HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Rams edge Raiders after layoff
EBENSBURG — Following a nine-day layoff, Ligonier Valley girls’ basketball coach Valerie Ray was right to be concerned.
Playing for the first time since Feb. 15, the Rams never quite got going offensively, but they did enough on defense to eke out a 30-27 win over Bellefonte in the District 6 Class AAA quarterfinals at Central Cambria High School on Monday.
Ligonier Valley started the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to take its biggest lead of the game, 27-20, and from there, the Rams hung on down the stretch for a less-than-impressive win, but first-year coach Ray knows style points don’t matter.
“It was an ugly one, but the score came out in our favor,” Ray said with a laughter. “We were trying to slow it down in the fourth quarter, but we had a few turnovers and let them come back on us.
“We hadn’t played since the 15th. We’ve had a tough winter, and I know everybody has, but we’ve had a few stretches where we didn’t play for a week or more. It’s easier to play when you’re consistently playing on a regular schedule. But I felt confident that, since we’ve played with this kind of scenario, that it wouldn’t bother us, but it did.”
Ligonier Valley mustered just four points in the opening quarter and trailed 10-4 after the opening eight minutes. But the Rams only yielded 17 points the rest of the way, slowly climbing back into the game with defense.
Bellefonte led 16-12 at the half before Ligonier Valley took a 21-20 lead into the fourth quarter.
Taylor Rudnik scored nine points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead the Rams, and Madison McLaughlin chipped in seven points. Olivia Miller added seven rebounds.
“It was an ugly start there,” Ray said, “but we were finally able to start scoring, and we made some changes defensively. They gave us a tough time with rebounding. … It wasn’t an easy one.”
Lexi Wetzler led Bellefonte (12-10) with seven points.
Ligonier Valley (13-10) will face top seed Huntingdon at Central Cambria High School on Wednesday at 8 p.m.