Lions win nail-biter of game
PORT ROYAL — It came down to the very last shot as Juniata Mennonite was able to survive a 31-28 grinder over Meadowbrook Christian in an Allegheny Christian Athletic Association girls basketball game on Friday.
“We’re definitely excited,” Juniata Mennonite coach Jim Tusing said. “I mean Meadowbrook Christian is a quality program, they’re the class of the league for quite sometime. We’re just fortunate to be able to come out and play hard and pull out a win.”
It was a slow start for both teams as neither were able to score a basket for much of the first quarter before the action picked up late with Meadowbrook Christian taking a slight 7-5 lead.
That was when Juniata Mennonite turned to their defense to make something happen. It did just that creating havoc on the Meadowbrook Christian offense forcing numerous turnovers as well as holding Meadowbrook Christian to just two points in the frame.
“Defensively I was pleased we wanted to focus on no second chances and we were fortunate to be in some good positions,” Tusing said. “We slowed down on some help defenses that we should have done differently but generally speaking we did OK.”
Meanwhile Maribeth Arnold took over the reigns on the offensive side of the ball scoring five of the seven totals points in the quarter to give Juniata Mennonite a 12-9 lead at the half.
“We told the girls from the get go that we got to play the whole game,” Tusing said. “It doesn’t really matter what they do, it doesn’t matter what’s going on around us, to focus on what we have to do and then if we do what we need to do we will be successful with the things we want to try and accomplish.”
Meadowbrook Christian had other plans by opening the second half firing on all cylinders behind the duo of Kenzie Baughman and Jackie Stokes who combined, had 13 of the team’s points in the quarter. Baughman scored all of her points from the free-throw line going 6-for-8 while Stokes dropped seven.
At one point in the third frame Meadowbrook Christian evened things up at 16 apiece before Autumn Martin made an impact off the bench to help spark the offense scoring all four of her points in the quarter.
Eventually Meadowbrook Christian powered its way back to tie the game up at 22 each by the end of the quarter.
Juniata Mennonite managed to pull ahead a little bit in the fourth quarter and it began to look as if the game was out of reach, but both Baughman and Stokes kept Meadowbrook Christian in the game.
Then within the closing seconds of the game, Meadowbrook Christian was driving where an opened Baughman launched a three pointer at the buzzer but the shot sailed over the net giving the Lions the win.
Tusing himself admits that he wasn’t surprised the game went down to the wire.
“It is not unexpected from what they were doing. We knew that they were not going to back off,” Tusing said. “We knew that they were not going to lay down. So OK we’re down we’re going to quit that’s not absolutely what they are. That’s not what they’re about so we knew that we were going to have to play the whole way through it and we were fortunate enough to pull out the victory.”
Arnold led the Juniata Mennonite with nine points while Chloe Campbell had eight for the night.
Juniata Mennonite looks to stay on the winning track as it travels to Northumberland Christian on Tuesday.
Juniata Mennonite 31, Meadowbrook Christian 28
Morgan Byler 2 1-2 5, Chloe Campbell 3 2-7 8, Maribeth Arnold 2 5-13 9, Autumn Martin 2 0-0 4, Grace Sheaffer 1 3-4 5. Totals: 10 11-22 31.
3-point goals: none.
Did not score: Rachel Delancey, Caleigh Hahn-Kline.
Emily Leiby 1 0-1 2, Kenzie Baughman 3 6-8 13, Jackie Stokes 4 4-4 13. Totals: 8 10-13 28.
3-point goals: Baughman, Stokes.
Did not score: Hayley Yoder, Masy Devlin, Shelby Hartman.
Score by quarters
Meadowbrook Christian 7-2-13-6 — 28
Juniata Mennonite 5-7-10-9 — 31