Lady Pirates Arrr! champions
CLAYSBURG — During a typical year, anyone who is playing this late into March can only end the season with a win if they earn a state championship.
This hasn’t been a typical season, however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the Williamsburg Lady Pirates, it’s been a struggle to just stay on the court.
They did, however, end their season on a high note.
Behind a strong defense and a pair of double-digit scorers, the Lady Pirates captured their first Inter-County Conference title in program history, thanks to a 48-38 win over Tussey Mountain Monday night at Claysburg-Kimmel High School.
“I really appreciate the ICC putting it together tournament-style just because we didn’t get many games in (during) the regular season,” Williamsburg coach Amy Hileman said. “It just gives a more competitive ending to the season after being delayed, and then we were on quarantine for awhile.
“We don’t have any selfish players out there and that’s why we’ve had the success in the semifinal and again here in the final.”
The first quarter was even as Karli Lucko drew an and-one for Tussey around the 2:40 mark of the first. However, that was answered by an Anna Ward putback with just under a minute to play for the Lady Pirates to take an 11-10 lead late in the opening stanza.
“It’s not states, it’s not districts, but this means a lot being able to spend my last game with these people and everyone,” Ward said. “It’s going to be sad when I leave, but I know they have a bright future ahead of them.”
Hileman was very gracious in talking about the Lady Titans.
“They’re a very-well coached team,” she said. “(Meghan) Molosky is a great player, but we fought back through that press and they were forced to foul us and we took care of it on the foul line.”
Speaking of Molosky, her jumper with under 30 seconds to play in the first gave Tussey a 12-11 after one. She finished with 14 points.
The Lady Pirates, meanwhile, took over in the second, starting with a Kendell Norris jumper which set off a 13-5 run. It was capped off by a Krista Simpson buzzer-beater to give them a 24-17 lead at the half.
“We just absolutely were not ready from the beginning,” Tussey Mountain coach Todd Gates said. “We got outhustled, they got all the loose balls, they got the rebounds. We were out of position; it was just one thing after another.”
The Lady Pirates continued that trend in the fourth as Norris and Ayla Hileman drew a pair of plus-1s in the final frame. Hileman finished with 18 while Norris added 11.
“We’re a very balanced team,” Hileman said. “If you look at our box score, we don’t have just one kid that’s putting up double figures every night. That’s what we’re about, team basketball.”
Ward — who scored eight points in her final game as a Pirate — was appreciative that her senior season ended with a championship won on the hardwood.
“It definitely scared me a lot because it is my last year,” she said. “Everyone wants a great senior year to go out on. Even though it wasn’t the best, and we didn’t have all the games, it was still great.”
Hileman is looking forward to what next season holds after her team finished 11-4.
“The sky’s the limit. I’ve said it before with these kids. We told the girls the offseason starts tomorrow, and we definitely want to do better. We’re coming after that district title,” she said.
WILLIAMSBURG (48): Hileman 4 9-14 18, Norris 5 1-1 11, Simpson 2 2-4 6, Stewart 1 2-6 5, Carper 0 0-0 0, Ward 3 2-2 8, Prough 0 1-2 1. Totals: 15 17-29 48.
TUSSEY MOUNTAIN (38): Leonard 3 4-6 10, Clark 1 2-2 4, Weaver 1 0-2 2, Lucko 2 0-3 4, Molosky 5 4-4 14, Taylor 1 0-1 2, Black 0 0-0 0, LaPenna 0 0-0 0, Gambol 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 10-18 38.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Williamsburg 11 13 7 17 – 48
Tussey Mountain 12 5 8 13 – 38
3-point goals: Williamsburg 1 (Stewart)
Records: Williamsburg (11-4), Tussey Mountain (10-8)
Officials: Billy Pfeffer, Craig Andros, Joe Sciabbla