Blairsville used stingy defense and pinpoint accuracy from the free-throw line to pull away from visiting Westmont-Hilltop and notch its seventh straight win, a 47-37 victory in a non-conference girls’ basketball game Wednesday.
The Bobcats erased a three-point first-quarter deficit and outscored the Hilltoppers, 18-8, in the second quarter to nab a seven-point halftime lead, 27-20. Blairsville’s Nicole Boyer hit a pair of 3-point field goals in the second quarter and scored nine of her 11 points.
Westmont-Hilltop finished the third quarter on a 7-2 run to trim the Bobcats’ lead to four points, 36-32, heading into the fourth quarter.
However, Blairsville made 9 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter and limited the Hilltoppers to just one field goal to seal the win. Blairsville’s Chelsey Koren made 5 of 6 free throws in the fourth quarter, and Boyer and O’Barto each nailed 2 of 2.
“Both teams came out a little rusty from the layoff,” Blairsville coach Ralph McGinnis said. “But once we got the lead we spread them out and forced them to foul. Fortunately for us, we walked up and calmly knocked down all but one of our free throws in the fourth.”
Koren grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds and scored a game-high 16 points. She also limited the Hilltoppers leading scorer, Alyssa Miller, who’s averaging 16 points per game, to just one field goal and five points.
“She needed 19 (points) to get to 1,000 for her career,” McGinnis said of Koren. “She came up three points short but she put the game ahead of her accomplishments.”
O’Barto scored 10 points and notched a game-high seven steals, and Mikala Misleany tallied eight rebounds.
Blairsville (8-1) travels to Ligonier Valley on Friday.
UNITED 48, LIGONIER VALLEY 44: Eden Bloom and Taylor Mack each scored 13 second-half points to propel United to a win in a back-and-forth Heritage Conference game against Ligonier Valley in Armagh.
Bloom and Mack each scored six points in the third quarter and helped the Lions carry a 33-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
Bloom and Mack scored seven points apiece in the fourth quarter, and United outscored the Rams, 15-13, to cement the win.
Bloom grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and scored a game-high 21 points, and Mack had four steals and 17 points.
“They really fed off each other,” United coach Lee Ann Ault said of Bloom and Mack. “I think all of our kids are capable of making a difference but tonight Eden and Taylor just took turns stepping up when they needed to.”
Kylee Surike had five rebounds, four assists and three blocks for United. Morgan Strait added two blocks and three steals.
Madison McLaughlin scored 14 points to pace Ligonier Valley. Helene Bloom notched a game-high 13 rebounds.
United (7-3) travels to Marion Center on Friday. Ligonier Valley plays host to Purchase Line on Wednesday.
HOMER-CENTER 63, PURCHASE LINE 37: Homer-Center raced to a 12-point first-quarter lead and surrendered a season-low in points to thump Purchase Line in a Heritage Conference game at the Homer Dome.
Kristina Albright scored a career-high 17 points to power Homer-Center. Alexis Leysock notched a season-high six steals and posted a double-double, recording 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Julia Buggey scored 16 points and Sydney Horel chipped in 10.
Jaycelyn Fleming scored eight points to lead Purchase Line.
Both teams play at home Friday. Homer-Center (4-5) plays host to Northern Cambria and Purchase Line (1-10) welcomes Harmony.
PENNS MANOR 37, NORTHERN CAMBRIA 33: Penns Manor built a four-point halftime lead and then handcuffed host Northern Cambria to earn a win in a back-and-forth Heritage Conference game.
The Comets’ Sarah DaBella led all scorers with 18 points.
Allison Sedlock scored nine points to lead Northern Cambria.
Both teams play on the road Friday. Penns Manor (4-7) travels to Saltsburg and Northern Cambria (3-6, 1-4) heads to Homer-Center.
MARION CENTER 66, SALTSBURG 36: Marion Center tightened its defensive clamps and turned a tight game into a blowout in the second half to topple host Saltsburg in a Heritage Conference game.
The Stingers padded their four-point halftime lead, 31-27, and outscored the Trojans, 18-4, in the third quarter to take an 18-point lead, 49-31, into the fourth.
Jenny Irvin scored a game-high 17 points to pace Marion Center. Chantel Glasser chipped in 15 points, and Kearsten Brocious had 11.
Ashton Battistelli scored nine points to lead Saltsburg.
Both teams play Friday. Saltsburg (4-6) travels to Penns Manor and Marion Center (9-2) plays host to United.
APOLLO-RIDGE 46, DEER LAKES 37: Once-beaten Apollo-Ridge mounted pivotal runs in the first and third quarters and handcuffed Deer Lakes to notch its third straight win in a WPIAL Section 1-AA game in Spring Church.
The Vikings extended their three-point halftime lead and outscored Deer Lakes, 12-6, in the third quarter to carry a nine-point lead, 36-27, into the fourth.
Julia DeMeno scored a game-high 15 points for Apollo-Ridge. Ashley Emminger chipped in 14 points.
Apollo-Ridge (9-1) travels to Leechburg today.