Elk County Catholic pulled away in the second half for a 37-23 win over Johnsonburg Wednesday night at Johnsonburg Area High School.
After a scoreless first two minutes of the game, Abbi Petrosky nailed two free throws to put ECC up 2-0. Taylor DaCanal added a jump shot to put the Crusaders up 4-0 with 5:13 left. Taylor Harvey of Johnsonburg added a jumper to halve the lead to 4-2 but Karly Carnovale added two points with 3:13 left. The Lady Crusaders led 6-2 after the first quarter.
Elk County Catholic (2-0) stole the inbounds pass to open the second quarter and Petrosky scored a layup to put the Lady Crusaders up 8-2. ECC would go over five and a half minutes before scoring again. During the scoring drought for the Lady Crusaders, Johnsonburg went on a 10-0 run. Brittany Watts made 1-of-2 from the free throw line, then Rhianon Fowler knocked in a jumper with 6:31 left to make the score 8-5 in favor of the Lady Crusaders. Watts nailed two straight jumpers to put the Ramettes up 9-8 with five minutes left, then Fowler added a 3-pointer to give Johnsonburg a four-point lead. Johnsonburg coach Mike Zilkofski said the youthful players off the bench gave the Ramettes a lift.
"I brought some girls in off the bench, Chelsea Benson and Brittany, and we got a little spark from them," Zilkofski said. "That's going to help down the line for us. This is a tough game to have game experience against because they play man-to man, in your face."
Kristie Hanes hit a jump shot with 2:10 left in the half to break the Elk County Catholic scoring drought, but three free throws from the Ramettes put Johnsonburg ahead 15-10 at halftime.
"To be honest with you, we just didn't shoot the ball well at all," Elk County Catholic coach Ken Pistner said. "They played a diamond-and-1 and we weren't shooting the ball well. We were getting one shot and done. We weren't getting many rebounds so one shot, one miss and we were back on defense."
Fowler knocked in a free throw to start the second half, but Petrosky added two free throws and a 3-point play to draw the Lady Crusaders within one at 16-15 with 3:57 left in the third quarter. Carnovale hit a layup with 3:11 left to put Elk County Catholic ahead 17-16, then Ellie Petrosky hit a short shot to extend the lead to 19-16 with two minutes left in the third.
Fowler made one free throw, then Watts made a jumper to tie the game at 19-all with 1:40 left in the third quarter. Johnsonburg (0-3) had eight team fouls at this point and Zilkofski said the foul trouble hurt the Ramettes, especially in the second half. ECC was 15-for-31 from the line; Johnsonburg was 6-for-18.
"Once we got some defensive stops and got into transition, we got to the hole pretty hard and did get to the foul line," Pistner said. "It was a pretty physical game."
Zilkofski said foul trouble was a key in the second half.
"Foul trouble, we were in too much foul trouble," Zilkofski said. "When you get Justis (Myers) out and you get Taylor (Harvey) out, you got our point guard in (foul) trouble. We missed foul shots, turnovers were a big part of the game. We had them in the first half, fouls weren't on our side this game, everything went against us. We hung with them, we played better than we did against Bradford. That's one plus for our team, they did play better."
Abbi Petrosky hit a free throw, Ellie Petrosky hit a jumper and Hanes also poured in a shot as the Lady Crusaders led 24-19 after three quarters. Zilkofski said Johnsonburg's inability to grab a rebound led to more chances for the Lady Crusaders.
"We couldn't grab a rebound," Zilkofski said. "It's like we had happy fingers, we couldn't grab the ball. That's key rebounds for us against a team like this. When you get the defensive rebounds, you don't give them any second chance shots. They scored a lot on those second chance shots. We'll work on it in practice; with rebounding we'll get the heavy ball out."
Elk County Catholic outscored the Ramettes 7-2 in the first four minutes to take a 31-21 lead and had a 13-4 overall advantage in the fourth quarter over Johnsonburg to finish with a 37-23 win.
"I think we're a team that needs to get up and down the basketball court and that's certainly what we did in the second half," Pistner said. "I think our defensive pressure in the second half allowed us to get into our transition game, which turned into some points."
Abbi Petrosky led the Lady Crusaders with 14 points and Carnovale finished with 12.
"They tried to take Karly out of the basketball game, they played diamond-and-1 on her," Pistner said. "Other people have to step up and we have the ability to do it, it's just young in the season and the role that some of these kids are playing this year is a little bit different than in the past. They played a supportive role and now they're going to have to play more of a lead role. We'll get there, it's early."
Fowler led the Ramettes with eight points; Watts had seven. Zilkofski said Johnsonburg has improved from game to game this season.
"For the third game, they played a lot better than they did against St. Marys and Bradford," Zilkofski said. "That's a plus for us."
Johnsonburg is at Sheffield Friday night, while Elk County Catholic is at Kane.
Elk County Catholic 6 4 14 13 - 37
Johnsonburg 2 13 4 4 - 23
Elk County Catholic - 37
Abbi Petrosky 3 8-13 14, Karly Carnovale 4 4-8 12, Ellie Petrosky 2 1-2 5, Kristie Hanes 2 0-1 4, Taylor DaCanal 0 2-2 2, Emily Gregory 0 0-2 0, Maggie Sorg 0 0-3 0, Totals 11 15-31 37.
Johnsonburg - 24
Rhianon Fowler 2 3-7 8, Brittany Watts 3 1-2 7, Chelsea Benson 1 1-2 3, Kiana Myers 1 1-2 3, Taylor Harvey 1 0-0 2, Dani Jo Dwyer 0 0-2 0, Brianna Fabris 0 0-3 0, Totals 6-18 24.
3-pointers: ECC 0, Johnsonburg 1 (Fowler 1).