Brought guiding young Hornets

Wellsboro girls basketball coach Maureen Poirier was there when Cathryn Brought began her basketball journey. And one better believe she is enjoying watching now as Brought concludes that journey.

Poirier was Brought’s first basketball coach when the current Wellsboro senior began playing in first grade. Poirier has watched Brought grow literally and figuratively and now she is captaining a young Wellsboro team while embracing that role. A player who shines on and off the court, Brought is the lone returning starter from last year’s NTL champion. She will be a marked player each time she takes the court, but Brought is handling it well so far.

So maybe this journey will feature an outstanding ending.

“To be coaching Cathryn in her last year is exciting to watch,” Poirier said. “She is a great leader and she is a big key to the team.”

Wellsboro went 0-2 at last weekend’s Muncy Rotary Tournament, but Brought played well in both games and the Hornets took a nice step forward in a hard-fought 48-43 loss against Benton in the consolation game. Not surprisingly, Brought led the way, scoring 21 points, grabbing seven rebounds and adding three steals against a team that has several quality players back from a team that reached the second round of the 2019 Class A state tournament.

When the Green Hornets turned a two-point late third-quarter deficit into an eight-point fourth-quarter lead, it was Brought powering the way back. The three-year starter scored in transition, off a post move, off a floater and attacked the basket, consistently earning free throw attempts that she made. Brought had a hand in nine of Wellsboro’s first 10 fourth-quarter points and the Hornets nearly recorded an impressive early-season win.

“She’s going to be keyed in on and (Saturday) she was definitely patient when they were really keying on her. When they kind of laxed off she really took advantage,” Poirier said. “She can play defense, she can take the ball to the hoop and she can shoot. She is a big part of the team and she played better offensively and when we needed somebody to slow down (Tournament MVP Emily Lockhard) she was there willing to do it, too.”

That is who Brought is. She is an unselfish player who never has cared about personal statistics. Whatever it takes to win, she will provide it. Lockhard was a force, finishing with 24 points and 21 rebounds, but Brought played a major role in slowing her down throughout the second half. Brought helped hold the 6-footer to five second-half points, showing the skills that made her the NTL’s Defensive Player of the Year a season ago.

Brought has been a major part of two straight league champions and also has shined on the volleyball court and softball field, earning all-star honors in all three. It is not a coincidence that all three teams have performed well over the last four years.

As well-rounded as she is talented, also swam the last three winters before deciding to focus on just basketball this winter. Pick an activity at Wellsboro and there is a good chance Brought is involved. She basically is a renaissance woman, strong of body and mind and making the most of her high school years.

“She never lets her emotions come into play. She’s just really even-keel. Sometimes you can make a joke with her on the sideline and you’ll get a smile out of her, but when she’s got her game face on she’s ready to go,” Poirier said. “It’s been fun to see her start from being at the point in first grade where they can’t dribble to the point where she can attack the basket and make things happen.”

And if Brought keeps building off her early-season performance then maybe the most fun is still coming.

SISTER, SISTER: Emma Bigelow played a large role in helping Muncy turn things around three years ago, playing her senior year along with younger sister Aleaha. Despite not playing basketball before her sophomore season, Aleaha has become one of the area’s premier forwards and has helped Muncy continue its winning ways the last two seasons. And now opponents must deal with another Bigelow sister.

Avery Bigelow made her high school debut at the Rotary Tournament and looked impressive in her first two games. She scored six points in a 41-30 against Wellsboro before making five steals and pulling down seven rebounds in the championship against Northwest. Obviously, she is still adjusting to the high school game, but Avery shares the same kind of athletic ability and skills her older sisters do and that provides a big plus for a young Muncy team moving forward.

“I forget that Avery is a freshman sometimes,” Muncy coach Ed Rogers said. “She is only 14 years old and doing some outstanding things. That’s hard to believe.”

PUTBACKS: Montgomery opened its season on a high note with three players scoring in double figures in a 53-34 victory against St. John Neumann. Riley Fry scored a game-high 20 points, while Morgan Tupper produced a career-high 12 and Faith Persing 10. Sheiana Tutler delivered a promising performance in her first high school game, scoring 14 points for Neumann … Williamsport senior Katelyn Wilson scored 21 points in Saturday’s 60-47 loss against Mifflin County. A night earlier, senior forward Sophia Erb scored a career-high 12 points in a district championship rematch against Hazleton … Lewisburg is a young team that returns just one starter from last year’s Class AAA state qualifier, but Roz Noone provides a nice building block. She scored 11 points and added six rebounds in a 50-28 loss at Danville, a team returning several starters from last year’s 4A state quarterfinalist.

1. Loyalsock (0-0): There will be no easing into a District 4 Class AAA title defense. The new-look Lancers feature four new starters this season and open this season with a challenging quartet of games over the next nine nights against Shamokin, Hughesville, Penns Valley and defending District 4 Class AA champion Mount Carmel. Loyalsock makes its season debut Tuesday at home against Shamokin. Summer McNulty and Cassie Gee put together strong sophomore seasons and how the younger players progress will play a large role in how this team develops throughout the season.

2. Hughesville (1-0): This program’s winning ways have been built upon stifling defense and Hughesville played the part in its season opener last Saturday, defeating Milton, 49-25. The Spartans, though, also have more offensive firepower than a year ago with all but one player back from that 12-win team. They could feature a dangerous inside-outside game and showed glimpses of it against Milton. Senior guard Jade Cordrey scored 19 points and forward Alex Snyder a career-high 16. There are others capable of big nights as well and they will have a shot at proving so Monday night in an intriguing game against Jersey Shore. These two have split exciting games the past two seasons with both overcoming second-half deficits to win, Hughesville doing so on the road last December.

3. Warrior Run (0-1): Dropping the season-opener 50-38 against fellow District 4 Class AAA title contender Bloomsburg is no cause for panic. A year ago, the same thing happened and Warrior Run started 1-3 before winning its first league title since 1995 and reaching the second round of states. The Defenders face another challenge Wednesday when they go on the road and face Southern Columbia, a team that has reached the Class AA state tournament the past two seasons.

4. North Penn-Mansfield (2-0): A deep team that can wreack havoc defensively and spread out its scoring, the Tigers captured the Jack Bush Tournament championship in impressive fashion, outscoring Wellsville and Cowanesque Valley by 34 points. Jaime Palmer helped ignite the defense and had five steals in a 44-19 championship win. She also grabbed 10 rebounds in both victories. Lizzie Welch averaged 10 points and six rebounds in those victories and JoAnne McNamara produced 24 points. It was a productive start for a team that has made upward progress in each of the last two seasons and that could factor into the District 4 Class AAA title picture this season.

5. Sullivan County (2-0): Another year, another tournament championship. Sullivan County captured the Ryan Ostrom Memorial Tournament crown for a fourth straight season, holding off a challenge from fellow Class A title contender Northeast Bradford, 60-54, before downing Canton, 62-29 in the final. Sophia Springman earned all-tournament honors and is quickly building off a breakout 2019 campaign. Springman scored a career-high 25 points against Canton and finished the tournament with 38 points, nine rebounds and four steals. The Griffins won despite not having point guard Bethany Beinlich, receiving lifts from Kassidy Beinlich and Samantha Albright, who combined for 23 points and eight rebounds against Northeast Bradford.

Players of the Week

Jessica King, Sullivan County and Myka Poorman, Bucktail: King reminded both Northeast Bradford and Canton why she has been a Class A all-state selection the past two years, capturing Tournament MVP honors for a second straight season. King recorded a triple-double against NEB, a double-double against Canton and finished her tournament with 41 points, 28 rebounds and 16 steals. She had 11 steals and five blocks against NEB, before scoring 23 points against Canton. Poorman has been a huge reason Bucktail’s softball program has come so far, so fast and now she could be sparking a basketball resurgence as well. The senior provided a lift on both ends of the court while helping Bucktail capture the Galeton Tournament championship. Poorman played strong defense and scored 18 points in a 32-30 championship win against Galeton, hitting three 3-pointers and helping spark a second-half comeback.

Game of the Week

Hughesville at Loyalsock: Two proud programs collide Saturday afternoon and this could be a potential playoff preview with both teams having championship aspirations. Loyalsock swept the series a year ago, but Hughesville has four starters back this time. Over the last three seasons, these two teams have combined to reach the state tournament five times as well as three district finals.

–Masse may be reached by email at cmasse@sungazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at @docmasse


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