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The Ligonier Valley High School Rams girls basketball team played the Conemaugh Township Indians on Jan. 22. The Rams started the game with all five starters scoring in the first quarter. Ligonier Valley held Conemaugh Township to just three field goals and a foul shot in the same period, though two of the field goals were 3-pointers. The Rams led, 12-9.
Ligonier Valley answered with two 3-pointers of its own in the second quarter, one from Madison McLaughlin and the other from Maddy Grimm. The Rams scored 13 in all and allowed 10 points to take a 25-19 lead into the halftime locker room.
Grimm was very strong in the third quarter, scoring nine of her team's 13 points. But the Indians were fighting back and scored 16 points as a team to cut their deficit to three, at 38-35.
Grimm was again strong in the final quarter, scoring six. Stephanie Heming made four clutch free throws in a row to help Ligonier Valley as well. Kyra Ludwig, Taylor Rudnik and Helene Bloom also sank key baskets.
The Rams scored 18 in all in the final period, while their swarming, aggressive defense allowed just eight points from Conemaugh Township. Ligonier Valley pulled away for a 56-43 win.
Grimm scored 22 in all to lead all players. The senior also grabbed nine rebounds, stole the ball eight times and assisted on six baskets by her teammates. Grimm has 969 points for her career.
Heming also scored in double figures, with 11, including a five-of-six effort from the foul line. Ludwig and Rudnik each added six points. Ludwig also had nine steals and four assists.
McLaughlin scored five points. Amanda Ross pulled down eight rebounds to go with four points. Bloom was the other Rams player who scored. The Ligonier Valley junior varsity won its game, 40-31. Bloom scored 17 points in that contest.
The Rams are now 9-5 on the season and have clinched a 0.500 or better record by the playoff cut-off date of Feb. 8. The Class AAA initial playoff grouping for Ligonier Valley is a regional tournament featuring teams from District 5, 6 and 8. Of the eight teams in the potential playoff field, three currently have winning records: Forest Hills and Ligonier Valley from District 6, and Westinghouse from District 8. The regional champion and the runner-up will move on to the state PIAA playoffs.
The Rams played host Jan. 25 to Northern Cambria and traveled to Marion Center yesterday. The team will travel tomorrow to Penns Manor. Ligonier Valley's next home contest is Wednesday against Saltsburg.
Doug Kurtz is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
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