A young Southern Huntingdon team got to test the postseason waters Monday evening in Flinton, but a disappointing third quarter kept things close heading into the final eight minutes. The ninth-seeded Rockets had the score tied late in the fourth quarter of the District Six Class 2A first round contest, only to see eighth-seeded Glendale hit its shots down the stretch to pull out a 50-46 victory.
Southern Huntingdon dropped its last three games to end the season with an 11-11 overall record. But, Monday’s game was the program’s first postseason appearance since the 2016-17 season. The Vikings, who won eight of their first 10 games of the season, improved to 15-8 and advance into Wednesday’s quarterfinal round at top-seeded and two-time defending PIAA state champion Bellwood-Antis.
Jenny Cantrell led the Rockets with a game-high 28 points on the evening, while Olivia Wilson added six and Ally Leidy and Majerle North followed with five apiece.
Kayla Campbell fronted the Vikings with 21 points, while both Olivia Reese and Hanna Noel scored 10 and Lilley Vereshak finished with nine to complete Glendale’s scoring.
While Southern Huntingdon netted more shots from the field, the difference in the game came at the foul line where the Vikings converted 20-of-28 attempts compared to the Rockets’ 9-of-12.
“We got off to a slow start and Glendale went up 11-4, but then we got back into the game, which carried over into the second quarter,” noted Southern Huntingdon assistant coach Romonda Zinobile. “But, then in the last 40 seconds of the second quarter, Glendale scored four points to tie the game at the half.”
Cantrell poured in 12 of the Rockets’ 16 points in the opening period, but Reese had eight for the Vikings, who were able to cling to a 17-16 advantage at the quarter. Southern was up by four within the last minute of the second when Noel sank a shot and Campbell converted a pair of free throws to send the game into the intermission knotted 26-26.
“Glendale was doing a lot of penetrating and kicking the ball back out, but we were just sluggish and we weren’t reacting quick enough. Being a young team that has never been in a playoff game before, nerves played a big role in how we played tonight. We also had Glendale at the foul line through out the game and it didn’t miss too many.”
Glendale picked the offense up a bit in the second half and was beating Southern down the floor. Campbell added another eight points and the Vikings jumped ahead 38-32 heading into the final stanza.
Cantrell finished with eight points in the fourth to help the Rockets tie the game. But Campbell countered with six as the Vikings pulled out the win down the stretch.
“This has been an emotional year for the team and a rough stretch over the last half of the season,” concluded Zinobile. “At the beginning of the season, we were hopeful that we could get back to the playoffs. We are a young team and wanted to give the girls some playoff experience so nerves won’t be as bad next year. There is a lot of promise with this team and we need to learn to finish off these close games. Hopefully, that will come with experience.”