Despite week layoff, Tornadoes cruise into D-4 semifinals
MONTOURSVILLE - It may have taken a quarter to shake off the rust, but Mount Carmel won its eighth consecutive District 4 game Saturday.
The Red Tornadoes, after a sluggish start, never trailed against Wellsboro and won 67-31 in their Class AA quarterfinal matchup with the Hornets.
Mount Carmel will play Muncy for the right to play in its third straight district title game at a site and time to be determined.
With any luck, the Red Tornadoes will start their engines sooner than the second quarter. In any event, the Tornadoes won't have to suffer through the same idle week as they did between the end of the regular season and Saturday's game.
"It's a tough week," Mount Carmel head coach Lisa Varano said. "Every year, the girls hate this week. It's just difficult. We had five games in six or seven days at the end of the season and then you have a week where you're not playing. I think it just took them a little bit to get into it."
By the time Mount Carmel really got going, it had already built a 12-6 lead after the first quarter, and because of a defensive effort that
forced 21 turnovers in the second and third quarters, the Red Tornadoes were never really threatened.
The bulk of the offense in the early going for Mount Carmel fell onto the shoulders of Ali Varano and Christina Perles.
They were each into double figures by half time, the recipients of outlet passes from the myriad of steals the defense came up with.
"I think our defense came through and caused quite a few turnovers," Lisa Varano said. "We were able to score in transition. It was a nice team effort.
"We're at our best when we play good defense."
After the break, the Tornadoes' found their shooting touch from the outside as they expanded a 30-12 lead into a 52-20 margin by the end of the third quarter.
Jen Bolick, Paige Hornung and Isabella Stellar all hit 3-pointers for the Tornadoes in the third quarter, while Ali Varano and Perles combined for another 10 points.
Varano led all scorers, and nearly outscored the Hornets by herself, with 23 points, while Perles added 15.
Wellsboro scored five points near the end of the game to avoid the mercy rule, but couldn't avoid being caught up in what the Tornadoes hope is another clear path to the state playoffs.
"Once we got the lead, we wanted to be smart," Lisa Varano said. "They're a good team with some good shooters, so we didn't want to make any mistakes and have them make easy baskets."
WELLSBORO (31) - Kim Acorn 2 2-9 6, Ingerick 3 1-2 7, Marple 1 0-0 2, Jackson 2 2-2 6, Kiana Acorn 0 0-2 0, Zuchowski 4 0-0 8, Catherman 1 0-0 2, Butters 0 0-1 0. Totals 13 5-16 31.
MOUNT CARMEL (67) - Bolick 1 2-2 5, Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Hornung 2 0-0 6, Varano 9 5-6 23, Perles 6 3-4 15, Stellar 3 1-2 8, Raybuck 1 1-2 3, Parker 1 3-6 5, Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Winhofer 1 0-0 2, Hood 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 15-22 67.
3-point FGs: Bolick, Hornung 2, Stellar.