TYRONE - Friday night both Tyrone and Huntingdon won Mountain League contests to set up a game early Saturday afternoon with the league title on the line.
The Lady Eagles proved to be up for the challenge, while the Lady Bearcats were a little late to respond to the alarm clock.
Tyrone scored the first 25 points en route to a 64-35 victory that clinched the Lady Eagles' third Mountain League title in eight years under coach Luke Rhoades.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Jordyn Swogger puts up a runner for Tyrone as Shannon Henry defends.
"I like the way our girls came out focused," Rhoades said. "We had a game last night, and that was one thing I was worried about, but defensively we knew who their players were and got to them and offensively we shot with confidence."
Tyrone, which led 31-4 at halftime, got a mix of offense from a senior and a freshman.
Ninth-grader Kasey Engle scored a game-high 19 points and senior Emily Iuzzolino added 14 points.
"This is a tribute to all the hard work these girls have put in during the offseason," Rhoades said. "We have a lot of goals we still want to meet. We're starting to really come together as a unit. Halfway through the year, I was a little worried about the girls playing together.
"Now the young girls are looking up to the seniors and their hard work, and the dedication is rubbing off on them. It's making for a nice unit on the floor."
Jordyn Swogger, Tyrone's other starting senior to go with two freshmen and a sophomore, scored nine points and was a part of a smothering first-half defense that forced 15 Huntingdon turnovers. Swogger was also a major part of Tyrone's 2012 Mountain League championship team. Iuzzolino is in her first year at Tyrone after transferring from Altoona.
"It's definitely a big accomplishment for us to win the title," Iuzzolino said. "We expected a big game. We knew what was on the line. It's a new team, but I love them and I wouldn't change anything for the world."
Tyrone's big first half turned out to be vital considering the way Huntingdon came out in the third quarter.
The Lady Bearcats connected on eight second-half 3-pointers, including three from Ellie Keller and two more from Bri Rivello, who led her team with 12 points.
"I'm not really sure what happened in the first half," Huntingdon coach Amanda Easter said. "Our shots weren't falling, and theirs were. I told them at halftime to come out and play with pride and not worry about the first half. That's all you can do."
Though Huntingdon (14-5) and Tyrone (16-4) have similar records, their paths will not cross again.
The Lady Bearcats will compete in the District 6 Class AAA playoffs and Tyrone will be in Class AA.
"We have to start hitting more outside shots like we did in the second half," Easter said. "Everyone has been keying in on Rivello inside, so we have to have other people step up offensively."
The Lady Eagles close out their regular season against two teams, Penns Valley and Bishop Carroll, that defeated them earlier in the year as they prepare for the postseason.
"Double-A is loaded, and you just have some great teams," Rhoades said. "Even with our record, we're probably not even in the top eight or nine teams right now. We've got to have a great night every night out and not have any letdowns."
HUNTINGDON (35): Kurtz 1 0-0 3, Henney 1 0-0 3, Mansberger 1 0-0 3, Felton 1 0-0 2, Rivello 4 2-5 12, Jenkins 1 1-2 3, McCrum 0 0-0 0, Keller 3 0-0 9, Kyle 0 0-0 0, Wolfe 0 0-0 0. Totals - 12 3-7 35.
TYRONE (64): Engle 6 3-4 19, Christine 2 0-0 4, Iuzzolino 6 2-3 14, Raftery 0 0-0 0, Kemp 1 1-2 3, Noll 1 4-4 7, Sprankle 0 0-0 0, Mountz 0 0-0 0, Gill 0 0-0 0, Reese 0 0-0 0, Beitz 0 0-0 0. Totals - 21 16-19 64.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Huntingdon0 4 19 18 - 35
Tyrone13 18 15 12 - 64
3-point goals: Huntingdon 8 (Keller 3, Rivello 2, Kurtz, Henney, Mansberger); Tyrone 6 (Engle 4, Swogger, Noll).
Records: Huntingdon (14-5, 9-3 in Mountain League); Tyrone (16-4, 12-1 in Mountain League).
Officials: Jim Klausman, Skip Dry, Dick Wagner
JV: Tyrone, 26-23. High scorers-Madison Noll, T, 10; Ellie Keller, H, 9.