It would be very easy to look at the fourth quarter of Tyrone’s game last night against Huntingdon and say that the difference was the number of trips the teams made to the foul line.
Holding a 30-27 heading into the final frame, Huntingdon managed to make its way to the charity stripe 17 times, making 12, as the Lady ‘Cats pulled away from Tyrone for a 47-32 victory at the Tyrone Area High School gymnasium.
Tyrone, meanwhile, attempted only four foul shots over the final eight minutes, creating an imbalance in calls that many coaches would find alarming.
Lady Eagle coach Luke Rhoades isn’t one of them, because, in his eyes, to dwell on the officiating would be to miss a major point of the game: “Our offense looked lousy,” he said.
Based on the Lady Eagles’ performance in the second half, it would be hard to argue. Tyrone shot just 6-for-17 in the third quarter, and followed that up by making 2-of-10 in the fourth, missing its last four shots.
So while it’s possible the discrepancy in fouls cost the Lady Eagles, Rhoades didn’t see it as an excuse.
“We couldn’t put the ball in the hoop,” said Rhoades, whose team dropped to 3-10 overall and 3-6 in the Mountain League. “At times we were too patient with the ball, and at others we weren’t patient enough. We didn’t look good.”
Things weren’t a whole lot better offensively for the Lady Eagles in the first half, either, except for two major differences. For one, they got more bang for their buck when it came to shot selection. Tyrone shot the ball just nine times in the first half, but it made five shots.
At the same time, Huntingdon (7-6, 3-6 ML) was ice cold. After making just 2 of 14 shots in the first quarter, the Lady ‘Cats started the second by missing their first 11, finishing 1-for-12.
At that rate, it was actually somewhat amazing the Lady ‘Cats were tied with Tyrone at intermission. The Lady Eagles led 12-5 with 1:49 left before halftime before Brittany McNeal made 3 of 4 foul shots to pull Huntingdon within 12-8.
Kelli Quinn then made a circus basket with 15 seconds to go, grabbing a rebound and falling to her back while releasing a shot. The shot fell, Quinn was fouled, and her free throw made it 12-11.
Then, with no time left on the clock, Kassie Faretta was called for a foul on Quinn near the sideline. She made 1 of 2 shots, and Huntingdon went into the locker room tied 12-12.
“At that point, we had pulled Rachel (Emigh) for the rest of the half because we knew it was going to start to get sloppy,” Rhoades said of his starting point guard. “We didn’t want her to get caught up in it and pick up a cheap foul. We kind of let down with her out. We have to learn to maintain our intensity.”
Considering the dumpy tempo of the first half, the third quarter turned into a shootout. Huntingdon went up 18-12 in just over a minute on a three by McNeal, but the Lady Eagles responded with five straight and pulled within one on a put-back by Mara Hawes.
After a Kayla Corle three-pointer, Emigh gave Tyrone the lead, 25-24, when she drove the lane for a lay up and was fouled. Her free throw gave Tyrone a one-point edge at the 3:13 mark, but it was the last time the Lady Eagles would hold the lead.
Huntingdon rolled off seven in a row and led by three heading into the fourth. There, the Lady ‘Cats attempted only three shots from the field, but they made two, while knocking down double-digit foul shots.
McNeal went 4-for-4 in the fourth and finished with a game-high 14. Quinn added eight.
Emigh led Tyrone with 11, while Corle chipped in 9 on three three-pointers.
Freshman Ashley Ford scored 20 points to lead Tyrone, but the Lady Eagles fell to Huntingdon in the jayvee game 46-33.
HUNTINGDON 47 TYRONE 32
Huntingdon – Scott, 0 2-2 2; Keating 1 0-0 2; Sellers 1 3-6 5; Quinn 1 6-9 8; Gibbs 2 1-2 7; McNeal 2 9-10 14; Yoder 4 1-1 9. TOTALS: 11 22-31 47.
Tyrone – Christine 1 1-1 3; Corle 3 0-0 9; Faretta 3 0-0 6; Garbinsky 0 0-1 0; Emigh 5 1-2 11; Hawes 1 1-4 3; Ray 0 0-0 0; Zimmerman 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 3-8 32.
Score by Quarters
HUNTINGDON 4 8 18 17 – 47
TYRONE 7 5 15 5 – 32
Three-point goals: Huntingdon 3 (Gibbs 2, McNeal)
Tyrone 3 (Corle 3)