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Griffins fall in A semis

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Sullivan County’s Ellie Springman grabs a rebound away from Millville’s Olivia Savage (21) during the first half of a District 4 Class A semifinal on Saturday at Montoursville.

Sullivan County guard Sophia Springman battled the flu all week and her District 4 Class A semifinal status appeared doubtful. Millville point guard Alexa Rine held ice on her injured ankle while conducting post-game interviews, but the speedy sophomore played the entire game.

The grit Springman and Rine displayed flowed through their respective teams and set the tone for a fiercely-fought, exciting game at Montoursville. No one was outworked yesterday. Millville simply made one more play.

Rine scored 13 points, made six steals and added five assists as Millville erased a four-point fourth-quarter deficit and edged Sullivan County, 37-34. The Quakers (19-5) earned their first district final berth since 2014 and the Griffins will move on in the consolation bracket, with both guaranteed state tournament berths.

“We knew we had to step up or we weren’t going to win,” Rine said. “We’re moving on and I don’t even know how to describe it. We all stepped up and it’s so exciting.”

“They have worked extremely hard to get to this point so there were a lot of emotions in the locker room,” Millville coach Chad Weatherill said. “They have stepped it up all year.”

So has Sullivan County.

The Griffins and Quakers split the Mid-Penn championship and Sullivan County appeared poised to reach a third final in four years when it turned a five-point halftime deficit into a 30-26 lead after three quarters. The Griffins allowed just four third-quarter points and had five chances to extend the four-point advantage but were unable to capitalize and Millville scored the next five points, going ahead again on Rine’s runner.

Sullivan County freshman Cassidy Skoranski drained a 3-pointer which gave the Griffins a 33-31 advantage, but Olivia Savage quickly countered with her second fourth-quarter 3-pointer, giving the Quakers a lead they never relinquished with 3 minutes, 30 seconds remaining. Sullivan County was unable to connect on another field goal with Sam Albright’s free throw at the 1:28-mark making it 35-34 providing its final points.

“We’ll work on it and we’ll get back in the gym Monday,” Sullivan County coach Kurt Parrish said. “We can’t forget what we were doing to get us back in the lead. We turned the odds into our favor, but we got a little bit lax on defense.”

Rine was a difference-maker all afternoon and she did an outstanding job sucking in the defense to find an open Linsey Fisk for the game’s final basket, giving Millville a 37-34 lead with 55 seconds remaining. Sullivan attempted two game-tying 3-pointers, but both were off the mark as Millville won its 10th straight game.

Rine turned defense into offense, scoring nine first-half points. Blink and one might miss Rine who caused problems on both ends of the court and who carved up Sullivan with some outstanding passes in the final quarter when Millville outscored Sullivan County, 11-4.

“I work with (Jessica) Dodge at the top and we’re quick and we like to work together,” Rine said. “Normally I get the steal and give it to her, but for some reason today I made my layups and that doesn’t happen a lot.”

Millville did an excellent job denying two-time all-state center Jessica King (4 points, 9 rebounds) entry passes. Shots were few and far between for a player averaging a double-double and Millville made other players try and beat it. Sam Albright continued her strong postseason, scoring nine first-quarter points and finishing with 10 and five rebounds. Springman delivered a courageous performance despite sickness and fatigue, finishing with nine points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Albright and Stella Harney hit consecutive 3-pointers in the first-quarter’s final 20 seconds and Springman another to open the second as Sullivan County took a 15-12 lead. Rine, though, scored six straight quick points and Millville held the Griffins to two points over the final seven minutes of the quarter while taking a 22-17 halftime lead.

The Quakers have not lost since losing their first game with Sullivan this season. Whether up or down yesterday, they showed why, making key plays at crucial times.

“They started to believe in themselves. Last year our motto was to believe and this year it’s playing together and we’re doing both,” Weatherill said. “They’re believing in each other and they’re playing together really well.”

Millville 37,

Sullivan County 34

MILLVILLE (37)

Jessica Dodge 2 0-1 4, Olivia Savage 3 0-0 9, Allison Diehl 1 0-2 2, Alexa Rine 6 1-2 14, Linsey Fisk 4 0-1 8, Madison Slater 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 1-6 37.

SULLIVAN (34)

Jessica King 2 0-0 4, Sophia Springman 2 3-4 9, Kassidy Beinlich 1 0-0 2, Sam Albright 4 1-3 10, Stella Harney 1 0-0 3, Cassidy Skoranski 2 0-0 6, Ellie Springman 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 4-8 34.

Millville 12 10 4 11–37

Sullivan 12 5 13 4–34

3-point goals: Millville 4 (Savage 3, Rine 1), Sullivan 6 (Springman 2, Skoranski 2, Albright 1, Harney 1).

Records: Millville (19-5), Sullivan County (19-5).

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