Wreckers reach state quarterfinals
Weatherly’s Emily Zoscin drives to the basket between Benton defenders Cecilia Huntington, left, and Emily Lockard. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Weatherly’s Megan Peifer puts up a shot over Trinity Brown of Benton. Peifer scored 10 points Wednesday to help the Wreckers gain a 52-35 victory in the second round of the Class 1A state playoffs. Weatherly will now face Lourdes in the quarterfinals. For a photo gallery go to www.tnonline.com. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
BLOOMSBURG – If you are a follower of the Weatherly girls basketball team, sometimes you have to endure two hours of indigestion.
Not even a bottle of Tums will help soothe the acidic reactions.
Somehow, these Wreckers just don’t make it easy.
After a slow start and some anxious moments Wednesday night on the campus of Bloomsburg University, Weatherly eventually pulled away from an outmatched, and at times, overwhelmed Benton team to secure a 52-35 victory in the second round of the PIAA Class 1A state playoffs.
The win sends the Wreckers (18-8) into a Saturday meeting with a very familiar team — Lourdes Regional, who knocked off Bishop Carroll. The two squads will lock horns for a second time this season, as the Raiders managed a narrow 50-48 victory over Weatherly back in January.
“This is the revenge bracket,” said Weatherly head coach Kevin Kringe. “First we beat The Christian Academy (to get to this game) after they beat us last year; now we play Lourdes which beat us (during the regular season).”
But it sure wasn’t easy. Weatherly played cantankerous throughout most of the game, never gaining momentum or sustaining things when it looked like it would run away from the Tigers.
“Another day, another chaotic adventure,” said Kringe. “You know, we never make anything easy. We had a lot of easy (layups) early, we just played too fast … we didn’t put them away and let them hang around.”
The Wreckers looked to be in a state of frenzy and very uncomfortable, missing shot after shot before finally getting a basket from their leader Emily Zoscin. Those points didn’t come until there was 4:05 left in the first quarter.
Benton (16-11) didn’t fare much better, managing just 1-of-8 shots from the field in the opening period. That lone score came on a three-point play from Emily Lockard, who would go on to score 22 points and collect 15 rebounds.
Weatherly finished the frame only 3-of-10 from the floor, but also forced 15 Benton turnovers.
“Not to make excuses, but being in a big-game atmosphere made us a little nervous,” said Kringe. “But ... we should have put this team away early.”
Despite their struggles, the Wreckers still managed a 9-3 lead after the first eight minutes. But foul trouble also took center stage, as three Wreckers had three fouls at the half.
“We weren’t nervous, but we were aware of our fouls,” said Zoscin, who finished with a team-high 21 points. “I know that we can shoot better, but we had to make a few runs (late) and that’s what we did.”
Those runs were necessary because of Lockard, who sank eight straight points to open the second half, pulling her team within 25-22.
“They made a big run there, but we kind of regrouped, luckily,” said Kringe.
Sophomore Grace Miller, who would chip in with six rebounds, helped start a mini-run with a foul conversion. Megan Peifer (10 points) then knocked down four points before a Zoscin steal converted into two more points.
“When we got that quick lead, I thought OK we’re going to be all right,” said Lindsey Hoffman, who buried three three-pointers on her way to a 15-point night.
Weatherly closed the third quarter on an upswing as Hoffman hit a triple and Peifer and Hoffman added baskets to open up a 44-24 advantage.
Benton did attempt an early run to open the fourth, outscoring the Wreckers 5-2. But the District 11 champs went rover (delay), putting the ball in the hands of Tabitha Hinkle and Zoscin.
“Once we got the lead to (46-33) we wanted to take some time off the clock, and Tabby and Emily can run (the delay) very well,” said Kringe.
Now it’s on to Saturday.
MANAGER’S DELIGHT ... “Oh boy, we just need two more wins to play for a state championship, and we’re going to do it,” said an elated Nate Murphy, the team’s manager, after the win. “This is my last year and I know we’re going to do it!”
SHOOTING WOES … Weatherly moves on despite shooting just 27 percent (16-of-59) from the floor. Benton’s percentage was actually lower at .255 (12-of-47). The Tigers did have an edge in rebounding, 54-42.
OUCH … Benton had 26 turnovers at halftime, and finished the game with 42.
Zoscin 6-9-13-21, Hoffman 5-2-3-15, Peifer 4-2-2-10, Miller 1-2-3, Hinkle 1-1-3-3, Hernandez 0-0-2-0, James 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-1-5-52.
Lockard 8-6-9-22, Brown 0-4-5-4, Bowman 1-1-2-3, Huntington 0-2-2-2, Baker 1-0-0-2, Pursel 1-0-0-2, Smith 0-0-0-0, Farr 0-0-0-0, Dougher 0-0-2-0. TOTALS: 11-13-20-35.
Weatherly 9 12 20 11 - 52
Benton 3 11 12 9 - 35
Three-pointers: Weatherly - Hoffman 3; Benton - None.