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Ironmen rally to top Sock girls

SUNBURY – Loyalsock did not allow a second-quarter point against District 4 Class AAAA championship favorite Danville.

But then the Ironmen scored 18 third-quarter points, changing the game’s complexion, building a lead they never relinquished and capturing a record fourth Heartland Conference Tournament championship.

Linae Williams scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Danville scored 33 second-half points and it turned an eight-point third-quarter deficit into a 46-38 HAC championship win over Loyalsock on Friday at the Shikellamy Field House.

Obviously, the loss bothered Loyalsock. But the inconsistency might have bothered it even more.

“That second quarter we were relentless. It was probably the best defense in a quarter we played this year and then the third quarter might have been one of the worst,” Loyalsock coach Curtis Jacobson said. “It’s a consistent thing with this group that we have not been able to be consistent on both ends. I don’t have the answers to that. I wish I did. If I did I could figure it out, but we’ll see what happens.”

Loyalsock (21-3) seemed to have things figured out after a sluggish start, outscoring Danville, 10-0 in the second quarter and building a six-point advantage. Summer McNulty scored 21 points and her steal and layup put Loyalsock up, 21-13 early in the third quarter. A Williams steal and layup followed 45 seconds later, ending an 8-minute, 8-second scoring drought and just like that, Danville was off and running.

The Ironmen (21-3) took a lead they never relinquished late in the third quarter while avenging a January loss to Loyalsock. As the Danville offense heated up, Loyalsock’s shut down. The Lancers made 4 of 6 third-quarter shots but turned the ball over nine times and Danville often turned those turnovers into points.

“Danville plays such good defense that you’re not going to get a lot of shots to begin with so when you’re not shooting many shots because you’re turning the ball over, now you’re forcing yourself to hit almost every shot and we’re not good enough to do that,” Jacobson said. “Those are things that are very disappointing and frustrating, but they’re all controllable things, they’re all fixable things. We just have to fix them.”

Players like Allyia Kennedy (8 rebounds), Mia Patterson (5 steals) and Anna Burdett did a sensational slowing Danville center Corinna Petrus, holding her seven points below her season average of 16. But Williams was the difference-maker, scoring eight third-quarter points, making four steals and consistently frustrating Loyalsock. Olivia Outt added six steals and Emily Heath scored 10 points.

McNulty was outstanding and scored off a putback and post-up move on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions as Loyalsock cut the deficit to 42-38 with two minutes remaining. Petrus and Heath, however, drained four straight foul shots on the ensuing Ironmen possessions as Danville started celebrating a hard-earned championship.

McNulty scored 21 points and Cassie Gee had eight in the first half, but no other Lancer scored more than four as the balance evident in the semifinal win against Central Columbia disappeared.

There is nothing Loyalsock can do to change the game’s outcome, but it can bounce back and try doing exactly what the 2019 Lancers did following a similar situation. That team suffered an overtime HAC semifinal loss after leading in the fourth quarter, but regrouped and captured the program’s first district title since 2010 before reaching the state tournament’s second round.

It may be a painful learning experience, but if Loyalsock comes out stronger from it then it could turn this negative into a positive.

“We talked about how our most disappointing moment last year was right there in this locker room and we had a lot of questions after the game. We had a group that was mentally tough last year that was able to turn the page and move on,” Jacobson said. “We can learn a lot from this, but we need to learn from this. It can’t be we’re just going to forget about it and it’s not going to happen again because if it happens again you’re season is over. You have to earn your way now and you have to have yourself ready to go every night.”

Danville 46, Loyalsock 38

(HAC TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP)

DANVILLE (46)

Corinna Petrus 2 5-6 9, Linae Williams 8 0-0 17, Olivia Outt 2 0-0 5, Kylee Cush 1 3-6 5, Emily Heath 4 2-4 10. Totals 16 10-16 46.

LOYALSOCK (38)

Summer McNulty 8 4-6 21, Cassie Gee 3 0-0 8, Mia Patterson 2 0-0 4, Allyia Kennedy 1 0-0 2, Sophia Gardner 1 1-2 3, Anna Burdett 0 0-0 0, Madison Jean 0 0-0 0, Karyn Saar 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 5-8 38.

Danville 13 0 18 15 — 46

Loyalsock 9 10 9 10 – 38

3-point goals: Danville 2 (Williams 1, Outt 1), Loyalsock 3 (Gee 2, McNulty 1).

Records: Danville (21-3), Loyalsock (21-3).

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