Late-game woes cost East Juniata
Slim lead after a half doesn’t hold up for Tigers
COCOLAMUS — After holding the lead for most of the game, East Juniata collapsed late in the third quarter and Lancaster Country Day took advantage in a 41-34 Tri-Valley League girls basketball victory Friday.
“It was just a lack of focus,” Tigers coach Travis Quici said. “It was an embarrassment and a lack of focus on our part.”
The Tigers went into the third quarter with a one-point lead and came out looking strong, scoring the first couple of baskets in the frame.
But after that things slowly began falling apart as East Juniata stalled offensively. Lancaster Country Day got behind the shooting of Morgan Ernst along with rebounding and inside scoring by Ashanti Duncan and the two combined for eight of 12 Cougar points in the quarter to claim a 29-27 lead.
“We came out and got a couple of baskets to start the third and we just went stale again,” Quici said. “We would force shots, we didn’t look for stuff that we wanted. We turned the ball over, our kids just didn’t step up tonight.”
The Tigers were able to tie the game early in the fourth but couldn’t keep the momentum going. Lancaster Country Day was pulling ahead in large part because it was making free throws. The Cougars went 6-for from the line — a major contrast to the first half where they struggled to make a free throw — to help put the game on ice. The Cougars managed only eight out of 21 in the game.
East Juniata was outscored 24-16 for the entire second half
“They made a couple when they counted,” Quici said. “Again just a lack of focus and just an embarrassment, that’s all.”
The Tigers dealt with the offensive struggles throughout the first half as well but luckily their defense was able to keep Lancaster Country Day at bay and also due to the Cougars being unable to hit their foul shots early. East Juniata held an 18-17 lead at the end of the first half.
“It was just ugly from start to finish,” Quici said. “You know when you have five kids that are missing point blank layups, we didn’t make foul shots, we decided not to rebound at times. You need key rebounds and key stops and instead of getting up and jumping for the ball, we we’re just sitting back and watching.
“We told them at a time out, ‘Hey, we’ve got to be aggressive. We’ve got to get a stop.’ And we stand and watch.”
Tiger senior Laurel Amey was much more of a factor in the first half than in the second scoring 14 of her 16 points before the break. Fellow senior Erin Heimbach also scored in double digits with 11 points.
“I’m disappointed for them obviously,” Quici said. “I’m proud of what they done for us these last four years.”
East Juniata (11-5, 6-3) hosts Montoursville today.