It’s rare to catch the Penns Manor Comets coming off a loss.
After Tuesday night, no one probably wants to be the next team in line.
Penns Manor, coming off its first loss of the season, rebounded in a big way, throttling Homer-Center, 73-28, in a Heritage Conference girls’ basketball game at home.
The 14-1 Comets, 56-47 losers to twice-beaten United on Friday, raced to a 10-point lead against Homer-Center (10-4) and then turned on the high heat during a 20-4 second quarter. After holding the Wildcats to 15 points in the first half, Penns Manor yielded only 13 in the second.
The Comets made a season-high 10 3-point field goal spread among six players.
“They faced some adversity,” Penns Manor coach Jason Miloser said, “and it was their choice to either stick together and battle or feel sorry for themselves. They’re tough girls and they did an awesome job believing in one another and coming out and playing a really good game. Homer-Center is a very good team, but we just came out and locked down defensively. That was a big focus for us, and were we able to get out in transition and find the open girl on the offensive end.”
Miloser knew his team was raring to go.
“We came in Saturday and had a really good practice,” he said, “and they were just hungry for another game, another opportunity to play. We had a couple really good days of practice, and before the game I walked into the locker room to go over things and they said, ‘Coach, let’s go. We’re ready.’ They were excited to play, and I’ve got to give them credit. I saw the senior leadership step up and be the leaders they need to be. I just can’t say enough about their focus and intensity to start the game.”
Homer-Center scored 11 points in the first quarter.
“Early on we gave up some second-chance points,” Miloser said, “so we called a timeout and said to focus on the rebounding aspect. After that Alycia Zayachak did a tremendous job on the boards, and then everyone was battling inside for rebounds.”
Three Comets scored in double figures. Lauren Bagley led the way with 18 points and Lauren Dumm and Megan Dumm scored 13 apiece. Zayachak grabbed 16 rebounds to go with nine points.
No one reached double figures for Homer-Center. Marlee Kochman scored eight points.
Homer-Center (7-2 conference) plays host to Marion Center on Thursday. Penns Manor, the North leader at 8-1, travels to Saltsburg on Thursday.
UNITED 70, MARION CENTER 47: United built on its win over previously unbeaten Penns Manor by rolling over Marion Center in a Heritage Conference road game.
Leading by four, 19-15, after the first quarter, the Lions broke the game open while outscoring Marion Center 20-10 in the second quarter and 22-7 in the third.
Maizee Fry led United with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Madison Duplin scored 12 points and handed out nine assists. Jordyn Travis chipped in nine points.
Laura Susick, a senior forward, drew praise from coach Paul Hall after putting up 14 points and six assists.
“She’s a heck of a defender,” he said, “and tonight she scored some points and had some assists, so that was nice to see for her. She’s a real hard worker.”
Laney Monroe led Marion Center with 19 points. Jocilyn Thompson and Alexa Ackerman combined for 17.
United (13-2, 9-0) plays at West Shamokin on Thursday in a key interdivision game. Marion Center (4-10, 2-6) visits Homer-Center on Thursday.
PURCHASE LINE 54, SALTSBURG 49: Purchase Line used a 15-2 advantage in the second quarter to create some distance from Saltsburg and held off the Trojans in a Heritage Conference road game.
Purchase Line took a 23-13 advantage into halftime and held an 12-point lead at 39-27 going into the fourth quarter. Saltsburg outscored the Red Dragons 22-15 in the final period but could only make a small dent in the deficit.
“We had a strong second-half effort to make it a close game,” Saltsburg coach Tiara Stossel said, “but we couldn’t recover from the hole we dug in the second quarter. If we put together a complete game, we would be hard to beat.”
Madison Scalese fired in 14 of her game- and season-high 21 points in the second half to lead Purchase Line. She converted all six of her free throws. Bethany Smith scored 10 points and raked in 12 rebounds. Addaleia Beer added nine points, and Abby Goss grabbed 10 rebounds.
Makenzie Simpson scored 17 and Courtney Battistelli had 12 for Saltsburg. Maddison Guthrie and Eden Plowman combined for 15 points.
Both teams play home games Thursday, Purchase Line (8-6, 4-4) against Blairsville and Saltsburg (7-7, 3-5) against Penns Manor.
WEST SHAMOKIN 62, LIGONIER VALLEY 25: West Shamokin jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter, built on it in every period and cruised past Ligonier Valley in a Heritage Conference road game.
The Wolves featured balanced scoring, with Sophie Fusaro leading the way with 15 points. Lydia McIlwain and Lexie Young scored nine apiece, and Shelby Cessna and Abby Oesterling scored eight apiece.
Young led the rebounding with eight boards, and Oesterling and McIlwain had six apiece. Oesterling also had five steals, and Shelby Cessna handed out four assists.
Haley Boyd led Ligonier Valley with eight points. Katie Lawson had six rebounds, and Maddie Griffin had five.
West Shamokin (9-5, 6-2) plays host to United in a key interdivision game Thursday. Ligonier Valley (1-11) visits Northern Cambria on Thursday.
INDIANA 45, ARMSTRONG 42: Eve Fiala scored twice late to give Indiana the lead and provide a cushion in a victory over Armstrong in WPIAL interclass game at home.
Indiana, in Class 4A Section 1, improved to 10-5, and Armstrong, in Class 5A Section 2, fell to 8-4.
The Indians held a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but Armstrong staged a rally and grabbed a two-point lead. Indiana eventually regained the edge when Fiala took a lob pass from Mia Ciocca on an inbounds play from the sideline. Fiala scored again after a steal to set the final.
Fiala, a 6-foot-3 freshman, finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds and six blocked shots. Hope Cook chipped in 14 points.
Shaelyn Clark led Armstrong with 13 points.
Indiana, 4-3 in section play, begins play host to North Catholic on Thursday.
ARMSTRONG 44, INDIANA 42, OT: Chase Walker hit two free throws with under a minute to play to force overtime, but the Indians couldn’t overtake Armstrong in the extra period in a WPIAL non-section game.
Indiana (3-10) led 24-15 at halftime. The teams reversed roles in the second half, and Armstrong outscored Indiana 23-14.
In overtime, Armstrong (2-9) outscored Indiana 6-4. The Riverhawks grabbed the lead before Walker made a free throw and Simon Bianco hit a 3-point field goal to make it 44-42.
Walker (17 points) and Armstrong’s Gavin Szymanski (10) were the only players to score in double figures.
Indiana plays host to Mars on Friday.
APOLLO-RIDGE 63, PROPEL BRADDOCK HILLS 52: Klay Fitzroy and Jake Fello took turns putting their team on their back in a WPIAL Class 2A Section 1 game.
Fitzroy, a 6-foot-4 junior, scored all but four of his game-high 27 points in the second and third quarters, and Fello, a 6-1 junior, scored all but five of his 25 points in the first and fourth quarters.
The two went about it in different ways. Fitzroy worked inside for nine field goals and finished 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Fello buried seven 3-pointers, with four coming in the first quarter, one in the third and two more in the fourth.
They accounted for all but 11 Apollo-Ridge points, and only two other players scored for the Vikings.
Apollo-Ridge trailed 18-14 after the first quarter, held a 32-31 lead at halftime and outscored the Lions 20-5 in the third quarter to take control.
Propel Braddock Hills fell to 2-10 overall and 0-7 in the section.
Apollo-Ridge improved to 10-4 overall and 5-2 in the section. The Vikings play host to second-place Sto-Rox on Friday.