Over the years, the Bishop Guilfoyle Lady Marauders have been known for a stingy man-to-man defense that helped fuel several district and state girls basketball championships.
However, veteran coach Mark Moschella has so much respect for Hollidaysburg this season that his Lady Marauders came out in a 1-3-1 zone against the Lady Tigers in the championship game of the Marguerite Frederick Lady Marauder Classic at the Pleasant Valley gym Saturday.
The Lady Tigers might have been surprised by the BG zone, but it didn't bother them. The Tigers overcame a five-point first-quarter deficit, took the lead in the second and raced to a 58-49 win.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Hollidaysburg’s Lexi Servello works to get by Bishop Guilfoyle’s Brittany Boslet.
"I thought it was a great high school basketball game," Moschella said. "A couple baskets here and maybe a few less turnovers ... it might have changed the game.
"Hollidaysburg played a real nice game and we had to make some defensive adjustments to slow them down," he said.
Moschella used the zone in hopes of neutralizing Hollidaysburg pivot Morgan Griffith.
"We have a lot of respect for her and we knew we had to shut her down inside," he said, "and then they hit some nice shots on the perimeter."
"To be honest, we were expecting them to play man," Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck said. "I've never seen them play so much zone. I can't tell you the last time I saw them play a zone.
"McCort played us a little 1-3-1 [Friday], and our kids seemed to hesitate a little," Jubeck said. "But, tonight we were able to find Susie Ellis and get her some 3-point shots."
Ellis nailed three 3's in the second quarter to lift the Tigers into the lead, and they never looked back. Ellis' first trey tied the score at 17-all, her second gave the Tigers a 22-20 advantage and her third, following a Courteney Storm trey, made it 28-22.
The Tigers outscored BG, 17-9, in the tide-turning second quarter and the usually-steady Marauders committed 10 turnovers in that eight-minute session.
"That [turnovers] was my biggest disappointment, not making good decisions with the ball," Moschella said.
Hollidaysburg led 29-26 at the intermission and blew it open early in the third quarter. The Tigers scored the first nine - five by Hannah Mercer - to start the second half and hiked their lead to 14 (42-28) on buckets by Griffith and Morgan Jennings.
"We were expecting pretty much anything," Griffith said. "We adjusted and I was really happy how everyone played.
"We haven't won here [much]," she said. "I don't know what it is but we never seem to be able to finish here. I'm really glad we finished tonight."
Tournament MVP Griffith scored 12 of a game-high 17 points in the second half and came up big every time BG got within striking distance.
"Their kids aren't very tall," Jubeck said of BG, "and, we knew as the game got closer near the end, Morgan Griffith would be the key. We got her the ball and she was able to finish. Our guards did a good job of getting into the lane to get her the ball."
Mercer tallied nine of her 12 points in the second half and was the Tigers' glue down the stretch.
"It [zone] didn't surprise me," Mercer said, "and I don't think it surprised the rest of the team, either. A lot of teams run a zone against us so we know where to go and I thought we did a really good job of penetrating and hitting those gaps.
"We knew where we had to go," she said, "and I don't think [zone] threw us off at all. I think our experience showed and we're ready to do whatever it takes this year to finish."
"If we could have kids like Hannah Mercer from now until the rest of our careers, someone with that no-quit attitude, every program would be in good shape," Jubeck said.
Jubeck was happy to win the tournament at a site which isn't easy for any visiting team.
"In the area, this is probably the toughest place to play," she said. "It's almost a little bit like Duke. You know you've got to build a lead because, if it gets close at the end, the fans of Bishop Guilfoyle are going to play a very big factor.
"We knew we had to control the boards and we had to make sure we didn't allow them second and third shots," Jubeck noted. "It's difficult to keep [Kayla] Bates and [Halee] Adams off the boards and they did get some second-chance points but, when we were controlling the boards, that's when we were at our best."
Game notes: Adams (16), Elyssa Ehredt (13) and Bates (12) accounted for 41 of BG's 49 points. ... Hollidaysburg had a 27-25 advantage in rebounds and turned the ball over 15 times - five fewer than BG. ... Bishop McCort edged Central Mountain, 58-56, in the consolation game. ... Griffith was the MVP and the all-tourney team included Mercer, Adams, Ehredt, McCort's Stephanie Hrbal and Central Mountain's Kara Heckman. ... BG travels to Westmont Hilltop on Wednesday while Hollidaysburg visits Altoona.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (58): Griffith 8 1-2 17, Storm 2 0-0 6, Muir 4 0-2 8, Mercer 5 1-2 12, Servello 1 0-1 2, S. Ellis 3 0-0 9, Jennings 2 0-0 4, McClain 0 0-0 0. Totals - 25 2-7 58.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (49): H. Adams 6 3-5 16, Bates 3 5-6 12, Ehredt 6 0-0 13, Stessney 2 0-0 6, Boslet 1 0-1 2, Craig 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals - 18 8-12 49.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Hollidaysburg12 17 15 14 - 58
Bishop Guilfoyle17 9 8 15 - 49
3-point goals: Hollidaysburg 6 (S. Ellis 3, Storm 2, Mercer); Bishop Guilfoyle 5 (Stessney 2, H. Adams, Bates, Ehredt).
Officials: Frank Garritano, Chris Garritano, Dave Reimer.
Records: Hollidaysburg (2-0); Bishop Guilfoyle (1-1).