By TERRY L. SNARE
Assistant Sports Editor
Both Huntingdon and Mount Union are headed to the playoffs next week, so Wednesday’s non-league battle inside the Bearcat gymnasium provided a warm up for the postseason.
Huntingdon jumped out to a 10-point lead at the quarter mark, but Mount Union trimmed that deficit down to four early in the third period. However, the Bearcats responded with a 21-4 run over the last 6:16 of the third and turned a 21-point lead into a 61-36 victory over the Trojans in both team’s regular-season finale.
Huntingdon has won three straight and needed this win to stay ahead of Bedford for the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Class 4A playoffs. The Bearcats improved to 12-10 overall and capped a 9-5 mark in the Mountain League with a win over Penns Valley Monday.
Mount Union saw its six-game win streak come to an end, but are 10-5 after an 0-6 start to the season. The Trojans slipped to 10-11 overall, including a 7-7 effort in the ICC North and are ranked ninth in the Class 3A field.
Kait McElroy led four Bearcats in double figures on the night, finishing with a game-high 16 points. Kynnedy Miller followed with 12, while Rachel Kyle and Lexi Troup added 11 apiece.
Kerrigan Woodward and Camille Posey fronted the Trojans with 12 points apiece.
“We wanted to end the regular season on a winning streak, and we took care of business on that end,” commented Huntingdon head coach Jeremy Uhrich. “This wasn’t our best effort by any means. We just didn’t take care of the ball and turned it over too many times against a random zone. We just weren’t strong with the ball in the first half and turnovers lead to transition baskets. I got a little upset and pulled the starters near the end of the half. But, we responded in the second half, as we have been doing, and played much better.”
Behind and eight-point effort from McElroy, Huntingdon opened the game with a 10-2 effort, which led to a 16-6 advantage at the quarter. Mount Union got baskets from Kendra Gardner, Morgan Brumbaugh and Sophie Smith in the period.
Posey scored six of her points in the second to pull the Trojans to within eight at 24-16 heading into the intermission. Both Allie and Lexi Troup sank threes for the Bearcats in the second.
“We had spurts where we played well tonight and then we had spurts where we made mental mistakes. And, some of that was from Huntingdon and some was us” noted Mount Union head coach Chris Lehman. “We try to get teams off their game, but being down a starter is a bit of an issue. We just had times tonight where we took ourselves out of the game. But, I’m proud of these kids from where the season started. They didn’t think they’d make the playoffs, but this group works hard in practice.”
Woodward dropped in a pair of shots to open the second half and closed the deficit to 24-20. However, three-pointers from L. Troup and Miller and a traditional three-point play from R. Kyle highlighted Huntingdon’s 21-4 run over the last 6:16 of the period and gave the Bearcats a 45-24 lead heading into the final stanza.
Huntingdon built as much as a 27-point lead three times in the fourth quarter, including following a 8-2 run to open the period that put the Bearcats up 53-26. Huntingdon led 59-32 with 2:23 remaining in the contest, before Sophie Smith sank a pair of free throws and Posey dropped in a layup to cap the scoring.
“We were just a bit sluggish to start the game and knew Mount Union was going to come after us and be aggressive,” concluded Uhrich. “But, we were still able to finish on a good note.”
Chelsea Williams scored a game-high 11 points to help the Trojan junior varsity (3-13) to a 33-18 win. Lilli Greenfield had seven points for the Bearcats (0-16).