Second chances at a game-winning shot against your biggest rival don't come around too often, but when Hollidaysburg's Morgan Griffith got hers, she made it count.
After having a potential game-winner roll around the rim and fall out in a double overtime loss last year at Altoona, Griffith got a nearly identical shot to fall this time around, lifting Hollidaysburg to a 57-56 win over Altoona at the AAHS Fieldhouse.
"The last seconds of the game were like deja vu," Griffith said. "It's all about finishing. I'm so happy I was able to get it done this time. It's amazing."
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Lady Tiger Morgan Griffith shoots the game-winning basket over Altoona’s Kaycie Reffner.
The 6-foot center took an entry pass from Susie Ellis and went strong to the rim for two of her game-high 29 points with 12 seconds left to give Hollidaysburg the win.
"We had the same officials, the same plays at the end. The similarities from this last year to this year make you scratch your head," Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck said. "Both teams fought to the end, and it came down to one or two shots."
Hollidaysburg remains undefeated through the early part of the season at 3-0. Altoona falls to 1-2.
After trailing by as many as 18 points early in the second quarter, Altoona fought all the back and took their first lead of the game with 24 seconds remaining when Darby Lee put home a layup off an inbounds pass from Kaycie Reffner.
Lee nearly matched Griffith point-for-point, leading Altoona with 28 points.
"Darby's game has really developed," Altoona coach Jill Helsel. "She's playing with a lot of confidence. She's elevating her shot. She's more mobile."
The Lady Tigers looked like they might run Altoona out of its own gym early, bolting to a 28-10 lead by the early part of the second quarter.
Griffith keyed the strong early start with 11 points, six rebounds and five steals. The Lady Tigers also converted early Altoona turnovers into easy points.
"We came out strong then Altoona did a heck of a job getting back in the game. They gained their composure and started knocking down some shots," Jubeck said.
The Lady Lions outscored Hollidaysburg 14-3 over the remainder of the quarter to climb within seven points at halftime.
Lee scored six points, and Natalie Knab drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to lead the Altoona charge.
The Lady Lions trimmed the Hollidaysburg lead to five by the end of the three quarters and continued their charge throughout the final quarter.
Reffner scored five straight points late in third with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws. The senior guard opened the fourth quarter with another 3-pointer.
"She's our leader. She does it all," Helsel said. "He steps up and scores when we need her to, and she does a good job of finding the open man inside. She's very, very valuable."
After Griffith made 1-of-2 free throws, Lauren Donley put in a layup to make it one-point game, 43-42.
The two teams went back and forth the rest of the quarter with Griffith scoring 11, and Lee tallying nine points.
Altoona had a chance to win it in the final seconds, but Reffner's layup attempt was well defended, hit off the rim and went out of bounds off Altoona.
"It's a tough loss, but we have them again. It's not the last time we'll see them," Reffner said.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (57): Storm 1 2-2 5, Servello 2 1-2 5, Muir 1 3-3 5, Mercer 2 1-3 5, Griffith 11 7-11 29, Ellis 2 2-2 7, Jennings 0 1-2 1. Totals - 19 17-25 57.
ALTOONA (56): Hatch 0 4-5 4, Donley 1 1-2 3, Lee 8 12-15 28, Grimme 2 1-2 5, Reffner 2 5-6 11, Dibert 0 0-0 0, Knab 1 0-0 3, Feathers 1 0-0 2. Totals - 15 23-30 56.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Hollidaysburg22 9 11 15 - 57
Altoona7 17 13 19 - 56
3-point goals: Hollidaysburg 2 (Storm, Ellis); Altoona 3 (Reffner 2, Knab).
Records: Hollidaysburg (3-0); Altoona (1-2).
JV: 48-38, Hollidaysburg. High scorers-McClain (H) 13; Davis (A) 11.