The Tyrone girls’ basketball team recently entered the state’s top 10 rankings, and on Wednesday night in the Penns Valley high school gymnasium, the Lady Eagles showed exactly how they earned that ranking.
However, in no way did the Lady Rams roll over for an easy Eagle victory.
The Lady Rams’ determination showed through, but determination wasn’t enough as they fell 50-45 to the state’s No. 8 team in Class AA, according to Pennlive.com’s weekly poll.
After the game, Tyrone coach Lucas Rhoades was impressed by the Lady Rams effort.
“They are a tough team in general,” Rhoades said. “They’re very well coached and play very good defense. They give everything they have on every possession and every play, so I’m just glad we came out and executed what we needed to.”
Tyrone’s excellent execution started in the opening moments of the game as it scored the game’s first points. From there, Kasey Engle helped Tyrone quickly pull ahead. Engle finished with a game-high 28 points. The Lady Eagles’ hot shooting took advantage of Penns Valley’s shooting woes, ending the first quarter with a 15-4 lead
“Kasey Engle is just hard to guard. If you lose her for one second she’s going to score,” said Penns Valley coach Karen McCaffery.
A sloppy second quarter, filled with fouls, gave Penns Valley the chance to get back in the game. However, the Lady Rams were unable to truly capitalize on the fouls shots, going only 5 for 11 from the line in the quarter. The missed opportunities helped the Eagles keep an eight-point lead at the half.
Poor foul shooting would remain a theme for the Lady Rams throughout the game.
“Foul shooting hurt us badly,” McCaffrey said. “We missed 11 and some of those were the front end of one-and-ones. So we didn’t even see that second shot, so that’s an area we need to improve on.”
Tyrone, on the other hand, finished 12 for 13 from the line.
The third quarter started even sloppier with the teams trading turnovers throughout the first four minutes. Penns Valley was able to settle in more quickly and found its offense in the quarter’s closing moments. Lady Rams Maci Ilgen, Mackenzie Ironside, and Kourtney Beamesderfer all scored to narrow Tyrone’s lead to two points.
Ilgen’s 13 points and Ironside’s 10 paced the Lady Rams (9-4).
Their excitement didn’t last long as the Lady Eagles took control to start the fourth quarter.
They had a comfortable eight-point lead when Penns Valley called a timeout. After the respite, the Lady Rams returned with renewed energy. An Ironside steal led to an open layup, making the score 46-45, but the Lady Rams would not score again.
Tyrone refused to be frazzled by the suddenly close score, patiently holding onto the ball, waiting for the Lady Rams to foul. The plan worked and Tyrone nailed the subsequent four foul shots, sealing the victory.
“I was very proud of my girls, I thought we battled the entire time,” said McCaffery. “We get another chance at them, so I told them that they need to hold their heads up high and be proud tonight, because they battled one of the best teams in the state and just came up a little short.”
The loss puts the Lady Eagles in the lead for Mountain League supremacy. Penns Valley will host Bald Eagle Area on Friday.