O’Malley, Montoursville beat Dragons

Montoursville doesn’t play basketball like most teams. The Warriors don’t do iso and they don’t pound the ball into the hardwood like it owes them money. Montoursville plays basketball the right way.

The Warriors full offensive power was on display Saturday night as it played team basketball with quick side-to-side ball movement and some possessions with less than three dribbles as Montoursville defeated Lewisburg, 54-30, at Montoursville.

“Ball movement’s kind of our go-to on offense,” said Montoursville coach Travis Heap. “When we don’t have ball movement, we are stagnant, we don’t do very well scoring but when we do, we get five, six, seven passes on one possession, we usually get an open shot.”

Lewisburg came out in a 2-3 zone defense, but the Warriors just tore that apart with quick, decisive passing. Every player was where they were supposed to be and that either led to an easy layup or one of five 3-pointers from Lexi Marchioni (15 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals). Lewisburg eventually switched to a man defense, but then the ball movement wasn’t the problem. The problem became Lauren O’Malley.

O’Malley scored a season-high 25 points with 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals and Lewisburg had no answer for her. She hit tough layups, mid-range jumpers and got her teammates involved. The junior sparked a second half run that saw Montoursville’s lead go from nine to 17 as she scored 11 of Montoursville’s 12 third-quarter points. She also added nine points in a fourth quarter that saw Montoursville’s lead balloon to 25. O’Malley scored 20 of Montoursville’s 29 second-half points while also having a double-double by the end of the third quarter.

“She had a quiet 25 today and it seems she does it so effortlessly. It’s expected. We hold her to a high standard, she knows that, she comes and works every single day,” Heap said of O’Malley. “This doesn’t come from natural ability, this comes from hard work and she put in the time and the benefits you can see on the court.”

After starting 3-1, Lewisburg has lost four of its last five. A major reason is due to the loss of starting forward Bethany Rippon, who could be back by the end of January. The Green Dragons have struggled to score this season and have only scored over 40 points once in the last five games. The defense did its job, holding Montoursville 11 points below its season average but the offense had trouble finding consistency.

“That’s been kind of the rut we’ve been in lately. Offensively we struggle to get things going,” said Lewisburg coach Phil Stamm. “Earlier in the season we were getting better ball movement and attacking the basket a little better and lately we’ve struggled on that end. Montoursville’s a good team and I thought we battled for most of the game.”

The one leading that battle was point guard Grace Kelleher. The sophomore is the leader of the young team as she had nine points and seven rebounds while getting others involved.

“Grace is a battler,” Stamm said. “She’s got a lot to her game. She can shoot and drive and the one thing she also does and it can go unnoticed is she gets other people looks and she’s just a tough, hard-nosed player.”

Emily Sholly also had a strong game, scoring eight points, grabbing 10 rebounds with three steals and three blocks while holding all-star center Marlene Bassett, who battled foul trouble, to a season-low two points.

Montoursville 54, Lewisburg 30

Lewisburg (30)

Grace Kelleher 2 4-8 9, Emily Sholly 4 0-0 8, Nikki Cho 1 2-5 5, Megan O’Hara 0 0-0 0, Cassie West 1 0-0 3, Erin Hilkert 2 0-0 4, Jamie Fedorjaka 0 1-2 1, Allie Reed 0 0-0 0, Maryn Grimes 0 0-0 0, Justine Caribardi 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 7-15 30.

Montoursville (54)

Lauren O’Malley 10 5-5 25, Lexi Marchioni 5 0-0 15, Marlene Bassett 1 0-0 2, Gillian Mitchell 0 1-2 1, Allyse Marchioni 1 0-0 2, Shelby Kurtz 3 1-2 7, Ashlynn McQuillen 0 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Dawes 1 0-0 2, Lydia Albert 0 0-0 0, Rebecca Reeder 0 0-0 0, Emily Ebbert 0 0-0 0, Arianna Whiteman 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 7-9 54.

Lewisburg              7 9 4 10 — 30

Montoursville      15 10 12 17 — 54

3-point goals: Lewisburg 3 (Kelleher 1, Cho 1, West 1); Montoursville 5 (Marchioni 5)

JV score: Montoursville, 27-24 (OT).

Records: Montoursville (8-0); Lewisburg (4-5).