MERCER COUNTY Sharon runs past Slippery Rock
The Tigers used a big 12-1 run in the second half to post a 49-43 win.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
SHARON, Pa. -- It was one of those games that made you tired just watching it.
After 32 minutes of running up and down the floor, Sharon had enough gas left in the tank to walk off the floor with a 49-43 victory over Slippery Rock Thursday night in a Mercer County Athletic Conference girls basketball game.
Slippery Rock used a 7-0 spurt to take a 9-2 lead, then used a 9-4 run to take its biggest lead of the night, 18-10.
Sharon responded with its own run, outscoring the Rockets 13-5 to tie the game at 23 at halftime.
"I told the kids at halftime, 'Hey, its down to one half of a game,' " said Slippery Rock coach John Tabisz. "Then it was down to one quarter, then down to about two minutes. Although we lost the game, I'll take that effort anytime."
Sharon coach Maureen O'Brien said the run at the end of the first half was important.
"I was especially proud of Michelle Bianco, who came off the bench and made a couple of big baskets for us," said O'Brien. "She's been playing a lot of junior varsity ball and she is getting better and better all the time."
Keys Sharon's run
Sharon's Gina Fragle, who finished with 11 points, drained a pair of 3s to give the Tigers a 29-23 lead in the first two minutes of the second half. Those baskets keyed a 12-1 Sharon run that gave the Tigers an 11-point lead (35-24), their biggest of the night.
"The last three practices I have been telling Gina that I wanted her to take 20 shots," said O'Brien. "She only has to make two or three, but I want her to take 20. When she is able to score like she did tonight, that takes some of the pressure off Nicole [Valentino]. Tonight [Fragle] took 11, so she is on her way up."
The Rockets never led in the second half, but Tabisz said his team had opportunities to win.
"We got down by nine, but we didn't quit," Tabisz said. "The kids battled back until they were only down by three (43-40).
"We had the ball, but we threw it away. In a close game, on the road, you have to make the play and we weren't able to do it."
The Rockets held a 16-14 edge in field goals, but Sharon had a 16-9 advantage at the free throw line.
"They hit their foul shots and for that, I give them all of the credit in the world," said Tabisz. "Valentino is a great player and in the second half, she took control of the game."
Valentino, who was held scoreless in the first period, finished with 19 points to lead all scorers.
For Slippery Rock, Danielle Morrow scored 11 points, while Beth Mihalik added 10.