Tyrone Lady Eagles open tournament with close victory over Blairsville

The Tyrone Lady Eagles made a successful opening at the Blairsville Tournament against the host team Blairsville on Thursday evening.
The Tyrone girls opened up a slim 12-11 lead after the first period over the Lady ‘Cats and then stretched that margin to a 22-18 advantage at halftime.
“Emily McKenna got us off to a good start last night,” said Tyrone coach Jim Swaney, whose team had stumbled to four straight losses prior to coming into the tournament. “It was nice to get back on the winning track, after completing what is the toughest part of our schedule. We didn’t play our best game defensively and we didn’t play our best game shooting, but a good team will figure out a way to win when you don’t have your “A” game. We hung in there and battled and got the win.”
Emily McKenna led the Lady Eagles with a game-high 14 points and Tiffany Bradford added 11 points and nine rebounds, and Stefani Bryan had 10 points for Tyrone.
A key factor in the Lady Eagles win was their ability beyond the three-point line. While both teams converted 10 free throws (Tyrone was 10 of 21, and Blairsville 10 of 14 from the foul line) and the Blairsville girls actually sank two more baskets (18-16), the Lady Eagles led by McKenna with three, Bryan with two and Bradford one, threw in a total of six treys, while Blairsville had none.
“We actually were up by 10 or 12 points at one point in the third quarter, but give Blairsville credit for coming back,” said Swaney. They had two girls in Jessica Snyder and the Hennigin girl, who just played extremely well the entire ballgame. Crista Sturiale got points when we just simply lost her at times.”
Blairsville came back to claim the third period, outscoring Tyrone 18-16 to slice their deficit to 38-36, but the two squads traded scores in the fourth quarter 10-10 to enable the Lady Eagles to hold off the Lady Bobcats and triumph by two points.
“We just don’t play well with a lead yet,” explained Swaney. “Emily McKenna got us a good start and Tiffany Bradford played a great second half. With Stefani Bryan and Bradford and McKenna, we have the kids who can take the three-point shots. When we see the other team in a zone defense, we want to take the opportunity for those long-range baskets. It was nice to have Bryan back again after missing a few games for a variety of reasons. We look to Stefani for offense off the bench and she did a good job for us.”
With their victory, the Tyrone girls, who improve to 4-5, advance to the tournament championship final tonight against Richland, which defeated Derry.
Blairsville (3-5) which was led by 12 points from Crista. Sturiale and 11 from Snyder, will take on Derry in the consolation final.
Tyrone 48 Blairsville 46
Tyrone – McKenna 4 3-4 14, Lloyd 1 0-0 2, Ingle 1 1-3 3, Hoover 1 0-0 2, Bradford 4 2-7 11, Tepsic 2 2-4 6, Turiano 0 0-0 0, Bryan 3 2-3 10. TOTALS 16 10-21 48.
Blairsville – Lee 2 1-3 5, Cr. Sturiale 4 4-6 12, Hennigin 6 0-0 12, Ca. Sturiale 0-0 2, Snyder 3 5-6 11, Conrad 2 0-1 4, Spencer 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18 10-14 46.
Score by Quarters
Tyrone 12 10 16 10 – 48
Blairsville 11 7 18 10 – 46
Three-point goals: Tyrone 6 (McKenna 3, Bryan 2, Bradford).
Blairsville None.