Juniata Valley can’t maintain early momentum in defeat

JOHNSTOWN – Juniata Valley jumped out to a 7-4 lead on Southern Fulton at the 6:46 mark of the first quarter on a 3-pointer by Ellie Keller, her only bucket of the contest.

The Indians response to the early deficit was emphatic, direct and left the Hornets with no doubt that they had their work cut out for them.

Southern Fulton closed the first quarter on a 21-0 run, keyed by 10 points from junior point guard Macey Hollenshead, and went on to cruise past a depleted JV squad, 63-30, in PIAA Class A first-round action at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Sports Center on Saturday afternoon.

“That first quarter really set us back,” Juniata Valley coach Rachelle Hopsicker said. “We’re still really sick – we’re fighting sickness. We only had seven practicing this week. We did everything we could. When you’re hurting, it’s hard to get up and down the court. Our legs definitely ran out on us.”

Juniata Valley practiced with just seven players all week due to injuries and a devastating case of the flu bug that caused several players to miss time.

Following the early deficit, the Indians made sure they kept the pressure up – extending their defense and forcing eight first quarter JV turnovers, six of which were on straight possessions in the middle portion of the quarter.

“We just looked different [than District 5 title game],” Southern Fulton coach Terry Bard said. “We looked relaxed and we just came out and played. We’re capable of this but we’ve just been putting too much pressure on ourselves.”

Making things even more difficult was Southern’s inside presence of Ashley Roman, who netted eight points in addition to ripping down eight rebounds in the game-changing quarter, as Southern Fulton led 25-7 after the first.

“She [Roman] was running up and down the court like there’s no tomorrow,” Hopsicker said. “She wasn’t there the first time we played them earlier this year but I’d see her enough to know what she could do.”

While the Southern Fulton defense had the Hornets looking confused and out-of-sorts on offense, the JV defense didn’t fare much better as they consistently lost sight of Roman and others near the basket – giving up several easy shots underneath. In addition, they had all kinds of trouble stopping Hollenshead and Taelor Morton on drives to the hoop.

Abbie Zinobile, who sat most of the first half, led the Hornets with 11 points, while Haley Myers tallied 10.

JUNIATA VALLEY (30): Myers 2 6-6 10, Lecrone 0 0-0 0, Keller 1 0-0 3, Zinobile 5 1-2 11, Ammerman 3 0-2 6, Smith 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, C. Miller 0 0-0 0, A. Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 7-12 30.

SOUTHERN FULTON (63): Hollenshead 7 3-5 18, T. Morton 5 0-0 12, Wertz 2 2-2 8, Chilcote 1 0-0 2, Roman 9 5-6 23, Strait 0 0-0 0, Spade 0 0-0 0, Mellott 0 0-0 0, Merchant 0 0-0 0, Koontz 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 10-13 63.


Juniata Valley7 6 11 6-30

Southern Fulton25 14 17 7-63

3-point field goals: Juniata Valley 1 (Keller); Southern Fulton 5 (T. Morton 2, Wertz 2, Hollenshead).

Records: Juniata Valley (17-10); Southern Fulton (24-3).

Officials: Joe Bilka, Mike Price Don Bussard.