EVERETT >> It's an all too familiar occurrence for the Southern Fulton girls basketball team.
"It would have been nice to play a full four quarters," Indian coach Terry Bard said.
Southern Fulton outscored Tussey Mountain 34-31 in the second half on Thursday night, but it scored just 13 points in the first half and lost 54-47 in the District 5 Class A semifinal at Everett.
The No. 5 Indians (14-10) will face No. 2 Shade in the consolation game on Saturday at 1:30 at Pitt-Johnstown.
"We didn't play well in the first half at all," said Southern Fulton's Olivia Mottern, who led the team with 21 points. "We started okay in the first quarter, but we just didn't rebound well and it didn't go well for us in the first half."
The game was tied 8-8 late in the first quarter, but Tussey Mountain (21-3) finished the quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 16-10 lead. The Titans kept rolling in the second quarter thanks to captains Breana Kendrick and Amanda Stoudnour. The duo scored all 24 of Tussey's points in the first half, and the Titans held a 24-13 lead at the break.
"Everyone on our team is capable of scoring, but our teammates tend to look to Amanda and I because we're captains," Kendrick said. "We wouldn't be able to do it without our teammates."
While Kendrick and the Titans were thriving, the Indians looked lifeless. Southern Fulton didn't make a single field goal in the second quarter and only took five shots. Its only three points came from Celina Merchant at the free throw line.
"You can't start like we did against a team like Tussey," Bard said. "They're too well coached and Breana is too good."
But Southern Fulton didn't back down. The Indians opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to four. Later in the quarter, Shaye Smartt knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game and followed with a basket on the next possession to give Southern Fulton a 33-31 lead.
"Coach told us in the locker room that we had to pick it up, and we came out with fire," said Mottern, who had eight points in the third.
But Kendrick silenced the Indians once again. On Tussey's first possession after the Indians took the lead, Kendrick drove down the lane and scored to tie the game. Then with four seconds left on an inbound play, Kendrick shot down the sideline and caught the pass at half court. She took a couple dribbles, pulled up at the 3-point line and sank the basket at the buzzer to give the Titans a 36-33 lead. Tussey Mountain held the lead the rest of the way, and Kendrick finished 7 of 9 from the foul line in the fourth quarter and totaled 28 points on the night.
"That play really got us motivated," Kendrick said of the buzzer-beater. "I got the ball, had a perfect view of the lane and the clock and just told myself I had to make it."
Titan coach Todd Gates said, "We knew coming in that this was going to be our toughest game. They are so well coached and they know us so well. We knew it was going to be a battle."
Now, Southern Fulton will have to rebound quickly with a chance to reach the PIAA Tournament on Saturday.
Mottern said, "This should be a lot of motivation for us on Saturday. We're not done yet, 32 teams get into states, and we have a chance to be one of them. We have to keep our heads up and come out ready to play."
NOTES >> Smartt finished the game with 14 points for Southern Fulton – 12 of those came in the second half ... Merchant finished with seven points and four assists ... Stoudnour finished with 17 points and six rebounds for the Titans ... Southern Fulton shot the ball much better than Tussey Mountain – 45.7 percent compared to 35.4 percent – but the Indians took just 35 shots compared to 48 for the Titans ... Southern Fulton had 18 turnovers, compared to 10 for the Titans.
SOUTHERN FULTON (47)
Olivia Mottern 7-14 5-5 21, Shaye Smartt 5-9 3-3 14, Celina Merchant 2-7 3-4 7, Allison Spade 2-3 1-2 5, Tylar Smith 0-2 0-0 0, Lakyn Morton 0-0 0-0 0, Drew Hann 0-1 0-0 0.
Totals — 16-35 12-14 47.
TUSSEY MOUNTAIN (54)
Breana Kendrick 6-20 12-16 28, Amanda Stoudnour 8-13 1-1 17, Madi Husick 1-4 0-0 2, Devin Folk 1-5 0-0 2, Alex Watkins 0-1 0-0 0, Emily Shoke 1-3 3-4 5, McKenna Sitch 0-2 0-0 0.
Totals — 17-48 16-21 54.
Southern Fulton1032014—47Tussey Mountain1681219—54.
3-point goals — SF 3-8 (Mottern 2, Smartt),TM 4-10 (Kendrick 3).