HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Hollidaysburg Lady Tigers and the Ambridge Bridgers engaged in fierce battle Saturday afternoon, with the Lady Tigers edging Ambridge, 52-48, for their 16th win this season.
"It was a great game between two very good teams," Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck said. "Ambridge is a very talented AAA school from the WPIAL."
The game began with a pair of buckets, one by Sierra Kirsch and one by Ashley McClain, for the Lady Tigers. Before Ambridge's Abbey Antolic made a pair of free throws - making it a 4-2 Lady Tigers lead. Following a trey by Morgan Jennings gave Hollidaysburg a 13-9 lead with 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter, the frame ended with four straight points by the Bridgers, tying it at 13-all.
In the second quarter, the Lady Tigers began the period by going on an 8-0 run, highlighted by four Kirsch points. The Bridgers did not snap that run until there was 3:30 remaining, with Kia Smith scoring on a layin. Ambridge answered with an 8-2 run of its own to end the first half with the Lady Tigers holding a slim 23-21 lead.
The third quarter was all about ties and lead changes, with three of each of them. The quarter started with five quick points by Antolic, the first on a regular field goal, and the second from long distance. With Ambridge leading by one, Kirsch completed a traditional three-point play, giving Jubeck's club a 32-30 advantage.
After a field goal by Kelly Haslett, the 5-foot-11 junior forward, the Lady Tigers went on an 11-3 run over the next 3:30 minutes. It was Jennings who was once again responsible for a 3-pointer to highlight the run. Ambridge was able to make it a 39-35 ballgame going into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was once again extremely nip-and-tuck, with the Bridgers starting it with a 7-2 run. Fischer scored five of them, three coming via a trey. That gave the visitors a 42-41 lead with 4:50 left. But Hollidaysburg would answer by scoring seven consecutive points, regaining the lead at 48-42.
With the Bridgers trailing, 50-48, with less than 10 seconds left in regulation, an Ambridge player was called for traveling, and turning the ball back over to the Lady Tigers. McClain was then fouled and made both of her free throws with less than eight seconds to seal the victory.
"I think the kids stayed focused down the stretch," Jubeck said. "They knew what we expected from them. And that was important."
Hollidaysburg, which upped its record to 16-1, was paced by Jennings with 13 points, while Kirsch and McClain both chipped in with 11 each. The Lady Tigers are at State College Wednesday.
"For a young team that I brought here today, and stick with a team like that, was great," said Ambridge coach Mark Julia, whose club fell to 11-10. "I'm happy with everything except for what happened right at the end."
AMBRIDGE (48): Antolic 3 2-2 9, Haslett 3 1-2 7, Fischer 8 1-2 20, Rabold 4 0-0 8, Smith 1 0-0 2, Littell 1 0-0 2. Totals - 20 4-6 48.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (52): Kirsch 5 1-1 11, McClain 2 7-9 11, Scheel 2 1-1 5, Storm 4 2-2 10, Jennings 5 1-2 13, Wilkinson 0 0-2 0, Ellis 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 12-17 52.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Ambridge 13 8 14 13 - 48
Hollidaysburg 13 10 16 13 - 52
3-point field goals: Ambridge 4 (Antolic, Fischer 3) Hollidaysburg 2 (Jennings 2).
Records: Ambridge (11-10). Hollidaysburg (16-1).