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Seals beat the Wildcats in girls basketball

MILL HALL — Central Mountain led by as many as 12 in the game and controlled a seven-point lead midway through the fourth quarter. But despite the team’s consistent edge on the scoreboard, the Wildcats were never really in control of the game’s narrative.

Central Mountain suffered from poor rebounding and turnovers all night and the miscues added up. In the fourth quarter, Central Mountain was outscored by 11 to suffer a 39-37 loss to Selinsgrove on Wednesday.

The loss dipped Central Mountain’s record to 5-8 as the Wildcats have lost five of their previous six games after beginning the season 4-2.

“One of the things we’ve been talking about all year long is being mentally weak and maturing from a mental standpoint in terms of mental weakness versus mental toughness, and it creeped back in tonight,” Central Mountain coach Scott Baker said. “As soon as Selinsgrove made a run there was a ‘me’ kind of attitude and it ended up getting to us.

“Selinsgrove won because we didn’t. I don’t know if they played very well, but we lost because we deserved to lose.”

Selinsgrove’s awful first-half shooting boosted Central Mountain’s early lead, but the Wildcats had moments where they were effective from the field. Quinlynn McCann drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer in the first as Central Mountain closed the period with a a 7-0 run to go up 13-7. Another 8-0 run in the third extended Central Mountain’s lead 30-18 before the Wildcats’ demise in the fourth. It was directly related to their undisciplined-ball security.

“We have guards that are in their second full year of varsity play and they didn’t handle the pressure,” Baker said. “Selinsgrove pressured us a little bit and we panicked and started throwing the ball over the gym. It was nothing amazing that Selinsgrove was doing, they just turned their defensive pressure up a little bit and we did a horrible job of handling it.”

On the opposite end, Selinsgrove began out-muscling Central Mountain in the paint as the Seals opted for high-percentage shots under the basket to expedite its comeback. Selinsgrove’s 6-0 run in the fourth cut Central Mountain’s lead to 32-27 in the fourth.

That lead ultimately evaporated when Lexy Gabrielson knocked down a mid-range jumper to send the Seals ahead, 35-34, with 1:35 left in the game.

The Seals stretched their lead to 37-34 before Avery Baker’s late-game heroics ignited Central Mountain’s bench and fans. Baker knocked down a 3-pointer, her second of the evening, to even the game at 37-all with 55 seconds remaining.

After Selingrove was called for a a travel, the game-altering play occurred and it’s one Central Mountain will want to forget quickly. The Wildcats turned the ball over on the in-bounds pass and the turnaround layup by the Seals regained the lead for Selinsgrove, 39-37 with 19 seconds left on the clock

“That’s just a lack of handling the ball, a lack of focus and a lack of intensity on handling the ball,” Baker explained. “You got to handle the ball better. Guard-play is just really critical, and (tonight) it just wasn’t good.”

Central Mountain failed to convert its final shot attempt as the Wildcats coughed up the game in the fourth, 39-37.

“We were terrible,” Baker said. “I don’t like pulling any punches. We were terrible, we didn’t deserve to win and that’s why we didn’t win.”

Quinlynn McCann scored a game-high 15 points and Avery Baker and Kiahna Jones each notched another eight. McCann and Baker both had a game-high two-three pointers while Jones had a game-high four blocks.

Central Mountain (5-8) returns Friday with a home contest versus Mifflinburg. Central Mountain lost a 45-37 road game to Mifflinburg back on Dec. 20

Selinsgrove 39,

Central Mountain 37

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN (37)

Quinlynn McCann 5 1-4 15, Avery Baker 3 0-0 8, Kiahna Jones 4 0-0 8, Mia Kopysciansky 1 2-2 4, Faith Carter 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 3-6 37.

SELINSGROVE (39)

Avery Defazio 7 0-6 14, Cierra Adams 4 4-5 12, Lizzy Diehl 1 3-4 5, Emma Atwood 1 0-0 2, Lexy Gabrielson 3 0-0 6. Totals 16 7-15 39.

Selinsgrove 7 4 10 18 — 39

Central Mountain 13 7 10 7 — 37

3-point goals: CM 4 (Baker 2, McCann 2).

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