Tigers oust Warriors
DANVILLE - Southern Columbia and Montoursville split their series during the regular season.
On Friday, the Tigers threw some new defensive looks at the Warriors and won the one that mattered most - their quarterfinal round game in the District 4 Class AA playoffs - 41-32 in Danville.
Southern will await the winner of the Lewisburg-Wyalusing game being played today at noon in Montoursville.
The change in defense, from the Tigers' usual zone to a diamond-and-one and man-to-man alignments, was done with the express purpose of stifling Montoursville's Kirsten O'Malley.
"We practiced it for nine days now," Southern Columbia head coach Kevin Collins said. "We had their game with Mount Carmel scouted. (Mount Carmel) did it and it frustrated them. The only difference was a couple girls stepped up and made some nice shots to keep them in the game.
"We don't usually play man, but we've been working on it for two and a half months in practice. With the draw we got, the possibility of playing three teams we've played already twice. I don't want to show them the same thing the third time."
The changes worked and O'Malley was held to just nine points, six fewer than her season average of 15.
Three of O'Malley's four baskets were putbacks and Montoursville outrebounded the Tigers 33-23, but the Warriors also shot a paltry 14 of 52 from the field.
Southern, on the other hand, didn't have as many second-chance opportunities, but made enough of its first chances to constantly keep ahead of the Warriors.
Mallory Tomaschik started off the Tigers' 3-point bonanza and turned an early 6-3 Southern lead into a six-point advantage with her first trey.
Tomaschik hit another 3-pointer to start Southern's scoring in the second quarter before handing the long-distance reins over to Kayla Lavella in the third quarter.
After the half, and with Southern clinging to a just a one-point lead after a 8-0 run by Montoursville to end the first half and begin the second, Lavella hit sank both free-throw attempts and Montoursville never got closer than those three points again.
That was because Lavella took advantage of a loosening up of Montoursville's defense, picked her spot on the floor and waited for teammates to pick apart the Warriors' zone defense before connecting for three straight 3-pointers.
The outburst kept Montoursville, who found its own answers to Southern's defense in the form of Carly Mill and Marissa Hall, who scored 10 and nine points, respectively, at bay and the Tigers closed the third quarter with a 33-26 lead.
"Kayla was full of nerves in the first half," Colllins said. "They jumped out of the diamond-and-one on her and I told her that this was her time. I challenged her and she hit the first two free throws in the second half and went out on a tear."
Lavella finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
MONTOURSVILLE (32) - O'Malley 4 1-2 9, Hall 4 0-0 9, Ruffing 2 0-0 4, Mill 4 2-2 10, Weisser 0 0-0 0, Venema 0 0-0 0, Yocum 0 0-0 0, Stine 0 0-0 0. Totals Totals 14 3-4 32.
SOUTHERN (41) - Clark 0 4-4 4, Lavella 4 4-4 15, Blass 0 0-0 0, Tomaschik 6 4-4 18, Levan 1 0-0 2, Gilroy 0 0-0 0, Shutt 1 0-0 2. Totals Totals 12 12-12 41.
3-point FGs: Hall, Lavella 3, Tomaschik 2.