The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

March 6, 2014

H.S. girls basketball: Mifflinburg arrives at district pinnacle early

Sophomore stars elevate the program

(Continued)

The Wildcats (20-5) face Holy Redeemer, the District 2 third-place team, 6 p.m. Saturday at Shikellamy H.S.

Five other Valley girls teams are in action this weekend. Mount Carmel and Warrior Run play first-round games Friday, while Danville, Halifax and Upper Dauphin play Saturday.

Mifflinburg was a safe bet to improve last season's 4-18 record, but less likely to attain the .500 record needed to reach the postseason. Of course, that was before the Wildcats emerged from the holiday break with a 6-2 mark.

"We only had four wins last year, but we played tough and we played people tough. We just didn't pull out the wins," said Wildcats coach Kelly Griffith. "This year they believed in themselves."

The 'Cats qualified for districts in just 15 games, doing so with an emphatic, 22-point win over perennial contender Shamokin. They scored points in bunches, often putting three scorers in double-figures, and at no point during the season did they lose consecutive games.

"I think after the regular season was over and we were 17-5," said Kline, "I think that was when we felt we had a chance to go into districts and win games."

With a favorable draw as the district's No. 3 seed, Mifflinburg knocked off Jersey Shore and defending champion (and second-seeded) Athens with a fourth-quarter rally to reach the final.

"When we won against Athens it kind of opened our eyes," said McArdle-Coe, "like, Just because we lost to Danville two times before does not mean anything."

The 'Cats trailed Danville 17-8 after one quarter but turned the tables in the second period and didn't look back, beating the Ironmen by the widest margin of any team this season, 48-36.

"We played close with all the good teams in the district, and we knew we had the potential to beat them," said Stauffer. "We believed that we could get this far, and we made it count."

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