HOLLIDAYSBURG - Playing a stretch of three games in as many days - including today's matchup in suburban Pittsburgh against defending state champion Seton-LaSalle - dictated that a breather would be welcomed Friday night for the Hollidaysburg Lady Golden Tigers in their home game with Punxsutawney.
And Friday's outing proved to be just what the doctor ordered for Hollidaysburg, which improved its season record to 11-0 with a 67-43 win behind senior post Morgan Griffith's career-high 30 points.
Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck was afforded the opportunity to give her starters plenty of rest, as the Lady Tigers opened the third quarter with a 32-17 lead and five reserves on the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School gymnasium floor.
"Our plan tonight was to try to get some starters some rest,'' Jubeck said. "We wanted to get out of the gates with a fast start. We were able to substitute pretty freely, with 15 kids getting into this game.''
Griffith's contributions were a big reason why. The 6-foot standout controlled the paint, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in the first half alone. She wrapped up her banner night with 14 fourth-quarter points, finished with 16 rebounds in the game, and made all 14 of her attempted free throws.
"I'm a senior, and I knew how to take control of my height advantage and get position,'' Griffith said.
Hollidaysburg bolted out to a quick 12-2 lead behind two Griffith buckets from in close and another pair of field goals from the low blocks by junior forward Morgan Jennings. Jennings grabbed eight rebounds as Hollidaysburg fashioned a 44-19 advantage on the boards.
"Morgan Griffith and Morgan Jennings gave us some nice work on the boards tonight,'' Jubeck said.
"There's not a lot of height in the Punxsutawney lineup, so we were hoping Morgan Griffith could dominate in the paint for us.''
After Punxsutawney closed to within 12-7 on sophomore Jensen Constantino's basket, Hollidaysburg regained control with a 3-point shot from the top of the circle by senior guard Susie Ellis. Griffith then added a hoop off a feed from senior guard Lexi Servello, before Griffith hit a pair of free throws and Jennings scored a put-back to stake Hollidaysburg to a 21-9 lead after one quarter.
"Hollidaysburg is a very good basketball team,'' said Punxsutawney coach Randy Reitz, whose squad dropped to 7-5. "They're athletic, smart, and very experienced. Griffith is a very good talent, but she's also got a lot of talent around her there.''
Hollidaysburg maintained a 48-31 lead after three quarters, and stayed in cruise control for much of the second half.
Griffith's 30 points bettered her previous career-high of 29 in the Lady Tigers' one-point victory at archrival Altoona Dec. 12.
Punxsutawney got 14 points from junior Taylor Newcomb and 11 from Constantino.
Hollidaysburg won handily Thursday night at Penn Hills before breezing last night. The Lady Tigers figure to have all they can handle today in a 4:30 p.m. tipoff against Seton-LaSalle in the Gateway High School Classic in Monroeville.
Seton-LaSalle captured the PIAA Class AA state title last March, before seeing its 37-game winning streak snapped earlier this year.
"This is the busy part of our schedule, and Seton-LaSalle is the best team on our schedule so far,'' Jubeck said. "They're the defending state champions, they're very tall, and very athletic. They will be a very good opponent for us.''
Griffith is among those Lady Tigers who is looking forward to today's challenge.
"If everybody shows up and we all play like we know how, I think we can give them a good game,'' Griffith said. "We're excited to be playing a team like that.''
PUNXSUTAWEY (43): Alyssa Reitz 2 0-0 6, Newcomb 6 0-2 14, Constantino 5 1-2 11, Fye 1 2-2 4, Ashley Reitz 0 0-0 0, Horner 1 0-0 2, Ward 0 0-0 0, DiPietro 1 0-0 2, White 0 0-0 0, Ferko 0 0-0 0, Bridge 0 0-0 0, Painter 2 0-0 4. Totals - 18 3-6 43.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (67): Griffith 8 14-14 30, Jennings 3 0-0 6, Muir 2 0-0 4, Mercer 0 1-2 1, Servello 0 3-6 3, S. Ellis 2 2-6 8, Tomassetti 0 0-0 0, Davis 1 2-2 5, Kirsch 3 0-0 8, Palfey 0 0-0 0, Hurliman 0 0-0 0, Haupt 0 0-0 0, Scheel 0 0-0 0, Stitt 0 0-0 0, C. Ellis 0 2-2 2. Totals - 19 24-32 67.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Punxsutawney............9 8 14 12 - 43
Hollidaysburg21 11 16 19 - 67
3-point goals: Punxsutawney 4 (Alyssa Reitz 2, Newcomb 2); Hollidaysburg 5 (S. Ellis 2, Kirsch 2, Davis).
Records: Punxsutawney (7-5); Hollidaysburg (11-0).
JV: Hollidaysburg, 49-17. High scorer-Hollidaysburg's Sierra Kirsch, 12.
Officials: Dave Reimer, Todd Parker, Frank Swalga.