By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
It was as if regardless of where she was on the court, if Julia McArdle-Coe had the ball for Mifflinburg, she was probably going to score or make something happen.
In a span of roughly two minutes, McArdle-Coe did precisely that. The sophomore Wildcat went on a scoring streak of her own, accounting for six straight points early in the second quarter that put the Wildcats up by double digits against Jersey Shore.
From there, Mifflinburg could breathe a little bit of a sigh of relief, as Mifflinburg would hold a double-digit lead the remainder of the game versus the Bulldogs en route to a 50-32 win at “The Cats’ Den” in Mifflinburg Intermediate School on Thursday evening in the District 4 Class AAA playoffs.
The victory marked the first District 4 playoff win for Mifflinburg since the 2009-10 season when it defeated Danville in the quarterfinals. It’s the first District 4 tournament appearance since the 2010-11 season.
“It feels good to get one under our belt,” Mifflinburg coach Kelly Griffith said.
Mifflinburg will play No. 2 seeded Athens (17-5) on Tuesday at a site to be determined.
Jersey Shore’s (11-11) defense played fairly solid in the first quarter, holding its own with Mifflinburg (18-5) and giving up just three baskets from the floor to the Wildcats and trailed by just six at end of the first period.
After not having played a game in roughly a week and a half, the Wildcats’ offense sparked in the second quarter, taking a 25-13 lead into the half; a large part was the presence of McArdle-Coe and Kayla Kline on the court together.
The two sophomore stars combined for all but two of Mifflinburg’s 13 second-quarter points.
“They did very good. All year, they’ve been producing for us and Julia (was) hitting key shots and rebounding,” Griffith said. “They both have played really well.”
McArdle-Coe ended the night leading the Wildcats with a game-high 16 points while grabbing seven boards while Kline contributed 13 points, four boards, an assist and steal.
The two posed problems for Jersey Shore in terms of defensive coverage.
“That’s definitely how we work,” McArdle-Coe said. “I know me and Kayla, we’ve been playing together for awhile. We just have learned where each other are, as well as everyone else, and it just comes together when we need it to.”
Mifflinburg outrebounded Jersey Shore, 29-18.
The Bulldogs got a big night from Grace Naehu, who led Jersey Shore with 15 points and three steals. Naehu was the only Jersey Shore player to hit double figures.
Mifflinburg gave up just nine second-half points against Jersey Shore while increasing its lead steadily.
McArdle-Coe opened the third quarter with a nice steal-layup transition and an easy foul shot to put Mifflinburg up by 15. The largest lead of the night for Mifflinburg was 20, when Maddie Young came off the bench and nailed a shot with just 14 ticks remaining to go ahead, 50-30.