves at home.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Tyrone’s Nicole Gripp takes the ball to the basket on Tussey Mountain’s Morgan Gates.
Tyrone went on an early 11-2 run in the first quarter as the Lady Eagles defeated Tussey Mountain, 67-44.
Tyrone coach Luke Rhoades was encouraged by how his team responded.
"I challenged them in the locker room," he said. "A sign of a good team is one who can bounce back after a tough loss.
"All the girls played well tonight with a lot of heart and desire."
Rhoades had praise for the opposition, too.
"Tussey is a very scrappy, well balanced team," he said. "They switch up their defense, and I told the girls to be ready for it."
Tyrone's offensive efforts were led by senior Olivia Stever, who registered a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
"She came out tonight, played determined and put the ball in the basket," Rhoades said. "But the key to her tonight was her rebounding."
Stever credited her teammates for bouncing back.
"We haven't lost a game in awhile," Stever said. "It just hurt. It wasn't a fun thing, and we didn't want to experience it again tonight."
The Lady Eagles were able to put the game away in the second quarter. Morgan Taylor managed to score all 10 of her points in the second quarter as the team took a 43-22 lead at intermission.
"Morgan doesn't usually put up double digits," Stever said. "That was exciting for all of us."
They didn't stop there.
Jordyn Swogger scored 10 points after having played the entire game Friday.
"She played the entire game [Friday] and played most of the game tonight," Rhoades said. "She worked the ball and kept things under control."
The hero of the night was Nicole Gripp, who scored six of her 14 points as part of a first quarter where Tyrone outscored Tussey Mountain, 23-9.
"Nicole started off the game for us and made her first five baskets," Rhoades said. She sent a message that she was ready to play tonight."
Gripp felt her team was prepared to handle the circumstances.
"We came here and shot around early," she said.
She also felt intrigued by the chance to play against a team Tyrone usually doesn't play against.
"We weren't really sure what they were going to bring to us," Gripp said.
Lady Titan coach Todd Gates was disappointed with how his team played. The Lady Titans fell to 15-5.
"We knew we had to play a very good game to even stay competitive," he said. "We were giving them wide open looks, and it snowballed from there."
Morgan Lemin was the Lady Titans' leading scorer with 13 points and scored seven of Tussey's nine first quarter points despite the early turnovers.
"She had our first seven points," Gates said. "We had to keep her in there.
"Once we cut down our turnovers, we got the ball to Lemin in the paint where we like to get her shots."
Each team now is facing the prospects of getting ready for the playoffs. Tyrone will compete in the District 6 Class AAA playoffs after playing in the Mountain League championship game Saturday.
"This is the type of atmosphere you will play in, and you've got to rise up and you have to push yourself," Rhoades told his team.
Gates believes there is still work to be done before the Lady Titans begin play in the District 5-AA playoffs.
"We need to pick it up and play well every night because one game like this in the playoffs, your season is over," he said.
Tyrone will travel to Williamsburg on Thursday, and Tussey Mountain heads to Chestnut Ridge on Monday.
TUSSEY MOUNTAIN (44): Abbott-Watkins 2 0-0 4, Runk 5 0-0 11, Lemin 5 3-5 13, Rupert 2 1-2 7, Claycomb 0 2-2 2, Foster 3 0-0 7, Kendrick 0 0-0 0, Coffman 0 0-0 0, Reed 0 0-0 0, Stoudnour 0 0-0 0, Gates 0 0-0 0, Drenning 0 0-0 0. Totals - 17 6-9 44.
TYRONE (67): Stever 5 4-6 15, Brokenshire 2 0-0 4, Gripp 6 1-2 14, Hettinger 6 0-0 14, Taylor 5 0-0 10, Swogger 3 2-2 10, Hammond 0 0-0 0, Rafftery 0 0-0 0. Totals - 27 7-10 67.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tussey Mountain9 13 7 14 - 44
Tyrone23 20 18 6 - 67
3-point goals: Tussey Mountain 4 (Runk, Rupert 2, Foster); Tyrone 6 (Stever, Gripp, Hettinger 2, Swogger 2).
Records: Tussey Mountain (15-5); Tyrone (18-3).
Officals: Keith Redfoot, Jim Klausman, Jack McDougal
JV: No game.