By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
TURBOTVILLE -- Chloe Eisenhuth didn't waste a second pondering the question.
Asked what she was more proud of, the trophy she received for making the all-tournament team or the gash on her left leg from diving onto the floor multiple times Friday night, the Warrior Run junior beamed.
"The gash on my leg!" she said, bursting into laughter.
The Defenders left their gym battered, bruised and, in some cases, bloodied from the effort it took to win the Warrior Run Holiday Tournament championship for the fourth consecutive year.
They rallied to erase a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit and went ahead of undefeated Muncy by six in the waning seconds. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer made the final score 45-42, but it was the only Muncy field goal in the game's final five minutes.
"Defense is our thing ... and in order to get the ball on (the offensive) end we had to play tough defense," said Eisenhuth, who had to leave the game briefly in the first half when blood from a wound below her left knee trickled to just above her ankle.
"I am really, really sore," she added. "Thank God we don't have practice (Saturday) because I don't think I could get out of bed too early."
The Defenders more than lived up to their name, taking aggressive defense to a level beyond simply diving for loose balls. They attempted to rip the ball from the Indians every chance they could and crashed the boards to the tune of a 42-25 advantage.
A touch of nastiness helped Warrior Run overcome 31 percent shooting and 24 turnovers.
"We started out slow again (offensively) but the defense kept us in the game," said Defenders coach Jon Weaver, who trumped brother and Muncy coach Craig Weaver Jr. in the title game.
Muncy (6-1) scored on its first two possessions but not again in the first quarter; Warrior Run forged only a 6-5 lead by shooting 3-of-15.
The fast-paced game was close throughout the first half. Tournament MVP Steph Shamburg scored twice in the last 90 seconds to put the Defenders up at the half, 19-17.
Midway through the third quarter, Warrior Run sophomore Abby Fisher dove to create a steal and was fouled by Muncy's Jordan Jones. The all-tournament junior went to the bench with four fouls, but the Indians were able to up their lead to 32-25.
"That was a good thing because she was their main player and she had to get out of the game," said Fisher. "That was a plus for us."
Tay Parker's 3-pointer from the left corner put Warrior Run ahead 37-36, and Shamburg was able to beat a bracket double-team plus help add six points in the period.
"We were feeding Steph until they stop her or foul her death," said Jon Weaver. "That opened up other people. When we needed it, it wasn't just one person; they were all there at the end."
With less than two minutes to play and Warrior Run leading by a point, Fisher went all the way to the 3-point arc in front of Muncy's bench for a tie-up and the ball on the alternating possession.
Eisenhuth then made three of four free throws, and Laura Bastian scored in transition to make it 45-39.
"We had to be aggressive because we knew they were coming our hard," said Eisenhuth. "We had to give it right back."
n Milton 43, Montgomery 32
Mackenna Miller scored seven of her 14 points in the fourth quarter to help Milton win the consolation game.
A four-point game after three quarters was broken open when Miller went coast-to-coast three times for points. She grabbed two defensive rebounds and bolted the length of the court for a basket and a free throw, respectively. She then took an inbounds pass and drove for a layup.
The Black Panthers (2-5) put together a six-point run for a 41-30 lead by not letting Montgomery cross the midcourt stripe on three consecutive touches.
Miller added nine rebounds, while all-tournament player Emily Baker had six rebounds and four steals.