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Tyrone girls survive opening of Districts to slip past Bellefonte

The numbers didn’t seem to compute after Tyrone defeated Bellefonte last night at Bald Eagle Area High School in the District 6-AAA quarterfinals.
The Lady Eagles missed 20 of 28 shots in the paint, made four fewer field goals than the Lady Raiders and played most of the game without second leading scorer Marie DelBaggio, who was saddled with foul problems midway through the first quarter.
More often than not, figures like those add up to losses, but against the Lady Raiders they were just enough to add some drama to Tyrone’s first round playoff game.
Despite making just 29 percent of its shots from the field and being held to just six points in the first quarter, Tyrone was able to nudge by Bellefonte 45-42 and advance to the AAA semifinals next Monday against Lewistown. The teams had split their two earlier meetings this season, with both squad winning on its home court.
“We dodged a major bullet in the first half,” said Tyrone coach Jim Swaney, whose team trailed 26-19 at halftime after being outrebounded and outhustled over the first 16 minutes. “We had a lot of open looks inside and didn’t capitalize.”
The Lady Eagles improved to 15-9 overall and set up a compelling match up in the semis: Tyrone and Lewistown are the top two defensive teams in the District, the Lady Eagles haven’t lost since falling to the Lady Panthers in January, and Lewistown hasn’t lost to Tyrone since 1994.
It’s the kind of showdown the Lady Eagles no doubt relish, but by the middle of the second quarter last night, it was about as far off as Jupiter.
Tyrone trailed 13-6 after the first quarter and by the 4:07 mark of the second had pulled to within three (19-16). That was when Bellefonte sophomore Megan Farrington went to work inside, scoring six of her team’s last seven points of the half to help the Lady Raiders build a 26-19 lead.
The Lady Eagles had few offensive answers because DelBaggio spent a good portion of the half on the bench after picking up two fouls in the first quarter and one more in the second at the 4:56 mark. With her out, Joanna Turner got most of the Lady Eagles’ offensive touches, but she was unable to finish from in close and ended the first half without a field goal.
Things changed quickly for Turner and the Lady Eagles after halftime. The 5-10 post scored 10 of her team-high 16 points in the third quarter and the return of DelBaggio allowed Tyrone to play its 1-3-1 trapping half-court defense. It was enough to limit the Lady Raiders to eight points in the period as Tyrone inched closer, down 34-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
Freshman Emily McKenna tied the game at 36-36 when her three-pointer from the corner banged through using every part of the iron and then DelBaggio, playing with four fouls, went to work, dominating play on the interior for two minutes to put Tyrone in the lead.
It began when she followed up a missed shot and was fouled. She made both free throws, giving Tyrone a 38-36 lead. A minute later, she rebounded her own miss and laid it in to make it 40-38. DelBaggio made it back to the stripe on Tyrone ensuing possession and made 1 of 2 to put Tyrone up 41-38.
DelBaggio fouled out a minute later, but Tyrone never trailed again. She finished the game with 15 points and 10 boards.
“Marie’s got to play longer than 16 minutes,” said Swaney. “She was probably the best player on the floor, but she’s pretty easy to defend when she’s sitting over by me.”
Bellefonte got back within one, 41-40, on a lay up by Kristin Irwin with three minutes to play, but Amber DelBaggio responded with a pull-up jumper from the baseline with 1:35 to play, making it 43-41.
Bellefonte had one last chance with 18.6 seconds to play trailing 45-42, but Lauren Haag fought through a screen intended to free up Lady Raider freshman Cassie Proper for a game-tying three-pointer. The pass hit Proper’s hands awkwardly and went into the backcourt, giving possession and the game to Tyrone.
Swaney said the biggest difference between the first half and the second half – when Tyrone surrendered just 16 points – was intensity.
“We played with no sense of urgency in the first half. We talked at halftime and said there’s either 16 minutes left in our season or we’re going to move on,” said Swaney. “Defensively, we did a better job in the second half of getting out on shooters and we handled Farrington better inside. And we rebounded. Getting to the glass is a matter of desire.”
In the second half, Tyrone showed it had the desire to play at least one more game. But Lewistown may not grant the Lady
Eagles the kind of second-half reprieve offered by Bellefonte last night.
HOOP NOTES: Turner grabbed 11 rebounds for Tyrone and Hilary McNelis added nine….Tyrone outrebounded Bellefonte 41-35….Bellefonte ended its season 14-11….the Tyrone-Lewistown game is scheduled for 7:30 on Monday at Bald Eagle Area High School.
Tyrone 45, Bellefonte 42
TYRONE – M. DelBaggio 5 5-9 15; Turner 4 8-9 16; A. DelBaggio 3 0-2 8; Haag 0 0-0 0; McNelis 1 1-4 3; McKenna 1 0-0 3. TOTALS: 14 14-24 45.
BELLEFONTE – Farrington 8 1-2 17; Kr. Irwin 2 0-1 4; Kolos 3 0-0 7; McWilliams 1 0-0 2; Proper 2 0-0 5; Reese 2 1-1 6; Ka. Irwin 0 1-2 1. TOTALS: 18 3-6 42.
TYRONE 6 13 14 12 – 45
BELLEFONTE 13 13 8 8 – 42
Three-Point goals: Tyrone 2 (A. DelBaggio 2); Bellefonte 4 (Kolos 2, Proper, Reese)