Cassie Gee scores 19 as Loyalsock cruises past Hughesville in girls basketball
Cassie Gee knows what the scouting report says. The Loyalsock guard is a well-rounded player, but she understands most see her as a shooter.
Teams will do all they can to limit Gee’s outside looks, so the senior is speeding everything up. And the results remain the same.
Gee worked throughout the offseason to become more dangerous and she was outstanding Wednesday against visiting Hughesville, draining five 3-pointers and scoring a game-high 19 points as Loyalsock won, 57-22. Gee missed just two long-range shots and helped Loyalsock (2-0, 2-0 HAC-II) break the game open with four 3-pointers bridging the late second and early third quarters.
“Cassie let it fly. She has been somebody who for three years that teams knew could shoot, but she was more of a set shooter,” Loyalsock coach Curtis Jacobson said. “(Wednesday) she was shooting off screens and was catching and shooting with no hesitation. There was no thinking about it. She knows there might not be a lot of time to shoot the ball so she’s doing what she needs to do and making the most of her opportunities.”
Gee’s performance highlighted an excellent all-around team effort. The Lancers won their opener by 24 points, but were disappointed with their collective performance. They left the court more excited Wednesday after playing well in all facets and receiving strong contributions from both starters and reserves.
Loyalsock moved the ball well, played stifling defense and consistently worked for quality shots. All-state guard Summer McNulty scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds and dealt three assists. Hughesville (1-1, 0-1) was focused on slowing Gee and McNulty, but Mia Patterson (10 points) started strong, keyed a 17-7 first-quarter run and loosened up the defense.
The Lancers worked the ball inside and outside, consistently found the open player when double teams came and hit nine 3-pointers. Allyia Kennedy grabbed eight rebounds, Sophia Gardner added three assists and Loyalsock built a 30-12 halftime lead.
“It’s something to build on. We got some confidence,” Jacobson said. “People were a little happier tonight and when you’re happy you’re confident. We weren’t down Monday, but at the same time we knew that wasn’t us. There was a different feel than we had the first game. The nerves were gone and they came ready to play.”
That included playing swarming defense. Hughesville was competing without starting point guard Lauren Henry and that made going against a tenacious opponent even more imposing. Alex Snyder and Olivia Strother are two of the area’s premier post players, but Loyalsock did a good job denying each entry passes.
When Hughesville did work the ball down low, the help-side defense rotated quick and prevented Snyder and Strother from getting many shots. Freshman guard Breanna Bobak scored five first-quarter points, but the Loyalsock defense slowed down all Spartan facets from there and surrendered just 15 points over the final three quarters.
“They’re extremely physical and not afraid to go through you so we wanted to battle inside and play defense without fouling and force them to put up tough shots,” Jacobson said. “Snyder did make a couple tough shots with hands in her face but you just tip your cap when that happens. You’re not going to stop them every possession, you want to make them work every possession.”
Natayah Abdul-Hakim is working her way into Loyalsock’s rotation and looking like someone who could become a weapon as she settles in. The sophomore played at Williamsport last year and is learning on the fly, but has scored 13 points off the bench in her first two games with the Lancers and drained two 3-pointers Wednesday.
Abdul-Hakim and Jocelyn Cruz were part of a reliable reserves group and hit three 3-pointers off the bench. Abdul-Hakim also made an excellent fourth-quarter play when she drew two defenders in the lane and fed a cutting Patterson for the layup.
“Shes’ playing half of JV game to get comfortable. She’s still a young player and any time you’re at a new school there’s an adjustment period, but she’s very aggressive.” Jacobson said. “She’s kind of like a Sophia and has a little spark to her. She plays hard and flies around and is not afraid to throw her body around. Coming off bench that is important.”
Alex Snyder 3 1-2 7, Olivia Strother 1 1-2 3, Breanna Bobak 3 0-0 7, Maria Duff 0 0-0 0, Grace Pysher 1 1-2 3, Lucy Myers 1 0-0 2. Totals 9 3-6 22.
Summer McNulty 3 4-4 11, Cassie Gee 7 0-0 19, Allyia Kennedy 2 0-0 4, Mia Patterson 5 0-0 10, Sophia Gardner 0 2-2 2, Jocelyn Cruz 1 0-0 3, Natayah Abdul-Hakim 2 0-0 6, Grace Baylor 1 0-2 2, Rhandie Jessell 0 0-0 0, Rylie French 0 0-0 0, Ashlee Andrews 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 6-8 57.
Hughesville 7 5 2 8-22
Loyalsock 17 13 12 15-57
3-point goals: Hughesville 1 (Bobak); Loyalsock 9 (Gee 5, Abdul-Hakim 2, McNulty, Cruz).
JV score: Loyalsock 42-17.
Records: Loyalsock (2-0, 1-0 HAC-II), Hughesville (1-1, 0-1).