Feeling grand at home
Swartz notches 1,000th point in victory
MIFFLINTOWN — Josie Swartz entered Wednesday’s home contest against Line Mountain needing 18 points to score 1,000 for her career. Swartz did that and a little more in Juniata’s 71-50 victory over Line Mountain in the first round of the Tri-Valley League tournament.
Juniata will play Halifax on Friday in the tournament’s championship game.
Swartz joins Tricia Waples, Megan Zimmerman and Victoria Varner as the only girls to score 1,000 career points for the Juniata program.
As the Indians got set to play in the fourth quarter, Swartz needed four points to hit the milestone. Her first real opportunity came when she got fouled, and sent to the free throw line for a one-and-one opportunity. She would miss on the first attempt, keeping her at 998. It’s something Juniata coach Kevin Kodish is happy happened.
“That could have been it, but I didn’t mind it much that she missed the free throw,” Kodish said. “I like to see a player like her that plays fast make that basket in action, and she got it on a Josie signature play there.”
On the team’s next possession, the ball was passed to Swartz who then took a side step to get by an Eagles defender and made the close range basket for career points 999 and 1,000. The game was momentarily paused to recognize her achievement, something she knew was close to, but lost track during the game.
“I didn’t really focus on that,” Swartz said of the milestone. “I was more focused on winning, and then the milestone.”
She later added it was better to have
acheived the milestone in a win, and with her family — including her two sisters and teammates Janessa and Julie — in attendance.
“I think my sisters (were more excited than Josie) when they came running on to the court,” Swartz said. “It’s always so much to play with them, and getting the milestone with them made it a lot more fun.”
Swartz finished with a game-high 26 points for the Indians.
Not everything was working out in the Indians’ favor, especially in the first half.
Having a difficult time defending Line Mountain’s best shooter, Joelle Snyder, Juniata found itself trailing 27-23 at halftime.
Snyder finished with a team-high 16 points, scoring half of those in the second quarter.
“We tried to make Snyder work hard for her points,” Kodish said. “I thought she got too many opportunities in that first half, and she’s a great player. You can’t give her too many opportunities, and we did in the first half.”
The Indians got off to a fast start, primarily at the end of the first when they put together a 15-1 run. It wouldn’t last long as the Eagles put together a 13-2 run of their own in the middle of the second to tie things up at 19.
The Indians though couldn’t get much going offensively, often seen shooting the ball from a deep range and having no luck getting the ball to drop.
“We got off to a fairly decent start,” Kodish said. “We started settling, and any open 3-pointer we just took it. We started to get clustered too with a lot of players playing close together. At halftime, we worked it all out.”
Juniata went out in the second half looking like a brand new team.
Led by Grace Brosius, the Indians combined to score 48 second-half points, including a team-high 26 in the third.
With the Eagles closing in on Swartz who had 10 first-half points and six steals, that allowed space to open in the paint for Brosius.
“We wanted to play at a good pace, create some space and get the ball to Grace,” Kodish said. “She got it and took it the hoop, and that opened the game for us. That also allowed Josie to get the hot hand back.”
Brosius scored 11 of her 23 points in the third quarter.
Line Mountain remained in the game for the first few minutes of the third quarter, exchanging point-for-point with the Indians. Juniata and Brosius though put on a 17-4 run to end the frame and really separate them on the scoreboard.
Brosius and Swartz combined for 18 fourth quarter points, and Olivia Clark added four to help the Indians finish with 22 points in the game’s final frame.