Wolfe, Powers spark Ford City in PIAA win
Marisa Wolfe and Tara Powers arguably gave the best performances of their high school careers in Ford City's 59-55, overtime victory against Conemaugh Township in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs Friday night.
Wolfe and Powers made all but two of the team's 21 field goals, combining for 48 of Ford City's 59 points. Wolfe ended with 25 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and two steals, while Powers finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and four assists.
Two of those assists were perfect passes to Wolfe in the fourth quarter. And each time, Wolfe caught the ball while cutting to the basket. She made both layups, and each bucket gave Ford City the lead.
Ford City will play District 6 champion Northern Cambria (25-1) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Pitt-Johnstown.
The Sabers almost didn't advance to the second round of the PIAA tournament.
Wolfe, a Penn State recruit, and Powers, an Indiana (Pa.) recruit, went to the bench in the third quarter with four fouls. Ford City played the final 3:03 of the period without its top two scorers.
During that span, the Sabers didn't score, and the Indians went on a 9-0 run, taking a 36-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
“I give credit to the other players,” Ford City coach Al Davis said. “They didn't let Conemaugh Township get too far ahead, and then, Marisa and Tara came on in the end.”
The Indians' 9-0 run could have been worse.
They went 7 for 16 from the field in the third quarter, and their shooting wasn't much better for the game. Conemaugh Township was 21 for 56 from the field overall.
Ford City was 21 for 52 from the floor. However, the Sabers went 8 for 17 from the field in the game's final two quarters.
Rachel Good made a key steal with 1:10 remaining in regulation. She was then fouled going for a breakaway layup. She made both foul shots to force overtime.
Wolfe and Powers, though, had the game's best defensive performances.
Wolfe was playing against Megan Maurer, a 6-foot-2 center who's going to play basketball for West Point Military Academy next year. Maurer went over 1,000 points in three seasons on varsity, and she had 19 points in Friday's game. But she scored only four points in the fourth quarter and in overtime against Wolfe.
During that same span, Wolfe scored 15 points.
“It was a challenge,” Wolfe said. “I had to prove myself.”
Wolfe didn't contain Maurer down the stretch alone.
Powers shared defensive duties, and she came up with two crucial steals in overtime, when the Indians were trying to get the ball down low to Maurer.
“It totally changes the game when you get into foul trouble,” Powers said. “I really had to concentrate on not fouling, like not going over the back on rebounds.”
Powers fouled out with 2:13 left in overtime, but she dominated the boards through the first two minutes of the extra period. She helped limit Conemaugh Township to one shot on offense. The Indians were 4 for 12 from the field in overtime.
Together, Wolfe and Powers went 10 for 14 from the foul line.
Ford City's other two field goals were 3-pointers by Krystal Dudas and Lynzee Panchik.