PENNSYLVANIA GIRLS Sharon defeats Hickory
The Tigers rallied for a 52-47 Mercer County League win.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
SHARON, Pa. -- After trailing by 10 points in the first quarter, the Sharon High girls basketball team outscored Hickory by nine points in the second quarter and three more in the final period to post a 52-47 victory Monday in the Mercer County Athletic Conference.
Trailing by a double-digit margin early in a game is nothing new to the Tigers (20-1, 4-0). They trailed MCAC rival Grove City by 20 points at the end of the first period two weeks ago before rallying for a 63-58 win.
"It just seems as though we want to do things the hard way," Sharon coach Mary Jo Staunch said. "We talked about not wanting to get into that situation, but it just seems to happen.
"I know we are ready to come out and play, but it just seems as though it takes us a few minutes to get started," she said. "Once we get jump-started, we can usually roll from there."
Good start: When her team came out strong to take the 12-2 lead five minutes into the game, Hickory coach Jeanette Whitehead liked what she saw.
"We got off to the good start and I thought this might be the night we get it done," Whitehead said. "We were slowed down a bit, and unfortunately for us, it was turnovers that were the deciding factor."
Still trailing 15-10 with 4 minutes, 48 seconds left in the first half, Sharon went on a 9-0 run to take a 19-15 lead before Hickory (14-8, 1-3) scored the final two points of the period to cut its deficit to just a pair at the break.
The Hornets tied the score at 21-all 2:30 into the third period, and they kept battling to take their final lead of the game at 27-26 with two minutes left in the quarter.
Tigers in front: On the strength of a basket by Nicole Valentino and a 3-pointer from Gina Fragle, the Tigers led 31-29 at the end of three periods, and they never trailed again.
"At one point, they went up on us by 10, but we battled back to get to within two," Whitehead said. "Again, the kids played hard and gave it every thing they had, but we just couldn't get over the hump.
"We didn't lose on desire, we didn't lose on hustle and we certainly didn't lose on attitude," she said. "When we lost games, it was our inexperience, if anything, that led directly to our downfall."
Every time the Hornets got close, the Tigers responded to the pressure to put together runs of 7-0 and 8-0 to pull away to the win. Instrumental in the scoring spurts were Julie Bell, Erin Leyde and Valentino.
Scoring leaders: Bell led the Tigers in scoring with 16 points, Leyde and Valentino also notching doubles with 13 points apiece. For Hickory, Chere' Marshall tied Bell for game-high honors, while Erica Viselli drained five 3s for her 15 points.
"We switched our defenses a little and picked it up defensively and that allowed us to answer," said Staunch of the spurts. "Somebody always seems to step up to get it done for us, and tonight, we just didn't have one key player do it. We had several different players come through for us in the clutch."