Family Pizza & Pub took advantage of an early vacation, both physically and mentally, by previously unbeaten Luciano's Auto Body/Ehredt Construction and pulled off a 38-34 upset in the Women's Division of the Central Blair Recreation Commission Mansion Park Summer Basketball League final Monday.
Luciano's had beaten Family Pizza three times in the regular season and came into the final at 10-0 but fell behind by as many as 15 in the second half. The squad, made up of mostly Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic graduates, was missing its best player. Alli Williams, who led the Northeast Conference in scoring this past season for St. Francis, missed the game while on vacation.
"I don't really think we were awake," Luciano's/Ehredt's guard Courteney Storm said. "I don't think we were ready for the game, obviously. Us beating them three times this year worked against us, because we thought 'oh we don't really have to go that hard, because we already beat them three times,' and that's why we weren't awake and ready."
Luciano's scored just eight first-half points, and Lysa Mealing, who led Family Pizza with 10 points, gave the underdogs an early lead with a 3-pointer. Family Pizza connected on four treys to just one by Luciano's on a night where shooting was complicated by strong winds and a rain delay.
"It was rough," Mealing said. "The court is already slanted a little bit, so the fact the wind was so strong too got in people's heads a lot."
Family Pizza's strong start almost went for naught when Storm began to catch fire in the second half.
The Hollidaysburg graduate, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored all of her game-high 12 points in the final 20 minutes and pulled Luciano's within four with 1:34 to play. But with 37 seconds left, she missed a wide-open layup that would have made it a one-score game.
Earlier in the half, Jenna Altomare brought Luciano's within four on a 3-pointer, but McKenzie Hatch came up with a steal and a layup with 4:14 left that extended the lead back to six.
"We stopped making errors," Mealing said. "We are a really young team, and once we cut those down and played defense we got back in control."
Family Pizza got eight points from Emily Chobany and seven from Kiki Davis, who connected on a pair of 3-pointers. Both players came off the bench for Family Pizza, while Luciano's got just five points total from its reserves.
Kristen Miller scored seven points for Luciano's, including five in the first half, to keep her squad within striking distance, but Luciano's couldn't make up for the absence of Williams.
"Alli Williams wasn't here, but that's not an excuse," Storm said. "We should be able to play without her, but obviously she's really good and helps out a lot."
Luciano's got the ball back down by four with 29 seconds left, but another turnover sealed Family Pizza's title.
"We had a different game plan this time, and we decided to really push the ball," Mealing said. "I told the team to shoot as much as possible and that it was OK if we missed, because we rebounded really well tonight."
FAMILY PIZZA (38): Stouffer 1 0-0 2, B. Swogger 3 0-2 6, Davis 2 1-3 7, Chobany 4 0-2 8, Lee 0 0-0 0, Hatch 2 0-1 4, J. Swogger 0 1-2 1, Mealing 4 0-2 10. Totals - 16 2-12 38.
LUCIANO'S AUTO BODY/EHREDT CONSTRUCTION (34): Ehredt 1 1-2 3, Storm 6 0-3 12, Altomare 2 0-0 5, Stessney 1 0-2 2, Miller 3 1-3 7, Dombrowski 0 1-3 1, Craig 0 0-0 0, Boslet 2 0-0 4. Totals - 15 3-13 34.
SCORE BY HALVES
Family Pizza19 19 - 38
Luciano/Ehredt8 26 - 34
3-point goals: Family Pizza 4 (Davis 2, Mealing 2); Luciano's/Ehredt 1 (Altomare).
Records: Family Pizza (8-3); Luciano's Auto Body/Ehredt Construction (10-1).
Officials: Denny Betar, Bryce Burget, Mike Ronan.