Tigers take control in 4th, win
COCOLAMUS – Kasi Horning started and finished for East Juniata on Wednesday night.
Horning scored the Tigers’ last six points in a 35-28 win over fiesty Midd-West in a non-league girls basketball game at East Juniata High School.
“Kasi Horning has had a fantastic season so far this year,” East Juniata coach Travis Quici said. “She’s done everything we’ve asked of her and some. We’ve been pleasently surprised with her basketball skills and her attitude and her abilities.”
East Juniata got critical senior plays from both Maddie Trego and Caitlin Hoover in the fourth quarter to take control of the game.
“Maddie and Caitlin, being seniors, we challenge them every night to step up,” Quici said. “It seemed like a combination of things (in the fourth).”
“(Experience) was a part of it,” Midd-West coach Dave Fadale said. “We were hitting shots earlier, shots were falling. We got a little nervous. We’re a little shaky with the ball sometimes. The kids played hard.”
East Juniata struggled with Midd-West’s flex motion offense and Midd-West struggled with scoring inside the 3-point arc.
“We have two different motion offenses,” Fadale said. “We try to switch it up so they don’t see the same thing every time. We were able to get the ball inside with our flex. We caught them a few times with a backdoor cut.”
Horning got East Juniata started offensively, making a jump shot just 23 seconds into the game.
The scoring stalled for both teams after that.
With 3:05 left in the quarter, Kayla Keister came off the bench and immediately canned a three for Midd-West, giving it a 3-2 lead.
A minute later, Caitlin Hoover and Maddie Trego each made jumpers to give East Juniata a 6-3 lead.
Morgan Shirk answered for Midd-West with three of her team-high 12 points with 1:15 on the clock to even it at 6-6.
“She did a nice job for us,” Fadale said. “She was hitting from the outside tonight. She made some nice passes. She kept everyone organized out there. You need a leader out there.”
Neither team could add anything before the end of the quarter.
Cassidy Dillman came right off the bench for the Tigers and proceded to drain her first shot of the night; East Juniata’s first three ball of the night in seven tries.
Midd-West answered in a big way with an 11-0 run in the following five and a half minutes, bookended by two more of Shirk’s threes.
Megan Graybill ended the run with a three of her own and Horning made two free throws with 26 seconds left in the half to make it 17-14.
“They really slowed the game down,” Quici said. “That kind took the air out of the ball and took us out of our rythem.”
Graybill added another three to open the scoring in the second half for the Tigers.
Chloe Wagner of Midd-West and Trego traded points before Makenzi Kauffman put Midd-West up 21-19.
Shirk added a lay-up and was fouled but missed the ensuing free throw and the lead remained 23-19.
Shelley Gabel added a basket for East Juniata with 1:55 left in the quarter to make it 23-21 going into the fourth.
Trego answered the bell to start the fourth, grabbing an offensive rebound and banking in a hook shot to knot it up at 23-23.
“Trego was a big factor there in the second half,” Fadale said. “We kept her in check the first half. They got her the ball more in the second half and she responded well.”
The teams traded baskets until, coming out of a timeout, Hoover stole the ball from Midd-West and made both free throws after she was fouled in transition.
That’s when Horning took over in the final two minutes of the game and East Juniata led the rest of the way; her free throws with 23 seconds left sealed the deal.
“Hats off to Midd-West. They come up here, a scrappy team,” Quici said. “I know they had a game last night, they played hard.”
Midd-West took the junior varsity game 33-29.
East Juniata (9-6, 6-5 TVL) will play Friday night at Halifax.
Midd-West will be back in action Friday night when it visits Mifflinburg.