Altoona's Kaycie Reffner has had many fine moments throughout her high school career but none any finer than Tuesday against Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic.
The senior guard knocked down not one, not two, but three 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to lead the Lady Lions past Bishop Guilfoyle, 65-58, at a sold-out Pleasant Valley gym.
"She was huge," Altoona coach Jill Helsel said. "I challenged her at halftime to step up, and she did."
Mirror photos by Patrick Waksmunski
Altoona’s Kaycie Reffner (left) and Bishop Guilfoyle’s Brittany Boslet battle for the ball.
A tight game from the opening tip, the lead changed hands 14 times, five times in the fourth quarter alone.
When Halee Adams sank two free throws with 3:40 to play, BG led 52-51. Reffner then hit her first 3 to put Altoona back in the lead.
Adams tied the game with a driving layup for two of her game-high 22 points, but Reffner quickly answered with another 3-pointer that gave the Lady Lions the lead for good.
"The way they were doubling our bigs, I knew I had to step up and hit a big shot," Reffner said. "Once I hit that first one, I felt like I got in a real good rhythm."
Kayla Bates' two free throws pulled the Lady Marauders within a point, but Reffner's trey from the corner made it a two possession game with 1:52 remaining.
Altoona proceeded to spread the floor and sealed the win from the free throw line. Reffner made 3-of-4 from the line to finish with a team-high 20 points.
Reffner hit five 3-pointers in all, and fellow guard Lauren Donley drained four on her way to 14 points.
"It's not often that we have two guards in double digits," Helsel said. "We've been preaching all season that we need to have both a good inside and outside game. The girls inside found the open guards, and they knocked them down."
Kayla Grimme dominated the paint with 19 rebounds. The 6-foot-1 senior also scored 10 points for a double-double. Darby Lee added nine points and seven rebounds.
On one play alone early in the fourth quarter, Grimme pulled down rebound after rebound before finally scoring on her fourth chance.
"It's difficult when you're giving up a lot of size," BG coach Mark Moschella said. "We were trying to do as much as we could, but when Kristen Miller and Devin Stessney fouled out we were using a point guard on their post players. Reffner got some clean looks and did a nice job finishing."
Adams finished with a double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds to go along with her 22 points. Bates scored in double digits as well with 13 points.
For the eight BG seniors who have experienced so much success, the last home game of their high school careers goes down as a loss.
"It's rough. We had a hard time keeping up with their size," Bates said. "I think this will put a fire in our stomach the whole way through the district playoffs."
The 20-2 Lady Marauders play Westmont Hilltop in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference championship game 6 p.m. Saturday at Richland High School. BG is the number one seed in the Class A district playoffs, which begin next week.
"I think the kids will take a lot out of this game," Moschella said. "We're disappointed we lost, but we showed we have the capability of winning this type of game. We'll be ready to come and out play next time."
Altoona closes out the regular season Thursday at Williamsport leading up to the District 6 Class AAAA playoffs. The seedings for that playoff bracket will be announced next week.
"We came in here, kept our composure and never panicked," Helsel said. "We've lost a lot of games by four points or seven points. We've learned from that, and the girls are being rewarded for all the hard work they've put in."
Game notes: Altoona outrebounded BG 35-20...Altoona made 55 percent of its 3-pointers, hitting 11-of-20...BG was nearly perfect from the free throw line, converting 15-of-16 free throws...Prior to the game, BG honored four students from the fall sports teams who received all-state honors: football player Nick Chesini and volleyball players Annie Dombrowski, Logan McIntosh and Rachel Potopa. Potopa was the Maxpreps.com Pennsylvania player of the week for her performance the week of Sept. 24.
ALTOONA (65): Hatch 1 1-2 4, Reffner 6 3-5 20, Donley 4 2-2 14, Lee 4 1-2 9, Grimme 3 4-6 10, Knab 1 0-0 3, Dibert 2 0-0 4, Feathers 0 1-2 1. Totals - 21 12-19 65.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (58): Ehredt 4 0-0 8, Bates 4 4-4 13, Boslet 3 0-0 8, Stessney 2 0-0 4, Adams 6 10-10 22, Miller 1 1-2 3, Craig 0 0-0 0, McGhee 0 0-0 0. Totals - 20 15-16 58.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Altoona17 13 16 19 - 65
Bishop Guilfoyle15 18 15 10 - 58
3-point goals: Altoona 11 (Hatch, Reffner 5, Donley 4, Knab); Bishop Guilfoyle 3 (Bates, Boslet 2).
Records: Altoona (14-7); Bishop Guilfoyle (20-2).
JV: 39-29, Bishop Guilfoyle. High scorers-Irvin, Scipioni 10 (BG); Knab 6 (A).