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Lady Eagles reach magic number in victory over Huntingdon girls

Tyrone coach Jim Swaney is a businessman when he\’s not coaching girls basketball, and after his team\’s 10-point win at home last night over Huntingdon, the businessman in him was evident in his black-and-white reflection on the numbers game facing the Lady Eagles.
Five hundred is the figure his team neared with its 53-43 win over the Lady \’Cats. That\’s .500, and at 5-6 (2-4 MAC Section II), Tyrone is one game away from the mark with a game at Philipsburg-Osceola on the horizon Friday.
That number is rather important because without something near an even split of the season slate, there\’s little chance of the Lady Eagles entering the District 6-AA playoffs because Swaney feels any team competing in Districts needs to have another magic number in front of it: 3. “Either you think you have an opportunity to finish at least third, or don\’t get in it,” he said.
But the most significant number on Swaney\’s mind was the one that most assuredly will give Tyrone its best shot at being among the top three teams in Class AA: 50. The 19-year coach said as early as October that a 50-point output would be enough for the Lady Eagles to win on most nights because their defense would be that good.
“The 50 mark is magic for us,” Swaney said. “If we can get to it, we can win a lot of games. We can defend well enough to keep teams under 50. Now, can we get to 50? Sometimes it\’s been a struggle.”
They did it last night, and improved to 3-0 on the season when scoring at least 50.
The downside to that is that it was the first time Tyrone reached 50 since December 12, which is why, despite holding teams to just 42 points per game, the Lady Eagles won for only the second time in the last seven games.
“This was huge,” said Swaney, whose team is now three games into a six-game stretch he targeted as a period of the season to make an initial push for the post-season. “I told the kids the other day, I refuse to get into the District 6 playoffs just because we think it would be a good experience. So for us, the next two or three weeks are huge. We\’ve got to make hay, and that will determine not only what kind of seeding we\’ll get in the tournament, but whether or not we\’re in it.”
The Lady Eagles\’ success against the ‘Cats came from shoring up areas that cost them most in a one-point loss to Richland in the Kovacik Holiday Tournament finals last week: rebounding and offensive production. Tyrone dominated Huntingdon on the glass with a 38-29 advantage, and received significant scoring contributions from six of the eight players who logged minutes.
Seniors Marissa Hoover and Emily Lloyd led Tyrone on the boards with nine rebounds each while scoring seven and nine points, respectively. Senior Emily McKenna fronted the scoring attack with 16 points to go along with four boards, and junior Liz Tepsic netted 10 points while ripping seven rebounds.
Diminutive senior Emily Ingle, the smallest player on the floor, snatched a season-high six rebounds and scored six points, despite sitting most of the first half after being hit with a technical foul with two minutes left in the first quarter.
“We\’re not tall, but when you look at kids like Emily Lloyd, Marissa Hoover and Liz Tepsic, we are athletic,” Swaney said of his team\’s ability to rebound the basketball.
In a game where the teams were tied after one quarter (12-12) and separated by four points at halftime (25-21, Tyrone), it was a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter that ultimately decided the outcome. It started with a Lloyd jumper, followed by a running layup by Tepsic off a half-court feed from Ingle, who had stolen the ball from Huntingdon point guard Katie Young.
Olivia Hallahan banked one in to briefly stop the bleeding for the Lady \’Cats, but a three-pointer from Hoover and a McKenna lay in jacked the score up to 43-33 with 5:43 to play.
The \’Cats cut it to 43-36 on a Greta Gibboney put-back, and McKenna picked up her fourth foul just less than a minute later, but even with her sidelined Huntingdon made little headway. Ingle scored after going end-to-end with another steal, and McKenna made it back for the final three minutes of the game, going 4-for-5 at the foul line down the stretch.
“We hit some bang, bang, bang right in a row, and that was huge for us,\” said Swaney. “It got us on a little bit of a run.”
Tyrone built its halftime lead on the scoring of Tepsic and Lloyd, who carried the scoring load for most of the first half as McKenna struggled to find her rhythm against the Lady \’Cats 3-2 zone. She had only two foul shots until the last minute of the second quarter, but Tepsic scored eight in the first half, and Lloyd added five.
GAME NOTES: McKenna made her team-leading 27th three-pointer … the win was Tyrone\’s second of the season when allowing more than 40 points … Gibboney scored 12 to lead the Lady \’Cats, who fall to 4-6 overall, and 1-5 in the MAC
JUNIOR VARSITY
The Lady Eagles\’ jayvee team led 14-9 after the first quarter and 25-24 at halftime, but the Lady \’Cats outscored Tyrone 14-8 in the fourth quarter to win 45-39.
Kassie Faretta was Tyrone\’s leading scorer with 10 points.
Tyrone 53 Huntingdon 43
HUNTINGDON – Hallahan 1 4-6 6; Young 2 1-4 6; Gibboney 5 1-2 12; Dixon 2 4-6 8; Speck 3 1-2 7; McNeal 0 2-2 2; Quinn 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 14 13-22 43
TYRONE – McKenna 4 6-7 16; Lloyd 4 1-4 9; Ingle 2 2-4 6; Hoover 3 0-0 7; Tepsic 5 0-0 10; Bryan 2 1-1 5; Turiano 0 0-0 0; Christine 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 20 10-16 53
Score by Quarters
HUNTINGDON 12 9 10 12 – 43
TYRONE 12 13 9 19 – 53
Three-point goals: Huntingdon 2 (Young, Gibboney).
Tyrone 3 (McKenna 2, Hoover).
JUNIOR VARSITY
Huntingdon 45 Tyrone 39
HUNTINGDON – McNeal 6 2-5 15; Frederick 1 0-0 2; Scott 1 0-1 3; Gibbs 4 0-0 9; Keating 2 3-4 7; Hammon 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 18 6-12 45
TYRONE – Christine 3 2-6 9; Turiano 2 0-0 4; Corle 1 1-2 4; Garbinsky 1 1-5 3; Faretta 4 2-2 10; Cox 1 0-0 2; Halter 1 1-3 3; Bryan 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 15 7-8 39
Score by Quarters
HUNTINGDON 9 15 7 14 – 45
TYRONE 14 11 6 8 – 39
3-POINT GOALS: Huntingdon 3 (McNeal, Gibbs, Scott).
Tyrone 3 (Christine, Corle, Garbinsky).