JOHNSTOWN - A 6-0 run might not seem like much in a 20-point blowout, but that perfectly timed little spurt sparked Bishop Carroll to go on and rout United on Thursday.
"It was huge," Lady Huskies coach Crystal Horton said of the 6-0 run to open the second half. "We went into halftime, and I told them, 'We've got to open it up.'"
Bishop Carroll did just that, changing its defense and getting the offense it needed for some separation. The Lady Huskies turned what had been a tight game for a half into a 55-35 win in their District 6 Class A playoff opener at Richland High School.
"Our team just played together well," said Britt Krug, who led Carroll with 15 points. "Our coaches gave us a good speech at halftime, and we just came together and really pulled through at the end."
It was actually assistant coach Julie Kovach who came up with the game-changing idea to start the second half in press defense, then fall back into a zone.
"We had never done that before," Horton said. "Tonight we did it, and our girls executed."
Carroll led just 24-23 at the half, then Haley Krug opened the second half with a layup. Britt Krug hit a pair of free throws and scored a bucket inside with 4:20 left in the third for a 30-23 edge.
United cut the deficit to five points on two occasions in the third, but the Lady Huskies' pressure defense, offensive efficiency and balance helped them start to pull away.
"That was something that we were afraid of," United coach Lee Ann Ault said of Carroll's ability to go on a key run.
United was without two injured starters - Kylee Surike (broken finger) and Hope Hixson (concussion) - and balance was big issue. The Lady Lions had only two players score in the game, with Eden Bloom tossing in 20 and Taylor Mack 15, and they couldn't match the depth of Carroll, which had eight players score.
"We ran out of gas, and that was something that we were concerned about," Ault said.
The Lady Huskies' defense led to many of United's problems, allowing only 12 points in the second half.
"Our whole defense really stepped up," Britt Krug said.
"We knew that they were quick, they were athletic and they hung with us in that first half," Horton said. "But we knew we had an advantage because we just looked more athletic."
Carroll also switched up its offensive game plan in the second half, going away from 3-pointers, which it hit four of in the first half to stay close.
"We told our girls to attack - attack the basket, and we can't live and die by the 3."
Carroll led 37-29 after three quarters and continued to grow the lead, thanks in large part to another 6-0 run to start the fourth.
Lea Sammarco, Alli Farabaugh and Ellie Yahner had nine points apiece for the Lady Huskies, while Haley Krug added seven.
Carroll (11-10), the fifth seed, advanced to play Portage in the semifinals. BC also secured a spot in the state playoffs.
United, the fourth seed, finished 13-10.
BISHOP CARROLL (55): Link 2 0-1 4, Sammarco 4 0-0 9, B. Krug 5 4-7 15, H. Krug 3 0-2 7, Farabaugh 3 2-3 9, Yahner 4 1-5 9, Gueguen 1 0-0 2, Chumrik 0 0-0 0. Totals - 22 7-18 55.
UNITED (35): Mack 5 5-8 15, E. Bloom 8 2-2 20, Miller 0 0-0 0, Strait 0 0-0 0, M. Bloom 0 0-0 0, Snyder 0 0-0 0. Totals - 13 7-10 35.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Carroll14 10 13 18 - 55
United13 10 6 6 - 35
3-point field goals: Bishop Carroll 4 (Sammarco, B. Krug, H. Krug, Farabaugh). United 2 (Bloom 2).
Records: Bishop Carroll (11-10), United (13-10).