MCA closes in on title
MOUNT CARMEL - Mount Carmel head coach Lisa Varano showered Warrior Run with praise last week.
On Tuesday, the Red Tornadoes took the opportunity to rain points down on the Defenders and win 63-46 in a game that had very little left to doubt after the second quarter.
Mount Carmel's win, combined with Montoursville's loss to Southern Columbia cleared the path for Mount Carmel to win Division II of the Heartland Conference outright, play in the innaugural HAC championship tournament next week and grab the No. 1 seed in the District 4 playoffs with a win over Montoursville Friday.
Ali Varano led Mount Carmel with 19 points and Anna Raybuck added 14 points and 12 rebounds in a dominant win over a Warrior Run team that had a 12-5 record.
But the Tornadoes, winners of six in a row, know that the toughest games are ahead of them.
"I think they understand," Lisa Varano said. "They have some goals and we're taking one goal at a time."
The Defenders were able to run right with the Tornadoes Tuesday and had an 11-9 lead after the first quarter. But the two teams combined for 19 turnovers in the first eight minutes of play.
Warrior Run's Steph Shamburg tried to single handedly keep the Defenders in the game. Shamburg scored nine of the Defenders' 11 first-quarter points and had 25 for the game.
"They're a tough team, definitely," Varano said.
Mount Carmel kept up the pressure and forced another 11 turnovers in the second quarter in a 23-7 run that closed the door on the Defenders.
"I think we played a good defensive game," Varano said. "They (Warrior Run) is a tough team to stop. They have some good shooters, but our girls hustled and that showed."
Ali Varano scored 13 of her 19 points in that quarter.
Mount Carmel senior Christina Perles, who was held scoreless in the first half, got more involved in the offense and scored 12 points in the second half, including going six of seven from the foul line.
In all eight Tornadoes got on the board.
"We're getting a lot of contributions from a lot of different people," Lisa Varano said. "We got some minutes off our bench today and it doesn't get any easier at this point in the season."
NOTES: The first Heartland Conference is set to be played next week. The three girls division winners and the team with the next best overall division record will play Wednesday. On Thursday, the boys will play and the championship games will be Saturday. All the games are set to be played at Bloomsburg University.
WARRIOR RUN (46) - Fisher 2 1-3 5, Eisenhuth 2 0-0 4, Hays 1 2-4 4, Bastian 1 0-0 2, George 0 0-0 0, Parker 2 1-2 6, Shamburg 9 7-7 25. Totals 17 11-16 46.
MOUNT CARMEL (63) - Dunkel 1 0-0 2, Bolick 1 2-2 4, Hornung 3 0-2 6, Varano 7 5-10 19, Perles 3 6-7 12, Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Stellar 1 0-0 2, Raybuck 6 2-2 14, Parker 2 0-0 4. Totals 24 15-23 63.
3-point FGs: Parker.