Kitchensales finishes the job

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Putting together a perfect record heading into the finals is only worth so much.

“A lot of people said it’s like an omen,” Marrysa Moyer said. “You go undefeated. Then you get into the championship and you don’t win.”

It was an omen, all right: a bad omen for team’s playing

For the second straight year, Kitchensales rolled through the regular season and the Alumni Division semifinals. This time, though, it finished the job with a 67-40 throttling of two-time defending champion Mitch Grace Construction in the Alumni Division title game of the Hollidaysburg YMCA Women’s Summer Basketball League on Sunday night at the Reliance Bank Gymnasium.

“It means a lot,” said Moyer, a forward who was one of three Kitchensales scorers in double figures with 16 points. “We’ve got it off our shoulders.”

Shelby Reimer fronted Kitchensales with 19 points, and Alli Williams, rejoining the nucleus of the team after a three-year hiatus while she starred at Saint Francis University, netted 15. After a slow start, Kitchensales, which prevailed via blowout in most of its 21 wins this year, led by 10 points at halftime and went on a 24-4 run in the first 11 minutes of the second half to put it away.

Kitchensales led by as many as 36.

“In college, we were always kind of right around .500,” Williams said. “So, to come out here and crush everyone, it’s fun.”

Jordan Speck was the only player to reach double digits for Grace Construction, scoring 11 points. Grace upended Kitchensales in last year’s division finals and had only lost by four in the regular season meeting, although Williams wasn’t on hand for that game.

“They’re a hard team to defend. They have so many offensive threats. We couldn’t stop anybody. Reimer was hitting. Williams was hitting. Everybody was hitting,” Grace Construction post player Sam Conner said. “They just ran away with it.”

Not initially, though. Grace Construction led 11-7 about 6 minutes into the contest on the strength of 3-pointers courtesy of Shelley McCune and Speck. Kitchensales thrives in transition, but Grace controlled the tempo with its defense and rebounding.

However, Kitchensales stepped it up with its pressure to jump start its offense, forcing a couple of turnovers and taking the lead on three fastbreak layups. It never relinquished the lead.

“I don’t think many teams have played us zone, so we were kind of confused. We didn’t know when to cut. We were just standing still,” Williams said. “We got the nerves out. We starting moving, making some shots, and then we got in our groove.”

It wasn’t the layup drill that most of Kitchensales games turned into this season, but the champs showed they could be pretty effective in a half-court setting, as well. Kitchensales went 9-for-23 from 3-point range. Reimer was the big weapon – the rising junior at Millersville University made four shots behind the arc in the second half on her way to scoring 16 points after the intermission.

Reimer had five 3-pointers in the game.

“My teammates found me open for some good looks. The difference between the first half and the second half was that I was a little more calm. I just took my time and got my feet set,” Reimer said. “We’re more of a fast-paced team, but we can play half-court, too. We move the ball really well.”

Williams was a key ingredient added to Kitchensales’ recipe this season. The former Bishop Guilfoyle High School all-stater is a strong rebounder at 6-feet tall, but also handles the ball and shoots from deep like a guard.

“She can do a little bit of everything,” Moyer said. “That helped, because we didn’t have to be on top of our game all the time because Alli would step up, and she’s so versatile.”

Winning over Grace Construction was sweet for the Kitchensales players after Grace ended their hopes for a perfect season a year ago.

“I remember hearing how mad they were,” Williams said. “Mitch Grace is always going to be tough, but the fact that they won last year just made it more competitive.”

Kitchensales’ core still is fairly young. Moyer, like Reimer, has college eligibility remaining. Point guard Kristi Kaack remains the quickest player in the league as she enters her late-20s. And Williams just graduated from college.

Williams expects to play professionally in Greece this winter, but she said she was looking forward to returning to give it a go for Kitchensales again next summer.

“This year we got our win,” Moyer said. “Next year, if we go into the playoffs and we’re undefeated, it’ll be the same thing. We won’t be as nervous.”

KITCHENSALES.COM (67): Kaack 2 0-0 5, Sh. Reimer 7 0-1 19, Williams 5 4-6 15, M. Moyer 6 2-6 16, Thomas 2 0-1 4, Conrad 0 2-2 2, Hershey 2 0-0 4, Ehredt 1 0-0 2. Totals – 25 8-16 67.

MITCH GRACE CONSTRUCTION (40): McCune 1 0-0 3, Watkins 0 0-0 0, Speck 4 0-0 11, Sedlock 3 3-4 9, S. Conner 3 1-2 7, McDowell 3 1-2 8, Beegle 0 2-2 2, J. Conner 0 0-0 0. Totals – 14 7-10 40., 30-20. 3-point 9 (Williams, Kaack, Sh. Reimer 5, M. Moyer 2); Mitch Grace Construction 5 (McCune, Speck 3, McDowell).

Records: (21-0); Mitch Grace Construction (19-2).

Officials: Sue Kovensky, Bill Pfeffer, Rich Gergely.