Lady Eagles settle for second
CRESSON — Basketball is a much easier game when the shots you take are 2 feet long compared to shooting from the perimeter all day.
Tyrone obviously knew that coming into its game with West Shamokin for the District 6 Class 3A girls championship at Mount Aloysius College on Saturday, but the Lady Eagles seemed powerless to do anything about it.
Twenty-one of the Lady Wolves’ 25 field goals came within a couple of feet of the basket, most of them putbacks or layups, and West Shamokin won its first girls basketball district championship, 58-42.
“Definitely, their size and toughness were hard to deal with,” Tyrone senior guard Kasey Engle said. “We couldn’t handle them on the boards, and they were getting so many offensive rebounds. We struggled with that collectively.”
The Lady Eagles actually battled back from an early 11-5 deficit to take a 16-15 lead in the second quarter, but the Lady Wolves ended the half on a 12-3 run.
“We said coming in that we needed to jam the lane,” Tyrone coach Luke Rhoades said. “We knew that they were very tough inside, and they just beat us up inside. They destroyed us inside. That was the big difference. We knew that, we talked about it as part of the gameplan to jam the lane, but we just didn’t execute the gameplan.”
West Shamokin out-rebounded Tyrone 33-18, and many of those were on the offensive side and led to immediate layups. Meanwhile, the Lady Eagles were forced to shoot from long range against a tough Lady Wolves zone defense.
Engle made two 3-pointers and converted a traditional three-point play to tie the game at 19 with 4:04 to play in the second quarter, but Olivia Fusaro’s layup seconds later put West Shamokin ahead for good.
“We are confident that if we get high percentage shots, we should be able to knock them down,” West Shamokin coach Frank Nagy said. “Our shot charts will show a lot of mid-range and inside shots. We didn’t shoot many 3s, and when you are shooting high-percentage shots, you are usually in a good position.”
Engle finished with a game-high 23 points. West Shamokin got 18 points from Andrea Orlosky, 17 points from Jasah Huth and 16 from Fusaro.
“They had three girls who had 18, 17 and 16, and we had only one girl in double digits,” Rhoades said. “You aren’t going to win a district title like that. I don’t care who you are.”
West Shamokin was competing in the District 6 playoffs for the first time after moving from the WPIAL.
“This is our first district championship in basketball and our first state berth,” Nagy said. “To win this is absolutely unbelievable. I’m so happy for the girls. We were hyped up about winning the Heritage Conference. That was our big goal, but this seems bigger than that.”
Tyrone will also continue its season in the PIAA playoffs against the fourth-place finisher from District 7 at a District 6 site on March 11.
“Obviously, this is a letdown,” Rhoades said. “Everyone goes into this playing for a district championship. We just have to rebuild and see what happens. We get an opportunity to get out and see some different teams in the state. We’ll get to see what we can do against them, and hopefully we shoot a little bit better.”
The Lady Eagles seemed to take the loss hard. It was Tyrone’s first appearance in a district final since a 2011 loss to Hollidaysburg,
“We’ve got to figure it out,” Engle said. “I guess we just have to keep our heads up. We have to practice as hard as we possibly can and try to move forward.”
WEST SHAMOKIN (58): Glover 2 1-4 5, Orlosky 8 1-2 18, Huth 8 1-3 17, Fusaro 6 4-9 16, Clowser 0 0-0 0, DiFilippo 0 0-0 0, Olinger 1 0-0 2. Totals — 25 7-18 58.
TYRONE (42): Kosoglow 1 0-0 2, Engle 7 6-7 23, Cannistraci 3 0-0 7, Shaw 2 0-0 6, Lehman 0 0-0 0, Wagner 1 0-0 2, Ronan 1 0-0 2. Totals — 15 6-7 42.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
West Shamokin 13 14 17 14 — 58
Tyrone 11 8 9 14 — 42
3-point goals: West Shamokin 1 (Orlosky); Tyrone 6 (Engle 3, Shaw 2, Cannistraci).
Records: West Shamokin (24-2); Tyrone (24-4).
Officials: Dan Gales, Mike Conron, Jeff Fisher.