NEWPORT - In its first year back in the Tri-Valley League, Juniata is making its reunited conference mates wish the Indians had stayed in the Mountain League.
The Indians, coming off a tough 44-41 non-league loss to West Perry on Wednesday, ran their record to 12-0 in league play and 15-2 overall Thursday with a 55-32 drubbing of upstart Newport, a team that had won eight straight games going in.
In a game of streaks, Juniata's proved more substantial. The Indians pounced to an early 10-1 lead and built a 17-8 advantage by the end of the first period.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY?KREITZER
Juniata’s Joelle Winey (33) gets a shot off a rebound between Newport defenders Jennifer Campbell (12) and Megan Reeser Thursday in Newport. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
Maddie Zendt scored six of her 10 points in the opening quarter while Carly Burns pitched in five and pulled down seven rebounds in the frame.
The Buffaloes struggled to break the Indians' full-court press as Juniata forced five turnovers in the first eight minutes, including a 10-second violation.
In the second quarter Newport regrouped and went on an 8-0 run to pull within 17-16 but could never get even.
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*Juniata travels to Line Mountain Monday
"The press worked well early, but (Newport) started breaking it very well in the second quarter, and we switched into our base half court man-to-man defense" Juniata coach Meghan Geedey said. "I have had a lot of confidence in that defense all season and I think that was what really got them stopped."
The switch triggered a 24-0 run, which pumped the Indian advantage to 41-16. The first six Newport possessions in the third quarter ended in turnovers.
Victoria Varner scored 14 of her game high 19 during the streak. Varner delivered all three of her team's 3s in the contest.
The Buffaloes turned the ball over 11 times in that period and a total of 24 times on the night. The tenacious Indian defense had a lot to do with it as Juniata collected 17 steals. Varner had five of those and Burns three despite sitting out the second half after being hurt earlier, while Janette Swartz, Zendt, and Joelle Winey each registered a pair of swipes.
Winey delivered a double-double finishing with 10 points and the same number of rebounds. Swartz scored seven and pulled down four boards. Hannah Knepp delivered two points and a pair of rebounds off the Indian bench.
Newport re-grouped and closed the quarter with an 8-2 run of its own to cut the Juniata edge to 43-24 entering the final stanza. Miranda Schaeffer was able get position in the paint and scored six of her ten during the stretch.
The Indians were able to hold the Buffaloes at bay down the stretch and coasted to the 55-32 win.
Of note, Newport scored exactly eight points in all four quarters.
Jennifer Campbell delivered eight points, six rebounds, and four steals for the Buffaloes. Erin Zeiders led her squad with nine rebounds while scoring four.
The victory puts the Indians two games ahead of Halifax in the TVL standings and just one win away from clinching at least a tie in the conference. Juniata travels to Line Mountain Monday.