Kittanning girls stifle Freeport in Section 1-AAA
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Both teams struggled shooting from the floor, but Kittanning got the job done from 15 feet away.
The Wildcats made 18 of 26 free throws and played lockdown man-to-man defense to pick up a Section 1-AAA win at home over Freeport, 41-26, on Thursday night.
Emily Knepshield scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Kittanning (13-5, 8-2), which kept itself alive in the race for the section title with games remaining against section leader Hampton and second-place Mars.
“We've been working real hard to get where we're at, and we're going to go out and give them a game next week,” Kittanning coach Janelle Kotyk said.
Zoe Soilis led playoff-bound Freeport (9-9, 5-5) with 14 points, but only one other Yellowjackets player — Macy Smolic with five points — made more than one field goal.
“Give credit to Kittanning. They played good man defense,” Freeport coach Paul Sylba said. “They took away a lot of our options, and we couldn't buy a basket even when we got good looks. One of those missed shots, if it's made, who knows how it changes momentum?”
Soilis started well as she scored five and assisted on the other of her team's first six baskets to give Freeport a 12-11 second-quarter lead. But Kittanning put the clamps on Freeport and began finding its own way to the rim and the foul line.
The Wildcats put together a 19-0 run by holding Freeport scoreless for a span of 7:36 that crossed halftime, and Kittanning repeatedly got to the line by attacking the basket on drives and pick-and-roll plays.
“We knew we had to concentrate on Soilis. She's the heart of their offense,” Kotyk said. “She does a great job and still ended up with 14, but we did a good job minimizing fouls and not giving them second-chance opportunities by blocking out.”
Kittanning's free-throw barrage was led by Tiffany Montgomery, who scored eight points and was 6 for 8 at the line.
Knepshield was 4 for 4 at the stripe, and Alaina Thomas scored all her points off the bench by going 4 for 6.
“We seemed to start out a little rusty shooting the ball today because we haven't practiced much due to the snow,” Kotyk said. “We tried to see how it would go from the 3-point line, and it wasn't there, so we made an adjustment and took it to the hole.”
Freeport never cut the lead to fewer than 11 points in the fourth quarter. The Yellowjackets are 0-5 against the section's top three and 5-0 against the bottom three as they approach the postseason.
“The goal is to make the playoffs and try to survive, but in Triple-A, it's a challenge,” Sylba said. “With Mars, Hampton, Indiana, the teams in Blackhawk's section, there's a lot of good teams at the top. But we're looking forward to it.”
Kittanning also won the battle on the boards. The Wildcats had a 38-29 rebounding advantage, led by Emily Klingensmith with 12.
Knepshield's 14 points also pull her closer to the 1,000-point plateau. The senior guard has 985 points with at least four games remaining.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.