By Matt Adamiak
For the Mirror
HOLLIDAYSBURG - After shootaround Saturday morning Hollidaysburg High School girls basketball coach Deanna Jubeck stressed to her players the significance of coming out strong and coming out with intensity against its opponent Saturday afternoon - the Mercyhurst Prep Lakers.
The Lady Tigers did just that, allowing just two first-quarter points and rolling over the Lakers, 58-32, at the Hollidaysburg High School gymnasium.
"We talked about the importance of it," Jubeck said. "We thought if they brought it today, we'd have a good start. And we did that."
The Hollidaysburg defense set the tone right from the get-go, forcing nine turnovers and allowed just one Laker bucket.
Hollidaysburg did not shoot many free throws all game, attempting just eight, but they made seven of those attempts. The Lady Tigers made all six of their attempts in the first 3:30 of the frame, with senior Morgan Griffith making four of them, and fellow senior Hannah Mercer making a pair.
Hollidaysburg did not allow a Lakers score until there was only 2:45 remaining in the quarter, when Maddie Steiner made a jumper.
Courteney Storm began the second by making layups in back-to-back possessions, with the second giving the Lady Tigers a 16-2 advantage. Following Erika Woll's pair of free throws, the Lady Tigers went on a 10-2 run over the next 3:30, with Michele Muir scoring the last three from long distance. That run allowed Hollidaysburg to take a 26-8 lead into the locker room.
Mercyhurst Prep had by far its best quarter in the third quarter, with the Lady Tigers outscoring the Lakers by only two points (13-11).
The Lakers forced the Lady Tigers to committ five turnovers. With less than three minutes left in the quarter, Susie Ellis made the first of two second-half treys, extending the Lady Tigers' lead to 23-points. But the Lakers scored seven of the final 11 points and made it a 37-19 lead through three quarters.
The fourth quarter began with the Lady Tigers outscoring the Lakers 8-3, and by this point, the Lady Tigers held a 25-point lead. The Lakers battled to the bitter end, though, but obviously the deficit was too much of one to overcome.
"I thought Hollidaysburg came out and got up on us early," Lakers coach Dan Perfetto said. "They put us in a hole early, and it was too big to overcome."
Jubeck was happy that her team had a pretty balanced scoring effort, with seven players scoring points, and four of them reaching double digits. Ellis led the way with 13, with Storm and Griffith both scoring 12 and Mercer chipping in with 10.
"I haven't looked at the final stats yet, but everytime I checked during the game, we had a balanced scoring line," Jubeck said. "That's what we look for."
Hollidaysburg still has just the two losses, compared to 19 victories. Jubeck's crew hosts Central Wednesday.
Mercyhurst Prep, which fell to 12-7 on the campaign, is back in action Monday against Fort LeBoeuf.
MERCYHURST PREP (32): Popoff 3 0-0 7, Wright 1 4-4 6, Chrzanowski 1 0-0 2, Robbins 4 0-1 9, Woll 1 4-5 6, Steiner 1 0-0 2, Shopene 0 0-0 0. Totals - 11 8-10 32.
HOLLIDAYSBURG(58): Griffith 4 4-4 12, Mercer 4 2-3 10, S. Ellis 5 1-1 13, Muir 2 0-0 5, Storm 6 0-0 12, Hurliman 0 0-0 0, Tomassetti 0 0-0 0, Servello 1 0-0 2, Jennings 2 0-0 4. Totals - 24 7-8 68.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mercyhurst Prep2 6 11 13 - 32
Hollidaysburg12 14 13 19 - 58
3-point field goals: Mercyhurst Prep 2 (Popoff, Robbins). Hollidayburg 3 (S. Ellis 2, Muir).
Records: Mercyhurst Prep (12-7); Hollidaysburg (19-2).
JV: Hollidaysburg won 38-34. High scorers Kirsch, H, 7.