SHAMOKIN Despite a shaky first half, the Marian Fillies found themselves down by just one point at half time of their PIAA Class A first round playoff against District 4 runner-up Line Mountain at Shamokin High School on Saturday afternoon.
With over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Fillies held a five-point lead and looked like they were on their way to their the second round on Tuesday.
Line Mountain junior Kasey Long had a different plan, however.
Her three-pointer that banked in off the glass with 5:17 left in the game ignited a 9-0 run to lift the Lady Eagles to a 38-32 victory, ending the Fillies' outstanding season.
"It's a shot we want her to take," Line Mountain head coach Mike Reed said afterwards with a big smile on his face. "They have the green light to shoot from the outside, that's what got us here. The bank, hey, they all count right now. That was a big boost for us. Everybody picked up in energy, and that kind of sealed it for us."
Long scored the first seven points in the run that turned a five-point deficit into a four-point lead (34-30) on Paige Swineford's layup with 2:41 left on the clock.
A layup by Marian's Danielle Tristani cut it to two with 1:09 left and the Fillies got the ball back five seconds later on a turnover, but three missed shots in the final minute left their last attempt fall short.
Mikhail Whitcomb made a pair of free throws and then ended the scoring with a layup to set the final score.
"Down the stretch we shot about a half dozen air balls," said Marian head coach Paul Brutto. "They just got some good bounces. The girl banked in a three which she really shouldn't have even got because that's all that they look to do. Then they had a couple of foul shots roll in, but that's to their credit.
"I think we were a little tired shooting-wise, but we didn't take advantage of getting the ball inside where we needed to and that hurt us."
The Fillies finished the game with 24 turnovers, but 14 of them came in the first half allowing the Lady Eagles to stay in front.
"We might have had 30 possessions in the first half so that's way too many," added Brutto.
After a couple of ties, Line Mountain scored the final five points of the first quarter to take a 9-4 lead.
Marian scored the first six points of the second quarter with Gillian Ferko making a free throw and a bucket underneath, followed by a Kaycee Gutzie three-pointer to take a 10-9 lead. The Lady Lions took a three-point lead, but the Fillies tied it again, only to see Maggie Fessler hit a free throw with 48 seconds left in the half to give her team the on-point advantage at intermission.
Marian opened up a five-point lead in the third quarter, only to see Line Mountain cut it to 26-23 entering the final eight minutes.
"In the second half, I thought we did a little better job handling the ball, but a couple of times we panicked," Brutto said. "We had a five-point lead and all we had to do was play defense which is supposed to be our strength. We let them get that walk-in three and all of a sudden it's a two-point game. We stop them and score, we're up by seven and it's an all together different game.
"I feel bad for our seniors (Ferko, Gutsie and Corrine Markiewicz) because it's a game that we could have won. I think it kind of ended pre-maturely for them. They got us further than we've gotten the last three years, so that's something for them to hang their hat on as they go forward."
Ferko finished as the lone Marian player in double figures with 10.
Line Mountain moves on to play Girard College in the second round on Wednesday in a 6 p.m. game at Hamburg High School.
Green 0-0-0-0, Faust 1-1-2-3, McLaughlin 2-0-1-5, Gutsie 2-0-0-5, Markiewicz 0-0-0-0, Shober 2-0-0-5, Ferko 4-2-4-10, Tristani 2-0-0-4. TOTALS: 11-3-7-32.
Long 4-4-4-13, Bethge 2-0-0-4, Swineford 2-0-2-4, M. Lagerman 0-1-3-1, K. Lagerman 1-3 -4-5, Whitcomb 3-2-4-8, Fessler 1-1-2-3. TOTALS: 13-11-19-38.
Marian 4 9 13 6 - 32
Line Mtn. 9 5 9 15 - 38
Three-pointers: Marian - McLaughlin 1, Gutsie 1, Shober 1; Line Mtn.: Long 1.