Freshman’s free throws spark Lady Titans

LOYSBURG — In a game that was determined by free throws, Tussey Mountain coach Todd Gates put the ball in a freshman’s hands.

Lexi Weimert made four consecutive foul shots in the final minute to give the Lady Titans a 41-38 victory at Northern Bedford Thursday night.

“We said, ‘Who do we want to have the ball?’ and decided that it had to be Lexi,” Gates said. “So yeah we put it in the hands of a freshman and she made the big shots at the end.”

Tussey established an eight-point lead in the third quarter by exploiting a clear size advantage.

Ashley Clark led the Lady Titans with 13 points, and Emily Shuke finished with 10. McKenna Sitch played strong in the interior and tallied 11 points.

“We knew we had to go inside and get Emily, McKenna and Ashley to do the scoring,” Gates said. “We didn’t think they could guard them.”

Northern Bedford briefly reclaimed the lead during a 12-3 run in the third quarter. The Lady Panthers put an emphasis on getting to the charity stripe to climb back into the game.

“We needed to attack the rim a little more,” Northern Bedford coach Todd Eckenroad said. “We executed, hustled and did what we needed to do to scratch back into it.”

Sydney Snyder made all seven of her free-throw attempts, with all of them coming in the second half. The senior ran the Lady Panthers offense during its comeback bid and finished with 10 points.

Emma Eckenroad made all four of the 3-point shots she took for Northern Bedford and shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. However, the rest of the Lady Panthers combined for only five field goals.

“Our defense was extremely good tonight,” Gates said. “Eckenroad got a couple of open looks in the corner early on, but that was it.”

Lacking a true post presence, Northern Bedford must find a way to compete against teams that play in the post.

“We’ve always been undersized, so we have to do the little things better,” Coach Eckenroad said. “Scrapping, out-hustling and executing better from the back side.”

For Tussey Mountain, a commitment to its style of play paid off.

“I don’t know how long we went without making a bucket, but we just couldn’t put it in,” Gates said. “We were getting good shots from the block and fortunately we were able to score at the end when it counted.”

TUSSEY MOUNTAIN (41): L. Weimert 1 5-6 7, Sitch 5 0-2 11, Shuke 5 0-2 10, Clark 5 3-6 13, Pagan 0 0-0 0, Lemin 0 0-0 0, T. Weimert. Totals — 16 8-16 38.

NORTHERN BEDFORD (38): Eckenroad 5 4-4 18, Leidy 1 0-0 2, Snyder 1 7-7 10, Gates 1 2-4 4, Cherry 2 0-0 4, Ebersole 0 0-0 0, McConnell 0 0-0 0. Totals — 10 13-15 41.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Tussey Mountain    9 11 10 11 — 41

Northern Bedford    11  6   8 14 — 38

3-point goals: Tussey Mountain 1 (Sitch); Northern Bedford 5 (Eckenroad 4, Snyder).

Records: Tussey Mountain (5-3); Northern Bedford (4-4).

JV: Tussey Mountain, 25-20.

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