SUNBURY – There's a commonly used expression that states, "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."
Luckily for Marian, head coach Paul Brutto makes his living as a history teacher.
And fortunately for the Fillies, they all remembered the hard lesson they learned 364 days ago.
On Saturday night at the Shikellamy Fieldhouse, seniors Kaysi McLaughlin, Kelly Shober and Danielle Tristani, along with Gabby Green and Samantha Faust, passed the test with flying colors as they graduated to the second round of the PIAA Girls Class A Basketball Championships with a 65-35 rout of Line Mountain.
Just one year ago, it was Line Mountain that ended Marian's season with a 38-32 victory that saw the Lady Eagles rally to outscore the Fillies 13-2 over the game's final five minutes.
"We definitely had vengeance on our minds after what happened last year and we came here expecting to win," stated Tristani, who led Marian with a game-high 18 points. "Coach Brutto also showed us newspapers that said Line Mountain was going to make it to the next round, and that just gave us even more motivation to beat them."
But "beat them" is an understatement. With a 30-point victory, the Fillies left no doubt as to who the better team was.
The win advances Marian (20-6) to Wednesday's second round against Harrisburg Christian (24-4), a 62-14 winner over Math, Civics & Sciences Charter, at Hamburg starting at 7 p.m.
"The kids wanted some revenge against Line Mountain because they didn't want their season to end in the same way it did last year," said Brutto. "I thought all our seniors played outstanding today, especially the three of them that started. They played exactly how seniors need to play at this time of the year."
Marian started out with an early 4-0 lead and took advantage of Line Mountain missing its first six shots from the floor. The Fillies surged to a 13-5 advantage before the Eagles trimmed the deficit to just four points with two buckets in the final 30 seconds of the quarter.
However, the second quarter was all Marian. The Fillies began pounding the ball inside to Tristani (5-10) and Shober (5-9), who were both bigger than Line Mountain's tallest player (5-8). With outstanding play from its guards, including two three-pointers from McLaughlin, the Fillies' shots were going down while their lead was going up. Over the final four minutes of the second quarter, Marian outscored Line Mountain 11-2 to take a 33-15 lead into halftime.
"I think our kids did an excellent job of what we worked on all week from both an offensive and defensive standpoint," added Brutto. "Defensively, we really didn't give Whitcomb many good looks and I thought we contained Long, which was key."
Line Mountain's Kasey Long (18.8 ppg) and Mikhail Whitcomb (17.2 ppg) were both 1,000-point scorers, but Marian held them to just 14 and 8 points respectively.
"Offensively, I thought we moved our bodies and the ball well today. We had a lot of nice looks and nice passes to Danielle (Tristani) and Kelly (Shober) inside," noted Brutto. "I thought our guards handled their matchup pressure really well compared to last year, and that's just a year of maturity on our part.
"In the first half, Gabby (Green) got the ball out of her hands quickly against their full court pressure and we got some easy looks, which was key because it helped loosen us up and give us some breathing room. In the second quarter, we just shot well, which was a combination of good passing and people making nice cuts to get the ball and score. It was just one of those games that played out exactly how we drew it up on paper."
The Eagles (24-2) began to chip away at the lead to start the second half. After a Tristani three-point play, Line Mountain went on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 13 points. However, the Eagles proceeded to miss their next eight shots, as Marian took advantage by closing the third quarter on a 10-0 run for a 46-23 lead.
Tristani's 18 points and eight rebounds led Marian, while Shober answered with 12 points and nine boards. Faust (10 points), Green (9 points) and McLaughlin (8 points) balanced out the scoring.
Marian will be selling tickets for its second round state playoff game. Tickets will be on sale Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in the high school office. The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets at the door cost $6.
Green 3-2-2-9, Faust 2-6-6-10, McLaughlin 2-2-2-8, Bray 1-0-1-2, Sofranko 1-0-2-2, Nemeth 2-0-2-4, Wilson 0-0-0-0, Shober 5-2-3-12, Tristani 8-2-4-18. TOTALS: 24-14-22-65.
Ciera Lahr 2-1-1-5, Long 5-2-6-14, Bethge 0-0-0-0, London 0-1-2-1, Chelsea Lahr 1-0-0-2, Lagerman 2-1-2-5, Whitcomb 2-4-6-8, Reed 0-0-0-0, Menko 0-0-0-0, Troutman 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 12-9-17-35.
Marian 13 20 13 19 - 65
Line Mountain 9 6 8 12 - 35
Three-Pointers: M - McLaughlin 2, Green 1; LM - Long 2.