HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Blairsville girls win Bishop Guilfoyle tournament
ALTOONA — Ralph McGinnis remembers last season well. The Blairsville girls’ basketball team rolled through an undefeated regular season, captured the District 6 title and qualified for the PIAA playoffs.
But rarely were the Bobcats challenged last season, posting one lopsided win after another, and it came back to bite them in the playoffs.
McGinnis wants to make sure that didn’t happen again this year, so he’s bolstered the Bobcats’ schedule with some big-time games against ramped-up competition, like the Bishop Guilfoyle Holiday Tournament they were in this weekend.
Blairsville handled the hosts’ best shot and prevailed for a 56-54 win over Bishop Guilfoyle in the championship game of the tournament Saturday.
“We wanted to get our schedule a little bit more competitive than last year,” McGinnis said, “and having Delone Catholic (on Friday) and BG today, those kinds of teams can only help us. Especially BG, that’s a tough place to win a game. I think it built some character for us.”
Chelsey Koren led the way for the Bobcats with 22 points and she was named the tournament MVP. Nicole Boyer added 15 points, Laurel O’Barto scored 12, and both were named to the all-tournament team.
O’Barto made a basket with about 25 seconds left to give Blairsville a five-point lead, 56-51. On Bishop Guilfoyle’s next possession, the Bobcats forced the Marauders to waste most of the clock, and by the time the hosts hit a 3-pointer to make it 56-54, it was too late to matter.
“We were down by 10 at halftime again,” McGinnis said, referring to Friday’s game, when the Bobcats climed out of a 10-point hole to beat Delone Catholic. “We just wanted to make the best of each possession in the second half and try to chip away at the lead.
“The whole second half was great team play on both sides of the court. And Laurel O’Barto struggled early on, but she really took control of the offense and made great decisions in the second half.”
Blairsville allowed a 22-point first quarter and faced a 36-26 halftime deficit, but the Bobcats clamped down on defense and limited the Marauders to 18 total points in the second half.
Macy Adams scored 16 points to lead Bishop Guilfoyle, and Annie Dombrowski added 15 points.
Blairsville (7-1) plays host to Homer-Center on Friday.