Danville upsets MCA in overtime
MIFFLINBURG - After all the confusion about getting started, you have to say one thing about the inaugural Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference tournament. The very first game went into overtime, with the higher seeded team losing.
Unfortunately, that would be Mount Carmel in this case. The Red Tornadoes did a lot of things well but just enough things not so well and dropped a 58-53 decision to Danville in the first game of a doubleheader at Mifflinburg.
Playing their third game in three nights and fourth in five, the Red Tornadoes (18-4) had trouble with Danville's size and quick ball movement, then made a string of
mental mistakes in the overtime. Mount Carmel took a 53-50 lead on Ana Raybuck's second big 3-pointer, but those were the only points the Tornadoes scored in the extra period.
Guard Siobhan Bross made a runner to give Danville (17-4) a 55-53 lead and the Ironmen then made three foul shots down the stretch.
Center Erica Heath and forward Amber Renz were thorns in Mount Carmel's side. Heath scored 18 points with eight rebounds, and Renz had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Heath made 7 of 10 shots and scored 10 points in the first quarter as the Ironmen set the tone by easily breaking Mount Carmel's press.
"Kylie (Romeo) and Siobhan did great jobs against their pressure," Danville coach Steve Moser said. "We knew Mount Carmel's press was tough and we had some trouble against it early when some of our girls weren't sure where they were supposed to be. But once we got that ironed out, they did a good job. We knew we were going to have some turnovers but we also got some baskets in transition."
"They're a quick team," Mount Carmel coach Lisa Varano said. "They moved the ball upcourt well and got some easy baskets. Then I think we got kind of tired at the end and shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers."
Mount Carmel had a 7-2 lead in the early going, but Danville came back behind Heath to tie the score at 17-17 after a quarter. The Ironmen closed the first half with an 11-4 spurt to take a 32-27 lead, then upped the lead to eight at the start of the third quarter before Mount Carmel went on a 12-4 run of its own to forge a 39-39 tie.
"We talked about getting more effort (at halftime)," Varano said. "But we've both played a lot of games this week. We're tired, they were tired."
The Tornadoes actually got a break late in regulation. Raybuck hit her first big 3 from the top of the key to give Mount Carmel a lead but her foot was clearly on the line from a vantage point high in the gym. As it turned out, the extra point meant the overtime period.
"Raybuck shot lights out and Ali Varano started a lot of things in transition for them," Moser said. "We were concerned about (Christina) Perles inside and I thought we did a pretty good job on her, but she's a a good player and we knew she'd get her points.
All three of those players had nice games. Raybuck had 16 points and nine rebounds, Perles 14 points and Varano 12 points with four rebounds and four assists but ultimately, Mount Carmel hurt its cause with 20 turnovers and 7-for-15 foul shooting. Danville made 17 of 25 foul shots, including 4 of 5 in the overtime.
Danville will play Benton, a 57-50 winner over Shamokin in the other semifinal, in Saturday's championship game at Williamsport.
Heartland Conference Tournament Semifinal
DANVILLE (58) - Keeley 2 5-6 10, Heath 7 4-5 18, Bross 2 1-3 5, Romeo 2 2-2 6, Renz 5 5-7 15, Naessig 1 0-0 2, Pavis 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 17-25 58.
MOUNT CARMEL (53) - Hornung 2 0-0 6, Varano 5 2-6 12, Perles 5 4-7 14, Raybuck 7 0-0 16, Stellar 1 0-0 2, Bolick 1 1-2 3. Totals 21 7-15 53.
3-point FGs: Danville (1) - Keeley; Mount Carmel (4) - Hornung 2, Raybuck