McClain, Lady Tigers handle Red Lion’s press

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Seconds into the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against Hollidaysburg, Red Lion girls basketball coach Don Dimoff muttered to his assistant coaches,”33 is just killing us.”

By the time the final buzzer sounded, Dimoff’s statement came true. Hollidaysburg’s No. 33, Ashley McClain, finished with 20 points and was perfect on 11 shots from the free throw line in the Lady Tigers’ 46-43 triumph.

“I just zoned everything out,” McClain said. “I just focused on making my shots. It’s very exciting that we came out of here with a win. We’re happy with ourselves, but we have to keep moving forward.”

McClain played a crucial role in breaking Red Lion’s full-court press, which was employed the entire game.

“She’s our go-to at the end of games, and we want the basketball in her hands,” Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck said. “She can control the tempo of the game, and she’s able to knock down free throws at the end of games. She made some clutch ones, and it was great for her and the team.”

McClain made 10 of her 11 free throws in the fourth quarter, and Hollidaysburg needed them. Red Lion held Hollidaysburg without a field goal the entire quarter. Sierra Kirsch, who finished with seven points and nine rebounds despite playing sparingly in the second half due to foul trouble, connected on a hook shot to give the Lady Tigers a 30-21 lead with more than 4 minutes to play in the third quarter. Hollidaysburg never made another field goal.

Red Lion’s offense, which was held to just 18 points a day earlier in a loss to Central York, finally came alive in the fourth quarter. The Lady Lions pulled within two when Courtney Dimoff banked home a 3-pointer with 1:11 to play and trailed by just one when Page Shingler made a jumper with 29.9 seconds left.

Hollidaysburg missed a pair of free throws, and with 15.6 seconds to play, Amy Maciejewski was fouled. She missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, but the ball went out of bounds off the Lady Tigers. Maciejewski, who led the Lady Lions with 16 points, drove the lane again but missed a layup, and the ball went out of bounds off Red Lion. McClain made a pair of free throws, and Dimoff’s halfcourt heave came up short as Hollidaysburg celebrated.

“It’s very frustrating,” Don Dimoff said. “I thought we shot ourselves in the foot a lot through the first three quarters. Any time you go outside your own district, things are called a little differently. That hindered us a little bit, but we have to do a better job offensively.”

Despite its shooting woes, Red Lion stayed in the game with its pressure defense. The Lady Lions forced 25 turnovers, but Hollidaysburg forced 17 turnovers to somewhat balance it out.

“At times they have three people on the ball, and they are long and lanky,” Jubeck said. “It’s hard to get the ball up over them, but what we look to do day in and day out is defense and rebounding. We did a good job with that today.”

Hollidaysburg outrebounded Red Lion, 34-25, and got 11 points and nine rebounds from 6-foot senior Alex Scheel.

“We knew that everything ran through (McClain),” Don Dimoff said. “We knew she was the engine that makes them go, but I was really frustrated with how easily we let her get the ball, especially on their last possession.

“I thought when we kept it from her, they turned it over. That was our game plan going in, but credit her. She works very hard, and we need to work as hard as her.”

Red Lion dropped to 11-4, while Hollidaysburg improved to 7-4.

“We still have to improve before February,” Jubeck said. “We have to be able to execute offensively better and maintain what we’ve got going right now.”

RED LION (43): Eames 2 0-0 4, Shepherd 2 2-2 6, Reba 2 2-2 7, Maciejewski 6 4-6 16, Dimoff 2 0-0 5, P. Shingler 1 2-2 4, J. Shingler 0 1-2 1, Johnson 0 0-1 0. Totals – 15 11-15 43.

HOLLIDAYSBURG (46): Kirsch 3 1-2 7, Ellis 0 0-0 0, Scheel 3 5-7 11, McClain 4 11-11 20, Wilkinson 0 2-4 2, Al. Stitt 1 3-6 5, Haupt 0 1-4 1. Totals – 11 23-34 46.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Red Lion12 5 10 16 – 43

Hollidaysburg12 11 9 14 – 46

3-point goals: Red Lion 2 (Reba, Dimoff); Hollidaysburg 1 (McClain).

Records: Red Lion (11-4); Hollidaysburg (7-4).

Officials: Clark Adelman, Rich Gergely, Jack McDougal

JV: Hollidaysburg, 47-43. High scorers-Delaney Hurd, H, 10; Hunt, Wolf, Kling, RL, 8 each.