There has to be something in the cafeteria food at Central Columbia.
A day after the school’s boys basketball team stunned Danville with a 21-point run in a district semifinal game, the Blue Jays girls pulled off an unlikely playoff scoring spree of their own.
Central fell behind Warrior Run by 13 points following a scoreless first quarter Wednesday but then turned the tables with an amazing 17-2 run for a halftime lead.
The second-seeded Defenders kept it close throughout the second half until Madeline Murtin hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer and a pair of pair of foul shots, propelling the Blue Jays to a 35-31 District 4 Class AA semifinal win.
“They went on that run, and that was the difference in the ball game,” said Warrior Run coach Jon Weaver. “We hung after that, but that 17-2 run killed us.”
Warrior Run (20-6) played without freshman point guard Emily Webb, who tore her ACL in the quarterfinal win over Southern Columbia. Scoring leader Steph Shamburg was handcuffed by foul trouble and had just two points without taking a second-half shot.
The Defenders play fifth-seeded Montoursville in the District 4 Class AA consolation game for a state playoff berth. Central Columbia (15-9) faces three-time defending district champ Mount Carmel in the title game Saturday.
“I knew with the loss of Emily Webb — and that’s very tragic — I knew Warrior Run was going to come out emotionally charged,” said Central coach Jim Murtin, whose team beat Loyalsock this season after trailing 14-0. “I give them a lot of credit. I didn’t know how long they could last in that defense because they were (playing) outstanding man-to-man, on-the-ball defense.
“It looked like it took our girls aback a little bit. They had us on our heels.”
Defenders freshman Madi Welliver scored half of her team-high 12 points in the first quarter, and Abby Fisher nailed a 3-pointer for a 9-0 lead. Then Shamburg and Welliver drove to the hoop on consecutive possessions to make it 13-0 with 2 minutes gone in the second.
The Jays’ 5-foot-11 junior post, Lindsey Carl, got them on the board with a jumper in the lane, and she scored eight more points to cut the deficit to 15-14. Central, which missed six first-quarter shots and had eight turnovers, was 7-for-9 from the floor in the second quarter.
“The first shot, basic meat-and-potatoes into Lindsey Carl, that helped,” said Jim Murtin, “and having a couple turnovers and rebounds, and, all of a sudden, our girls breathed a sigh of relief.”
Warrior Run was 0-for-6 with six turnovers during the seismic shift, which was completed when Allison McCracken curled to the hoop for a bucket and a Central lead with 1:12 left in the half.
“Obviously you’re deflated a little bit,” said Weaver, “but I thought coming out of halftime we played very well.”
The Defenders fell behind 26-19, not getting their first basket of the second half until Welliver scored down low with 1:14 showing. They closed the third with a 5-0 run and tied the score at 28 with a Laura Bastian drive at the 4:26 mark.
Murtin broke the tie 81 seconds later and, despite Chloe Eisenhuth hitting a pair of clutch free throws to make it 33-31 with 11 seconds to go, Taylor Knorr answered with a pair to ice it for Central.
“We didn’t catch any breaks toward the end. We were right there, one bucket away and we had a couple opportunities. Things just didn’t go our way,” said Weaver. “To play without your starting point guard and give the effort they gave, I can’t ask for any more. I’m proud of them. We took them to the wire.”
There has to be something in the cafeteria food at Central Columbia.
MLB ROUNDUP: Yankees and Giants win 14-inning games
NEW YORK — Chase Headley hit a game-winning single in the 14th inning of his Yankees debut to give New York a 2-1 victory over Texas.
Deadline for elk license drawing is now July 31
BENEZETTE, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Game Commission says July 31 is the deadline for hunters to enter the lottery to receive one of 108 elk licenses to be issued this year.
Wrestling: Mifflinburg's Walter, SCA's Lane place at Greco nationals
The calendar might say July, but for many high school wrestlers the summer months are a perfect time to hone their skills in anticipation for the upcoming prep season.
American Legion Baseball: Season comes to an end for Line Mountain
Line Mountain catcher J.P. Lenker knew right down to the inning how much baseball he and his teammates have played in the last three weeks.
Danville's Gronsky signs with Cardinals organization
It’s been a whirlwind past couple of weeks for Jake Gronsky, and it’s about to get headier for the Danville High grad.
Legion baseball: Line Mountain pulls out 12-11 victory at Region V tournament
Line Mountain manager Sam Strause exited the home dugout at Schute Field at Mansfield University looked at his home fans and said “I feel sick.”
Susquehanna's Hotaling named a preseason All-American in football
Susquehanna University senior placekicker Spencer Hotaling has been named a USA College Football Division III First-Team Preseason All-American. In addition, senior wide receiver Denzell Walker was named an Honorable Mention selection on offense.
Softball: Danville Bandits 18U squad qualifies for World Series
Most of them will be juniors or seniors when the fall scholastic year rolls around here in just a few short weeks, some are even in college already. But for a brief moment back on July 5, Danville Bandits manager Tony Fritz could’ve sworn he was staring at a bunch of Little League kids with the way his team was excited having earned a spot in the Stars and Stripes Salute 18U Tournament championship game.
SU's Hotaling earns preseason All-America honors
Susquehanna senior kicker Spencer Hotaling has been named a USA College Football Division III First-Team Preseason All-American.
Baseball: Crosscutters' Fultz no stranger to big leagues
He reached the pinnacle of Major League baseball in 2002: the World Series.
American Legion: Line Mountain tops Hughesville in Region V tournament
Kellan Masser wore a blank game face as he made his way off of the mound, cracking the slightest hint of a smile as his teammates leapt from the dugout to high-five him.
Motorsports: Dewease scores 300th career win in rain delayed Summer Nationals
There’s nothing like having the World of Outlaws come to town and breaking a winless streak.
American Legion: Line Mountain falls in opener of Region 5 tournament
Line Mountain manager Sam Strause was quick to note that Dickson City may be one of the top teams in the Region V Tournament.
Southern Columbia's Blake Marks named Daily Item Male Athlete of the Year
In an era of athletes focusing on one sport, Blake Marks is literally a man for all seasons.
Mount Carmel's Ali Varano named Daily Item's Female Athlete of the Year
While her junior year as a whole was successful, Mount Carmel’s Ali Varano wasn’t necessarily satisfied with how it turned out in the end, especially in track and field. The speedy Red Tornado was just shy of a qualifying time in the 300 hurdles and missed out on going to the PIAA Track & Field Championships by literally the slimmest of margins: .03 seconds.
Motorsports: Hodnett claims win at Williams Grove
Greg Hodnett has been struggling a lot at Williams Grove Speedway this season.
- More Sports Headlines
- MLB ROUNDUP: Yankees and Giants win 14-inning games