Something wasn't feeling right with Mackenzie Marple Monday.
This small inconvenience became a full blown issue as Marple's status continued to deteriorate Tuesday. And, under normal conditions, the sickness might have kept her off the court. It wasn't just another game, though. It's the District 4 Class AA basketball playoffs.
And, sick or not, Marple knew her team needed her. She led her team with 11 points, Sarah Ingerick chipped in 11, and the No. 9 seeded Green Hornets beat No. 8 Warrior Run, 42-31, for the school's first postseason win since 2004.
Olivia George of Warrior Run tries to defend Wellsboro’s Hannah Zuchowski Tuesday at Montoursville. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
"I got sick last night and today I went into school at 10 to play in the game," Marple said. "I hoped my coach planned to play me, because I came to school today. I wouldn't have come, because I feel terrible."
"With Mackenzie it's hard to keep her off the court," Wellsboro coach Mary Grab said. "She really, really wanted to play and I don't think it would have mattered who we were playing."
At no point in the game did Marple look less than full strength. In fact it was the complete opposite.
Marple posted a team-high five points in the first quarter, which helped complete a 9-0 run to take an 11-6 lead. In the fourth quarter, she buried three of her six attempts from the line to help put Warrior Run (14-9) away.
As good as the start of the game went for Wellsboro (12-11), its advantage on the scoreboard was cut down to a point after Taylor Parker connected with a 3-pointer. The basket came on Warrior Run's final possession of the first quarter.
Both teams combined to hit two shots from the field in the second quarter. Jada Jackson scored all four of Wellsboro's points, hitting two free throws and connecting with a layup underneath the basket.
Jackson was the difference on the boards for Wellsboro as she grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. She also kept Warrior Run out of the paint, which led to a 5 for 20 shooting performance in the second half.
"We didn't hit any shots on the outside perimeter to make them come out and guard us," Warrior Run coach Jon Weaver said. "They played it right. I wouldn't have started to come out until we hit them. We just never did."
The second half displayed a much more focused Wellsboro squad. The Green Hornets recommitted their defensive efforts and limited the Defenders to just 14 points.
"Offensively we didn't change much, but we decided we needed to slow them down defensively," Marple said. "We are always a better defensive team than we are offensively. We figured if defense came the offense would start."
Jackson picked up the offense with 6 third-quarter points, but it the defensive efforts on Shamberg were the difference.
"We had to make sure that each touch Shamburg got was a contested one," Grab said. "The kids did a good job communicating so we knew where she was. A couple easy shots for her woke the kids up. They knew we needed to stop her."
Shamberg was held to just one point in the third quarter. In the fourth, she was the only Defender to make a shot.
"It's our first district win in a long time," Grab said. "Our goal at the beginning of the season was not just to make it to districts, but win at districts."
Warrior Run (31)
Abby Fisher 1 1-2 3; Chloe Eisenhuth 2 0-0 4; Mackenzie Hays 1 0-0 2; Taylor Murphy 0 0-0 0; Laura Bastian 0 0-2 0; Olivia George 0 0-0 0; Taylor Parker 2 2-7 7; Keely Laidacker 0 0-0 0; McKenna Beyer 0 0-0 0; Rachel Grow 0 0-0 0; Sydney Hartman 0 0-0 0; Steph Shamburg 6 3-6 15. Totals 12 6-17 31.
Kim Acorn 1 2-2 4; Alexa Singer 0 0-0 0; Sarah Ingerick 4 2-2 10; McKenzie Marple 3 5-10 11; Jada Jackson 2 5-8 9; Kiana Acorn 0 0-0 0; Hannah Zuchowski 3 2-2 8; Maggie Smith 0 0-0 0; Jessie Catherman 0 0-2 0; Jordan Butters 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 16-26 42
Warrior Run 12 5 7 7-31
Wellsboro 13 4 12 13-42
3-point goals: Warrior Run-1 (Parker). Wellsboro-0.
Records: Warrior Run 14-9. Wellsboro 12-11.
Next: No. 9 Wellsboro vs. No. 1 Mount Carmel TBA.