Tigers run past Millersburg

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
East Juniata's Alyssa Hibbs shoots in front of Millersburg's Bailey Strawser in a Tri-Valley League girls basketball game Friday night.

COCOLAMUS — As the final seconds of the first half ticked, East Juniata struggled to keep possession of the basketball as it tipped from the hands of a Millersburg defender and back to East Juniata’s Thea Neimond. Just a second later, Carly Beaver knocked down a shot she heaved up as the buzzer sounded.

The play illustrated just one microcosm of how everything went the Tigers’ way on Friday night, as East Juniata used a sizable scoring run in the first seven minutes to run away with a 54-20 win over winless Millersburg in a Tri-Valley League girls basketball contest.

The Tigers (8-2, 5-2) rode their starting lineup to a 15-0 run to begin play, capitalizing on 12 first-quarter turnovers for the Indians. East Juniata played with energy, running its offense efficiently and with ease, while smothering Millersburg with tight defense.

“I was super happy with the start,” East Juniata coach Travis Quici said. “We got what we wanted early on. The goal was to attack the rim and I thought we did a very nice job of that. We got Alyssa Hibbs going early and cleared some lanes for some jump shots. Overall it was a good team effort on offense.”

East Juniata led 6-0 after scoring on three of its first four possessions before extending the lead to 15-0 by the 1:12 mark of the first quarter. The Tigers held Millersburg scoreless until the five-minute mark of the second quarter. Neimond came away with a steal at the top of the key and went straight to the basket for an easy layup to extend the Tiger lead to 19-2 with 4:38 left in the half.

The Tigers’ offense made quick work offensively of 33 Millersburg turnovers, converting in transition throughout the contest. The Tigers had just 12 turnovers in the game.

It was a sensational night for Neimond, who came away with 10 steals to go along with nine points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

“I thought Thea Neimond played fantastic,” Quici said. “She came away with so many steals. Any time your point guard gets 10 steals you will take it. She has come a long way already this year.”

East Juniata also facilitated the basketball smoothly throughout the night, as the Tigers had 15 assists on 24 baskets, while posting a 35-24 advantage on the glass.

Senior Carly Beaver was splendid offensively as well, scoring a game-high 14 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Hibbs, the other senior starter for the Tigers, played especially well under the basket and helped her teammates get open, drawing a lot of attention down low. Hibbs scored six points, but grabbed eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. The Tigers had 22 steals on the night.

“They provide good leadership,” Quici said. “We are getting good leadership and we are happy with where we are right now. The JV is playing some good basketball and our younger players have gotten some varsity minutes as well. There’s no taking away experience.”

With the victory, the Tigers remain undefeated at home (4-0). With Greenwood’s loss to Susquenita Friday night, the Tigers are just a game behind the Wildcats for second-place in the Tri-Valley West Division.

East Juniata has won five straight and Quici believes that the Tigers may have found their rhythm.

“I think we are starting to hit our stride,” Quici said. “We talk about it a lot with the girls. Be happy, but don’t be satisfied with where we are. I see that hunger and that fire in their eyes, and we know with how our league is laid out we have a chance to make some noise in the Tri-Valley League. The girls are playing really well. They have a lot of confidence in themselves and they are believing in what they need to do. That goes a long way.”

The Tigers will host Upper Dauphin today, before hosting Greenwood on Monday night, where the Tigers hope to avenge a 42-37 loss from earlier this season.

East Juniata 54, Millersburg 20

MILLERSBURG

Jordan Mallon 3 1-1 7, Hannah Myers 2 0-0 6, Hannah Dyer 1 0-0 3, Bailey Strawser 1 0-0 2, Megan Paul 1 0-0 2. Totals: 8 1-1 20.

3-point goals: Myers 2, Dyer.

Did not score: Maliegh Hoover, Taylor Bowman, Lora Forney, Morgan Long.

EAST JUNIATA

Carly Beaver 7 0-0 14, Alyssa Robinson 5 1-2 12, Clarye Guyer 4 0-0 9, Thea Neimond 4 1-1 9, Alyssa Hibbs 2 2-5 6, Cypress Feltman 1 0-0 2, Paige Ritzman 1 0-0 2, Isabel Naylor 0 0-2 0. Totals: 24 4-10 54.

3-point goals: Robinson, Guyer.

Did not score: Leah Sankey, Marissa Coudriet, Tiana Terry.

Score by quarters

East Juniata 15-12-13-14 — 54

Millersburg 0-8-7-5 — 20

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