Abby Showers and her Philipsburg-Osceola teammates sat during halftime and listened to coach Doug Myers try to breathe confidence into his winless team.
The Lady Mounties, who trailed the also winless Bellefonte Lady Raiders by three points at intermission, were well aware that only one team could earn their first win.
Whatever Myers said must have propelled his team because the Lady Mounties ripped the game open with a 22-point third quarter en route to a 40-29 victory.
“Basically, he just said, ‘this is our game, we need to win it and it would be a major confidence booster’ for us,” Showers said. “I thought we were all just a little nervous in the first half because both teams had the same record and someone was going to win their first game.”
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Showers, a sophomore, scored each of her game-high 16 points in the second half.
“We came out in the second half and we just went all out,” she said. “We just said, ‘Hey we’re not holding anything back, this is our game,’”
The Lady Mounties were anchored by senior Briana Rusnak’s 12 points and physical play, but it was her younger teammates that really sparked the second-half spurt.
“I’m just ecstatic at how our younger players (played),” Rusnak said. “At the end of the game, they didn’t even look like our younger players, they looked like older kids today.”
Freshman Haylee Hayward scored just two points, but they came after grabbing a rebound and driving coast-to-coast for a layup that pushed the lead to 28-20. She also had four assists.
Sophomore McKenzie Burge also contributed two points. Junior Alyssa Myers kept the team afloat in the first half with six of her seven total points.
The Lady Raiders got help from an unexpected source. Coach Roger Herto said he wasn’t even going to play Ally Steen because she was coming off an injury.
The sophomore led her team with 10 points and helped build an early lead with seven in the first half.
“They were just much better than we were tonight in every phase of the game,” Herto said. “This was Ally’s first game of the year. She was coming off an injury and we didn’t really want to play her that much, but I thought she played well.”
Senior Torrie Sealy had eight points and sophomore Lexi Wetzler scored four points, while fellow sophomore Marissa Moriarta had two. Junior Cassandra Book and freshman Lea McCartney each had two. Junior Alexis Franks chipped in one.
Bellefonte travels to Clearfield on Friday, while Philipsburg-Osceola won’t host Central Mountain until Jan. 4.
“I thought we could create some offense with our defense tonight,” Myers said. “And the girls did. They really wanted to win a game and I couldn’t be happier for them and hopefully we can keep it going.”