making the most
Juniata takes advantage of opportunities in rivalry win
MIFFLINTOWN — Juniata took advantage of the missed opportunities by East Juniata in the first quarter and brought home the win as the Indians downed their cross county rivals 38-24 in a Tri-Valley League girls basketball game Thursday evening.
“I’m just so happy right now,” Indians coach Mike Smith said. “First half was fantastic.”
The troubles for East Juniata began in the opening quarter of the game where shots were simply just not finding the bottom of the net. In fact, the Tigers did not score a basket until the midway point of the period and only a total of four points for the frame.
On the flip side, the Indians came out the gates swinging throwing everything but the kitchen sink at East Juniata while on offense. There wasn’t a shot they didn’t like and most of the time, the ball went in as Juniata dropped 17 points in quarter.
The Tigers’ struggles continued in the second quarter of the game as once again, they failed to make a basket until the middle of the period. However, East Juniata started using its defense to apply pressure on the Indians which got Juniata out of its offensive rhythm and the Tigers used it to get their offense going as both Juniata and East Juniata each scored 10 points in the frame making a 27-14 Indians lead at halftime.
The full-court press applied by East Juniata became too much for Juniata to handle as the Indians were only able to score one basket for the whole third quarter, which was a three ball by Mackenzie Bennett. The Tigers took advantage and cut into the Juniata lead and make it a 30-22 ballgame.
“We didn’t practice a lot on the pressure because we’re normally pretty good on the press, but we haven’t seen too many 2-2-1 presses this year,” Smith said. “Once we got the guard action moving a little better, we opened that up, got a little more comfortable toward the middle of the third or fourth.
“But the first half I couldn’t be happier,” Smith continued. “We were hitting everything and being patient and playing the kind of basketball we need to play if we want to beat a bunch of teams in this league. I’m very happy.”
But that was as close as East Juniata would get in catching up with Juniata as the Indians settled down in the fourth quarter and put the pressure on the Tigers, forcing them into committing fouls and getting on the foul line. Juniata connected with six of the 10 shots from the free throw line.
“We finished out how we needed to,” Smith said. “They just had to regroup a little bit and settle down. That ores can get people anxious and want to do silly things down here. I just told them when we get it across, lets just settle down and run our offense.”
East Juniata much like in the first quarter failed to get its shots to go down as the Tigers only made a basket in the final quarter which was a mid-range shot from Macy Buskey.
“You don’t execute, you can’t win, it is as simple as that,” Tigers coach Travis Quici said. “We just missed shot, give up 17 points in the first half, come out, you cut it to eight and you turnover the ball over five straight possessions.
“It’s about execution — you don’t execute you don’t win,” Quici continued. “We played selfish basketball, we don’t play as a team that’s what happens.”
Juniata were led by Bennett were scored a game high of 19 points. Five of those six baskets made by Bennett from beyond the arc. Ava Shearer scored eight points and Regan Lowrey added another seven points for the night.
Sara Brackbill and Grace Hibbs led the East Juniata offense with each scoring six points for the Tigers.
Juniata is now 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the TVL while East Juniata falls to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in league. The Indians will travel to face Philipsburg-Osceola in a non-league game while the Tigers will be on the road as well against Greenwood. Both games are scheduled for Saturday.
Juniata 38, East Juniata 24
Haley Mummah 1 0-3 2, Mackenzie Bennett 6 2-3 19, Shalelyn Armstrong 1 0-1 2, Regan Lowrey 1 5-5 7, Mariska Beward 0 0-0 0, Talon Walton 0 0-0 0, Ava Shearer 3 2-2 8, Anna Mae O’Brien 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 9-14 38.
3-point goals: Bennett 5
Lexie Stuck 1 0-0 2, Cypress Feltman 2 0-0 4, Sara Brackbill 3 0-0 6, Marissa Coudriet 2 0-4 4, Cadee Becker 0 0-0 0, Grace Hibbs 3 0-0 6, Macy Buskey1 0-0 2. Totals: 12 0-4 24.
3-point goals: None
Score by quarters
EJ 4-10-8-2 – 24
J 17-10-3-8 – 38