TYRONE - The Tyrone Lady Golden Eagles made only one field goal the entire second half Friday night - and won.
Tyrone led by 19 points at the half, then nearly gave it away after intermission before escaping with a 53-44 victory over Central in a battle of Mountain League unbeatens at the Middle School gym.
Tyrone improved to 4-0 in the league and overall, too, while Central, 4-3 overall, lost its first league game after three wins.
"What a tale of two halves," Tyrone coach Luke Rhoades said, shaking his head. "I take responsibility for that. I didn't have them ready at the half.
"They made good adjustments and I didn't, but I'm proud of the girls for pulling it out at the end."
Central first-year coach Mike Horton also was proud of his team's effort.
"We had a tough game last night against Penns Valley so I wasn't sure what kind of effort we'd come out with tonight," Horton said. "We made some changes at halftime. I think we had them off balance and made a nice run."
Tyrone bolted to a 13-2 lead and built a seemingly-comfortable 41-22 advantage at the half as Emily Iuzzolino (13 points) and Jordyn Swogger (11) combined to outscore Central. Iuzzolino, a transfer from Altoona, dominated in the paint while Swogger nailed three 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater at intermission.
"When we're clicking, we play well inside-out," Rhoades said. "Emily battled and it was a real good first half for her. She got herself in foul trouble in the second half, but she stayed in the game mentally."
It was a different story in the third quarter. With Iuzzolino on the bench, the Eagles struggled in all phases. Central, meanwhile, got some big plays from Ashley Smith and Mikaela McGraw and reeled off 14 unanswered points to cut the deficit to 41-37 before Swogger buried another buzzer-beating "3" for the Eagles' only points of the quarter and their only field goal of the half.
Tyrone converted only 9-of-17 free throws in the fourth quarter, but that was enough as Swogger, who finished with 16 points, controlled the floor from her point guard position in the final minutes.
"Jordyn is a real competitor," Rhoades noted. "That's all you can say about her. We just put the ball in her hands and wanted her to get to the foul line."
Swogger admitted she had some anxious moments in the second half.
"I think we came out like we had it the bag," she said. "We needed a big push because Central is a great team and we let them catch up. The next time we'll have to come out harder."
As Central creeped closer, Swogger said she was scoreboard watching.
"I was really nervous," she said. "I kept trying to set up plays, but we just couldn't hit. Maybe we were too stressed out, but, luckily, we came out with a win and that's all that matters."
"We just ran out of gas," Horton said. "If a couple other baskets had fallen, who knows what might have happened. It was a good effort by our girls.
"It's a new system," he noted, "and they have to believe in themselves. We're making progress and I think we'll be a pretty good team by the end of the year."
CENTRAL (44): Snyder 1 2-4 5, McGraw 2 0-0 5, Ritchey 3 1-3 7, Smith 7 3-4 19, Myers 1 4-4 6, Johnston 0 2-2 2, Long 0 0-0 0. Totals - 14 12-17 44.
TYRONE (53): Swogger 5 2-6 16, Raftery 1 0-0 3, Iuzzolino 6 3-6 15, Christine 1 6-8 9, Noll 2 0-0 5, Kemp 1 0-1 2, Sprankle 0 2-2 2, Cannistraci 0 1-2 1. Totals - 16 14-25 53.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central9 13 15 7 - 44
Tyrone20 21 3 9 - 53
3-point goals: Central 4 (Smith 2, Snyder, McGraw); Tyrone 7 (Swogger 4, Raftery, Christine, Noll).
Officials: Dick Wagner, Dave Adams, Jerry Kauffman.
Records: Central (4-3); Tyrone (4-0).
JV: Tyrone, 53-21. High scorers-Marissa Sprankle, T, 12; Paige Long, C, 7.