Note: This article originally appeared in the Mirror on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 1991.
By Michael V. Emery
Mirror Sports Staff
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Taking her first career 3-point shot with two seconds remaining in overtime Tuesday, Missy Rizzo’s rainbow carried with it the outcome of an incredibly-intense, incredibly-played basketball game — the second such overtime game this season between local rivals Bishop Guilfoyle and Hollidaysburg.
All that was at stake for Hollidaysburg was its undefeated season, sole possession of first place in the Mid-Alleghenies Conference and the Lady Tigers’ No. 7 ranking in the latest USA Today high school girls’ basketball poll.
All that was at stake for Guilfoyle was avenging its earlier loss to Hollidaysburg, when the Lady Tigers snatched victory from almost-sure defeat in overtime.
Here again it seemed Hollidaysburg had miraculously escaped defeat, after defeat was all but assured with just 45 seconds remaining in regulation.
Continuing its comeback in overtime, Hollidaysburg hung to a two-point lead when Rizzo released her shot from the top of the key. The ball arched high and hung for an eternity in view of the packed house at Hollidaysburg Junior High School, before all-too-suddenly for Hollidaysburg it slipped over the front lip of the basket and swished through the net.
Rizzo’s rainbow brought Guilfoyle a golden 56-55 victory and, heartbreakingly for Hollidaysburg, dashed the Lady Tigers’ hopes for an undefeated season.
Hollidaysburg’s record dropped to 18-1 overall and 6-1 in the conference. The Lady Tigers and Altoona are now tied for first place in the Mid-Alleghenies Conference.
Guilfoyle improved its record to 13-4 overall and 4-2 in the MAC.
‘‘This may have been the most pleasurable game that I’ve ever been a part of,’’ said Guilfoyle’s coach of 10 years, John Frederick, who includes among his 200-plus victories a state championship win in 1984.
‘‘Bishop Guilfoyle played an outstanding game and they deserved the win,’’ Hollidaysburg coach Joe Hurd said. ‘‘They took the basketball game to us for all but the final minute of regulation. They had every opportunity to deflate when they blew the lead and the game went into overtime, but they didn’t. They show a tremendous amount of character.’’
A throng of Guilfoyle fans flooded the court when the buzzer sounded and the center of attention was Rizzo, the 5-foot-11 senior center.
‘‘I can’t believe it,’’ Rizzo said. ‘‘When I shot I thought we needed a 3-point shot to tie. Everything was so hectic, I had no idea we won when the shot went in. I thought it was tied. I still can’t believe it.’’
While Rizzo isn’t normally a 3-point threat, Frederick said she’s always had a nice shooting touch.
‘‘Missy is a good mid-range shooter,’’ Frederick said. ‘‘Certainly a 3-point shot is normally out of her range, but she squared up to the basket, followed through nicely and calmly made it. It may have been surprising to some people, including to me to a certain degree, but I wouldn’t say it was a total fluke.’’
Rizzo’s 3 made for a magnificent finale, but not to be overlooked was the drive of both teams throughout the game and particularly in the clutch.
Hollidaysburg showed tremendous character and heart just to send the game into overtime, after trailing by five points with :45 left.
Hollidaysburg looked like a team of destiny during its furious finish. On the Lady Tigers’ third 3-point shot during one possession, Krissy Heinbaugh converted to cut the deficit to 49-47 with :25 left. The Lady Tigers were down 51-47 after Guilfoyle’s Maureen Andrews made two foul shots with :21 to go. Hollidaysburg’s Pam Webber stole an inbounds pass and was fouled with :10 showing and made two free throws to again cut Guilfoyle’s lead to two points (51-49). Guilfoyle’s Cindy Porta was then fouled and went to the foul line for a 1-and-1 with :09 to go. She missed the front end, Heinbaugh rebounded, fired the outlet pass to Webber at halfcourt and Webber took the ball down the left side of the lane and scored the game-tying basket in traffic with :03 left.
‘‘I thought when the game went into overtime we had them,’’ Hurd said. ‘‘They had every reason to be demoralized, but instead they rose to the occasion.’’
‘‘I told the kids at the beginning of overtime that their will to win had to be greater than Hollidaysburg’s and that would take a lot because Hollidaysburg’s will to win was tremendous,’’ Frederick said.
Afterward, Guilfoyle basked in victory, while Hollidaysburg had the unusual experience of dealing with defeat.
‘‘The atmosphere in the locker was subdued,’’ Hurd said. ‘‘This is a group that doesn’t get too overly emotional with a win and I don’t expect them to with a loss, either. They handle themselves well and I’m confident they can keep things in perspective.’’
GAME NOTES: Andrews led Guilfoyle with 12 points, Rizzo had 11 and Amy Bumann had 10 ... Webber led Hollidaysburg with 25 points, 19 in the second half, and Heinbaugh added 16 ... Hollidaysburg beat Guilfoyle 63-58 in overtime on Jan. 12 ... The win marked Guilfoyle’s fifth victory over a nationally-ranked team since 1984 ... BG won the jayvee game, 41-20.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (56): Myers 2 4-9 8, Andrews 4 4-6 12, Showalter 4 0-0 9, Bumann 3 3-5 10, Porta 3 0-1 6, Rizzo 5 0-1 11, Adams 0 0-0 0, Consiglio 0 0-0 0. Totals — 21 11-22 56.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (55): Heinbaugh 4 6-9 16, Webber 7 9-12 25, Potter 1 0-0 2, Carper 4 0-0 9, McCoy 0 1-4 1, Palmer 0 0-0 0, Dorezas 0 1-2 1, Kazinski 0 1-3 1, Wyant 0 0-0 0. Totals — 16 18-30 55.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Guilfoyle 13 7 17 14 5 — 56
Hollidaysburg 13 10 12 16 4 — 55
3-point goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 3 (Rizzo, Bumann, Showalter); Hollidaysburg 5 (Heinbaugh 2, Webber 2, Carper).
Officials: Garry Dixson, Dwight Brocious.