The Tyrone Lady Eagles haven’t met many teams this season who can hang with them from three-point range. If you had to pick one, you might say Juniata Valley, but even then, the Lady Hornets got hot for a quarter, but never really recaptured the magic afterwards in their January win in Tyrone.
The Hollidaysburg Lady Tigers were a different story last night.
Every time the Lady Eagles seemed poised to break the game open and pull away, the Lady Tigers had an answer. More often than not it was a shot from beyond the arc, and then it was most likely off the hand of junior guard Allison Hileman.
Hileman made more big shots in the second half than most players make in a season, scoring 15 of her game-high 26 in the third and fourth quarters, but in the end it wasn’t enough to overcome the balance of Tyrone’s offensive attack.
Double-digit scoring from three players, topped by freshman Jaida Parker’s 17, was enough to hold off the pesky Lady Tigers and lead Tyrone to a 55-47 victory at the Tyrone Area Middle School on Senior Night.
“She’s a heck of a shooter, and even when we were there she hit shots,” Tyrone coach Luke Rhoades said of Hileman. “Every time it seemed we were going to go ahead and push the lead even farther she hit a huge shot. Heck of a player. I was very impressed with her shot.”
The Lady Tigers had other players hit shots, as well, often off a kick from Hileman, but they couldn’t get them in the same volume with which the Lady Eagles were getting points from their top scorers. Along with Parker’s numbers, freshman Stephanie Ramsey scored 16 and Sydney Shaw added 13.
Tyrone continued to shoot the ball well, hitting 11 of 18 shots in the first half and finishing 20-for-38 from the floor.
It was as strong as any performance the Lady Eagles had put on this season, but it also showed a lot of grit because the Lady Tigers refused to go quietly.
Tyrone jumped out to an 8-5 lead in the first quarter after getting its first three baskets from its three seniors. Riley Ronan made an early 3-pointer to tie the game, Brooke Welsh scored on a put-back basket, and Shaw banged home another triple to forge the three-point lead at the 3:26 mark. Shaw’s basket ignited a 7-0 run to propel the Lady Eagles to a 13-7 lead at the end of the first.
Parker scored twice on drives to the basket early in the second to get the lead to 10 (17-7) before Hileman began to heat up. She scored six in a row to get Hollidaysburg back in the game before Shaw and Ramsey made back-to-back triples. Tyrone made its first six attempts of the frame, but when Morgan O’Neil made a three from the corner with just seconds left in the half, it sent the Lady Tigers into the locker room trailing just 27-21.
Hileman shaved the lead to 27-24 when she swished a three a minute into the third quarter, but Parker answered with buckets on consecutive possessions, and Ramsey made another three to get the lead to 34-24. Hileman responded with a triple and then dished to Janessa Goins for another thirty seconds later. Hileman’s third trey of the quarter with four seconds left made it 37-33, but the Lady Eagles advanced the ball quickly up the floor to Shannon Shaw, who made a three at the buzzer to extend Tyrone’s lead to 40-33.
“I said on the bench to the coaches, ‘Every time (Hileman’s) hitting a big shot,’” said Rhoades. “And actually a couple of other girls stepped up and hit big shots, so I give credit to them.”
The Lady Eagles got the lead to 13 in the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run capped by a triple from Sydney Shaw, but even then the Lady Tigers weren’t done. Alyssa Bell got the lead back down to 10 with a three of her own, and Hileman trimmed it to single digits with a three-pointer at the 1:42 mark. Hileman’s seventh three of the game got the deficit to six with 7.5 seconds left before Ramsey sealed the win with a pair of foul shots with 5 seconds remaining.
Tyrone improved to 17-5 as it prepares to enter to District 6 3A playoffs as the No. 2 seed. Hollidaysburg fell to 11-10 but will still begin the 5A playoff race as the top seed in its classification.
“I was really happy with the way we played really hard,” said Rhoades. “We played with excitement and enthusiasm. It’s something we’ve been lacking the last couple of weeks. That’s a nice win leading into the playoffs, and I’m really excited with how we played because we didn’t just go through the motions. We came out to play the game as hard as we could.”
The Lady Eagles will start their pursuit of a District title in nine days when they face the winner of No. 7 United and No. 10 Westmont on Feb. 21 in Tyrone.
Tyrone’s jayvee team got a win over Hollidaysburg, as well, putting the lid on an 18-1 campaign. The Lady Eagles defeated the Lady Tigers 39-35 behind 23 points from freshman Emma Getz. Tyrone trailed 16-9 at halftime before Getz poured in 18 points over the third and fourth quarters.
TYRONE 55, HOLLIDAYSBURG 47