Defense propels Lady Eagles
TYRONE — Wednesday night at the Tyrone Area Middle School gymnasium, the Lady Eagles looked as though they were rounding into midseason form while their opponent, Central, was making some uncharacteristic mistakes.
For the Lady Dragons, a lot of that probably had to do with the fact Wednesday was their season opener, a week and a day after it was scheduled and more than a month after the winter sports season was originally scheduled to start at the beginning of the school year.
First-year Central coach Drew Ebersole is hoping the lopsided final of Tyrone’s 62-29 triumph was largely the result of his program being stuck in neutral since he took over the coaching duties from Rob Mock.
“With the lack of preparation, I thought we did a good job early,” Ebersole said. “I thought as the game went on, we just made too many mental mistakes and turned the ball over way too much.”
The Lady Dragons were originally scheduled to play Wednesday’s game on Jan. 12, but the school and athletics shut down until Jan. 19 due to a COVID-19 issue.
Meanwhile, Tyrone, which forced 20 turnovers, was playing in its fifth game and has now won three in a row after an 0-2 start against extremely tough competition.
The Lady Eagles offense, which struggled in half court situations earlier this season, thrived against Central and spread the ball around. Jaida Parker led all scorers with 15 points. Kayelin Gibbons added 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Emma Getz had 13 points and six rebounds.
“(Ball movement) has been a focus of ours,” Tyrone coach Luke Rhoades said. “We have talked about it in practice, but we didn’t play in the offseason together, and you have to get used to playing together. We have focused in practice on keeping our first group and some subs in together. We don’t do that a lot typically, and it showed the first couple games. The last couple practices, after they have practiced together, I think they are starting to feel where each other is going to be. I think that’s helped.”
In addition to the starters coming together, Tyrone got key contributions from Marissa Lewis and Summer Shaw off the bench.
With her team leading by 11 early in the second quarter, Lewis grabbed an offensive rebound and passed to Stephanie Ramsey for a 3-pointer, which was part of a 13-0 run that put the game away.
“I thought Marissa Lewis did a great job rebounding the basketball, especially offensively,” Rhoades said. “She made good decisions. On that kickout, she was smart with the basketball and made a great pass to Stephanie.”
After Central cut the lead down to 14 on a Carly Dixon 3-pointer later in the half, Shaw scored five quick points to help Tyrone carry a 20-point lead into the locker room.
“Summer came off the bench and gave us some nice minutes, and that’s what we need to see,” Rhoades said. “As this year goes on, I want to keep seeing that from a number of our players. Depth is important.”
Depth is something Ebersole is trying to build at Central. The Lady Dragons played 11 different players big minutes Wednesday. Leah Johnston and Katheryn Longenecker each scored nine points to lead Central.
“That will be beneficial down the road,” Ebersole said. “Getting some of our freshmen and sophomores in there will help, because I think they are going to help us in the future.”
The Lady Dragons actually led 5-4 three minutes into the game and trailed by four late in the first quarter before Tyrone ended it on a 7-2 run.
“Central played hard on defense,” Rhoades said. “Every Central team I have coached against back to Vernon Neil has played great defense against us, and they did it again tonight. I have to give my girls credit for finding some openings in it and making some great passes. We were very unselfish.”
CENTRAL (29): K. Kreider 0 0-0 0, Johnston 3 3-4 9, Longenecker 4 0-0 9, Dixon 3 0-0 8, Heuston 0 1-2 1, Ellis 0 0-0 0, Decker 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Rhykerd 0 0-0 0, Balliet 0 0-0 0, Diehl 1 0-0 2. Totals — 11 4-6 29.
TYRONE (62): Ramsey 3 0-0 9, Getz 6 1-1 13, Parker 5 5-5 15, Gibbons 5 4-6 14, Saltsgiver 0 0-0 0, M. Lewis 2 0-0 4, Su. Shaw 2 0-0 5, Christine 1 0-0 2, Weston 0 0-0 0, R. Lewis 0 0-0 0, Corl 0 0-0 0, Andrews 0 0-0 0. Totals — 24 10-12 62
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central 11 6 6 6 — 29
Tyrone 20 17 23 2 — 62
3-point goals: Central 3 (Dixon 2, Longenecker); Tyrone 4 (Ramsey 3, Su. Shaw).
Officials: Sue Kovensky, Gerald Kaufman, Jack McDougal
Records: Central (0-1, 0-1 in Mountain League); Tyrone (3-2, 2-0 in Mountain League)
JV: Tyrone, 46-38. High scorers–Megan Diehl, C, 15; Summer Shaw, T, 22