BOILING SPRINGS >> If your top two scorers combine for just six points, like James Buchanan's girls did on Friday night, it's usually not a good sign.
But the Rockets threw all logic out the window. JB held Boiling Springs to just six points in the second half and Rachel Martin provided a huge spark off the bench in a 40-33 win in a District 3 Class AAA play-in game. It was the first playoff win for the Rockets since 2005-06.
JB (14-9) will play at No. 2 seed Berks Catholic (20-3) in the first round Wednesday at 7 p.m.
"It's hard to get these girls pumped up, but this was the most excited they've been all season," said assistant coach Becky Miller. "We talked a lot about holding them to a low shooting percentage, not fouling and not turning the ball over. We did all those things in the second half."
Trailing 27-22 coming out of halftime, JB switched to a 2-3 zone after playing man-to-man the whole first half, and it made a huge difference. The Bubblers (14-9) shot just 2-for-25 from the field in the second half and scored just three points each in the third and fourth quarters.
"We were in such a good rhythm against their man-to-man," Bubblers coach Kyle Watkins said, "but we just didn't carry it over into their zone. We moved the ball and got some decent looks, but we just couldn't get it done."
Martin said, "We seemed to pick things up once we switched to the 2-3. Tristen (Amsley) and I were able to start pressuring their guards, and I think that really rattled them."
But with leading scorers Jennae Piper and Charity Miller having an off night – Piper finished 1-for-11 from the field and Miller got injured early, kept playing, and finished 0-for-6 – the Rockets were in need of a spark. And it was Martin who answered the call.
After Aspen Anderson hit a layup right before the third quarter buzzer to cut JB's deficit to three, Martin went to work. She scored four straight points to start the fourth quarter and gave the Rockets a 31-30 lead. She finished with seven points in the fourth quarter – 12 in the game – had several key rebounds and notched a steal with 50 seconds left to seal the deal for James Buchanan.
Becky Miller said, "She's one of the best rebounders we have, especially for her size, and she showed that in the fourth quarter. She was huge tonight."
"This was the most exciting game I've ever played in, and I just wanted to come out and leave it all on the floor," Martin said. "I just tried my best to keep a level head, and I was able to make some plays for the team."
The Rockets had contributions from up and down their roster. Amsley finished with seven points, eight rebounds and two assists, Taylor Gorman had seven points, six rebounds and two blocks and Jenna Carbaugh had six points, six rebounds and two assists.
"Jennae and Charity usually lead us, but tonight we just had to come together and find another way to win," Carbaugh said.
"I think this says a lot about the team we have," Becky Miller said. "These girls play for each other, and if someone isn't playing their best, someone else will step up and make plays."
NOTES >> Shannon Piccolo had nine points in the first half and finished with 11 for the Bubblers ... Marissa Armolt had eight points – all in the first half ... Neither team shot over 30 percent in the game ... JB finished 11 of 46 (23.9 percent) and Boiling Springs was 13-for-51 (25.5) ... The Rockets were 16-for-21 from the foul line, including 7 of 9 in the fourth quarter.
JAMES BUCHANAN (40)
Taylor Gorman 3-7 0-1 7, Tristen Amsley 2-6 3-5 7, Jenna Carbaugh 1-7 4-4 6, Jennae Piper 1-11 2-2 5, Charity Miller 0-6 1-2 1, Rachel Martin 3-8 6-7 12, Aspen Anderson 1-1 0-0 2, Madison Martin 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 11-46 16-21 40.
BOILING SPRINGS (33)
Shannon Piccolo 5-10 1-1 11, Marissa Armolt 2-11 4-4 8, Megan Bobb 3-8 0-0 6, Melissa Metzger 2-9 1-2 5, Lauryn Stouffer 1-5 1-2 3, Morgan Stamm 0 0-0 0, Madison Hemler 0-2 0-0 0, Maddy DeCou 0-5 0-0 0, Alyssa Brady 0-1 0-0 0.
Totals — 13-51 7-11 33.
40 Boiling Springs121533—33
3-point goals — JB 2-11 (Piper, Gorman), Boil 0-9.