Reserves give BG boost

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Most teams missing three starters would be in deep trouble, but the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic girls basketball team didn’t seem to miss a beat.

The makeshift lineup came through for Lady Marauders Friday night. BG defeated Hollidaysburg Friday, 49-40, at the HAHS gym to close out the regular season with an 18-4 mark. Hollidaysburg fell to 11-6 with three games left to play.

Lili Benzel scored a game-high 22 points to lead Guilfoyle. Anna Audley added 12 points and eight rebounds for BG.

“We’re on crutches right now. It’s been a real battle with injuries since Jan. 1,” BG coach Mark Moschella said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to heal in the next week and be ready to go for the playoffs.”

Before that though, the Lady Marauders play Bishop McCort Catholic for the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference 6 p.m. tonight at Richland High School. McCort beat BG last month 54-39 in their only regular season meeting.

“We’ll have to see how the girls bounce back from a clean, physical game like this. We’ll do all we can do to be ready for the LHAC championship game,” Moschella said.

Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck needed just two words to sum up the difference in the game.

“Lili Benzel,” she said. “She can create and hit shots most kids her age can’t.”

After hitting a pair of 3-pointers earlier in the first half, the sophomore guard scored seven straight points to end the first half and turn a 20-19 deficit into a 26-20 lead.

Benzel then scored six straight points in the early part of the fourth to put the Lady Marauders up by double digits, 43-32.

With Karis Taddei already out and Brayley Lewis limited due to injury, freshman Ryley Lewis went down in the first quarter of the junior varsity game as well.

“Hopefully, we’ll get Ryley back soon. She’s been a big part of what we’ve been doing the last three or four weeks,” Moschella said.

Tessa Crider and Darcy Lee played all four quarters plus overtime in the junior varsity then played the entire varsity game as well.

“Darcy Lee and Tessa Crider showed an incredible amount of stamina. I’m proud of the mental strength all our girls displayed [Friday], and those two were a big part of that.”

Crider ran the point against Hollidaysburg’s aggressive, full court defense and chipped in nine points, five of which came during a decisive 9-0 run late in the third quarter.

Trailing 26-20 at halftime, Hollidaysburg started the third quarter with a 10-2 spurt. Makenzie Wilkinson scored eight of the 10 Lady Tiger points.

The junior forward opened the second half with a 3-point play then knocked down a 3-pointer and converted a pair of free throws to give Hollidaysburg a 30-28 lead midway through the quarter.

“Makenzie Wilkinson played her heart and soul for us. If there’s a hustle award out there, she deserves to get it,” Jubeck said.

Wilkinson finished the game with 12 points. Ashley McClain scored a dozen points as well, and Sierra Kirsch added 10.

BG quickly reclaimed the lead for good on a Crider 3-pointer that started a 9-0 to close out the third quarter. Audley followed with a putback of a Benzel miss, Crider swished a pullup jump shot and Audley scored again down low to put the Lady Marauders up 37-30.

Kirsch opened the fourth quarter with a bucket to pull the Lady Tigers within five, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way.

“They were very physical. They showed that from the outset with a couple putbacks in the opening minutes. They simply outplayed us,” Jubeck said.

After the LHAC championship game, BG has a few days to rest up. The Lady Marauders are the third-seed in the District 6 Class A playoffs and receive a first round bye. The team plays in the quarterfinal round Thursday or Friday against the winner of the Penns Manor/Homer-Center first round game.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (49): Crider 3 1-2 9, Lee 0 0-1 0, Adams 2 2-4 6, Audley 5 2-6 12, Benzel 9 1-4 22, Lewis 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals – 19 6-17 49.

HOLLIDAYSBURG (40): Kirsch 5 0-0 10, Ellis 1 0-0 2, Scheel 0 0-0 0, McClain 4 1-2 12, Wilkinson 4 3-3 12, Haupt 1 2-2 4, Stitt 0 0-0 0. Totals – 15 6-7 40.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Bishop Guilfoyle12 14 11 12 – 49

Hollidaysburg12 8 10 10 – 40

3-point goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 5 (Crider 2, Benzel 3); Hollidaysburg 4 (McClain 3, Wilkinson).

Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (18-4); Hollidaysburg (11-6).

JV: Hollidaysburg, 41-40 OT. High scorers-Lee (BG) 16; Bettwy (H) 16.