EBENSBURG - Thursday night's matchup between Claysburg-Kimmel and Bishop Carroll Catholic may have been a consolation game, but it had the intensity of a title contest as both teams fought hard for a third-place finish in District 6 Class A girl's action.
In the end it was the Lady Bulldogs who were able to escape with a 43-40 victory in a game that went down to the wire.
"This was sort of like a championship game for us, we didn't want to enter state playoffs losing two straight games, so to bounce back after the loss to Bishop Guilfoyle and pick up this tough win is great," C-K coach Jeff Appleman said.
The Lady Bulldogs got off to a fast start led by two of their youngest players. Sophomore guard Paige Burk and freshman forward Elizabeth Weiland combined for 10 first quarter points as Claysburg jumped out to five-point lead at the end of one.
"We kind of got off to a slow start, but I was proud of the way the girls responded. After a tough loss Tuesday vs. Portage, I was glad to see we still had the fight in us and we played hard and had fun,"Bishop Carroll coach Crystal Horton.
The Lady Huskies outscored Claysburg, 13-7, in the second quarter to enter the half with a one-point lead.
The third quarter belonged to Weiland, however, as the freshman posted seven points, all from the foul line, and grabbed four rebounds in the period to help the Lady Bulldogs regain control.
For Weiland it was perhaps her best game of the season. She finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
"I'm just so happy to be in the playoffs and to have this kind of game is great. My teammates were all telling me you are just a freshman this is crazy. I'm proud of how I stepped up for the team," Weiland said.
"Unbelievable performance by Elizabeth, she did everything for us, hitting big free throws, grabbing big rebounds and making big plays on defense," Appleman said.
Claysburg held the lead through much of the fourth quarter with the margin fluctuating between one and six points. But with 39 seconds on the clock, Bishop Carroll's Lea Sammarco drained a three to knot the score at 40.
The Lady Bulldogs responded 11 seconds later as senior guard Madison Ickes finished a runner at the basket to put the Lady Bulldogs back up by two.
Bishop Carroll had numerous chances down the stretch as the Lady Bulldogs missed six of seven free throws. However, the Huskies secured a rebound on three of those misses and were left with just a desperation attempt for a tie at the buzzer.
Burk finished with 14 points for Claysburg while Bishop Carroll was led by Alli Farabaugh's 11 points.
Both teams will advance to the state tournament. Claysburg will face the District 9 second-place finisher, while Bishop Carroll will face the District 5 second-place finisher.
"We want to see how far we can push this thing, we feel like we can win a few games in the state tournament," said Appleman.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (43): Burk 5 0-1 14, Locke 0 0-3 0, Glass 1 1-2 3, Kulick 2 2-5 6, Ickes 3 1-3 7, Weiland 1 11-12 13, Walter 0 0-0 0, Acker 0 0-0 0 Totals 12 15-26 43
BISHOP CARROLL (40): B. Krug 2 1-2 5, Farabaugh 3 4-5 11, H. Krug 1 0-1 2, Link 2 0-0 5, Sammarco 4 0-0 10, Chumrik 1 0-0 2, Gueguen 0 0-0 0, Yahner 2 1-4 5, Mento 0 0-0 0 Totals 15 6-12 40
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Claysburg-Kimmel 14 7 13 9 43
Bishop Carroll 9 13 9 9 40
3-point goals: Claysburg-Kimmel (Burk 4), Bishop Carroll (Sammarco 2, Link, Farabaugh)