Greenwood takes control early, dishes loss to East Juniata

MILLERSTOWN – Mallory Fortenbaugh and Greenwood created some havoc on Monday night.

The Wildcats pressured East Juniata early and often, forcing the Tigers into turnovers and controlling what was a low-scoring affair. The Wildcats captured the Tri-Valley League girls basketball game, 44-26.

“We just did our full-court, man-to-man press really good and pressured them,” Greenwood coach Amy Davidson said. “In the half-court, we just played good man-to-man defense. That’s something that we work on every day in practice.”

Along with creating turnovers, Greenwood also did another thing that usually leads to success – making free throws.

The Wildcats were 19-of-24 from the line on the night, including Morgan Kauffman’s perfect 10-for-10 effort.

“We stress free throws every single day in practice,” Davidson said. “We struggle with them every day in practice. It was great to see the hard work really pay off for them.”

It was East Juniata that got to the line early on though.

Maddie Trego, who scored a team-high 10 for East Juniata, made two free throws to answer Kauffman’s bucket to open the game.

Megan Graybill followed by going 1-for-2 from the line to give East Juniata its first and only lead of the game at 3-2.

“It comes down to accountability,” East Juniata coach Travis Quici said. “No one is being accountable. Tonight it was a total lack of effort. Hats off to Greenwood though. They played a heck of a game.”

Fortenbaugh took over from there.

She made two free throws, then got a steal, a basket and was fouled, and went to the line for another free throw.

After making another steal, she added another bucket.

All and all, it was seven points, three steals and a rebound in a one minute 24 second stretch for Fortenbaugh that gave Greenwood the quick 9-3 advantage.

“I think that gave her a lot of confidence for the rest of the game,” Davidson said. “She’s definitely a great player, but any time you get those extra shots, it’s a confidence boost.”

Trego and Kasi Horning answered with buckets for EJ to make it 9-7 before Hattie Kuhns made two free throws to give Greenwood the 11-7 lead after one quarter.

Greenwood opened the second quarter with a 9-2 run over the quarter’s first 4:19.

Kauffman made six of her 10 free throws over that period while Anna Weger added a 3-pointer.

East Juniata cut into the lead with a 6-0 run to end the half and went into the locker room down 20-15.

“We had a nice little run to end the half,” Quici said. “We’re thinking at the half we’re right in it down five. We went seven minutes and scored one point. We can’t do that.”

The Tigers got no closer the rest of the way as Greenwood came out of the break like gangbusters.

Fortenbaugh’s jumper with 2:45 left in the third gave Greenwood a 29-16 lead, its largest of the night.

“That’s huge for us,” Davidson said. “That’s something that we struggled with the past couple of games. We switched up our halftime routine a little bit. We didn’t come out and shoot like we usually do. We just tried to come out focused and ready for the second half. I think it was a huge success for us.”

Trego made a hook shot for East Juniata to make it 29-19 with 50 seconds to go in the quarter.

Fortenbaugh answered with a buzzer-beating jumper to make it 31-19 after three.

Graybill’s basket with less than six minutes left in the fourth cut it back to 10 for the final time.

Greenwood then scored 10 of the game’s final 12 points including six straight from Weger.

Fortenbaugh finished with a game-high 13 points, while Kauffman added 12 and Weger contributed 10.

East Juniata took the junior varsity game 32-17.

Greenwood (4-7, 3-3 TVL) will be in action next on Thursday at Millersburg. East Juniata will host Juniata Wednesday.

“These girls have a lot of soul searching to do,” East Juniata coach Travis Quici said. “As coaches, we’re going to get them in position to score points, but ultimately, they have to do it.”