West Branch topples Harmony|
Friday, February 01, 2013
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
ALLPORT - For the second time this season, the Harmony girls basketball team gained an early advantage on West Branch.
The Lady Owls carried a 2-0 lead on a Lindsay Welteroth jumper at the 6:46 mark in Thursday's contest in Allport, but - like the first time - the Lady Warriors responded in a big way.
West Branch outscored Harmony 24-0 after falling behind by a pair on Jan. 8 on its way to a 68-13 triumph. While the Lady Warriors' first quarter wasn't as dominant the second time around, it was still plenty effective.
The Lady Owls came up empty on their final seven attempts of the opening stanza, which opened the door for West Branch to finish on an 18-2 run en route to a 64-7 victory.
"We tried a couple different defenses and some of them are newer," said West Branch head coach Dan Socash. "We wanted to give teams a different look, so we ran some of those tonight. I was pleased with that.
"I thought we had a good compromise (on offense) between taking jumpers and attacking. We got some good looks, and I like how we moved the ball around against the zone in the second half."
The Lady Owls cracked the scoreboard first on a Welteroth jumper. Unfortunately for Harmony, it was all Lady Warriors afterward.
Madison McCracken's bucket tied the score at 2 and Janene Couteret, who scored all of her game-high 19 points in the first half, followed with a layup to put West Branch ahead for good at the 5:54 mark of the opening period.
Couteret made all nine of her shots in the first half to accompany five steals and four rebounds. The Lady Warrior senior ended the contest with five rebounds and nine steals, and didn't attempt a shot in the final two quarters.
"That's unselfishness ... that's being a team-player," said Socash of Couteret not attempting a shot in the second half. "She could have, but she moved the ball around. What else do you want out of your point guard?
"When she needed to score in the first half, she did, and she didn't say anything about it. She's been like that - not for just this game, but - for her whole career."
Unlike the first contest, the Lady Owls were able to crack the scoreboard after making their opening shot.
Joleen Brink sank a pair of foul shots late in the stanza and added a field goal in the second before leaving with an injury.
Brink's bucket in the second accounted for all of Harmony's points in the quarter.
"Everything that could go wrong, it went wrong," Harmony head coach Ralph Butterworth said. "The girls get so intimidated by West Branch, and I don't know why. West Branch is a nice team, but there's no way in the world the score should be that way.
"We couldn't catch, we couldn't pass. We went over everything (in practice) but they went out there and just froze."
West Branch rolled to a 24-0 third quarter effort behind seven points off the bench from Taylor Kolesar, while Christie Sabol netted six of her eight points in the stanza.
McCracken, who finished with a team-high nine rebounds, also finished the night with eight points for the Lady Warriors. MeLesha Ahlberg also reached double digits and finished with 11.
"Madison had her best game of the season," said Socash. "She was slashing to the basket and she was pulling down a lot of rebounds. She doesn't get a lot of credit because she doesn't score a lot of points, but she has been solid on defense throughout the whole season."
The Lady Owls, who dipped to 0-17, avoided being shut out in the second half when Stephanie Maseto converted the second of her two foul shots with 1:19 left to play.
Harmony ended the contest making just 2 of its 30 shots from the field and committed 38 turnovers in the contest.
"Hopefully we got that game out of our system," Butterworth said. "One thing I try to stress to the girls that West Branch is a nice team and that we need to learn from them on being the aggressive team that they are."
West Branch (10-4) hosts Glendale in a pivotal Moshannon Valley League contest this evening, while Harmony entertains Brockway at 6 p.m.
The Lady Warriors won the jayvee game, 55-20.
Jalee Rockey scored a game-high 15 points for West Branch, which got 14 more from Taylor Pedmo. Shannon Dyda had 13 in the loss for the Lady Owls.
Maseto 0 1-2 1, Brink 1 2-2 4, Woodley 0 0-0 0, Welteroth 1 0-0 2, Woodward 0 0-0 0, Wortman 0 0-0 0, Dyda 0 0-0 0, Hull 0 0-0 0, Raho 0 0-0 0, Nalley 0 0-0 0. Totals: 2 3-4 7.
Nye 1 0-0 2, Couteret 9 1-1 19, Ahlberg 5 0-0 11, Sabol 4 0-0 8, McCracken 4 0-0 8, Miller 2 1-2 5, Kolesar 3 0-0 7, Croyle 2 0-0 4, Pedmo 0 0-0 0, Prinkey 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 2-3 64.
Three-pointers: Ahlberg, Kolesar.
Score by Quarters
Harmony 4 2 0 1-7
West Branch 18 14 24 8-64