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Curwensville girls hold off Glendale in Mo Valley League tilt
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
CURWENSVILLE - Curwensville head girls basketball coach Rusty McCracken had to be experiencing a little déjà vu Monday evening at Patton Hall.
Just like in the earlier meeting this season between the squads, the Lady Tide took a comfortable lead into halftime against Moshannon Valley League foe Glendale, only to watch it evaporate in a second half dominated by Lady Viking Katelyn Matthews.
The difference Monday night was Curwensville withstood the Glendale onslaught and came out with a 46-39 win.
Curwensville led 27-20 at halftime on Jan. 21 at Donald A. Kitko Gymnasium, but dropped a 50-47 decision to Glendale thanks to a 25-point effort from Matthews.
The Lady Viking senior was at it again Monday night, scoring 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds to bring her team back from a 24-10 halftime deficit.
"You have to give Glendale credit," McCracken said. "They weren't going to sit back and just let us have it. They came back and gave us a little bit of a scare.
"And Matthews did pretty much the same as in the game up there. She took over the second half and scored a lot of points. She's tough. She has such a long reach and a long step, and she can get to places where the defense doesn't think she can get to.
"And she has that nice little bank shot. She does a lot of nice things."
But while Matthews and the Lady Vikings were on the comeback trail, the Lady Tide stayed the course, continuing to force turnovers like they did in the first half to help them build their 14-point lead.
Becca Johnson notched 10 steals to go with her 10 points to lead Curwensville as the Lady Vikings fumbled the ball away 31 times in the game, including nine in a third quarter that saw them outscore the hosts, 15-8.
"Our defense kept us in it, but our offense committed too many turnovers," Glendale head coach John Matchock said. "You can't win ball games with all those turnovers."
Curwensville got out to a 13-7 lead in the first quarter, getting a pair of buckets from both Johnson and Tiffany Carter to lead the way.
The Lady Tide ran off the first eight points of the second quarter, highlighted by steals and coast-to-coast layups from Tierra Shope and Ciara Strickland.
"We more aggressive tonight than we were in our last meeting," McCracken said. "We kept getting the steals. Not that we always finished, but we were at least taking control of the basketball."
Curwensville led 21-7 at that point as the Lady Vikings didn't score until Caitlyn Kimberly's drive to the hoop fell with 1:28 left in the half.
Glendale was 1-for-13 from the field in the second quarter and 3-for-26 in the half.
"If you want to win games, especially close ones like this, you can't afford to be missing easy shots," Matchock said. "Almost every possession is key and we just didn't finish tonight."
A Strickland 3-pointer gave Curwensville its biggest lead of the night, 24-9, and Glendale's Ashley Reed knocked down one of two free throws to make the score, 24-10, at the half. Strickland paced the Lady Tide with 11 points.
Glendale came out of the break looking like a new team and quickly reeled off six points before a Johnson jumper briefly halted the momentum.
Back-to-back possessions with Matthews scoring on drives to the hoop got the Lady Vikings to within six of the lead, 26-20, halfway through the third quarter.
The teams traded buckets the rest of the frame and Curwensville took a 32-25 lead into the final stanza.
There, the Lady Tide got on a roll, outscoring the visitors, 8-4, to get the lead back to double digits at 40-29.
A Heather Thorp offensive rebound and putback, followed by a Katrina Seaburn layup finished off the run.
Seaburn scored nine points for Curwensville, with Shope and Thorp adding six each.
"It wasn't just one or two people," McCracken said. "We had pretty balanced scoring up and down the lineup. Everyone contributed.
"They did the job defensively, and we boxed out well at times and got some key rebounds. It was just a total effort on everybody's part."
Glendale had one last run left in it, however, and started whittling away at the Lady Tide lead once more.
Matthews scored six points in a 10-2 run that got Glendale to within a possession of the lead, 42-39. Reed and Cassidy Noel also scored buckets that put Glendale just three points down with a minute left on the clock.
"I'll give the girls credit. They kept fighting," Matchock said. "But digging that deep of a hole is just hard to come back from. The girls didn't quit. We got it down to three with a minute left.
"But we had to start fouling and they made their shots."
Strickland canned a pair of free throws and Thorp connected on a runner to help the Lady Tide hold on for the win.
"They just didn't back off, and they kept chipping away and chipping away," McCracken said of Glendale. "But we did find a way to answer when we needed to.
"Ciara hit a couple foul shots. Becca hit a jumper near the end that countered their attack. And the big lead in the beginning was the key. We weren't as aggressive in the second half as we were in the first half, but we did just enough to win the game."
"That first half, we just dug ourselves too deep of a hole, going down 14 at halftime," Matchock said. "We chipped away and chipped away and got it down to three. But the tale of our season has been turnovers and missed layups. And we had that again tonight."
Curwensville improved to 7-9 overall and 5-2 in the MVL.
Glendale dipped to 7-13 and 4-4.
The Lady Vikings won the jayvee game, 43-41, behind double-digit efforts from Shannon Ricketts (14) and Katie Kutruff (13). Shawna Guy paced the Lady Tide with 16.
Curwensville is back in action tonight at Sheffield, while Glendale travels to Harmony on Wednesday.
NOTE: The Lady Tide victory snapped Glendale's 11-game winning streak against Curwensville. The last win for the Lady Tide came on Feb. 16, 2007.

McMurray 2 0-0 4, Peterson 0 0-0 0, Noel 2 0-0 4, Kimberly 2 0-1 4, Matthews 9-10 24, Reed 1 1-4 3, Kutruff 0 0-0 0, McMillen 0 0-0 0, Witherow 0 0-0 0, Ricketts 0 0-0 0, Johnston 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 10-14 39.
Thorp 3 0-1 6, Strickland 4 2-2 11, Carter 2 0-2 4, Seaburn 2 5-8 9, Johnson 5 0-0 10, Shope 2 2-2 6. Totals: 18 9-15 46.
Three-pointers: Matthews; Strickland.
Score by Quarters
Glendale        7   3 15 14-39
Curwensville  13 11  8 14-46

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