MUNCY - The final seconds were ticking away, but Brianna McLaughlin remained glued to her defender. Her Muncy teammates did the same and seconds later, they ran the offense like the final seconds of a district championship.
Muncy led by 24 at the time, but it was not time to relax. It is that effort and that determination that had coach Craig Weaver Jr. smiling throughout the night.
Muncy never took a possession off, played its best game of the season and had four players score in double figures Tuesday as it routed St. John Neumann, 71-44 in a showdown featuring three 1,000-point scorers. The Indians (15-2, 10-1) remained in the hunt for a HAC-III title and made a statement while showing how tough they can be come playoff time.
Allison Edwards of Muncy tries to get free from St. John Neumann’s Emily Sholder Tuesday night at Muncy. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
"I tell the girls, I don't care if you're up by two or down by 50 we don't stop playing until the fourth quarter buzzer goes and tonight was a great measuring stick for us doing that," Weaver said. "It was all-around by everybody a great game."
"This was definitely one of our best games. Almost everyone on our team scored and we all contributed," McLaughlin said. "When we all play together and do what really can do and we have the potential to do, I think we can make it really far."
McLaughlin was sensational and finished just one assist and one rebound shy of a triple double, scoring 21 points, grabbing nine rebounds, dealing nine assists and adding five steals. She also helped ignite Muncy's ferocious defense that started changing the game's complexion in the second quarter.
Muncy forced 10 turnovers in that second quarter while going on a 15-0 run that gave it a 23-point lead. That lead was never threatened as the Indians excelled in all facets and extended it to as much as 32 in the fourth quarter. The defense forced 23 turnovers and made 15 steals while Muncy dominated the glass, outrebounding Neumann, 40-26.
"We just played really well as a team tonight," McLaughlin said. "Everything we did, we just did really well together as a team."
The Indians scored at least 16 points in each quarter and had a nice inside-outside game. Guard Jordan Jones had 14 points and eight assists while forward Nikki Scott and Emily Shnyder combined for 20 points. Shnyder added eight rebounds off the bench. Jones and McLaughlin were brilliant running the offense and both beautifully saw the court, combining for 17 of the team's 21 assists.
"Me and Jordan have been playing together since the third and fourth grades so we know each other," McLaughlin said. "We know how we play and I love playing with her. It's great."
So was Crystal Good. The senior forward ignited the game-changing second quarter run and had five steals by halftime. Good scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds and was all over the floor. It was the second straight game Good reached double figures and she is becoming a huge weapon down the stretch.
"I looked at Crystal and told her the old Crystal is back," Weaver said. "Her hustle is always there but when you add her putting some points up to go with our scoring and her defense, that makes us all the more dangerous."
Neumann (12-5, 5-5) received a serious scare just 30 seconds into the game when 1,000-point scorers Meghan Trenholm and Emily Sholder collided hard at midcourt. Trenholm's nose was gashed and her contact lens popped out while Sholder lay on the floor for a few minutes. The two four-year starters, however, showed they are as tough as they are talented, missing just a minute combined while playing strong games.
Sholder, a night after scoring her 1,000th point, had 18 points, including all 11 for Neumann in the second quarter. Trenholm added 15 points, seven steals and five rebounds.
"I was extremely worried. That (collision) was scary," Neumann coach Steve Sholder said. "We actually played pretty well and moved the ball pretty well but we must bring out the best in them because they played great."
Rachel Danneker had a nice game off the bench for the Knights and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Muncy led 16-4 after a quarter but Sholder heated up in the second quarter and cut the deficit to 20-12. Good, though, made a steal and a layup a possession later and the Indians took off from there.
Five players scored in both the first and second quarter for Muncy as both starters and reserves excelled. Allison Edwards grabbed five rebounds and played solid defense while Natalie Lamoreaux added five rebounds off the bench. The Indians did not let up in the third quarter and opened a 30-point lead with 2:15 remaining.
"We talked about, especially since we're coming toward end of the year, playing your best basketball every game," Weaver said. "We know Neumann is a big rival and a good team and we were well-rounded and everyone had a part in that."
Meghan Trenholm 6 2-2 15, Emily Sholder 6 3-5 18, Megan Helminiak 1 0-0 3, Baylie Gerrity 4 0-3 8, Stephanie Fernandez 0 0-0 0, Rachel Danneker 0 0-2 0. Totals 17 5-12 44.
Jordan Jones 7 0-0 14, Brianna McLaughlin 8 3-3 21, Crystal Good 6 0-0 12, Nikki Scott 5 2-3 12, Allison Edwards 0 0-0 0, Emily Shnyder 3 0-0 8, Natalie Lamoreaux 1 0-0 2, Autumn Temple 0 0-0 0, Meredith Griggs 1 0-0 2. Totals 31 5-6 71.
Neumann4 11 10 19-44
Muncy16 19 20 16-71
3-pointers: Neumann 5 (Sholder 3, Trenholm, Helminiak); Muncy 4 (McLaughlin 2, Shnyder 2).
Records: Muncy 15-2, 10-1 HAC-III. Neumann 12-5, 5-5.
JV Score: Neumann 32-31.