Danville deals 1st loss to Tigers
CATAWISSA R.R. - Southern Columbia didn't expect to be where it was.
Not 7-0 to start the season.
Not trailing by a point with four seconds remaining after having as much as a 14-point lead at halftime against Danville Thursday.
But there the Tigers were, with an undefeated season on the line and four chances from the foul line to at least send the game to overtime.
All four missed the mark and the Tigers lost to the Ironmen, 48-47, in non-conference play.
"I'm very proud of where we are right now - a lot further than I thought we'd be. This was a good Danville basketball team," Southern Columbia head coach Kevin Collins said.
It was a tale of two halves for Southern.
The Tigers were absolutely dominant in the first quarter, jumping out to a 13-2 lead to start the game with two quick layups by Mackenzie Clark and back-to-back 3-pointers by Mallory Tomaschik.
Then Southern's Kayla Lavella scored 20 of the next 22 points for the Tigers, while Danville treaded water.
Southern took a 32-18 lead into the locker room, but didn't return with the same fire.
Danville turned up the pressure on Southern, which had been working so well for the Tigers, and forced six turnovers. And the Ironmen used a distinct size advantage on the
inside with 5-foot, 9-inch Amber Renz, who led Danville with 16 points and nine rebounds.
"Even when we were up by 12 and 14, I told the girls this wasn't over and not to quit," Collins said. "I think we got a little lazy and tired in the third quarter with our passing. We got back in it, hit some big shots."
Southern did just enough to hold a nine-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but Danville opened the final frame with an 11-2 run to tie the game.
Southern retook the lead with foul shots by Haley Levan and Kelly Gilroy.
Two possessions later, Renz was inexplicably fouled after an attempt at a 3-pointer and, while she missed the shot, she made all three of her foul shots.
Clark gave the Tigers the lead again with two foul shots, but Renz struck again with a putback of her own shot to give Danville a 48-47 lead.
Danville was just as ineffective from the line with a chance to extend its lead, and Southern couldn't get any of its four attempts to fall, despite a valiant effort on the offensive glass as time ticked down to get to the line.
"We played our game and we had a chance to win," Collins said. "We work on free throws at practice constantly.
"My kids don't quit. We're leaving with a loss, but we only have to win four more games to make the playoffs."
DANVILLE (48) - Keeley 2 1-2 6, Naesig 3 0-0 6, Heath 2 0-0 4, Bross 1 1-2 3, Pavis 3 0-1 6, Romeo 3 0-0 7, Renz 6 4-6 16. Totals 20 6-11 48.
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (47) - Clark 3 2-2 9, Lavella 9 3-3 24, Blass 0 0-0 0, Tomaschik 4 0-2 10, Levan 0 3-4 3, Lyash 0 0-3 0, Gilroy 0 1-4 1. Totals 16 9-18 47.
3-point FGs: Keeley, Romeo, Clark, Lavella 3, Tomaschik 2.