High School Sports

Penns Valley girls use tough defense to race away from Philipsburg-Osceola

Penns Valley’s Peyton Homan makes a shot around Philipsburg-Osceola’s Lacey Potter during Tuesday’s game.
Penns Valley’s Peyton Homan makes a shot around Philipsburg-Osceola’s Lacey Potter during Tuesday’s game. adrey@centredaily.com

It was over pretty quickly in the “Ram Dome” on Tuesday night.

The Penns Valley girls’ basketball team turned up the pressure and squeezed everything out of Philipsburg-Osceola.

Scoring 26 of the game’s first 29 points, the Lady Rams raced away from the Lady Mounties 62-32.

“It felt really good to come out and be really explosive,” said Penns Valley’s Kourtney Beamesderfer, who posted 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists. “To work the ball, get really good shots and push the ball up the floor.”

Peyton Homan’s double-double also highlighted the Lady Rams’ night with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Bella Culver netted 16 points to go with five steals. Jordan Andrus gave out three assists.

The game was all but decided by the end of the first quarter, when the Lady Rams scored the first 20 points, and forced the Lady Mounties into five turnovers and 1 for 14 shooting from the floor.

“That was very frustrating,” said P-O guard Halle Herrington, who posted a game-high 18 points. “None of our shots would drop. They were playing hard defense.”

Herrington, who has been lighting up the scoreboards this season, averaging 33 points a game over her last nine outings, was pretty well bottled up by the Lady Ram defense. She got off plenty of shots, but many of them were forced or off balance.

“At the beginning I think I was, definitely,” Herrington said. “Trying to get points up on the board. It just didn’t work out.”

Much of the credit for the stifling defense went to Beamesderfer, who held the sophomore below 20 for just the second time this season. The senior also got plenty of help from her teammates with loads of double teams and help off screens.

“Kourtney Beamesderfer did an outstanding job,” Penns Valley coach Karen McCaffrey said. “Then every time they set a ball screen, we switched on it and we were ready.”

Beamesderfer also was busy at the other end of the floor, scoring seven of her points in the first quarter as her team raced to the huge lead.

Which was better, the Penns Valley offense or the defense?

“Both equally,” Beamesderfer said. “I think our defense turned into our offense and that’s what really helped us score as much as we did.”

The Lady Rams were hitting from everywhere in their 24-point first quarter. They had five layups, but also collected plenty of points from mid-range jumpers, put-backs and even a couple from the perimeter.

Adding the first bucket of the second quarter, and in just over eight minutes the lead was 26-3.

It was a tough position for the Lady Mounties.

“It’s pretty difficult because then we’re trying to get their spirits back up,” P-O coach Alexis Bacher said. “Just got to try to build their attitudes up, which can be hard with high school kids.”

Herrington also had three steals, Lacey Potter grabbed eight rebounds and Loryn Hughes recorded seven rebounds and four steals.

The Lady Rams are making an adjustment after losing senior leader Maci Ilgen, who suffered a season-ending injury last week.

“We kind of have to challenge them a little bit without Maci,” McCaffrey said. “We have to be a step quicker, we have to box out, we all have to rebound and where we relied on her sometimes, it’s more the team has to pick up the things that she did for us.”

Gordon Brunskill: 814-231-4608, @GordonCDT