Big 30 Basketball Classic tips off new era on Sunday

There will be a strong Port Allegany presence in the Portville Central School gym for Sunday’s inaugural Big 30 Basketball Senior Classic, with former Lady Gator coaches Bob Raudenbush and Beth Scanlon helming a Pennsylvania girls’ team which includes current players Somer Buchsenschutz, Lynae Delacour, and Brooke Roys on its 12-player roster.

The games between teams of senior all-stars from New York and Pennsylvania will benefit the Big 30 Scholarship Fund, which has awarded more than 40 stipends to area scholar-athletes since its inception in 2006. The girls’ game is set for 4 p.m., with the boys’ game to follow at 6. The first six-member class of the Big 30 Basketball Hall of Fame will be announced at halftime of the latter game.

Tickets are $5 each, with T-shirts, 50-50 tickets and a raffle to win a foursome at the Big 30 Scholarship Scramble (Monday, July 13, at Bartlett Country Club) also available at the door.

Raudenbush went 108-43 in six seasons as the Lady Gators’ coach, including the 27-2 1996-97 campaign which included Port’s third District 9 Class AA championship and the school’s first PIAA playoff win, before taking over the boys’ squad for the next 12 seasons and compiling an overall record of 271-172.

The way he tells it, it didn’t take him very long to give the game’s organizers an answer:

“I was contacted a few weeks ago by the Big 30 Committee and was asked if I was interested in coaching some of the top senior female players in the area? I couldn’t say YES fast enough! I was very honored and humbled to be part of the first Big 30 Classic Basketball game,” he said. “I have always had a passion for the game as a player and have been fortunate to remain in the game as a coach. I look forward to the game on Sunday to be able to coach these talented players and always find their energy and enthusiasm to be contagious. All of these players have been tested over their careers and have an opportunity to blend their talents with other players to shine one more time.”

Seven of the top eight scorers in the North Tier League, led by Roys (15.6 ppg) and including a pair of 1,000-point-club members Latascia Shadle (Galeton, 15.3 ppg) and Otto-Eldred’s Anna Colebert (13.4), will suit up for the Pennsy team.

Raudenbush, the mentor of the last Port team to win three consecutive North Tier titles, is particularly looking forward to coaching Roys, Buchsenschutz, and Delacour, the trio from the reigning three-time champs.

“I was excited to see our Port Allegany players well represented by the selection committee and to have an opportunity to see them in action,” he said. “It is extremely difficult to three-peat in the NTL- a tribute to their talent and coaching staff!”

Although still active in the PIAA playoffs, Division 1-bound center Nate Sestina and his Cameron County teammate, Keith Spehalski, have accepted invitations to play in the boys’ game. They’ll face a New York team which includes Archbishop Walsh 1,000-point scorer John Watson, as well as Olean High’s Chuckie Martin from the four-time Section VI champs.

Rosters, supplied by game organizer Jim Melaro of the Olean Times Herald:

New York girls: Alyssa Coustenis (Salamanca), Shaina Griffin (Portville), Kasey Kane (Wellsville), Erika Lewis-Ellison (Whitesville), Liz Jablonski (Friendship), Morgan McNeil (Wellsville), Abigail Miller (Andover), Moriah Monroe (Allegany-Limestone), Jordan Pearson (Wellsville), Vanessa Pfeiffer (Franklinville), Meghan Stuck (Bolivar-Richburg), Sydney Wight (Scio).

Former Salamanca coach Colleen Weidman, who guided the Lady Warriors to the New York State Class C title in 1987, will coach the NY girls with the help of Tammy Krotje.

Pennsylvania girls: Somer Buchsenschutz (Port Allegany, 13.4 ppg), Anna Colebert (Otto-Eldred, 13.4), Lynae Delacour (Port Allegany, 8.4), Susie Guisto (Cameron County, 13.2), Rylee Lundgren (Bradford, 10.2), Taylor Morgan (Kane, 9.7), Macy Neureiter (Elk County Catholic, 10.2), Morgan Okerlund (Smethport, 15.1), Brooke Roys (Port Allegany, 15.6), Latascia Shadle (Galeton, 15.3), Julia Sweeney (Elk County Catholic, 9.7), Melody Young (Otto-Eldred, 13.2).

New York boys: Derek Brooks (Houghton), Ben Erickson (Franklinville), Jared Fish (Salamanca), Isaac Hilyer (Portville), Chuckie Martin (Olean High), Jake Nelson (Whitesville), Bryce Morrison (Randolph), Bryce Rumfelt (Andover), John Watson (Archbishop Walsh), Jordan Wonderling (Wellsville), Colton Worthington (Cuba-Rushford), Tyler Zlomek (Genesee Valley).

Long-time Portville and Olean High assistant coach Mike Blask and Mike Moses, another long-time PCS assistant, will coach the New York squad.

Pennsylvania boys: Ryan Boyer (Bradford High), Tyler Cowburn (Northern Potter), Scott Furman (Coudersport), Adam Higby (Sheffield), Zane Hodgdon (Johnsonburg), Ben MacDonald (Ridgway), Zach Reigel (St. Marys Public), Ryan Seelye (Elk County Catholic), Nate Sestina (Cameron County), Keith Spehalski (Cameron County), Mitch Struble (Elk County Catholic), Josh Tennies (Otto-Eldred).

The bench boss for the Pennsylvania boys’ team will be former Bradford Central Christian coach Jim Colestro. He will be assisted by former Bradford High coach Dave Fuhrman.

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Gator girls win D-9 playoff opener

PORT ALLEGANY_A combination of pressure defense and strong frontcourt play proved too much for the visiting Venango Catholic Lady Vikings to handle, as the second-seeded Port Allegany Gators broke open a close game after halftime to claim a 45-35 victory in Thursday night’s District 9 Class A first-round game.

Becca Lathrop took over in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of her game-high 19 points down the stretch as the Gators pulled away for the win. Gabby Drabert added eight and also pulled down eight rebounds, while McKenna Johnson turned in a strong all-around game with six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Lindsay Homan scored 13 and Taylor Moltz 10 to lead No. 7 Venango Catholic.

Port Allegany (20-3) moves on to face No. 3 seed Keystone (19-4), which knocked off No. 6 Coudersport 54-51 last night, in next week’s D-9 semifinals at a time and place to be determined. Top-seeded Clarion (21-3) and No. 5 Johnsonburg (17-6) also advanced with wins on Thursday night, with all four semifinalists guaranteed a trip to the PIAA playoffs.

At Port Allegany, Feb. 21:
Venango Catholic (35)
A. Homan 0 4-4 4, Kuhn 1 0-0 2, L. Homan 5 1-2 13, Guth 2 2-3 6, Moltz 2 5-8 10, Dzieckiasz 0 0-0 0, Niederriter 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10 12-17 35.
Port Allegany (45)
Miller 0 4-10 4, Johnson 0 0-3 0, Drabert 4 0-4 8, Roys 3 2-3 8, Lathrop 9 1-3 19, Buchsenschutz 1 0-0 2, Delacour 1 2-2 4. Totals: 18 9-25 45.

VC_11 17 23 35
PA_8 16 29 45

Three-point baskets: Venango Catholic 3 (L. Homan 2, Moltz), Port Allegany 0. Fouls: Venango Catholic 18, Port Allegany 14. Fouled out: A. Homan, L. Homan.

D-9 Playoffs: Gator girls chomp Red Raiders

Buchsenschutz buzzer-beater stuns Cameron County

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
February 23, 2012

Somer Buchsenschutz collected the pass on the right wing, planted both feet firmly behind the 3-point line, and went up for the final shot of the game, the clock hitting 0:00 and seemingly everyone in the Cameron County gym holding their breath as the basketball spun through the air toward the rim.


And while the stunned Lady Red Raiders players and fans looked on in disbelief, the Port Allegany bench spilled onto the court to celebrate a thrilling 48-45 victory in Tuesday night’s District 9 Class A first-round playoff game.

“We actually set up the play for Somer over the top or Becca Lathrop in the post,” Lady Gators coach Kristina Francis said of the game-winner, drawn up during a timeout with 0:03.8 remaining. “One shot, and one shot’s what we did, and it counted.”

For Cameron County coach Dave Sullivan, who saw his seventh-seeded team’s season end in a home-court upset to No. 10 Port Allegany (14-9) after sweeping the North Tier League series for the second year in a row, the loss would have been tough enough to take without having it happen on a long-range missile at the buzzer.

“We battled back, but we let her shoot a 3-pointer,” he said. “We thought they were going to go inside to 40 (Lathrop), who had a great game, and try to draw a foul or something. So we stayed in, and the shot went in.”

He shrugged. “It was a good shot. What are you going to do?”

Sullivan’s strategy would have been hard to argue after watching Lathrop pour in nine of her game-high 18 points in a frantic fourth quarter featuring five ties and four lead changes. The sophomore forward also pulled down 11 rebounds, notching a double-double in a performance the Lady Gators desperately needed after losing fellow post player Rachel Taylor to an ankle injury midway through the first quarter.

They also needed every bit of what they got from Buchsenschutz, whose seven points also included calmly drilling a pair of free throws to stake Port to a 45-43 lead with 0:25 left, 14 seconds before Brooke Dunsmore’s driving layup for the Lady Red Raiders would tie the score for the final time.

No pressure on the freshman, right?

“That was a harder shot than the 3-pointer, I’ll tell you,” Francis said. “With the noise, for her to sink those two, those were just as important as the 3-pointer. We could have probably – maybe – done a little overtime, but it was good to be finished.”

Bonus basketball wouldn’t have seemed likely two minutes into the third quarter, as two free throws and a short jumper by Jordan Edgell helped extend a five-point Lady Gator halftime margin to 32-23 before Cameron County (16-7) began chipping away at the lead. Olivia Guisto scored four of her team-best 11 points during a 9-0 Lady Red Raider run, with fellow senior Kayla Zoschg draining a jumper just before the end of the period to knot the score at 32.

That’s when Lathrop took over, tallying the Lady Gators’ next nine points as the lead changed hands on nearly every trip across center court. Cameron County moved in front for the final time midway through the period on a layup by Kiley Lewis, who finished the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds. A putback by Edgell, Port’s second-leading scorer with eight points, made it 43-41 Lady Gators at the two-minute mark. With both teams scrambling to keep the season alive, the next 90 seconds featured a flurry of turnovers and held balls before Susie Guisto hit a pair of foul shots to tie the score yet again, setting up Buchsenschutz’s last-second heroics.

Afterward, Francis needed a moment to put her thoughts into words.

“I’m speechless,” she said. “I don’t cry, and those girls put me to tears. They really have been working so hard this season, and to see … I feel awful for Cameron County and their seniors, but it was the best situation for us as far as having to play them the the third time. And when Rachel went down, these younger girls stepped up. The leadership was there. And that was a big shot.

“We talked about the runs, we talked about battling with them – and it feels good to be on the winning side of a 3-pointer instead of the losing side of a 3-pointer this time around,” she added with a smile.

“I’m so proud of them, I’m just speechless … but I’m not content. We’re going to forget about the win tomorrow and start gameplanning for Thursday. We’re just going to go at it. Gotta see when we can get in the gym tomorrow.”

The Lady Gators will face a stiff challenge on Thursday, heading south to St. Marys to face No. 2 seed and Allegheny Mountain League champion Elk County Catholic in a 7 p.m. tipoff on ECC’s home court. The Lady Crusaders (21-3) don’t have a single go-to scorer, instead relying on a quartet of players averaging more than seven points per game. According to statistics provided by, 5-9 junior center Taylor DaCanal and 5-8 senior forward Lexie Meholic lead the way at 9.0 ppg apiece, with 5-7 senior forward Abby Petrosky chipping in 8.3 and 5-6 junior guard Kristy Hanes 7.6 for a team whose only losses were to Class AAA schools Bradford and St. Marys Public. To make matters worse, Port will likely be without Taylor, its second-leading scorer.

But for one night, anyway, there was time to savor this win. Glancing toward the happy Lady Gators and their fans milling around on the court, Francis concluded:

“They deserve it.”

At Emporium, Feb. 21:
Port Allegany (48)

Miller 0 0-0 0, Edgell 3 2-2 8, Li. Delacour 1 2-2 4, Lathrop 7 4-8 18, Taylor 0 1-2 1, Buchsenschutz 2 2-2 7, Woodruff 1 0-0 2, Drabert 1 2-4 4, Johnson 1 0-2 2, Ly. Delacour 1 0-5 2. Totals: 17 13-27 48.
Cameron County (45)
Dunsmore 2 4-7 8, Sullivan 1 0-0 2, O. Guisto 4 3-4 11, Lewis 4 2-2 10, Zoschg 3 0-0 6, Ramsey 1 0-3 3, Burfield 1 0-0 2, S. Guisto 0 3-6 3, Slusarick 0 0-0 0, Younkin 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 12-22 45.

Port Allegany 8 26 32 48
Cameron County 7 21 32 45

Three-point baskets: Port Allegany 1 (Buchsenschutz), Cameron County 1 (Ramsey). Fouls: Port Allegany 21, Cameron County 23. Fouled out: none.

Other first-round scores:
No. 4 Coudersport (19-3) 39, No. 13 Austin (10-13) 21
No. 5 Kane (19-6) 51, No. 12 Allegheny-Clarion Valley (10-13) 33
No. 6 Smethport (18-5) 38, No. 11 Venango Catholic (13-10) 27
No. 8 East Forest (16-7) 48, No. 9 Johnsonburg (13-10) 35

Thursday’s Quarterfinals:
East Forest at No. 1 Keystone (22-1), 7 p.m.
Port Allegany at No. 2 Elk County Catholic (21-3), 7 p.m.
Smethport at No. 3 Clarion (19-3), 7 p.m.
Kane at Coudersport, 7 p.m.

D-9 Girls Basketball Quarterfinals: Union 47, Port Allegany 37

Lipps, Winchester rescue Damsels as Lady Gators’ upset bid falls short

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
March 3, 2011

Two minutes into the third quarter of Saturday afternoon’s District IX Class A quarterfinal game at Union, Kyley Mickle drained a jumper from the right wing, and the hometown fans sat in stunned disbelief as the 10th-seeded Port Allegany Lady Gators took a 31-20 lead over their second-seeded Golden Damsels.

From there, though, it was all Union as the Damsels, who shot an ice-cold 5-for-26 from the field in the first half, suddenly started to find their range. With Port’s inside duo of Rachel Taylor and Renee Edgell mired in game-long foul trouble, a series of trips to the free-throw line helped chip into the lead, and the last of Sierra Smith’s four three-pointers brought the crowd to life and put the Golden Damsels ahead to stay early in the fourth quarter of their 47-37 victory.

“We had the first half, but there’s four quarters of basketball, and they played the better quarter at the end,” Lady Gators coach Kristina Francis said.
Continue reading “D-9 Girls Basketball Quarterfinals: Union 47, Port Allegany 37”

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. Continue reading “D-9 Playoffs: Third time’s the charm for Lady Gators”

District 9 basketball playoffs: Union 65, Port A 44

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
February 26, 2009

When the District 9 boys’ basketball playoff pairings were released, last Wednesday night’s game between seventh-seeded Port Allegany and No. 10 Union promised an intriguing contrast between the Knights’ fast-paced, high-scoring offense, led by 1,000-point scorer Scott Booth, and a stout Gator defense allowing a district-low 42.4 points per game.

As it turned out, an old adage was proven true: speed kills. Despite a relatively quiet night for Booth, who picked up his third foul early in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the half, the Knights lit up the scoreboard in the Port High gym en route to a 65-44 upset, earning a rematch with KSAC North Division foe Keystone in Friday’s quarterfinals.

“I knew coming in that they really get the ball up and down the floor, and it was going to be a key for us to be able to get back and be able to get out defense set up. Their speed was just a little too much for us,” Port coach Bob Raudenbush admitted afterward.

The visitors caused several early Port turnovers, taking advantage of them to open up a quick 10-2 lead halfway through the first quarter and force a quick timeout by Raudenbush. The Gators settled down after that, cutting the Union advantage to 17-12 on Greg Gustin’s driving layup just before the end of the first quarter.

Part of Port’s game plan was to take the ball right at Booth and try to get him in foul trouble, and it worked, as the junior guard/forward went to the bench just 1:04 into the second period. But the Gators missed both free throws – a common occurrence, as the team shot 0-for-6 early on and finished the game 2-for-10 at the line. And at the other end, the Union offense didn’t seem to miss a beat without their star player, extending the lead to 32-20 at the half.

“We have some good players, but when Scott’s in there, they look for him more. When he’s not in there, someone else has to shoot it. Not that I want Scott on the bench, but when he is on the bench, I think it actually helps our team at times. It gives us more confidence, makes the kids feel more secure with themselves,” Union coach Karen Davis said.

The third quarter belonged to Knights guard Zach Smith, who scored 10 of his game-high 19 points in the period.

“He had a great third quarter. Every time he shot the ball, it didn’t look like it was going to get there – I kept yelling, ‘Short!’ and it went swish. He played an excellent game. He’s a good little shooter, and he’s quick. Sometimes he gets mad because I tell him not to pass the ball as much as he does, because he does have a nice shot,” Davis said.

The Gators kept working hard, but with Union’s 2-1-2 defense cutting off their normal dribble-and-drive moves on the baseline, they struggled to score. Co-captains Bryce Healy and Josh Guerrero paced the team with 14 points apiece and Gustin chipped in with 12, the three senior starters ending their careers by scoring all but four of Port’s 44-point total. Healy added 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals to notch the final double-double of his high school career.

“They did a good job packing their zone in and taking away our size,” Raudenbush said. “They gave us perimeter shots, but we just didn’t make them. That’s not our game. We’re not a three-point shooting team – this was probably by far the most three-point shots we took all year – but that’s what they gave us. Either force it in there, and if it’s not there, you’re just turning it over. So we took what they gave us, but unfortunately, we just weren’t making shots and they were pushing it up on defense. That’s a good recipe for a win on their part.”

Union led by 15 points after three, and when they pushed the margin to 20 midway through the fourth quarter, Raudenbush knew his team was in trouble.

“We don’t really score a lot of points; our defense keeps us in games, and that’s what wins games for us. When we get behind by double figures, it’s tough for us to come back,” he said.

Then, switching his focus to Union, he added, “They have a good squad; they’re real quick, and handle the ball well … Give credit where credit’s due. They played a great game, and that’s why they’re moving on.”

He concluded, “We still had a good season. I told the kids in the locker room, we were in most of the losses. We could have had a great season with a couple of breaks.”

Union (65)
Smith 8 0-0 19, Anthony 2 3-3 7, Mortimer 2 5-10 10, Scott 3 2-6 8, Booth 6 3-4 16, Pollock 2 0-0 5. Totals: 23 13-23 65.
Port Allegany (44)
Middleton 0 0-0 0, Gustin 6 0-3 12, Healy 6 1-4 14, Kline 1 0-0 2, Guerrero 6 1-3 14, Gleason 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 2-10 44.
Union 17 32 52 65
Port A 12 20 37 44
Three-point goals: Union 6 (Smith 3, Pollock, Booth), Port 2 (Healy, Guerrero). Total fouls: Union 10, Port 16. Fouled out: Healy.

PAHS basketball roundup: 2/19/09

“Senior Night” was an appropriate title for the Port Allegany boys’ basketball game last Tuesday evening. After a pregame ceremony to honor the players and cheerleaders who are completing their final season at Port High, the Class of 2009 scored all but seven points in the Gators’ 44-35 victory, keeping them from being upset by an undermanned Otto-Eldred squad.

“What a really good group of kids,” Gators coach Bob Raudenbush said afterward. “They’re best friends, and I think that carries into how they support each other in athletics. I don’t think they care who does the scoring, or who’s in the paper the next day, it’s how WE did. You look to your seniors for leadership, and they have provided it. That’s why we’re where we’re at … Our seniors have set the tone, and everyone else has shown the leadership to respond to them.”

One of those seniors, Josh Guerrero, led all scorers with 17 points. Classmate Bryce Healy chipped in with 10 and added five rebounds, including two critical ones in the final two minutes, when O-E had fought its way back from an 18-point deficit to make it a two-possession game.

After Shawn Barnish’s fourth basket of the quarter cut the Gators’ lead to 40-35 with 3:00 remaining, Healy pulled down the rebound on the Terrors’ next shot. From there, the Gators worked the clock before another senior, Greg Gustin, got open underneath for a layup to give the home team a little breathing room as the clock ticked under a minute. O-E point guard Jeff Stebbins quickly brought the ball upcourt, but Healy was again in perfect position to clear the glass on the missed shot, dribbling until the Terrors fouled him so they could call time out with :36.6 left. When play resumed, Healy broke to the basket to cap the scoring with another layup, and the Gators secured their ninth consecutive win on their home court.

The Terrors made their fourth-quarter run despite dressing just seven players and missing several – including the North Tier League’s leading scorer, Wayne Taylor – to injury or illness. Asked how his depleted team managed to stay in the game against a far deeper Gator squad, coach Lance Baker said, “I’m very pleased with that. I told the players, ‘Don’t ever hang your heads over this one.’” Barnish led O-E with 12 points; Preston Woods added 10 and Stebbins nine for the visitors.

“I thought Otto’s kids played well, considering they were down a few kids,” Raudenbush said. “They made a nice push at the end to cut it to five, but I thought our kids responded well and got some big buckets inside.”

Port tuned up for the District 9 playoffs with a 48-28 win over Northern Potter in Thursday’s regular-season finale, clinching second place in the NTL behind league champion Cameron County. Healy (13 points) and Gustin (10) hit double figures for the Gators, who rolled out to a 23-point lead at the end of the third quarter before cruising to the win.

Port’s 15-6 overall record was good enough to earn the seventh seed, with 10th-seeded Union (14-8) visiting for a first-round game on Wednesday night as this issue of the newspaper goes to press. The matchup will feature contrasting styles, as a stingy Gators defense allowing a district-low 42.4 points per game attempts to slow down guard Scott Booth, already a 1,000-point scorer in his junior season, and the Golden Knights’ fourth-ranked offense (61.8 ppg).

The winner of the Port Allegany-Union game will travel to Knox on Friday, Feb. 20, to take on KSAC champion Keystone (21-2), the No. 2 seed, in a 7 p.m. tipoff on the Panthers’ home court.

“It’s been a good run, and hopefully we can close it out here,” Raudenbush said. “Great group of kids. They’ve worked hard – summer leagues, a lot of those AYBT tournaments, traveling to Harrisburg and Williamsport – and they deserve what they’re getting.”

At Port Allegany, 2/10:
Otto-Eldred (35)
Jordan 1 0-0 3, Barnish 4 2-2 12, Woods 5 0-0 10, Stebbins 3 0-0 9, Hauber 0 1-2 1. Totals: 13 3-4 35.
Port Allegany (44)
Gustin 4 0-0 8, Gleason 1 0-0 2, Healy 4 2-2 10, Fabish 0 0-0 0, Guerrero 8 0-1 17, Middleton 0 2-4 2, Kline 1 0-0 3, Lowery 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19 4-7 44.
OE 7 13 21 35
PA 16 23 37 44
Three-point goals: O-E 6 (Stebbins 3, Barnish 2, Jordan), Port 2 (Kline , Guerrero). Fouls: O-E 12, Port 11. Fouled out: Woods.
JV: Port Allegany, 43-35

At Port Allegany, 2/12:
Northern Potter (28)
Grimes 3 4-8 12, Turton 1 2-2 4, Ransom 1 0-0 2, Palys 3 2-2 10, McCutcheon 0 0-2 0. Totals: 8 8-14 28.
Port Allegany (48)
Middleton 2 0-0 4, Gustin 4 2-2 10, Healy 3 7-11 13, Kline 3 0-0 7, Guerrero 2 0-1 5, Gleason 1 0-0 2, Parana 0 0-4 0, Fabish 2 0-0 5, Lowery 0 2-2 2, Miles 0 0-1 0. Totals: 17 11-21 48.
NP 5 11 18 28
PA 14 27 41 48
Three-point goals: NP 4 (Grimes 2, Palys 2), Port 3 (Kline, Guerrero, Fabish). Total fouls: NP 17, Port 14. Fouled out: Turton.
JV: Port Allegany, 48-28

The Lady Gators’ final two games were a microcosm of their up-and-down season, with coach Kristina Francis’ squad earning an unexpected road win before suffering a disappointing Senior Night loss.

On Monday, Port surprised a playoff-bound Otto-Eldred team, jumping out to an eight-point halftime lead and holding on to post a 59-51 victory, earning a split in the season series. Shanel Halle poured in a game-high 21 points in the win, with Kaitlyn Kio (18) and Jenn Anderson (12 points, 16 rebounds) also lighting up the scoreboard for the Lady Gators.

“We showed up to play, and we were on the stick from the get-go,” Francis said. “We executed as a team; we were taking it to the hole and playing great defense. Everyone pitched in – we had three girls in double figures – and it was just a great team effort.”

Unfortunately, the team couldn’t carry that momentum into the final game of the season against Northern Potter on Wednesday. Although the game was tied 17-17 at the half, NoPo’s size advantage gave Port problems inside all game long, and when Halle headed to the bench with her fourth foul just before the end of the third quarter, the Lady Panthers took advantage of her absence to pull ahead.

The game came down to free throws in the final period: Northern Potter made 8-of-12 attempts in the quarter, Port misfired on 10-of-11, and a late Lady Gator rally fell short.

Junior forward Tristin Rounds led all scorers with 16 points for the Lady Panthers.

“It was a good way to end the season, especially with the kind of season we’ve been having,” said Northern Potter coach Robb Cowburn.

A disappointed Francis said, “We had opportunities to close the game and to take the lead back, but when you can’t make free throws and you can’t finish … The opportunities were there; it was up to us to execute.”

Anderson scored a team-high 13 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, finishing her Port High career on a strong note with her second double-double in a row. Kio added eight boards and four steals for the Lady Gators, who finish the season at 9-12, 6-8 in the North Tier League.

“Overall, it’s been a learning season, and hopefully we’re going to take our bumps from this season and be able to improve and look at what we need to do to be better next year,” Francis concluded.

At Duke Center, 2/9:
Port Allegany (59)
K. Drabert 1 0-2 3, Reinard 2 0-2 4, Kio 8 2-3 18, Halle 6 7-11 21, Anderson 3 6-10 12, B. Drabert 0 1-2 1. Totals: 20 16-31 59.
Otto-Eldred (51)
Beckwith 3 0-1 6, Thomas 5 2-2 12, Robbins 0 1-4 1, Wilkins 6 2-3 15, Price 4 0-0 8, Cochran 1 0-0 3, York 3 0-0 6. Totals: 22 5-10 51.
PA 16 28 44 59
OE 8 20 39 51
Three-point goals: Port 3 (Halle 2, K. Drabert), O-E 2 (Wilkins, Cochran). Fouls: Port 9, O-E 18. Fouled out: Beckwith.
JV: Port Allegany, 34-26

At Port Allegany, 2/11:
Northern Potter (47)
J. Martin 2 1-2 6, Riley 0 0-0 0, Furman 3 1-2 7, Hess 1 0-0 2, Rounds 6 4-9 16, O. Martin 1 2-2 4, Potter 6 0-0 12. Totals: 19 8-15 47.
Port Allegany (42)
K. Drabert 1 0-0 2, Reinard 3 3-10 9, Kio 1 3-4 5, Halle 1 1-2 3, Anderson 6 1-4 13, Middleton 0 0-1 0, Mickle 3 0-3 8, Edgell 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 8-24 42.
NP 6 17 27 47
PA 8 17 25 42
Three-point goals: NP 1 (J. Martin), Port 2 (Mickle 2). Fouls: NP 19, Port 19. Fouled out: Hess, Halle.
JV: Port Allegany, 34-24