HUSTONTOWN - This season, the Forbes Road girls basketball team has been plagued by close games, with six of its 10 losses coming within six points of its opponent.
And Thursday was no different.
Forbes Road dropped another close game against Sideling Hill League/Inter-County Conference rival McConnellsburg, 45-42.
Despite a low-scoring first quarter, the Cardinals (8-10, 4-9 SHL, 2-9 ICC) collected an eight-point lead over the Spartans, as turnovers hurt McConnellsburg in the first half.
"We left them in the game," McConnellsburg coach Brent Seville said. "And our turnovers killed us. I think we had 10 turnovers in the first quarter, and typically we only get 15 turnovers in a game and we had 28 tonight. That should never happen."
But it also doesn't help with a player like McKenzie Gelvin on the other side of the court, who had five steals in the first half alone. Gelvin, who is typically Forbes Road's leading scorer, could not find an offensive rhythm in the first half, shooting 3-for-13 from the field in the first 16 minutes.
The Spartans came out in the second half ready to force a different momentum.
"We knew it was going to be a hard game and we had to not have as many turnovers," McConnellsburg's Bridgette Ritchey said. "We needed keep our heads and do what we know how to do."
After emerging from the locker room in a tie game, and playing a tight third quarter, Ritchey was the catalyst in McConnellsburg's run in the fourth.
McConnellsburg (13-6, 8-5 SHL, 7-5 ICC) went on a nine-point blitz to take the lead in the final frame, thanks to Ritchey's movement under the basket, drawing a trio of three-point play opportunities. Despite making only one of her free-throw chances, the momentum swung drastically in the Spartans' favor.
Forbes Road coach Jeff Gelvin said, "I'm lost for words. We play so well defensively, but in a two- or three-minute spell we let them make a run on us and that was the difference in the game."
"We were very confident about (the game)," McKenzie Gelvin said. "We were winning the entire game and then at the end we had a new defense we were going to try on them. But they have Bronwyne (Mellott), and she's the key to their team."
Despite being shut out in the first quarter, Mellott ended the game with 22 points, and scored 14 in the second half alone.
"We contained her pretty well," McKenzie Gelvin said. "But sometimes our emotions get the best of us there at the end and we make decisions that are very critical at the time."
"I thought we contained them about as well as we could," Jeff Gelvin said. "We threw the ball away a couple of times late in the game and that really hurt us. They played a little smarter than we did down the stretch."
Courtney Schoen led the Cardinals with 12 points, while McKenzie Gelvin finished with 11 points and six steals.
McConnellsburg 45, Forbes Road 42
Alexis Mellott 1 0-0 2, Bridgette Ritchey 3 2-5 8, Justice Seville 0 0-0 0, Bronwyne Mellott 7 8-8 22, Kylie Keefer 2 0-0 4, Kellyn Perry 4 1-3 9. Totals — 17 11-16 45.
Forbes Road (42)
Mina Wilt 3 1-2 7, Malea Truax 2 1-2 7, McKenzie Gelvin 4 0-0 11, Courtney Schoen 6 0-0 12, Maddie Miller 1 0-0 3, Mara Broadwater 0 2-4 2. Totals — 16 4-8 42.
McConnellsburg _ 2 _ 15 _ 12 _ 16 _ — _ 54
Forbes Road _ 5 _ 12 _ 14 _ 11 _ — _ 42
3-point goals — FR 6 (Gelvin 3, Truax 2, Miller).