EBENSBURG — The Tussey Mountain girls’ basketball had to do two things against Vincentian Academy, Wednesday — shoot well and don’t foul.
While the first quarter went in favor for the locals, the following three quarters were a battle. Digging themselves into a hole in the second quarter, the Lady Titans quickly fell into foul trouble and their shots were not falling.
Still, the Lady Titans gave a full 32 minutes in a 45-36 loss in the second round of the Class A playoffs.
“We needed to shoot the ball well and we couldn’t get into foul trouble,” explained Tussey Mountain coach Todd Gates. “We didn’t shoot the ball well and we got into foul trouble.
“We still competed. I thought we played OK. We were down by five at one point and I thought we’d be OK if we hit a couple of shots. We just couldn’t hit the shots when we needed to.”
Although no one from Tussey Mountain fouled out, starter Sophie Brumbaugh sat for much of the middle two periods with four fouls. Kailee Leonard, who entered the game for Brumbaugh, also fell into foul trouble.
Furthermore, the Lady Titans scored just 13 of the 61 attempted shots. The Lady Royals also outdid the locals on the boards.
The Lady Titans won the opening tip-off, but the Lady Royals got a steal. Brumbaugh recorded a steal and shot the ball to Lexi Weimert. After running the ball to erase time, Weimert drove inside for a Lady Titan lay-up. Following a pair of missed Lady Royal free throws, Meghan Molosky scored a three on a Weimert pass. Kailee Leonard scored a free throw and a basket for the locals after Vincentian Academy scored a free throw, pushing the locals ahead, 8-1, with 2:51 left in the opening period.
The Lady Royals finished out the opening period with four points by Alana Winkler, cutting the deficit to three points, 8-5.
Winkler led the night with 15 points, giving Molosky trouble on defense.
“She’s a very good player and we knew that coming in,” Gates said on Winkler. “Meghan’s a very good defender. I didn’t think (Winkler) she was good as Kaitlyn Maxwell — but maybe she is. She was getting by Meghan and the only other person to do that this year was Kaitlyn Maxwell.”
Vincentian Academy opened the second quarter with a nine-point stretch to take a 14-8 lead with 5:23 left in the first half. The Lady Royals used Lady Titan turnovers and rebounding to take the lead.
Tussey’s Maddie Garner got a lay-up for the locals, but Winkler answered with a lay-up as well. Brumbaugh sandwhiched free throws around a Vincentian Academy basket, and after a pair of Lady Royal free throws, Leonard scored a jumper and Weimert hit both foul shots to pull the Lady Titans within three points after an early letdown, 20-17.
Vincentian Academy started out the second half with a five-point rally for a 25-17 lead.
The Lady Titans scored on three of their 12 attempts from the field in the third period. Weimert ended the Vincentian Academy run with a three. Following a putback by a Lady Royal, Molosky fought for a basket. Weimert shot the ball to Garner and the lone Lady Titan senior scored before Winkler added consecutive lay-ups to push Vincentian Academy ahead, 33-25.
Brumbaugh scored a jumper from the foul line to start the final period and after a lay-up by Winkler, Molosky added another bucket to cut the deficit to six points with 3:58 remaining, 35-29.
Vincentian Academy posted a six-point run before Brumbaugh recorded a lay-up to cut the deficit to 10 points, 41-31.
Weimert scored on a three after a putback by Vincentian Academy and Brumbaugh and Vincentian Academy’s Saige Smith exchanged buckets as the Lady Royals won, 45-36.
The Lady Royals will face District 5 runner-up Shanksville-Stonycreek on Saturday.
Weimert paced the locals with 10 points, while Brumbaugh added five.
“Their zone gave us trouble,” Gates added. “They were so big, and they were hard to shoot over.
The Lady Titans are still youthful, graduating just Garner this spring.
“Maddie’s had a great career,” Gates noted. “She came up as a ninth grader to help us fill out a JV team. She got to play some (varsity) that year because of our numbers. She will be missed — her leadership — and everything she brought to us. She was a hustler and she picked everybody up in practice.”
The Lady Titans entered the playoffs as the third-place finishers after falling to would-be district champion Berlin Brothersvalley in the semifinals. The locals also finished second in the Inter-County Conference South division with a pair of losses to Everett.
“We’ll be back,” Gates said. “We have some younger girls coming. We’ll get better.
“When you look at who we lost to — two Everett, two Berlins, two Tyrones, Penn Cambria, Huntingdon, and these guys — everyone we lost to is a solid team. We had a good season. Foul trouble was our nemesis this year. We need to overcome that.”
Tussey Mountain finishes the season 18-9.
PIAA Class A Second Round (7-4) VINCENTIAN ACADEMY 45, (5-3) TUSSEY MOUNTAIN 36
Tussey Mountain 8 9 8 11 — 36
Vincentian Academy 5 15 13 12 — 45