Big rally sends West Shamokin girls basketball team to key victory
A big second half ensured that West Shamokin's girls will finish second.
Kelly Clowser scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Wolves, who clinched at least a share of second place in Section 1-AA with a come-from-behind win over Ford City, 39-37, on Wednesday night.
The win snapped a string of seven straight losses to Ford City (11-6, 6-3) for West Shamokin (11-7, 7-2), and the Wolves can take second place outright with an upset over unbeaten Burrell or a Ford City loss to Apollo-Ridge on Thursday.
“We just kept at it and kept at it,” West Shamokin coach Judd McCullough said. “The girls did it. They never gave up and kept battling. They want it a lot, they deserve it a lot, and they weren't going to be denied tonight.”
The Wolves could have been counted out after trailing 24-11 at halftime, and they were still behind 30-19 when the third quarter reached its final minute.
Clowser came up with a late steal for the Wolves and found Stephanie Schrecengost racing toward the hoop. Schrecengost made the layup and drew a foul, and her three-point play was the start of a 20-7 run to end the game.
West Shamokin kept up the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter and chipped away at the lead until Schrecengost made her only other basket of the game, a 15-foot jumper that tied the score 33-33.
“Their guard play was pretty good, and we're not as strong at the guard position,” Ford City coach Al Davis said. “We had a lot of trouble getting into an offense. We had a lot of turnovers, and some of it wasn't them. It was us throwing the ball away.”
Tied at 35-35 with 1:16 left, Clowser made two free throws to give the Wolves the lead. Bethany Meyer made one free throw on Ford City's next trip, but Lizzy Cornish hit another pair of foul shots to put West Shamokin ahead 39-36.
Ford City got two more possessions, and on each trip, Christina Davis got a look at a 3-pointer. Her first hit the rim and bounced over the backboard, while her second fell to teammate Stephanie DiGregorio, who was fouled on a follow-up attempt that barely rolled off the rim with 1.5 seconds remaining.
DiGregorio made the second foul shot, but Ford City was unable to foul Clowser on the inbound before time expired.
“The first half was all theirs, and we knew the second half had to be all ours to beat that program,” McCullough said. “This was a playoff atmosphere, and we had a great turnout. We're going to be battle-tested, and I think we're prepared for the playoffs.”
Davis finished with 16 points for Ford City and Meyer added nine, but the Wolves held Sabers' leading scorer Ally Cujas to six points.
“They kind of shut Ally down, and we put ourselves in a bad position,” Al Davis said. “Give them credit. They ran their offense real well, and they've got a nice point guard (Clowser).”
Cornish scored eight points, all in the second half, for the Wolves, who were without starting guard Tristan Cribbs.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.