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Foul shooting propels Muncy past Warriors

Win and boost your chances of clinching a home playoff game, lose and Muncy would have certainly been on the road for the playoffs. That was what Indians head coach Ed Rogers told his girls before Tuesday’s season finale at Montoursville.

With the added motivation, the Indians took control of a tight game down the stretch with clutch free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter to beat the Warriors, 39-31.

Montoursville came out looking to execute on defense with Antone James locking down Muncy 6-foot, 1-inch center Bell Hitesman. James contained Hitesman for the first half, playing side-by-side and disrupting the timing of passes to the inside. It created a panic in Muncy’s players to find other scoring opportunities. And it allowed Montoursville’s defense to shine with Alaina Marchioni, Mackenzie Cohick and Maddie Adams trapping the Indians and getting to the ball every chance they could get.

“Defensively, I thought we played very well,” Montoursville coach Jon Weaver said. “I couldn’t ask them to play defense any better (Tuesday).”

Arianna Copeland provided the offensive spark Muncy needed with Hitesman being shadowed. Copeland hit her first 3-pointer to tie the game and hit a layup on an assist from Avery Bigelow which gave the Indians their first lead.

She always seemed to find the right time to make a shot and stop a Montoursville run on her way to a team-high 11 points. In the second quarter she hit a jumper to tie the game at 15-15 after an 8-2 Montoursville run, and closed the half with two free throws for a 17-15 lead.

With all the attention on defense, and Hitesman patrolling the paint when Montoursville had the ball, it forced the Warriors to play on the perimeter, which is where they like to play. But missed shots lead to easy rebounds for a Muncy team crowding the paint and waiting for the ball.

“There’s no excuse to shoot the ball the way we did and expect to win a ball game, “ Weaver said. “We couldn’t get a bucket and that was the biggest difference in the game.”

Montoursville found ways to keep Muncy within five points for much of the second half until Cohick tied the game at 29 with a layup at 5:19. Muncy responded in the final five minutes as Hitesman was fouled on a rebound which sent her to the line with Montoursville picking up its eighth team foul and giving the Indians a 30-29 lead. Aleaha Bigelow was fouled two possessions later and made both attempts before Avery Bigelow did the same to give the Indians a 36-31 lead with two minutes remaining.

Muncy hit 9 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

“It was a physical game and everyone stepped up to the line and made their foul shots. That was the difference,” Muncy coach Ed Rogers said. “That’s been this team all year, their will to win, and making big plays one after another.”

With the win, Muncy set itself up for a chance to host a playoff game, something that brought a smile to Hitesman’s face.

“We are excited for the playoffs, we are ready to get out there and play,” Hitesman said.

“I am very happy the girls went out and totally earned the victory.” Rogers said.

Muncy 39,

Montoursville 31

MUNCY (39)

Avery Bigelow 2 3-7 7; Mia Edkin 1 0-0 2; Avery Copeland 4 2-2 11; Aleaha Bigelow 3 5-9 11; Bell Hitesman 1 5-7 7; Brandi Hitesman 0 1-2 1. Totals 11 16-27 39.

MONTOURSVILLE (31)

Shyanne Klemick 2 1-3 5; MacKenzie Weaver 2 2-2 7; Mackenzie Cohick 2 0-0 4; Madalyn Adams 4 5-6 15. Totals 10 8-11 31.

Muncy 9 8 8 14 — 39

Montoursville 7 10 5 9 — 31

3-point goals: Muncy 1 (Copeland), Montoursville 3 (Adams 2, Weaver).

JV: Montorusville, 37-14.

Records: Muncy (14-7), Montoursville (4-16).

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