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Tyrone girls drop heart-breaking loss to Lady Bearcats

It\’s hard to say exactly when the Tyrone Lady Eagles lost control of their game last night against Huntingdon.
You could easily say it was the 12-second span in the last minute of the fourth quarter when Megan Goss hit back-to-back three-pointers, pulling Huntingdon within one point (51-50) with 43 ticks to play.
Maybe it started earlier, at 1:55 of the fourth, when the Lady Eagles began a stretch at the foul line that ended with a 4-of-8 performance in the final period.
But in a very practical way, things fell apart for the Lady Eagles the minute Huntingdon extended its pressure full court, sometime midway through the third period, just a few minutes after Tyrone had taken a 17-point lead. It was a move that allowed the Lady \’Cats to slowly chip away at Tyrone\’s lead and one that psychologically – more than physically – destroyed the Lady Eagles in the fourth.
The Lady \’Cats won 54-53 on a follow-up shot by Chesney Johns with six seconds left, dealing Tyrone its most heartbreaking defeat of the season at the Tyrone Area High School gymnasium.
It was the fifth loss in the last six games for the Lady Eagles (3-13, 0-2 MAC), who for the second time this season surrendered more than 50 points to the Lady Bearcats, a team averaging slightly more than 36 points per game.
But this time was different from Tyrone\’s lackluster 52-43 loss to Huntingdon on January 5. For much of the game the Lady Eaglesplayed inspired defense, holding the Lady \’Cats to just 18 points in the first two quarters. Tyrone made a concerted effort to rebound the ball and dominated the boards for most of the game.
But in the end, when it came time to turn the game up another decibel in an all-or-nothing move to decide the game, Tyrone couldn\’t handle the Lady \’Cats\’ pressure. After turning the ball over just six times over the first three quarters, Tyrone committed eight turnovers in the decisive fourth quarter, while Huntingdon, which committed 10 in the first half alone, coughed it up just once in the final eight minutes.
The Lady Eagles seemingly had the game under control three minutes into the third quarter. Emily McKenna and Hilary McNelis connected on back-to-back three-pointers, and McKenna followed that with a baseline jumper to give Tyrone a 35-18 lead at the 5:12 mark.
But that\’s when Huntingdon slowly began to extend its pressure and nip at the Lady Eagles\’ lead. A pair of 6-3 runs to end the third period seemed harmless enough, and a layup by Katie Young with 10 seconds left set the score at 45-34 heading into the fourth quarter.
There, things got hectic for Tyrone quickly. A Johns put-back followed by a Goss jumper pulled Huntingdon within seven (45-38) at the 6:12 mark.
Tyrone regrouped and a turnaround jumper by Marissa Hoover two minutes later allowed the Lady Eagles to re-extend their lead to 11 (49-38). But it was the last field goal Tyrone would make in the game, being held to four foul shots over the final 4:05.
It was four minutes that was torturously slow and brutal for the young Lady Eagles: Ashley Snyder made two foul shots at 1:57 (49-40); McKenna missed the front of a one-and-one.
Jenna Sheffield scored at 1:45 (49-42); Hoover made two free throws but Kayla Thompson answered 14 seconds later with a bucket (51-44).
McKenna – who scored a career-high 22 points on the night and in the first half shredded the \’Cats like they were manikins – missed the front of another one-and-one at 1:08; Goss answered with one of her four three-pointers, cutting Tyrone\’s lead to 51-47.
Emily Ingle missed two foul shots with 54 seconds left; Goss hit from three feet behind the arc, pulling the Lady \’Cats within 51-50 with 43 seconds left.
Two McKenna foul shots at 0:39 got Tyrone\’s lead back to three (53-50), before Snyder scored inside with 27 seconds left, making it 53-52. McNelis was forced to bring the ball up against the ensuing Huntingdon pressure, and she turned the ball over in the front court with 16 seconds to play.
Following a Huntingdon timeout, Tyrone showed its 1-3-1 zone for the first time in the game, and while it forced Huntingdon into a bad shot with 10 seconds left, Johns was there to scoop up the board and lay it in with six seconds remaining.
Tyrone called a timeout, but with 2.5 seconds left could get a shot no better than a half-court heave by McKenna as time expired.
Throughout most of the first half and the better part of the third quarter, Tyrone played like a team maturing. The Lady Bearcats, meanwhile, who improved to 3-11 and 1-0 in the MAC, looked nearly as flat as Tyrone did in the teams\’ first meeting.
McKenna scored Tyrone\’s first 10 points, putting on a clinic in making baskets. She scored off penetration, made jumpers and muscled inside for scores off of rebounds, and Tyrone led 11-9.
McNelis dominated the second, scoring seven straight at one point and allowing the Lady Eagles to build a 25-18 lead at halftime.
McNelis finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Goss, meanwhile, led Huntingdon with 19 points of her own, including eight in the fourth quarter. Sheffield scored nine.
JUNIOR VARSITY
Tyrone\’s jayvees picked up their second win in the past three games with a 30-19 win over Huntingdon.
Marissa Hoover led the way for the Lady Eagles with a game-high 12 points to go along with five rebounds and three steals. Ashley Roth added seven and Sharon Long hit for five.
Tyrone held Huntingdon scoreless in the second quarter.
VARSITY
Huntingdon 54 Tyrone 53
HUNTINGDON – Goss 7 1-3 19; Snyder 1 2-2 4; Sheffield 4 0-0 9; Thompson 2 3-5 7; Hallahan 2 1-4 5; Gibboney 0 0-0 0; Hoover 1 0-0 2; Young 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 21 7-15 54.
TYRONE – McNelis 6 5-6 19; McKenna 9 3-6 22; Lloyd 1 0-0 2; Ingle 2 0- 2 4; Roth 1 0-0 2; Wallace 0 0-0 0; Hoover 1 2-2 4. TOTALS: 20 10-16 53
Score by Quarters
Huntingdon 9 9 16 20 – 54
Tyrone 11 14 20 8 – 53
Three point goals: Tyrone 3 (McNelis 2, McKenna 1)
Huntingdon 5 (Goss 4, Sheffield 1)
JUNIOR VARSITY
Tyrone 30 Huntingdon 19
HUNTINGDON – Young 2 0-1 4; S. Hurley 0 0-1 0; K. Hurley 1 0-0 2; Maffia 0 0-0 0; Gibboney 4 3-6 11; Dixon 1 0-0 2; Perow 0 0-0 0; Seguin 0 0-0 0; Varner 0 0-0 0; Hoover 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 8 3-8 19.
TYRONE – Bradford 1 0-0 2; Hoover 5 2-2 12; Long 2 0-3 5; Roth 3 1-2 7; Lloyd 2 0-0 4; Walker 0 0-0 0; Glace 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 3-7 30.
Score by Quarters
Huntingdon 6 0 9 4 – 19
Tyrone 5 10 8 7 – 30
Three point goals: Tyrone 1 (Long 1).
Huntingdon none.