Maxwell shines for Everett
By Michael Boytim
SAXTON — When Everett and Tussey Mountain had all their starters on the court Thursday night, the game was pretty even.
The difference? Lady Warriors junior Kaitlyn Maxwell.
“Maxwell is the best player in the league, hands down,” Tussey Mountain coach Todd Gates said. “She’s very tough to stop, and (Madison) Hicks is very good inside, so it’s a tough matchup for us. We don’t normally play zone, but we played zone most of the night because those two matchups.”
Maxwell scored a game-high 29 points and 10 of her 11 field goals were layups, as Everett pulled away from the Lady Titans in the fourth quarter, 69-42.
“She’s fast,” Everett coach Keith Moyer said. “No one conditions like she does, and it pays off in the fourth quarter. She can go all night, and it’s a testament to how hard she works. She’s first in everything that requires running, all the time.
“It shows in games like this where it’s a physical game. She didn’t get tired, and I think some of the other kids on the floor, including our players, were getting tired at the end. She still had a lot in the tank.”
The star junior is also an excellent track and field competitor and scored many of her points in transition Thursday.
“She was penetrating, and we couldn’t stop it, but we needed to,” Gates said.
Though the final deficit of 27 was actually worse than the first time the teams met (25), the game was much closer until late in the fourth quarter.
Tussey Mountain’s Lexi Weimert and Maddie Garner both picked up two fouls less than three minutes into the game, and Sophie Brumbaugh had three fouls by halftime.
When the Lady Titans got into foul trouble in the last game, Gates took his players out and Tussey Mountain fell behind 31-7 at the half. This time, he kept them in, and it almost paid off. After a Meghan Molosky layup and a Garner 3-pointer to begin the second half, the Lady Titans trailed by just three. Molosky led Tussey with 11 points.
“We knew we couldn’t compete if we took them out,” Gates said. “I just figured to let them in and hope they get smarter with four fouls. We’ve done that the last few games now, just let them in if they get into foul trouble.”
Tussey Mountain trailed by just eight entering the fourth quarter, but Kailee Leonard and Brumbaugh fouled out shortly after.
Everett outscored the Lady Titans, 27-8, in the final eight minutes.
“It was physical,” Moyer said. “I don’t think that we’ve played in a game, ever, that there were so many fouls. It wasn’t bad officiating. Both teams got away with a lot too, but our kids were mentally tough and were able to handle the physical nature of the game.”
Madison Hicks finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds for Everett.
“We’re playing pretty well,” Moyer said. “These kids have been playing together for a long time. We’re able to make adjustments in the flow of the game. In the past, I don’t know that my teams have been able to do that.”
Tussey Mountain and Everett won’t play again, as they will be in different playoff classifications.
“We had a much better effort tonight than the last time we played,” Gates said. “We were right with them starters versus starters. We got into foul trouble, and we couldn’t match up. We put forth a great effort, and this will make us better for the playoffs.”
With the victory, Everett clinched the Inter-County Conference’s South Division and will play North champion Bellwood-Antis in the championship game next Saturday.
“That’s always a bonus,” Moyer said. “We’ll be playing a team that played for a state championship last year. It’s a great game to play to prepare for the postseason.”
EVERETT (69): Jay 2 2-3 6, Colledge 2 2-2 7, Ewing 0 4-4 4, Maxwell 11 7-10 29, M. Hicks 6 4-8 16, Iseminger 1 0-0 2, Bulger 1 1-1 3, A. Hicks 0 0-0 0, Treece 0 2-2 2, Nave 0 0-0 0, Beegle 0 0-0 0, Mills 0 0-0 0. Totals — 23 22-30 69.
TUSSEY MOUNTAIN (42): Weimert 2 6-6 10, Brumbaugh 1 4-4 6, Leonard 2 2-4 6, Garner 2 0-0 5, Molosky 4 3-4 11, Weaver 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 0-0 0. Totals — 13 15-21 42.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Everett 11 16 15 27 — 69
Tussey Mountain 10 9 15 8 — 42
3-point goals: Everett 1 (Colledge); Tussey Mountain 1 (Garner).
Officials: Ron Kopenhaver, Mike Price, Mike Baum
Records: Everett (17-2, 12-0 in ICC South); Tussey Mountain (12-7, 11-2 in ICC South).
JV: Everett, 38-14. High scorers–Lainie Treece, E, 13; Haylie Taylor, TM, 7.