HOLLIDAYSBURG - Despite some late-game heroics from senior guard Sam Mansberger, the Huntingdon Lady Bearcats saw their season come to an end with an overtime loss to Mount Pleasant, 58-51, Saturday afternoon at Hollidaysburg Senior High School.
Huntingdon trailed for nearly the entire second half and found itself down three points with the final buzzer approaching, when Mansberger was able to get off a desperation 3-pointer that fell short. However, Mount Pleasant guard Morgan Barlock was called for a foul, sending Mansberger to the free-throw line for three shots with no time on the clock.
"I was just praying she could make each shot because as a senior I didn't want to see her career end by missing a free throw like that," Huntingdon coach Amanda Easter said.
Mansberger, who admittedly only shoots around 50 percent from the line, calmly sank each free throw to send the game to an unlikely overtime.
"I'm not going to sugarcoat it, I was nervous. After I made the first one I felt a little better but I was still shaking the whole time. I just kept thinking I didn't want this season to end," Mansberger said.
Despite carrying the momentum into overtime it was Mount Pleasant that seized control in the extra period.
Huntingdon's leading scorer, Bri Rivello, fouled out on the first possession of overtime and from there it was all downhill as the Lady Vikings reeled off 14 points, including connecting on 12-of-13 free throw attempts, to seal the win.
Rivello finished the game with a team-high 16 points and six blocked shots for Huntingdon.
"We are a team that has struggled to score at times this season and once we lost Bri, it kind of took us out of it. I don't want to say we would've won the game with her in there but I feel it would've been a more competitive overtime for sure," Easter said.
The extra adversity of the overtime was nothing new for Mount Pleasant as the team was already dealing with the loss of leading scorer Alexa Szelong who had knee surgery for a torn meniscus earlier in the week.
"This is what we do, we respond. It was remarkable to see Mansberger respond under pressure and hit the three free throws for them, but I told our girls in the huddle it's a new game and let's go win this thing," Mount Pleasant coach Scott Giacobbi said.
In Szelong's absence it was guards Barlock and Elaina Fearer that picked up the slack for the Lady Vikings. The two combined to score 35 points, including 23 in the second half, and accounted for all six of Mount Pleasant's 3-pointers.
Huntingdon had the lead at halftime after hitting six first half 3-pointers, including two each by Rivello and Ellie Keller, but Fearer and Barlock were too much in the second half.
"Their guards were the difference in this game. We held them pretty good in the first half, but they got hot in the second half and starting hitting some deep shots on us," said Easter.
Mount Pleasant sophomore forward Katie Biller also showed up big. Normally a substitute, she was inserted into the starting lineup in place of Szelong, and responded with nine points and 11 rebounds.
Mansberger, who averaged less than five points per game during the regular season, posted 11 points in this contest, and will remember this season fondly.
"This was an incredible season for us, winning the District Title last week was our goal all season and to go out with my group of seniors is really special. I'll always have this moment and even though we lost I'm just so proud of my team," Mansberger said.
MOUNT PLEASANT (58): B. Kalp 2 1-3 5, E. Fearer 4 7-10 19, Barlock 4 6-6 16, Toohey 1 0-0 2, Biller 4 1-2 9, Donitzen 2 1-2 5, A. Fearer 0 2-2 2, A. Kalp 0 0-0 0, Hempfield-Thompson 0 0-0 0. Totals - 17 18-25 58.
HUNTINGDON (51): Rivello 5 3-6 16, Kurtz 1 0-2 2, Felton 2 1-2 5, Mansberger 3 3-3 11, Henney 2 4-4 9, Keller 2 0-0 6, McCrum 0 0-0 0, Jenkins 1 0-0 2. Totals - 15 11-17 51.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mount Pleasant6 13 15 10 14 - 58
Huntingdon8 15 8 13 7 - 51
3-point goals: Mount Pleasant (E. Fearer 4, Barlock 2) Huntingdon (Rivello 3, Mansberger 2, Keller 2, Henney).
Records: Huntingdon (19-6), Mount Pleasant (16-9).