Penn Hills has too much for Lady Tigers

Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Hollidaysburg’s Hannah Snyder is trapped by Penn Hills’ Tayonna Robertson (left) and Jayla Golden on Saturday.

Playing against a bigger, deeper and more athletic team that runs end-to-end pressure defense presents a formidable challenge.

That’s what Hollidaysburg faced in Penn Hills Saturday afternoon.

When Hannah Snyder stepped in the passing lane, stole a pass and took it the length of the court for a layup late in the first quarter, Hollidaysburg led 9-7.

Penn Hills (17-7) put the clamps on the Lady Tigers after that.

The Lady Indians took control of the game in the second quarter, outscoring Hollidaysburg, 18-1, and went on to a 42-25 win at the Altoona Fieldhouse in the opening round of the 5A state playoffs.

“I thought we had a good game plan coming in. The first quarter we stayed with them, but their athleticism is something we don’t see around here and haven’t seen on our schedule,” Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck said. “They’re probably one of the most athletic teams on the western side of the bracket so they’ll be a tough matchup for whoever they get next.”

The Lady Indians’ defensive domination continued in the second half. Penn Hills, which entered the state playoffs as the WPIAL’s third-place team, held Hollidaysburg to three points in the third quarter and led 38-13 heading to the final period.

“Defensively, we played really well. Everybody did their job. They executed to perfection,” PH coach Robert Cash said. “We have some pretty athletic kids that move well. We like to get up in people’s faces, make them work and make them earn everything.”

Hollidaysburg had to work extremely hard to get the ball past the midcourt stripe with most possessions ending in either a missed shot or a turnover.

“They play above the rim. They were outjumping us for rebounds. They’re long and lengthy. It gave us a lot of problems,” Jubeck said.

Penn Hills tied the game 9-9 early in the second quarter when A’Lysa Sledge scored driving to the basket then took the lead for good on Ariana Dunson’s 3-pointer.

Adia Brisker made a pair of steals later in the quarter, turning them both into layups and added two foul shots to close out first-half scoring for six of her game-high 18 points.

The senior guard who’s committed to play collegiately at Niagara University also grabbed eight rebounds and made five steals.

Hannah Snyder led Hollidaysburg with 10 points.

Her 3-pointer with 4:30 left in the game was the first field goal for the Lady Tigers in more than two quarters. The six points Hollidaysburg scored in between all came from the free throw line.

“It was hard. We knew we had to box out and limit their shots. We weren’t able to do that on a few plays,” Snyder said. “That was part of the reason we struggled, but this isn’t what we’re going to remember. We had a lot of fun all year and were able to win a second straight district championship.”

Hollidaysburg beat Obama Academy last weekend to capture the District 6-8-9 title in back-to-back years. The Lady Tigers ended the season at 13-11.

“We had the best two leaders that we’ve had in a long time. Sierra McClain and Hannah Snyder really took this group under their wings,” Jubeck said. “They weren’t going to settle for mediocrity. They were in the gym every day over the summer, and come November, they showed up. There were nights we were kicking them out of the gym. That’s what puts a team back on the map.”

Penn Hills moves on to play WPIAL foe Oakland Catholic Wednesday in the second round. Oakland Catholic advanced with a 60-45 win over District 10 champ Warren Saturday.

PENN HILLS (42): Dunson 1 0-0 3, Brisker 6 5-7 18, Jas. Golden 1 0-0 2, Jay. Golden 1 0-0 2, Robertson 1 1-2 3, Sledge 2 0-0 4, Whittington 0 2-2 2, Carpenter 0 0-0 0, Blackwell 2 0-1 4, Moore 0 1-2 1, Fulton 1 0-0 3. Totals — 15 9-14 42.

HOLLIDAYSBURG (25): Hileman 1 0-0 3, Goins 2 2-4 6, Bell 0 1-2 1, Snyder 4 1-2 10, McClain 0 3-4 3, Smith 0 0-0 0, Miller 1 0-0 2. Totals — 8 7-12 25.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Penn Hills 7 18 13 4 — 42

Hollidaysburg 9 1 3 12 — 25

3-point goals: Penn Hills 3 (Dunson, Brisker, Fulton); Hollidaysburg 2 (Hileman, Snyder).

Records: Penn Hills (17-7); Hollidaysburg (13-11).

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