GREENSBURG — The Everett girls basketball team made Bedford County history on Friday night in a 59-36 victory.
The Lady Warriors joined teams from both Northern Bedford and Everett as reaching the state quarterfinals in playoff basketball, but neither of those previous teams advanced to the PIAA state semifinals.
That all changed in a high-adrenaline, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat victory.
The game featured many highs and a few lows. While the Lady Warriors trailed just once in the game, they lost senior leader Madison Hicks in the third quarter to injury. Preaching all year his team knows their roles, junior Gabby Bulger came off the bench to replace the injured Hicks, which way one of the many factors helping the locals to the PIAA Class AA semifinals.
“Our defenders defended really well, and our scorers scored,” said Everett coach Keith Moyer. “That’s all you can ask for at this time of the year — you know your role and you play it well.
“Gabby Bulger was tremendous tonight. She came off the bench and hit a big three, kept our momentum, and defended well in the fourth quarter. We were able to grow our lead when our senior leader went down. That speaks volumes to our team’s mental toughness.”
Everett faces District 10 champion West Middlesex on Monday at a site to determined this weekend. West Middlesex beat District 9 champion Kane, 61-31, in the quarters.
While the game was close at the end of the opening period, the locals took a 14-point lead into the half.
Kaitlyn Maxwell started out her 26-point night with a basket, and after a three-point run by the Lady Falcons, both her and Brooke Colledge added a combined five points for a 7-4 lead.
The Lady Warriors extended their lead after an ACV lay-up. Maxwell added a pair of buckets and Colledge scored another three for a 14-6 lead. Despite five points by ACV, the Lady Warriors took a seven-point lead at the end of the opening period with baskets by Maxwell and Hicks to lead 18-11 at the end of the opening period.
After ACV’s Cami McNany opened the second quarter with a basket, Hicks scored on a Maxwell pass and Bulger hit a three from the top of the key to give Everett some breathing room after, 23-10.
After a 4-2 run by ACV, Kristen Ewing hit a three before Maxwell scored on a lay-up after going coast to coast after recording a steal. Bulger scored on a free throw and Hicks scored two foul shots to push the Lady Warriors ahead, 33-17.
ACV added two free throws as the half ended as the Lady Falcons trailed, 33-19.
Although their shots weren’t falling in the third quarter, the Lady Warriors held a 37-26 lead halfway through the third period. Hicks fought for a defensive rebound, and the senior Lady Warrior tripped over a Lady Falcon, promptly exiting the game with a lower leg injury.
After the injury time out, the Lady Falcons used a four-point run by Andrea Meals to cut the deficit to seven points, 39-32. Colledge scored a three with a second left in the third, putting the Lady Warriors ahead, 42-32.
Everett outscored ACV, 17-4, in the final quarter.
Maxwell was answered by ACV as the final period opened, but Maxwell scored eight of the next 10 points, with Ewing scoring twice from the foul line, helping Everett to a 54-34 lead with 2:13 left to play.
After a missed Lady Falcon free throw, Maxwell added another two free throws. Everett’s Brooklyn Beegle finished the night with a Lady Warrior three-pointer after ACV scored — solidifying Everett’s 59-36 victory.
“The kids have worked pretty hard. I’m just happy for them,” Moyer said. “I enjoy these kids so much. I don’t want this season to end. Hopefully we can keep it going for a couple more days.
“It’s good for any senior to continue their career as long as possible. They’ve been a part of our program for four years. They’ve been working really hard. They don’t want the season to end. They just keep getting better.”
Moyer credits his girls’ attitudes and willingness to get along to why the team has been so successful this season.
“They get along and they listen,” Moyer explained. “I can raise my voice and get on them in practice, and they do what’s asked of them. They’re great kids, and they have great parents. They come from a really good school.”
In addition to Maxwell’s 26 points, Colledge added 11.
The Lady Warriors become the second team in the Gazette coverage area to reach the PIAA State Semifinals in playoff girls’ basketball. They join Claysburg-Kimmel who did so in both 2000 and 2007.
PIAA Class AA Quarterfinals (5-1) EVERETT 59, (9-2) ALLEGHENY-CLARION VALLEY 36
Everett 18 15 9 17 — 59
Allegheny 11 8 1 4 — 36