MONTOURSVILLE - Up just one point to start the second half, Montoursville's Kelsey Stine knew her team needed to open the third quarter strong.
Along with Stine, who finished a three-point play in the third by nailing her only foul shot of the contest, Montoursville got what it needed and cruised to a 41-24 win over rival Loyalsock.
In need of some offense after scoring just five second-quarter points, the Warriors scored the first nine points of the third. Stine scored all five of her points over the stretch.
"We all talked about how we needed to start fresh and look at it as a 0-0 game," Stine said. "We all came out with a lot of intensity. It just gets everyone going."
Stine connected on a putback underneath the hoop for her first points of the game. On the play, Taylor Daskivich was called for a foul. Stine buried the free throw to push Montoursville's lead to 22-16 with 6:52 left in the quarter.
With the offense moving, Montoursville switched back to its full-court press.
The Lancers struggled to break the Warriors defense and turned the ball over a minimum of seven times in each quarter. The third was especially difficult for Loyalsock as Stine and a combination of players helped Montoursville run off nine consecutive points.
"The girls just seem to play really good basketball when we are pressing," Montoursville coach Kevin Kurtz said. "We're getting tips and we're getting steals. These girls like to play at that pace."
And with a group of soccer standouts littered throughout Montoursville's roster, it's easy to see why the girls enjoy playing at such a high tempo.
Kirsten O'Malley, McKenzie Ruffing (10 points, rebound) and Carley Mill, all of whom play on the soccer team, combined to score 31 of the team's 41 points. O'Malley, who led all scorers with 14 points, buried two free throws and a layup over the third quarter run.
"When we press, we get steals and we get a lot of points off turnovers," Kurtz said. "We practice it every single day. Our goal is to get teams playing at our pace."
Mill finished with seven points to go with four rebounds, and canned a trey in the second to keep the Lancers from taking a halftime lead.
Loyalsock jumped out to an early lead prior to Montoursville making the switch to its press. Kayla Gee connected on a long trey and Allie Pagana added an assist and basket in the opening quarter. Pagana also hit a 3-pointer in the second quarter as Loyalsock's offense surged to within a point of tying before halftime.
"It all goes back to the game plan," Kurtz said of the Warriors third quarter run. "Once we make that first basket, we're going into our three-quarter trapping press. Once we do that the girls really just play good basketball."
Immediately after Montoursville scored its first third-quarter bucket, Kurtz motioned for the press. The Warriors, after being limited to just five second-quarter points, returned the favor to hold the Lancers to just five points in the third quarter.
The Warriors defense forced 30 turnovers, with the majority coming from the press.
"We dribble the basketball way too much," Loyalsock coach Demarr Wright said. "We try to dribble and when we do we go into what I call darkness where there is no where to go."
Taylor Daskivich 0 0-0 0; Allie Pagana 2 0-0 5; Kayla Gee 2 0-0 6; Kendall Watkins 2 1-2 5; Katy Burdett 0 0-3 0; Megan McKernan 0 1-2 1; Sam Pagana 3 1-1 7; Cellina Salvatori 0 0-0 0; Abby Sullivan 0 0-0 0; Angie Cardillo 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 3-8 24.
Katie Harlacher 0 0-0 0; Kirsten O'Malley 5 4-4 14; Marissa Hall 1 0-3 2; McKenzie Ruffing 3 4-6 10; Carley Mill 2 2-2 7; Kelsey Stine 2 1-1 5; Jordynne Harvey 0 0-0 0; Alexis Weisser 1 1-2 3; Kayla Venema 0 0-0 0; Marissa Folk 0 0-0 0; Ally Yocum 0 0-0 0; Nicole Weisser 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 12-19 41.
Loyalsock8 8 5 3-24
Montoursville12 5 15 11-41
3-point goals: Loyalsock 3 (Pagana, Gee 2). Montoursville 1 (Mill)
Records: Montoursville 4-1. Next: Southern Columbia at Loyalsock, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Montoursville at Warrior Run, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
JV score: Loyalsock 38, Montoursville 24.