Lack of rebounding spells doom for BC girls

BELLEFONTE — In basketball, rebounding is often the name of the game.

Teams that control the boards limit opponents to one shot, while setting up numerous offensive opportunities for themselves under the basket.

District 4 champion Northumberland Christian fashioned a 40-16 rebounding edge over Bishop Carroll in a PIAA Class 1A girls basketball second-round playoff game Wednesday night, and it played a big role in Northumberland advancing to the quarterfinals and Carroll’s season ending.

Led by junior forward Kaitlyn Bookhammer’s game-high 15 rebounds and sophomore guard Emily Garvin’s game-high 28 points, Northumberland Christian dominated the second half to post a 59-40 victory at the Bellefonte Area High School gymnasium.

“We just couldn’t rebound the ball,” said first-year Carroll coach John Bianconi, whose team wound up a 15-11 season that included a District 6 championship. “They outrebounded us by a huge margin, and their defense was really aggressive. We turned the ball over numerous times, which was uncharacteristic of us.”

Rebounding is a point of emphasis for the Northumberland team, said its head coach, Dan Severn.

“We talk about rebounding being the key to winning, and we work really hard on rebounding,” Severn said.

It was for Northumberland Christian Wednesday, as Northumberland used its length and size, led by the 5-foot-11 Bookwalter, to its advantage.

“They’re big, and their size hurt us,” Bianconi said.

Northumberland Christian (25-4) carried the third quarter, 16-5, and used a 14-point run to wipe out a 28-26 deficit and take a commanding 40-28 lead.

Bookwalter started the rally with a putback bucket, and Garvin followed with another putback and a later free throw to put Northumberland up, 31-28. After Bookwalter turned an inbounds pass from Garvin into a bucket from the paint, junior Rebekah Hayner came up with a steal and weaved through the Carroll defense for a layup to give Northumberland a 35-28 lead.

Senior guard Madison Snyder scored a field goal off an inside pass from Garvin, and then Snyder drained a 3-pointer from the top of the circle, giving Northumberland the 40-28 edge.

“We knew that we were in the game, and we picked up our intensity,” Garvin said of the third-quarter uprising. “We had a chance to win, we all worked together, and it paid off.”

Northumberland — which will play District 3 Susquehanna in the quarterfinals on Saturday at a site and time to be determined — led, 40-31 after three quarters, and closed strong, ruling the fourth quarter, 19-9.

Carroll could get no closer than to within eight points in the fourth quarter, and Garvin scored nine of her 28 points in the final period to help Northumberland seal the win.

Senior Mara Yahner led Carroll with 16 points and sophomore guard Savannah Smorto added 12. Carroll was playing without the services of sophomore starting power forward Lexy Buynack due to what Bianconi termed as a “family decision.”

Carroll made only 14 of its 40 floor shots in the game, while Northumberland converted 25 of its 56.

Carroll’s seniors, led by Yahner, helped make Bianconi’s first season as the team’s head coach a memorable one.

“This first year was amazing,” Bianconi said. “The seniors, especially Mara Yahner, led this group. She was our only returning starter, and what she was able to accomplish in her career was amazing. We have four starters and eight players who played major minutes in the playoffs returning next year. The future looks bright.”

BISHOP CARROLL (40): M. Ostinowsky 3 0-0 8, Smorto 3 3-4 12, Krumenacker 0 0-0 0, Yahner 6 3-6 16, Bequet 2 0-0 4, Popma 0 0-0 0, Long 0 0-0 0, McMullen 0 0-0 0, Koschko 0 0-0 0. Totals — 14 6-10 .

NORTHUMBERLAND CHRISTIAN (59): Hayner 2 0-0 4, Snyder 3 0-0 7, Garvin 10 7-10 28, Bookwalter 7 0-0 14, E. Ulmer 2 0-0 4, A. Ulmer 0 0-1 0, Dressler 0 0-0 0, McCahan 1 0-0 2, Schoeppner 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals — 25 7-11 59.


Bishop Carroll 18 8 5 9 — 40

Northumberland Christian 14 10 16 19 — 59

3-point goals: Bishop Carroll 6 (Smorto 3, M. Ostinowsky 2, Yahner); Northumberland Christian 2 (Garvin, Snyder).

Officials: Tracy Cornelius, Joe Scialabba, Denny Detwiler.

Records: Bishop Carroll (15-11); Northumberland Christian (25-4).


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