Bad start too much for ’Cats

MOUNT LEBANON –Huntingdon had no answer for Central Valley’s pressing defense in Saturday’s PIAA Class 4A first round playoff game and committed 22 turnovers in a 66-42 loss at Mount Lebanon High School.

Lady Bearcats coach Pat-rick Cassidy hopes the game and this season can be a building block for the future.

“We wanted to walk away with a win. It’s the state playoffs. Everyone wants to move on in this tournament,” Cassidy said. “It’s hard when you lose a game like this but as long as we learned from it, it was a win for us,”

Huntingdon’s (14-10) last trip to the state playoffs was five years ago and the last trip before that was in 1988, so Cassidy considered this game as being important for the growth of the program.

“I thought today as a program we took a step. This is the furthest we’ve been in five years so being here was special. I hope that doesn’t get over-shadowed,” Cassidy said. “When you look at our growth, I’m extremely proud of these girls.”

Cassidy knew the caliber of Central Valley (23-2), which entered the game as the WPIAL runnerup, but he felt the Lady Bearcats, who entered the game as the District 6 runnerup, belonged in the game as well.

“We knew what this game was going to be like coming in. When some people saw the draw, they thought we didn’t have a chance,” Cassidy said. “I thought we were a good team and deserved to be here. Central Valley was a little bit more prepared than us.”

Kait McElroy led the Bearcats with 12 points. Kynnedy Miller also scored in double figures by finishing with 11.

“Once (McElroy) settled in, she was more aggressive and played better. She can score in a lot of different ways,” Cassidy said. “I thought (Miller) played well. She’s definitely been an active scorer for us all year.”

Central Valley coach Chris Raso felt the key to the game was turnovers and rebounds.

“We knew (Huntingdon) would play hard. We weren’t going to take them lightly,” Raso said. “We thought our pressure could give them some trouble. We also shot the ball well and had double-digits in offensive rebounds.”

Allyson Kirby led the Warriors with 15 points. Kaelyn Underwood added 13 and Christian Frye chipped in with 12.

“I thought in the first half we didn’t have a lot of answers. We had a little bit of nerves,” Kennedy said. “[Central Valley] runs a 2-2-1 zone press that extends to half court. That gave us trouble early-on and flustered us a little bit.”

Most of the team returns next season so Cassidy is already looking forward to making another state playoff run.

“We’re looking for everyone who is coming back to put in a lot of time in the offseason, and hopefully we can be back here next year,” Cassidy said. “I hope this loss will keep us hungry in the offseason and show us where we need to get better.”

Central Valley will play on Wednesday and face either District 3 Champion Lancaster Catholic, which is currently on a 61-game win streak after beating Quaker Valley Saturday.

Huntingdon (42); Miller 3 4-8 11, A. Troup 3 0-2 6, Kurtz 1 0-0 2, McElroy 3 6-11 12, Reamer 0 5-6 5, L. Troup 1 4-4 6. Totals: 11 19-31 42.

Central Valley (66); Frye 3 5-6 12, Lyons 3 0-0 9, K. Underwood 6 1-1 13, Kirby 6 1-2 15, Johns 3 0-1 6, Kostocky 1 0-2 2, Dickinson 1 0-2 2, Engelman 0 1-2 1, A. Underwood 1 0-0 2, Elmer 1 0-0 2, Testa 1 0-0 2, Gillin 0 0-1 0. Totals: 26 8-17 66.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Huntingdon 8 8 8 18 — 42

Central Valley 22 20 15 9 – 66

3-point goals: Huntingdon 1 (Miller); Central Valley 6 (Lyons 3, Kirby 2, Frye)

Records: Huntingdon (14-10); Central Valley (23-2).

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