D-9 Playoffs: Third time’s the charm for Lady Gators

Mickle scores 25 as Lady Gators raid CC, advance to face No. 2 Union

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
February 24, 2011

The first two times the Port Allegany girls basketball team faced Cameron County, the Red Raiders won with defense, holding Port well below its season average in each game.

Not this time.

Kyley Mickle poured in 25 points, including 10 from the free-throw line, and the 10th-seeded Lady Gators sprinted out to a 21-4 first-quarter lead on the way to a 47-37 victory over No. 7 Cameron County in Tuesday night’s District 9 playoff opener at Emporium.

“It happened kind of quietly; I didn’t realize she had that many,” head coach Kristina Francis said of her senior guard before adding with a chuckle, “Of course, I don’t keep track during the game, either.”

A trio of post players also made major contributions as the Lady Gators sprung the mild upset. Cora Bova chipped in eight points and Rachel Taylor and Renee Edgell each added six, with Taylor pulling down 14 rebounds and blocking five shots and Edgell notching four steals. Brooke Dunsmore scored 14 points to lead Cameron County, which concludes its season at 13-10.

Afterward, Francis credited her team’s effort on defense for the win.

“We played some zone and were able to get some steals, take care of some rebounding and all those little things on defense. We also made some big shots, big layups and also free throws in the first quarter, then more free throws in the fourth quarter to take care of it. They got it within five at one point; they didn’t go away by any means,” she said.

As part of an aggressive gameplan, the Lady Gators got to the charity stripe early and often, finishing the night 18-for-32 from the line.

“We definitely wanted to take it at their players,” Francis explained. “I was very impressed with our driving – we’re not always the driving type – the way we battled to the hoop and went up strong with the ball.

“We weathered the storm, weathered their pressure and didn’t crack. In the last two games, when they turned up the heat and applied some pressure, we weren’t able to handle the ball very well in the backcourt. Not that we didn’t have some mistakes, but we were able to handle the ball a little better. Also, they weren’t hitting their shots. They had a lot of shots that didn’t fall for them, either in the first quarter or down the stretch.”

The Lady Gators have a tough task ahead of them in the next round, when they’ll make the long trip south of Interstate 80 to take on No. 2 seed Union (20-3) on either Thursday or Friday night. The well-rested Golden Damsels have been off since falling to Class AA Cranberry in last Saturday’s Keystone Shortway Conference championship game, their first loss since early January. They’ll present a tough challenge inside, with 5-11 senior center Tina Lipps averaging a double-double (15.4 points, 11.4 rebounds) and three other players scoring at least nine points per game.

But following their first District IX playoff win since qualifying for the state tournament in 2006, the Lady Gators are happy to still be playing.

“Actually, it feels even better than I thought it would feel,” Francis admitted. “I’m happy for the girls. They really have worked hard this season, and I’m glad that they really came ready to play last night.”

In the only other opening-round action involving a North Tier League team, two-time defending Class A champ Elk County Catholic knocked off Smethport 54-22.

The quarterfinal schedule:

No. 8 Johnsonburg (13-10) at No. 1 Coudersport (21-1), TBA
No. 5 Clarion (17-6) at No. 4 Keystone (17-5), Thursday, 7 p.m.
No. 6 ECC (17-8) at No. 3 Kane (22-2), Thursday, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Port Allegany (13-10) at No. 2 Union (20-3), TBA

District IX Class A First Round
At Emporium, Feb. 22:
PORT ALLEGANY (47)

Evens 0 0-0 0, J. Edgell 1 0-0 2, Spallanzani 0 0-1 0, Delacour 0 0-0 0, C. Bova 2 4-8 8, Mickle 6 10-15 25, R. Edgell 1 4-6 6, Taylor 3 0-2 6. Totals 13 18-32 47.
CAMERON COUNTY (37)
Knapp 0 0-0 0, Dunsmore 4 5-9 14, Ramsey 1 0-2 2, Etchepare 0 0-0 0, Sullivan 2 0-0 5, Slusarick 0 0-0 0, Guisto 0 0-0 0, K. Lewis 4 0-0 8, Zoschg 4 0-0 8, Azzato 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 5-11 37.

Score by quarters:
Port Allegany 21 6 5 15 47
Cameron County 4 10 10 13 37

Three-point goals: Port A 3 (Mickle 3), CC 2 (Dunsmore, Sullivan). Total fouls: Port A 13, CC 25. Fouled out: Dunsmore, Guisto.

Last Thursday, Port concluded the regular season with a 46-32 win at Northern Potter. Rachel Taylor poured in 19 points and Renee Edgell added 10 as the Lady Gators finished the North Tier schedule with an 8-6 record, good enough for a third-place tie with Smethport behind league champ Coudersport (14-0) and second-place Cameron County (11-3.)

At Ulysses, Feb. 17:
PORT ALLEGANY (46)

J. Edgell 1 2-5 4, Woodruff 0 1-2 1, Bova 4 1-4 9, Mickle 0 3-4 3, R. Edgell 4 2-2 10, Taylor 8 3-6 19. Totals: 17 12-23 46.
NORTHERN POTTER (32)
O. Martin 3 0-0 8, Bennett 3 0-2 6, J. Martin 0 1-2 1, Knauer 2 2-8 6, Soroko 3 0-0 6, Cowburn 2 1-2 5. Totals: 13 4-14 32.

Score by quarters:
Port Allegany 10 14 5 17 46
Northern Potter 8 5 11 8 32

Three-point goals: Port A 0, NP 2 (O. Martin 2). Total fouls: Port A 17, NP 17. Fouled out: Taylor.

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