Her aggressiveness causes problems.
And sometimes not just for opponents. Loyalsock guard Allie Pagana picked up two fouls in the game's first two minutes Monday against visiting South Williamsport and missed most of the first half. She more than made up for in the second half, however, and her aggressiveness was a big reason why.
Pagana scored eight of her nine points, grabbed four of her five rebounds and made four steals during a big game-ending run as Loyalsock downed the rival Mounties, 45-26. Pagana had a hand in eight of the first 10 points of an 18-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters and helped the Lancers (2-5) snap a five-game losing streak.
Allie Pagana of Loyalsock splits the South Williamsport defense to shoot in the third quarter Monday at Loyalsock. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
"I'm a very aggressive player and some refs don't like that. They don't like that and the fire in my eyes so I will take the consequence because that's how I play," Pagana said. "I don't think we've been playing to our capability the last five games. I think we have a lot more that we can do and this is a confidence boost."
Loyalsock showed how dangerous it can be, ending the game on a 20-4 run after South had cut an eight-point deficit to 25-22 midway through the third quarter. Pagana wreaked havoc at the top of Loyalsock's 2-3 zone defense and scored the third-quarter's final four points.
Pagana kept making steals and deflecting passes in the fourth quarter. She hit a jumper early in the fourth, then made it 41-22 when Kayla Gee fed her for a layup.
"When we go in a 2-3 zone Allie is very good at anticipating that next pass or if there's a deflection she reacts and gets to the basketball," Loyalsock coach Demarr Wright said. "We talk about that in practice, if there's a deflection it's ours. She played extremely well in that 2-3 zone."
"Defense is my strong point," Pagana said. "Offense really isn't my thing so I try to make things happen on defense. Defense is kind of my thing."
It was her teammates' thing too. That and rebounding. Loyalsock stifled all aspects of South's offense in the second half, allowing just one field goal over the game's final 12 minutes while forcing 12 turnovers. The Lancers held South leading scorer Jen Jackson (18 points per game) without a second-half shot and outrebounded the Mounties, 35-21.
Loyalsock repeatedly had second, third and fourth-chance scoring opportunities in the first half when it build a 23-17 halftime lead. Pagana, Taylor Daskivich and Gee all had five or more rebounds and a team that features a blend of promising freshmen and experienced upperclassmen started coming together.
"I still play a lot of freshmen and this is new to them and they handled themselves well. My upperclassmen did well today too," Wright said. "Sammi (Pagana) played well, Taylor played well, Giana (Ginobile) went in and played well so I need my upperclassmen to lead and then my freshmen to follow and I think that's what happened."
South led for much of the first quarter but trailed by eight early in the third. Jackson then assisted Roxie Keller and Sarah March on consecutive baskets and March's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 25-22. The Mounties (2-5) overcame an 11-point third-quarter deficit last Saturday against Montgomery and appeared capable of making another impressive comeback.
But it was all Loyalsock from that point after Daskivich ended the flurry by scoring on a putback.
"It's having some patience on the offensive end. At times it looks like we're doing fine and then it just snowballs and goes downhill," South coach Mike Allison said. "Hopefully we can take the good few things from this game because running into Muncy's pressure defense Wednesday, it's not going to get any easier. It's execution when we run into in-your face defenses and we have to execute a whole lot better than we have been."
Freshman Anna Steer blocked five shots and continued flashing the promise that could make her one of the area's premier players the next few years. So did Loyalsock freshmen Gee and Cellina Salvatori. Gee scored nine points, seven straight that came at the end of the first half. She added six rebounds and three steals while Salvatori also continued shining off the bench and played stellar defense, especially when Pagana was in foul trouble.
Sam Pagana also scored nine points and hit the boards hard in the first half when Loyalsock built its lead. South pulled within 15-14 midway through the second quarter, but Gee heated up and Loyalsock started taking control.
Jen Jackson 1 5-9 7, Anna Steer 2 0-0 4, Sarah March 3 0-0 7, Alisha Wein 1 2-5 4, Roxie Keller 1 0-0 2, Kalynn Wheeland 0 0-0 0, Jourdan Boehmer 0 0-0 0, Gabby Burch 0 0-0 0, Alysha Ardell 0 0-0 0, Kelsey Gantz 1 0-0 2, Bettina Peluso 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 7-14 26.
Allie Pagana 4 1-2 9, Taylor Daskivich 3 0-2 6, Sam Pagana 4 1-2 9, Megan McKernan 1 2-3 4, Katy Burdett 1 0-1 2, Kayla Gee 3 2-4 9, Cellina Salvatori 1 1-2 3, Kendall Watkins 0 0-0 0, Abby Sullivan 0 0-0 0, Giana Ginobile 1 1-2 3, Emma Fox 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 8-18 45.
South6 11 5 4-26
Loyalsock9 14 8 14-45
3-pointers: South 1 (March); Loyalsock 1 (Gee).
Records: Loyalsock 2-5. South 2-5.