By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
On a day when senior Abby Daddario was looking to help Sunbury Christian halt its Allegheny Christian Athletic Association championship game losing streak and score her 1,000th point, a junior stole the show.
Trailing by two with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter, Meadowbrook Christian junior Madison Burrows tied the game at 29 with a layup, part of her team-high 12 points. She then gave the Lions the lead for good off a steal as she split two defenders and scored the basket while drawing a foul.
Meadowbrook went on for a 32-29 win and their first ever ACAA girls title at Northumberland Christian’s Bingaman Activities Center.
“There was a lot of intensity out on the floor; that’s how a championship game should be played,” said Lions head coach Bill Lynd, whose team held Sunbury scoreless in the fourth.
“Our defense played hard and that is what has been winning it for us all year,” he added.
Daddario, who came into the game needing nine points for 1,000 in her career, made a 3-pointer in each of the first and second quarters. She was held scoreless in the second half.
“I knew about the milestone since last week,” said Daddario, whose second-quarter trey put Sunbury up 14-9, its biggest lead of the game.
Meadowbrook (17-6, 10-3 ACAA) led by one at halftime, 21-20, but the Eagles (21-2, 12-1) outscored the Lions 9-3 in the third to take a five-point lead. The lead could have been as high as eight going into the fourth as Daddario, who stole an inbounds pass, got off a 3-point shot just after the buzzer sounded and her basket was waved off.
That came on the heels of the Eagles catching the Lions off guard at the end of the third. They went the length of the floor from under their own basket with 10 seconds left and Tiffany Billings scored to give Sunbury a 29-24 edge.
Daddario had a chance to extend the Eagles’ lead at the start of the fourth but a 3-point shot from the right wing hit the front of the rim, bounced twice and fell off.
“She was trying to help the team win and, in reality, she’s been making those shots all year,” Eagles coach John Jones said. “She forced a few shots while trying to drive to the basket, but I thought the threes she took were the right shots.
“We’ve been struggling to finish the game in the fourth quarter in a championship game,” Jones added. “This loss hurts the most because the girls exceeded my expectations at the beginning of the year and they improved over the year as a team.”
Sunbury was able to beat the Meadowbrook press for most of the game, but couldn’t finish consistently on the offensive end. The Lions held Sunbury to season-low 29 points. Sophomore Torri Erdman led the Eagles with 12.
Burrows, who scored seven of her 12 points in the second quarter, said the team was playing to win the game for Mary Adams, the lone senior on the team.
“Those last two minutes were filled with all kinds of emotions,” she said.
“Abby is an aggressive and great player and she’s good competition,” said Adams who scored four points. “Our defense was the key.” Daddario was candid in defeat.
“I think we got out-hustled in the fourth and we just couldn’t catch the ball,” she said of the scoreless quarter. “It got in our heads, but we played hard and to be in the title game five times in a row is quite an accomplishment. I’m proud of my team; they played well.”