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Robinson helps propel WAHS over Montoursville

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Montoursville’s Mackenzie Cohick (23) tries to shoot between Williamsport’s Sophia Erb (40) and Jessica Robinson (13) in the first quarter Tuesday at Montoursville.

Jessica Robinson hit the floor hard just two minutes into Tuesday’s game at Montoursville. The Williamsport junior forward reaggravated a knee injury, but she rose after a minute, shook off the pain like a mosquito bite and returned a few minutes later.

Robinson ended the game standing tall, playing her best basketball at the most crucial time as Williamsport secured a big early-season rivalry victory. Robinson played one of her best high school quarters over the final eight minutes, providing a spark on both ends as the Millionaires broke open what had been a three-point game and pulled away for a 53-41 win. Robinson’s five fourth-quarter points and pulled down four of her nine rebounds during that time while adding a pretty assist to Samiyah Little and forcing several turnovers.

Williamsport delivered a well-rounded performance against pesky Montoursville, but Robinson still found a way to leave a significant impact on a night the Millionaires had strength in numbers.

“It hurt a little bit, but I just had to get loosened up some. I didn’t want to come out of the game,” Robinson said after producing nine points, nine rebounds and three steals. “Sometimes I psych myself out but I felt more comfortable as the game went on. We all feed off each other out there and we all get along and that helps because we push each other to play better.”

“For our transition game she runs the court so well and her hands are good, too,” Williamsport coach Terrill Seward-Buxton said. “She plays good defense and can guard a person up top and that helps us out a lot.”

That Williamsport defense and depth formed a potent combination as Williamsport closed the game on a 16-7 run, opening a 15-point lead at one point. That was in stark contrast to the first three quarters in which both teams traded haymakers in a game that went back and forth. Montoursville held a three-point first-quarter lead but Williamsport went up 27-26 at halftime and still led 37-34 after three. The depth and defense eventually took a toll on Montoursville and the Warriors produced just one second-half field goal.

Montoursville (0-1) did consistently get to the foul line but made just 16 of 32 shots and missed on opportunities to take the lead in the third quarter at the line. That loomed large as Williamsport’s size, speed and depth started squeezing the life from the Warriors. Williamsport forced 25 turnovers and did not surrender a fourth-quarter field goal.

“That was one thing we talked about, pressure, pressure, pressure,” Robinson said. “We got up in their faces a little bit and were able to take them out of their game. Hopefully that’s an advantage for us the rest of the season.”

Williamsport’s depth also could provide quite an asset moving forward. Seward-Buxton utilized a 10-player rotation and all 10 players produced quality contributions. Sophia Erb, Atiya Jones and Enya Green-Pratt provided a huge first-half lift, combining for 17 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Erb (9 points, 9 rebounds) nearly recorded a double-double and Jones started making life miserable for Montoursville guards, scoring eight points and making three steals.

The reserves helped Williamsport earn the lead and the starters helped seal the win in the fourth quarter. Katelyn Wilson (10 points) set the fourth-quarter tone when she buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key on Williamsport’s first possession. Little grabbed six rebounds and made four steals and Kailee Helmrich added six points and four steals. Emily Pardee epitomized the team’s effort and constantly was diving after loose balls, making three of her four steals in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve been telling the girls from Day 1 that we could be anywhere from 1-12 deep and we played a lot better than we did last weekend,” Seward-Buxton said. “Tonight girls were getting on the floor after the ball and they were looking for each other. Some of them still have to get the confidence and understand that in the system we’re running anyone can score and anyone can contribute on offense, but come back from where we were last weekend is big because there were a lot of question marks.”

Montoursville gave Williamsport a battle and was a few free throws from changing the game’s complexion. MacKenzie Weaver played one of her best scholastic games, attacking the basket well and scoring 15 points while adding seven rebounds. Maddie Adams added 17 points and six rebounds and Mackenzie Cohick made four steals. Those are all encouraging signs for a somewhat experienced, but still young team which features just two seniors.

“I told the girls to battle a 6A school like that and have every opportunity to win the game is a good start,” Montoursville coach Jon Weaver said. “We move on, we forget about it and it’s done. We move on and look forward to Shamokin (Saturday). The girls battled, the attitudes were good and there were a lot of positives to take out of that moving into our league.”

Montoursville started strong as Adams and Weaver hit three early 3-pointers that had it up 11-8 just three minutes into the game. Williamsport switched defenses, however, going with a diamond look and started cooling off the Warriors. Still, Montoursville hung around and Weaver’s last-second assist to Adams had it within 27-26 at halftime.

While Montoursville was cold from the field, the bigger problem was simply putting up shots. Turnovers plagued Montoursville all night and Williamsport turned defense into offense. Still, playing a team that reached last year’s District 2-4 Class 6A championship in the opener and seeing the pressure and quickness that it did could provide Montoursville quite a boost moving forward.

“The intensity was there. For our first game I’m pleased to see the way they went out and battled them like that,” Weaver said. “I think we’ll be fine.”

WILLIAMSPORT (53)

Katelyn Wilson 3 3-5 10, Samiyah Litttle 1 1-3 3, Sophia Erb 3 1-2 9, Emily Pardee 3 0-2 6, Kailee Helmrich 2 2-3 6, Jessica Robinson 2 5-6 9, Enya Green-Pratt 0 2-2 2, Whitney Felix 0 0-0 0, Atiya Jones 4 0-0 8, Sarina Beiter 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 14-23 53.

MONTOURSVILLE (41)

MacKenzie Weaver 4 5-9 15, Maddie Adams 3 9-12 17, Kenna Mensinger 0 1-2 1, Mackenzie Cohick 2 1-5 5, Alaina Marchioni 1 1-2 3, Antone James 0 0-3 0. Totals 10 16-32 41.

Williamsport 17 10 10 16–53

Montoursville 13 13 8 7–41

3-point goals: Williamsport 3 (Erb 2, Wilson); Montoursville 4 (Weaver 2, Adams 2).

Records: Williamsport (1-2), Montoursville (0-1).

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