Everett girls rally but fall short
CRESSON — The Everett High School girls basketball team’s magical run through the District 6 Class 3A playoffs finally hit a roadblock Friday night, but not before the Lady Warriors lived up to their nickname and put forth a spirited fight.
Everett — which entered the tournament as the fifth seed before beating two higher-seeded teams to get to Friday night’s championship game — came within a whisker of forcing overtime before dropping a 52-50 decision to Penns Valley at the Mount Aloysius Athletic Convocation and Wellness Center.
Everett (21-5), had battled back from a 41-29 early fourth-quarter deficit to move to within 52-50 on a 3-point shot by sophomore Kaitlyn Maxwell with six seconds left.
After junior Brooke Colledge’s steal, Maxwell — who scored a game-high 27 points — had a last-ditch opportunity from about 35 feet that fell wide of the basket with a couple seconds left, and third-seeded Penns Valley (20-5) sealed the win by collecting the decisive rebound.
“It was a great high school basketball game,” Everett coach Keith Moyer said. “Both teams played hard. We came up just one possession short. The kids I have in the locker room are really good competitors. We were a fifth seed, but that is just a number.
“We didn’t spend too much time thinking about that,” Moyer said. “There was a lot of fight in this team. It was unfortunate that we had to lose. If you had told me back in November that we’d be playing for a District 6 title, I might have questioned it, but these kids proved me wrong every night this year.”
Everett almost pulled out its magic wand again Friday, but Penns Valley was able to hold on for its first district championship since 1997, the last year that the Lady Rams made it to the District 6 title game.
“We won it in 1997, and I was a third-year coach here at that time,” said Penns Valley coach Karen McCaffrey. “It’s taken 21 years to win another one. Nobody understands how hard it is to get there — especially in Class 3A and Class 2A, because there are so many teams.
“This group of girls is one of my favorite teams,” McCaffrey said. “There are no superstars. They support each other, and share everything. I am just thrilled for them.”
Penns Valley led, 21-18 at halftime and 37-29 after three quarters. The Lady Rams scored the first two buckets of the fourth quarter on a jumper by junior guard Emma Butler — who had a team-high 17 points — and a field goal from the paint by senior forward Peyton Homan that gave Penns Valley a 41-29 lead.
“We came here ready to play,” Butler said. “We played pretty good defense, and we shot well. Everett (provided) great competition. I knew we had to hang in there and play good defense at the end.”
Everett scored the next five points on two free throws and a 3-pointer by Maxwell to make it a 41-34 game, but Penns Valley responded with a 3-point field goal by sophomore forward Hannah Montminy, who had 13 points.
Everett kept battling, however. Two Maxwell free throws and a driving layup by Maxwell made it a 44-38 game.
Butler then hit two free throws, and Montminy drove the length of the court for a layup to give Penns Valley a 48-38 lead.
A 3-pointer by Maxwell — who scored 17 points in the fourth quarter — made it 48-41, and Isabella Culver’s two free throws put Penns Valley up, 50-41.
But Everett — which also got 12 points from Madison Hicks — would continue to battle. Successive field goals by Maxwell and Colledge pulled the Lady Warriors to within 50-45.
Free throws by Culver and Montminy, sandwiched around a driving bucket by Colledge, preceded a Montminy free throw that left Penns Valley with a 52-47 lead.
Maxwell then hit another 3-pointer to make it 52-50 and set the stage for the dramatic finish.
Both teams move on to the first-round of state playoffs next week, with Everett playing the fourth-place team from District 7 at a District 5 or District 6 site next Friday.
“Our second season ended tonight, and our third season starts at practice this Monday,” Moyer said. “We’ll have a week to prepare. Hopefully, we’ll come out and play real well the next time we’re on the floor.”
PENNS VALLEY (52): Butler 6 2-3 17, Culver 1 4-6 6, Montminy 5 1-2 13, Homan 2 0-0 5, Andrus 2 0-0 6, Collison 1 0-0 2, Kubalak 0 4-4 4, Brown 0 0-0 0. Totals — 17 11-15 52.
EVERETT (50): Jay 0 1-2 1, Colledge 4 1-2 10, Reffner 0 0-0 0, Hicks 5 2-5 12, Maxwell 9 6-8 27, Ewing 0 0-0 0. Totals — 18 10-17 50.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Penns Valley 6 15 16 15 — 52
Everett 8 10 11 21 — 50
3-point goals: Penns Valley 7 (Butler 3, Montminy 2, Andrus 2); Penns Valley 4 (Maxwell 3, Colledge).
Records: Penns Valley (20-5); Everett (21-5).
Officials: Sue Kovensky, Keith Redfoot, Vicki Markewiecz.