Juniata Valley knocks off Tyrone girls

TYRONE — With the spirit of giving still fresh in the air, the Tyrone Lady Eagles may have gotten just a tad carried away.

Tyrone sent Lady Hornet junior Taylor Leidy to the charity stripe on four occassions in the final quarter, and she went a perfect 8-for-8 to help lead Juniata Valley to a 51-42 win Thursday night.

Leidy finished the night with 14 points, tied with teammate Hayden Taylor, while Maddie Mattas led all players in scoring with 17 points, knocking down eight shots from the field.

“I think they honed in on (Sydney) Reed and Halee Smith. That’s the beauty of our team,” Hornet coach Rachelle Hopsicker said. “When they try and shut someone else down, we have three other people that can fill the spot, and I think we do a good job of finding each other for that.”

The Lady Eagles dominated the first minute on offense but were unable to draw first blood, as the honor went to Leidy who opened the game with her first and second of 10 free throws on the night, helping the Lady Hornets race to a 13-5 lead early and forcing Tyrone coach Luke Rhoades to take an early timeout.

Tyrone didn’t get into the swing of things until the second quarter. Kasey Engle opened up the quarter with a layup and hit a shot from 3-point range to get things within three (20-17) with three minutes until the break, but the Lady Hornets kicked into gear down the stretch, and a 9-2 run led by Mattas and Taylor put Juniata Valley back up big at half (26-19).

Tyrone’s Emily Lehman and Alexis Cannistraci hit shots early in the second half, cutting Tyrone’s deficit to just four and forcing Hopsicker to call a timeout less than two minutes into the third.

JV responded with an 8-3 run to go up 34-26 before Tyrone went on a scoring run on their own, including a layup from the baseline by Sydney Shaw just before the buzzer to bring the Lady Eagles back to within four with the final quarter left to play.

The Hornets controlled the tempo in the fourth quarter, with Leidy giving her team the buffer on the scoreboard from the foul line. Engle scored six in the final quarter, four from the line, but it wasn’t enough.

Tyrone led in the first quarter, 3-2, after Shaw drained a shot from 3-point range early in the game, and it was the last time they led. Hopsicker credited her defense for sticking to the gameplan.

“We really take pride in our defense, and our job was to shut down Engle and Cannistraci. I thought the kids really responded, especially in that second half,” Hopsicker said. “When things got tight there, we weren’t hitting some shots. We got patient. We ran the offense a little better, and then it started to flow.”

Tyrone’s Engle led the Lady Eagles in scoring with 15 points. Shaw followed closely with 13, including three shots from behind the arc.

For Rhoades, the game came down to momentum earned and lost.

“Basketball is a game of momentum. We had (it) there, something happened that didn’t swing our way, and once they had it, we couldn’t get it back,” Rhoades said. “We have to finish. We have to finish plays around the basket. We didn’t finish early in the game, and again, it goes back to momentum. If you finish those plays early, the momentum goes back.”

Juniata Valley had lost the previous two years to Tyrone coming off of the holiday break, and Hopsicker was very happy that her team was able to put up a strong performance against a quality non-Inter County Conference team.

“This was in our minds the entire season,” Hopsicker said. “We’ve been thinking about this game. We know they’re a great team, and Engle is probably one of the best players we’ll play against. So it’s a big win, and we’re really excited to move forward from this point.”

“We’re taking it one game at a time,” she continued. “We’re trying to keep building our defensive repertoire because right now we think offensively if people try to stop us, we definitely have different kinds of answers. So I think at the end of the game if we can play defense, every single day, we’re going to win a lot of games.”

JUNIATA VALLEY (51): S. Reed 0 0-2 0, Taylor 6 0-1 14, Leidy 2 10-10 14, Smith 3 0-0 6, Mattas 8 1-2 7, Jefferies 0 0-0 0. Totals – 19 11-15 51.

TYRONE (42): Kosoglow 2 0-0 4, Ronan 0 0-0 0, Wagner 0 0-0 0, Engle 5 4-4 15, Cannistraci 4 0-0 8, Shaw 4 2-2 13, Lehman 1 0-0 2. Totals – 16 6-6 42.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Juniata Valley    13 13 10 15 — 51

Tyrone    7 12 13 10 — 42

3-point goals: Juniata Valley 2 (Taylor 2); Tyrone 4 (Shaw 3, Engle).

Records: Juniata Valley (7-2); Tyrone (8-3).

JV: Tyrone 52-22. High scorers–Kelsey Johnson (T) 20, Lexi Reed (JV) 10.

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