HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Blairsville girls win tournament opener
Chelsey Koren hit a layup in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter to propel once-beaten Blairsville to a 49-48 win over Delone Catholic in the opening round of the Bishop Guilfoyle Holiday girls’ basketball tournament Friday in Altoona.
The Squires, clinging to a 48-47 lead with roughly five seconds to play, defended the Bobcats’ inbound pass with a full-court press. Blairsville’s Laurel O’Barto found an opening in the press and calmly heaved a long pass to Koren, who drove past a defender and banked in a layup with 2.7 seconds to play to give the Bobcats a 49-48 lead.
Delone Catholic’s Mary Gingrow launched a desperation 3-point field-goal attempt from half court at the buzzer, only to watch her shot rattle in and out of the rim.
The Squires mounted a 10-0 run late in the first half and built a 10-point halftime lead, 26-16. But Koren scored eight of her game-high 19 points in the third quarter to help Blairsville cut Delone Catholic’s lead to five points, 36-31, heading into the fourth.
“They were a lot bigger than us. We just played better team basketball in the second half,” Blairsville coach Ralph McGinnis said. “We just took it one possession at a time and slowly chipped away at that 10-point lead.”
O’Barto nailed three 3s and scored 17 points, and Mikala Misleany grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Both teams play tonight. Blairsville (6-1) faces Bishop Guilfoyle in the championship game at 6 p.m. and Delone Catholic takes on United in the consolation game at 2 p.m.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE 58, UNITED 26: United senior Eden Bloom eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career and posted a double-double, but her milestone night was overshadowed in the Lions’ loss on the opening night of the Bishop Guilfoyle Holiday Tournament in Altoona.
Bloom scored a game-high 20 points to provide the Lions with one of their few bright spots of the night. She also pulled down 10 rebounds to complete her double-double.
Jenna Irvin scored 13 points to lead three Bishop Guilfoyle (5-0) players in double figures. Alyssa McGhee and Annie Dombrowski added 11 points apiece.
United (6-2) plays Delone Catholic in the consolation game this afternoon.
PENNS MANOR 55, DERRY 42: The host Comets tightened up their defense in the fourth quarter to hold off Derry’s charge and reach the championship game of the Penns Manor Holiday Classic.
After Penns Manor took a 32-20 halftime lead, Morgan Roble scored 13 of her team’s 18 points in the third quarter as Derry clawed back to narrow the deficit to four points, 42-38, entering the final quarter.
But over the final eight minutes, Penns Manor’s tandem of Tara Miller and Elaina Somogyi clamped down on Roble, and the Comets made their free throws on the offensive end to pull away.
Sarah DaBella scored 17 points and pulled down 10 boards while also coming up with five steals. Mary Roach added 14 points for the Comets, and Emma Tomayko had 10.
Roble finished with 21 points — none of them in the fourth quarter — to account for half of the Trojans’ scoring.
The Comets (3-5) will take on Windber in tonight’s championship game. Derry plays Propel School in the consolation game.
SALTSBURG 48, LEECHBURG 12: Saltsburg totaled 20 field goals to Leechburg’s three and tied a season-low in points allowed en route to an easy win in the opening round of the Apollo Trust Company Christmas Tournament.
Abby Peace posted a double-double for Saltsburg, with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Abbie Okopal chipped in 12 points, three assists and three steals, Cassidy Edmundson had 13 rebounds, and Olivia Satler tacked on eight boards.
Saltsburg (4-4) takes on Apollo-Ridge in the championship game at 6 p.m. tonight.
CAMBRIA HEIGHTS 64, PURCHASE LINE 51: Cambria Heights built a five-point halftime lead before gradually pulling away from Purchase Line for a win in the championship game of the Cambria Heights Holiday Tournament.
Purchase Line’s Brooke Riva led all scorers with 26 points. Koren McCullough grabbed 11 rebounds, Ashley Goodlin scored 10 points, and Brianna Riva dished out four assists.
Purchase Line (1-8) plays host to Northern Cambria on Friday.
APOLLO-RIDGE 69, WILKINSBURG 5: Apollo-Ridge kept Wilkinsburg scoreless in the first half and coasted past the Tigers in the opening round of the Apollo Trust Company Christmas Tournament in Spring Church.
The host Vikings scored 28 first-quarter points and raced to a 51-0 halftime lead before Wilkinsburg finally got on the board in the third quarter.
Ashley Emminger scored 15 points to lead the way for the Vikings (6-1). Briauna Fairman added 13 points, Megan Bonelli had 12 and Julia DeMeno chipped in 10.
Apollo-Ridge plays Saltsburg in today’s championship game. Like their counterparts on the boys’ team, the Vikings are looking for their second tournament title in the first month of the season.