DANVILLE - As the Montoursville Warriors walked off the court in defeat on Friday night their eyes were filled with tears. However, these girls had no reason to hang their heads after ending their best girls basketball season in more than a decade.
In their third match-up this season, Southern Columbia beat Montoursville 41-32 in the first round of District 4 Class AA?girls basketball playoffs.
"Southern was just a better team than we were tonight," said Montoursville's head coach Kevin Kurtz. "They made more shots than we did from the perimeter and they were more efficient from the free throw line, so we give them a lot of credit," he added.
Free throw efficiency was a theme for Southern Columbia, as the Lady Tigers hit all 12 of their free throws.
"We've been working on that all season," said Southern Columbia head coach Kevin Collins. "It comes down to them wanting to make the free throws and concentrating - we did that tonight."
Southern Columbia's ability to make it to the line and capitalize on those opportunities may have made the difference the game. Not only did those trips to the line add 12 points to Tigers' final score, they also helped them keep their head above water every time it seemed that the Warriors might catch up.
Another reason for the Tigers' success was their ability to contain Montoursville's sophomore guard Kirsten O'Malley who was averaging 15 points per game. The Tigers held O'Malley to just nine points, which seemed to frustrate a Warriors offense who found themselves forcing bad passes to their best offensive threat.
"We've been working on our man-to-man defense for the last three months and were starting to get pretty good at it," said Collins. "I knew I was going to come out in it eventually , so once the girls said they were getting a little winded we moved into that and it helped shut O'Malley down," he said
But even in the face of defeat, these Warriors have a lot to look forward to. Next year they will return all but two seniors, and will have the experience necessary to make an even greater push into playoffs.
"With the foundation the seniors on this team have provided we will have some great years moving forward," said Kurtz.
Kirsten O'Malley 4 1-2 9, Marissa Hall 4 0-0 9, McKenzie Ruffing 2 0-0 4, Carly Mill 4 2-2 10, Kelsey Stine 0 0-0 0, Ally Yokum 0 0-0 0, Alexis Weisser 0 0-0 0, Jordynne Harvey 0 0-0 0, Nicole Weisser 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 2-3 32
Southern Columbia (41)
Haley Levan 1 0-0 2, Mackenzie Clark 1 2-2 4, Mallory Tomaschik 6 2-2 14, Kirstin Blass 0 0-0 0, Kayla Lavella 4 2-2 15, Teana Shutt 0 0-0 0, Kelli Gilroy 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 12 -12 41
Montoursville 07 10 09 06 - 32
Southern Columbia13 07 13 08 - 41
3 point goals: Montoursville 1 (Hall); Southern Columbia 5 (Lavella 3, Tomaschik 2)