Check out the top 10 plays from the non-league doubleheader between McConnellsburg and Shalom Christian. Video by Lindsey Smith
Last year, the McConnellsburg basketball programs looked like they took a hit when the PIAA's reclassification moved the teams up to Class 2A.
But now with three weeks left in the regular season, that move up to a higher classification could be a reason why the Spartans bring home a pair of District 5 banners in the end of February.
The girls team, with a more well-rounded scoring effort and valuable experience in the district tournament, is currently ranked second in the District 5 2A rankings. The team sits behind top-ranked Tussey Mountain, which will likely be the toughest competition in the district tournament for the Lady Spartans (10-4).
"I think (the move to 2A) is actually going to work out good for us because I've been following a lot of the teams and they have on again, off again nights," McConnellsburg coach Brent Seville said. "I feel confident going in that we can compete against teams within the 2A. Hopefully we can finish the season strong here and hold on to first or second seed to get that first-round bye."
On the boys side, McConnellsbrug sits comfortably in the top spot, with just one other team in the district (Berlin) boasting a record above .500. The McConnellsburg boys have won 11 in a row, thanks to a 44-27 victory Saturday over Shalom Christian, who beat the Spartans in overtime earlier this season at the Fannett-Metal tournament.
"I think we are pretty confident right now in our team, and we have grown as a team over the year. However, we have to take it one game at a time because we have a very tough schedule left," McConnellsburg coach Drew Washabaugh said. "I wasn't too sure what the teams would be like in 2A, but when you get to playoffs anything can happen. It doesn't matter what your record is in the playoffs, you have to show up to play."
The boys team remains undefeated against District 5 2A opponents, with its only district loss of the year coming against Everett, a 3A team. McConnellsburg (14-3) boasts a well-balanced offense, with each of its five starters throwing up double-figure performances throughout the season - making it a difficult choice for even the best defenses to key in on.
Saturday in a non-league doubleheader against Shalom Christian, the Lady Spartans claimed a 59-27 win over the Flames, thanks to a big rebound in the second half - something that the team has come accustomed to due to a "rocky quarter" in most games.
McConnellsburg senior Kellyn Perry said, "I think it's both (an advantage and a disadvantage) because teams can score on us in the first half, but then we get them in the second half and make that margin a little bit larger. It seems like we are coming together more as a team as the season goes on and that's helping out a lot. I think we have a pretty good chance if we play our game; we should be there definitely."
NOTES: Bronwyne Mellott led the Lady Spartans with 28 points, followed by McKenzie Gelvin with 20 ... Shalom's girls were led by Brooke Emge, who had 10 points ... McConnellsburg's boys were led by Chase Novak with 15 points, followed right behind by Dominick Reed with 14 ... The Spartan defense held the Flames' leading scorer, Jonah Stains, to just nine points, although he did foul out early in the fourth quarter ... Cameron Roseman paced Shalom with 11 points.