HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Claysburg-Kimmel High School girls basketball team is feeling pretty good about itself.
After three straight first-round exits out of the District 6 Class A playoffs by the seniors, they will finally be moving on.
The Lady Bulldogs defeated Conemaugh Valley, 60-47, Thursday in quarterfinal playoff action at the Hollidaysburg Junior High School gym. They also secured a spot in the state playoffs.
"I feel so happy for the seniors," Claysburg-Kimmel coach Jeff Appleman said. "They're just so pumped up, knowing they're moving on, and there's more basketball ahead."
Claysburg's Abigayle Kulick scored the first five points of the game, but things quickly went downhill for Appleman's bunch. After that, the Blue Jays went on a 10-2 run, with Kulick being the lone Lady Bulldog to score.
The Blue Jays outscored Claysburg-Kimmel, 15-10, in the second period. Conemaugh Valley scored the first three buckets of the quarter, with Emily McCray scoring two field goals. With 2:33 left in the frame, McCray scored on a traditional three-point play, giving the Blue Jays a 24-16 lead. Claysburg's Elizabeth Weiland, a freshman guard, scored four straight points, and cut the deficit to 26-21 with less than 1 minute remaining.
"We started so poorly," Appleman said. "We had difficulty shooting 3s, making just 1-of-16 in the first half. We couldn't get into a groove."
The third quarter was all Claysburg-Kimmel, which outscored the Blue Jays, 23-8. The Lady Bulldogs began the third with a 9-2 run - led by Paige Burk's two 3s. Weiland and Kulick combined for 14 points in the quarter, which ended with a field goal by Weiland as the buzzer sounded. Through three, the Lady Bulldogs held an eight-point advantage.
The Lady Bulldogs out-pointed Conemaugh Valley, 16-11, in the fourth quarter. Kulick scored 10 points in the fourth alone, with two field goals and six foul shots.
"The game didn't start off badly, as we played a lot better than I would have ever expected," Conemaugh coach Teri Cruse said.
Kulick led all scorers with 27 points, while Weiland totaled 13 points and grabbed nine boards.
"Abby had a big game," Appleman said. "She scored our first seven points, and she really took over the game in the second half. Liz did a nice job coming in as a freshman off the bench."
Conemaugh Valley finished the season at 12-10.
The Lady Bulldogs (19-4) advanced to the D6 semifinals, playing Bishop Guilfoyle.
"We scouted and watched [BG], and they're a very well-coached team," Appleman said. "[Lili] Benzel's a great player."
CONEMAUGH VALLEY (47): Miller 0 0-0 0, Angus 0 0-0 0, K. Smith 2 0-0 4, McCleester 2 4-6 9, Stiffler 1 2-2 4, Hagerich 3 1-2 7, A. Smith 2 0-1 4, McCray 8 3-4 19. Totals 18 10-15 47.
CLAYSBURG (60): Kulick 9 6-11 27, Burk 2 0-0 6, Locke 1 2-6 4, Walter 0 0-0 0, Ickes 3 2-2 8, Glass 1 2-4 4, Weiland 4 5-8 13. Totals 20 17-31 60.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Conemaugh Valley13 15 8 11 - 47
Claysburg11 10 23 16 -60
3- point field goals: Conemaugh Valley 1 (McCleester 1). Claysburg 3 (Burk 2, Kulick) .
Records: Conemaugh Valley (12-10). Claysburg (19-4).