MCCONNELLSBURG - Depending on your point of view, it was either very good defense on the part of McConnellsburg, or lackluster offense by Southern Fulton.
Either way, it was a bad recipe for the Indians on Thursday night.
The Lady Spartans broke away after halftime by holding SF to just four points in the first 14 minutes of the second half and claimed a 42-30 Sideling Hill/Inter-County Conference girls basketball victory.
The teams were tied at halftime 17-17, but Southern Fulton (12-4, 8-4 SHL, 6-4 ICC) made only 2 of 15 shots in the third quarter and 3 of 12 in the fourth (18.5% for the half), and McConnellsburg (12-4, 8-3 SHL, 7-3 ICC) took advantage.
"I thought our defense in the first half was better, but our offense couldn't match it," SF coach Meagan Raville said. "We hurt ourselves when we don't take care of the basketball, and we didn't play smart."
The Indians turned the ball over on their first five possessions of the game. Fortunately for them, the Spartans missed their first seven shots.
McConnellsburg coach Brent Seville said, "We didn't have a real good start, but once we got the lead in the second half we were patient and did a good job. I was pleased with the way we finished, even though we had some difficulty with their press at the end."
Kellyn Perry was a key player for the Spartans. Not only did she guard the Indians' top scorer, Olivia Mottern, in a box-and-one defense, but she ignited her team's second-half surge with six points in the decisive third quarter when McConnellsburg outscored its opponent 12-4 to take control.
"My teammates cheered me on when I scored, and that really helps with my confidence," Perry said.
Mottern was held to 10 points, about 10 under her average, and had a hard time getting touches with Perry stuck to her.
Raville said, "We had plays in place for that (kind of defense), we just didn't execute them."
"Kellyn is pretty quick and she has some length, and she's able to get around the screens," Seville said. "She does a great job when we use that junk defense because she can keep up with the chaser."
Perry, who also guarded Mottern in the first meeting when she scored 25 points, said, "I did pretty well the first time, but she got to the line a lot. I was happy with tonight. I changed my positioning and tried to get underneath her when she posted up."
When the second half began, Perry scored on a fast break, then hit a jump shot after a pass from Bronwyne Mellott, who also assisted on a layup by Bridgette Ritchey. Two inside buckets by Kylie Keefer sandwiched another fastbreak score by Perry made it 27-19. In the fourth period, Perry's last hoop, on yet another layup, gave her team its largest lead at 37-21.
Southern Fulton did not score in the final period until just over two minutes left when Lakyn Morton hit back-to-back 3-pointers. But a baseline jumper by Ritchey pretty much sealed the win.
Seville said, "Perry (10 points) and Ritchey (11) had really good games, and we had three in double figures. That's what it's going to take for us to keep winning and have that consistency."
Notes: Bronwyne Mellott led her team with 14 points, but that was 10 below her norm .. Drew Gordon guarded her early, but picked up four first-half fouls; Celina Merchant and others helped out ... Merchant also had eight rebounds and three assists for SF and Morton had nine points ... For the Spartans, Ritchey had six rebounds and an equal number of assists, while Perry had eight boards.
McConnellsburg 42, Southern Fulton 30
Southern Fulton (30)
Celina Merchant 1-6 1-2 3, Lakyn Morton 3-14 0-0 9, Shaye Smartt 0-3 0-0 0, Maddie Baker 0-1 0-0 0, Drew Hann 1-5 0-0 2, Olivia Mottern 4-12 1-2 10, Fallon Ritz 0-0 0-0 0, Jessie Covalt 0-0 0-0 0, Drew Gordon 2-7 0-0 4, Emily Bradshaw 1-2 0-0 2. Totals — 12-50 2-4 30.
Alexis Mellott 1-6 0-0 3, Bridgette Ritchey 5-10 1-3 11, Justice Seville 0-6 0-0 0, Kylie Keefer 2-2 0-0 4, Bronwyne Mellott 5-10 4-4 14, Kellyn Perry 5-10 0-0 10. Totals — .
So. Fulton _ 7 _ 10 _ 4 _ 9 _ — _ 30
McConnellsburg _ 6 _ 11 _ 12 _ 13 _ — _ 42
3-point goals — SF 3 (Morton 3), McC 1 (A.Mellott).
JV score — Southern Fulton 24, McConnellsburg 7. Sam Bolden scored 7 points for SF.