Mt. Carmel clinches HAC-II title
MOUNT CARMEL - On a night that Mount Carmel unveiled a banner celebrating all of the accomplishments of the 2011-12 team, this year's squad started filling out its own resume.
The Red Tornadoes clinched their third straight Heartland Conference Division II championship Saturday with a 53-36 win over Montoursville, in a game that was by no measure that close.
Mount Carmel will play in the first Heartland Conference tournament, although the rest of the field has yet to be determined. The tournament semifinals, Wednesday for the girls and Thursday for the boys, will be played at Mifflinburg, while the championship game will be Saturday at Williamsport.
From the way Mount Carmel started, wrapping up the division and playing in that first tournament were immediate goals for the Tornadoes.
"They were really up for the game and excited and we knew we could put a game together like that," Mount Carmel head coach Lisa Varano said. "Let's just hope it continues."
In addition to the division title, Mount Carmel put itself in position to claim the top seed in the District 4 tournament, ensuring that all other teams have to go through the Red Tornadoes.
In that field is Montoursville, which didn't stand a chance Saturday.
Mount Carmel scored the game's first 18 points and mounted a 27-3 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Christina Perles started the scoring with a putback
on the Red Tornadoes' first possession and Mount Carmel scored on 13 of their first 17 possessions of the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the defense allowed nothing, rarely letting the Warriors get to the top of the key and when they did, an ill-advised 3-point heave and miss was all they had to show.
Mount Carmel didn't shoot perfectly, but what shots the Red Tornadoes' missed, Perles and Ana Raybuck were there to get the offensive rebound and keep the possession alive.
Both inside players, Perles and Raybuck, had eight points in the first quarter.
"When you shoot like that it helps and everybody came together," Varano said.
The duo also combined for 20 rebounds, and they both finished with 13 points apiece.
It's what the Red Tornadoes need from the post players, and what they've come to expect. The contribution the Red Tornadoes didn't count on was Jen Bolick's 11 points, two rebound and two assists.
"Jen played really well off the bench for us," Varano said.
Isabella Stellar was also in double figures for the Red Tornadoes with 10 points.
Ali Varano, who came into the game scoring 14.7 points per game, scored just six points, but showed her versatility with six assists, four steals and two rebounds.
Montoursville scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, nearly equal to what they had for the first three quarters combined, but the Warriors were unable to spoil the Red Tornadoes' banner celebration or attempt to add more titles this year.
MONTOURSVILLE (37) - O'Malley 4 0-3 10, Hall 2 1-2 5, Ruffing 0 0-0 0, Mill 3 0-0 6, Weisser 2 0-0 5, Venema 1 1-2 3, Yocum 3 1-2 7. Totals 15 3-7 36.
MOUNT CARMEL (53) - Dunkel 0 0-0 0, Bolick 5 1-2 11, Hornung 0 0-0 0, Winhofer 0 0-0 0, Varano 3 0-0 6, Perles 4 5-6 13, Hood 0 0-0 0, Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Klinger 0 0-0 0, Stellar 4 0-0 10, Raybuck 5 2-2 13, Parker 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 8-10 53.
3-point FGs: O'Malley 2, Stellar 2, Raybuck.