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Lady Eagles rally for second-half comeback win against Mounties

By the middle of the third quarter last night against Philipsburg-Osceola, the Tyrone Lady Eagles were looking at a pretty nasty send-off into the off-season following what has been, mildly, a trying season.
Tyrone, hoping to avoid its 21st loss of the season, was trailing winless P-O 27-16, its point guard was in foul trouble and the shots just weren\’t going down. Even leading scorer Hilary McNelis was struggling against the Lady Mounties\’ triangle-and-two defense that, for the better part of three quarters, kept the Lady Eagles\’ offense in low gear.
But with a litany of obstacles stacked against them, the Lady Eagles battled back. And for the first time in a long time, their effort was rewarded with a victory.
Tyrone rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat P-O 36-35 last night at the Tyrone Area High School gymnasium, ending the worst season in coach Jim Swaney\’s 16-year tenure at 4-20. It was the Lady Eagles\’ first victory in a month.
“It may not come across in terms of wins, but since Christmas I really feel we\’ve only played one bad game,” Swaney said. “We have worked to become a better team. It may not always show in our record, but we\’ve worked our tails off. I hope people can understand just how young we are.”
Compared to P-O coach Lee Fisher\’s roster, which is smothered in freshmen with just three upperclassmen, Swaney\’s sophomore-dominated line-up looked like a bunch of seasoned veterans. But that didn\’t stop them from making inexperienced mistakes.
In the first half and through the third quarter, point guard Emily McKenna battled foul difficulties, finally fouling out with three-and-a-half minutes to go in the fourth quarter. In her absence, the Lady Eagles had trouble taking care of the ball and with or without her in the lineup their shot selection was questionable.
With that said, the Lady Eagles managed to get it done when it counted most. Sophomore Ashley Roth scored all eight of her points in the fourth quarter when Tyrone overcame a nine-point deficit and Emily Lloyd turned in her best game of the season. The sophomore guard scored 10 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and late in the game grabbed a pair of rebounds that could have meant the difference between winning and losing.
Tyrone led 33-30 with 1:38 left when Roth missed a five-footer, but Lloyd snatched the rebound. Her putback attempt missed, but she got her own rebound, allowing the Lady Eagles to set their offense, eventually resulting in a McNelis foul shot that built a two-possession lead.
Roth made two more foul shots with 6 seconds left, making it 36-32. They were magnified when Danielle Curtis connected on a long three-pointer from just inside half-court as time expired, setting the final.
Tyrone\’s success late could also be attributed to its 2-2-1 box press and the job of McNelis and Roth defending P-O leading scorer Jamie Rogers.
The box press created a tempo more to the Lady Eagles\’ liking when their offense was heading further south, while Roth and McNelis combined to limit Rogers to one second-half point after she scored 10 in the first.
“Ashley Roth was outstanding in the fourth quarter,” said Swaney. “Both her and Hilary were great on Rogers, and as a team we were able to get some nice steals when we went to our box press.”
Tyrone had actually led 6-0 early in the game, before falling behind 13-8 at the end of the first quarter and 21-16 at halftime.
HOOP NOTES: McNelis, with eight points, became the first Lady Eagle since Nic DelBaggio in 1998 to score 400 points in a single season. She also had 14 rebounds….Rogers, a 5-11 freshman, scored 11, while Erin Albert scored a game-high 14….Tyrone ended MAC Section II play at 1-6….McKenna sat out seven minutes of the second quarter, six of the third and three-and-a-half of the fourth….P-O fell to 0-23 and 0-7 with one game remaining against Moshannon Valley….Tyrone senior Kylie Wallace finished with two points, six rebounds and four assists. Said Swaney of his lone senior, “It couldn\’t have been easy on her, being the only senior on a sophomore dominated team. Some kids you worry about when they go away to college, but after all she\’s been through and shown, I don\’t worry about her. She\’s handled herself with class and shown the kind of quality individual she is.
VARSITY
Tyrone 36 Philipsburg-Osceola 35
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA – Curtis 1 0-0 3; Whitman 0 0-0 0; Lugin 0 2-2 2; Kojadinovich 2 0-2 5; Peangatelli 0 0-0 0; Albert 6 2-4 14; Rogers 5 1-5 11. TOTALS: 14 5-13 35.
TYRONE – McNelis 2 4-6 8; McKenna 2 0-1 4; Lloyd 3 4-6 10; Ingle 1 0-0 2; Roth 3 2-2 8; Wallace 1 0-2 2; Hoover 1 0-2 2; Bradford 0 0-2 0. TOTALS: 13 10-21 36.
Score By Quarter
Philipsburg-Osceola 13 8 6 8 – 35
Tyrone 8 8 3 17 – 36
Three point goals: Philipsburg-Osceola 2 (Curtis 1, Kojadinovich 1).
Tyrone none.