Second half tells the tale for inexperienced Lady Eagles

The reconstruction of the Tyrone girls basketball team began Saturday at the Williamsburg Tipoff Tournament.
And while the 61-41 loss to Central wasn’t the way first-year coach Luke Rhoades ideally envisioned the season starting, it wasn’t quite the 20-point whipping it looked like on paper, either.
In fact, if Rhoades’ plan is to remold the Lady Eagles’ program practice-by-practice and quarter-by-quarter, the season-opening loss was a good start.
“In the first quarter, we played like a good, experienced team,” Rhoades said. “In the second half, their varsity game experience got to us.”
Tyrone led the Lady Dragons, which returned three starters and six letter-winners, 10-8 after the first quarter. It was a period that saw the Lady Eagles control the tempo and handle the Lady Dragons’ pressure with relative ease.
Even after the Lady Dragons started to heat up from the floor in the second quarter – and with Tyrone struggling with its own shooting – the Lady Eagles trailed at halftime by only six, 31-25.
But the second half was a different story, and Rhoades saw a direct correlation between Central’s experience, his squad’s inexperience, and the 30-16 edge the Lady Dragons carried over the last two quarters.
There was also the matter of a Lady Dragon team that spent most of the second half filling up the nets. Three Lady Dragons scored in double figures, led by Jena Isenberg’s 20 points and four three-pointers.
Alicia Nevins added 12 points while Stefanie Hinton scored 11.
“They shot the ball very well,” said Rhoades.
But there were positives for Tyrone, which started a season without former coach Jim Swaney on the bench for the first time since 1987. Senior Liz Tepsic picked up where she left off in her junior season, scoring 10 points, while classmate Megan Turiano led the Lady Eagles with 11 points.
Junior Brooke Garbinsky, in her first varsity start at point guard, was a major factor in Tyrone’s ease in dealing with Central’s pressure. And Tyrone’s reserves, most of whom are first-year freshmen and sophomores or inexperienced juniors, played up to expectations.
“Everyone contributed a little,” Rhoades said. “I was very pleased with how Brooke handled the point guard position, and our reserves played with confidence, even though it was their first varsity action.”
Rhoades’ biggest concerns were his team’s inability to convert on its opportunities against pressure and its troubles on the glass. The Lady Eagles surrendered nine offensive rebounds in the first half alone.
“We could have opened up a double-digit lead if we had attacked off pressure and made lay-ups,” said Rhoades.
The Lady Eagles are now looking at a stretch of three games this week that Rhoades is viewing as close to must-wins. It starts with the MAC opener tomorrow in Bellefonte, followed by a non-conference game in Tyrone against Juniata Valley Thursday. Next Saturday, the Lady Eagles return to Williamsburg to face United in the tournament consolation game.
“Those are three important games because we have a stretch before Christmas against three very tough teams (Hollidaysburg, Lewistown and Bishop Guilfoyle),” he said.
GAME NOTES: Tyrone made four three-pointers … Rhoades said he was pleased with the performance of sophomore reserve Teanna Kobuck, whom he credited for her hustle … Williamsburg also advanced to the title game by beating United 53-45.
CENTRAL 8 23 20 10 – 61
TYRONE 10 15 6 10 – 41
CENTRAL – Nevins 5 1-2 12; Isenberg 8 0-0 20; Piper 1 0-0 2; Hinton 3 4-6 11; Laratonda 3 2-2 8; G. Lazendorfer 0 2-2 2; Steward 1 1-5 3; Leighty 0 0-0 0; K. Lazendorfer 0 0-0 0; A. Lazendorfer 0 0-0 0; O. Lazendorfer 1 1-3 3; Dodson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 22 11-20 61.
TYRONE – Tepsic 2 6-10 10; Turiano 4 2-2 11; Christine 2 0-1 6; Corle 1 2-2 5; Faretta 1 0-0 2; Garbinsky 1 1-4 3; Kobuck 1 0-0 2; Emigh 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 13 11-21 41.
Three-point goals: Central – 6 (Isenberg 4, Nevins, Hinton).
Tyrone – 4 (Christine 2, Turiano, Corle).