People might want to call the Blairsville High School girls' basketball team the Comeback Kids after their victories in the BG Holiday Classic.
Trailing by as many as 12 points in the second quarter and by 10 at the half, the Lady Bobcats rallied to stun Bishop Guilfoyle, 56-54, in Saturday's championship game at the Pleasant Valley gym.
Blairsville came back from a 10-point deficit to beat Delone Catholic, 49-48, in a first-round game Friday.
"We used the same speech as last night," Blairsville coach Ralph McGinnis said after the upset win over the Lady Marauders. "We put ourselves in a hole, so we just had to go out and play one possession at a time."
McGinnis said to make every possession count, make defensive stops and quit giving BG two and three shots at the basket. He also encouraged his team to slow down.
The Lady Bobcats heeded their coach's advice. Once they slowed down and began to execute, they were very good and the Lady Marauders, uncharacteristically, stumbled down the stretch.
Blairsville began taking control in the third quarter, outscoring BG, 17-9, and cut the deficit to 45-43. The 'Cats' comeback continued in the early minutes of the fourth period when they scored seven straight points to go on top, 50-45, with 5:16 to play.
Although BG twice came within a point, the Lady Marauders never reclaimed the lead. Blairsville controlled the ball and made four free throws to lead 56-51 with 24 seconds left. BG's Marina Scipioni nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to set the final count.
"We kept the ball in our free-throw shooters' hands," McGinnis explained, "and, if someone got lazy, we'd throw a backcut on them. We had one layup when Chelsey [Koren] took the ball to the basket.
"We'll score out of [the delay] if we have to, but, otherwise, we just want to run the clock and get to the free-throw line," he said.
Blairsville used only five players - four juniors and a sophomore - with Koren scoring 22 points. Nicole Boyer netted 14 and Laurel O'Barto 13.
The Lady Marauders also had three players in double figures - Lili Benzel (16), Annie Dombrowski (15) and Macy Adams (12). Benzel and Adams are freshmen and Dombrowski, a senior, hasn't played for a couple years.
"Blairsville did a nice job getting their three shooters open," BG coach Mark Moschella said. "We'd close up on two of them but it seemed like we didn't get out on the third one.
"They did a good job pecking away at our lead and got themselves back into the game," he said. "At the end, we got ourselves into a situation where we didn't handle the basketball. Hats off to Blairsville because they really stepped it up in the last four minutes."
BG turned the ball over 16 times, including several in the closing minutes after Blairsville got the lead.
"[Blairsville] won the [District 6] Double-A championship last year and have almost everyone back, so it probably was an off-night against Hollidaysburg," Moschella said of Blairsville's only loss in seven games.
BG lost for the first time in six games and played three freshmen much of the first half after sophomore point guard Alyssa McGhee picked up a couple quick fouls.
"We're searching for experience and it takes awhile," Moschella noted. "You're going to have to put up with some things maybe you don't see juniors and seniors do who have been playing for awhile."
Delone consy winner
Delone Catholic beat United, 63-36, in the consolation game as Maddie Comly scored 30 points.
Blairsville's Koren was the tournament MVP. The all-tourney team included Blairsville's O'Barto and Boyer, BG's Dombrowski, Delone's Comly and United's Eden Bloom. United's Nicole Boyer won the hustle award.
BLAIRSVILLE (56): Misleaney 1 1-2 3, Boyer 5 1-2 14, O'Barto 5 3-6 13, Koren 7 8-14 22, Clayton 2 0-0 4. Totals - 20 13-24 56.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (54): Benzel 7 0-0 16, M. Adams 3 4-4 12, Dombrowski 7 1-3 15, McGhee 0 4-4 4, Irwin 0 2-4 2, Taddei 0 2-2 2, Lewis 0 0-0 0, Scipioni 1 0-0 3. Totals - 18 13-17 54.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Blairsville17 9 17 13 - 56
Bishop Guilfoyle22 14 9 9 - 54
3-point goals: Blairsville 3 (Boyer 3); Bishop Guilfoyle 5 (Benzel 2, M. Adams 2, Scipioni).
Officials: Clark Adelman, Rich Gergely, Jack McDougal.
Records: Blairsville (7-1); Bishop Guilfoyle (5-1).