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Ligonier Valley girls exit playoffs

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo
Ligonier’s Helene Bloom with the ball, maneuvers around Alexis Franks of Bellefonte. Taken 2/24/2014 Central Cambria high school

Last week the Ligonier Valley High School girls basketball team competed in the District 6 playoffs, knocking off fourth seed Bellefonte Area High School 30-27 in the first round. However, the Lady Rams bowed out of the playoffs after losing 38-34 to Huntingdon, the top seed in the district.

In a low-scoring first round, the Red Raiders held Ligonier to a mere four points in the first quarter and took a 16-12 lead into halftime. However, the determined Lady Rams shut Bellefonte down in the second half, allowing only 11 points while scoring 18 to continue on into the next playoff round.

“We were playing out of position on defense in the first half of the Bellefonte game,” head coach Valerie Ray said. “We fixed our defensive problems, tightened things up and let them take the outside shots. They had to have an outside game on us and they did not have one.”

Taylor Rudnik was the leading scorer for Ligonier with nine points and eight rebounds. Madison McLaughlin scored seven points, Olivia Miller put up six and grabbed seven rebounds, Amanda Ross scored four points and Jamie Wynn and Helene Bloom both added two.

The Lady Rams kept the pressure on the number one seed in what would become the final game of the season, scoring 10 points in the first three quarters. Though the score was tied 20-20 at the half, Ligonier held the Bearcats to only five points in the third. However, Huntingdon stepped up the defense in the fourth quarter, holding Ligonier scoreless for the first five minutes of the period.

“I think we tried to do everything we could do to try and get that win,” Ray stated. “I wanted them to drive in to the hoop and try to take the layups so that we could control the ball. I wanted them to pull the ball out, take the fakes and take the layups. Huntingdon's defense intensified when we were stalling the ball. We just didn't get what we needed done.”

In her final game, Rudnik put up 13 points to lead. Bloom scored eight, Miller had five points, Ross again finished with four points and Wynn and McLaughlin each contributed two.

Ligonier Valley finished 10-5 in the Heritage Conference, with a regular season record of 12-10 and an overall record of 13-11.

“They played their hearts out all season,” Ray commented. “I don't think people thought we would go as far as the playoff season. I think we surprised some people. They tried their hardest; they really wanted to be at that playoff game.”

Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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