The sickness bug has reared its ugly head in Alexandria and found its way onto the girls basketball team. Juniata Valley not only had to deal with a limited roster due to illness, but also a much improved Moshannon Valley squad Thursday evening in Houtzdale.
The Green Hornets’ offense wasn’t up to its usual standards, but the defense was still solid. Valley limited the Damsels to just 14 points in the first half and then turned a 21-point effort in the third quarter into a 51-27 victory.
The Hornets, who are ranked fourth in the state in the latest Class 2A poll, put together their 10th straight win, improving to 18-2 overall and capped a 13-1 run in the ICC North, including a 66-29 win at home over the Damsels, January 15th.
Moshannon Valley has lost four straight and slipped to 12-6 overall and closed a 10-4 effort in the circuit.
Juniata Valley’s Hayden Taylor was the only player in double figures, finishing with 22 points to go along with six rebounds. Avery Taylor followed with nine points, while Olivia Smith and Lexie Reed added six apiece. The Hornets’ leading scorer Halee Smith finished with just four points after seeing a little over 12 minutes of action. O. Smith dished out six assists and Emma Musser pulled down seven rebounds.
Chloe Blake paced the Damsels with eight points, while Emma Kitko and Aubrey Dotts added seven and six, respectively. McKenzie McCoy had nine caroms and Dotts eight, while Blake had seven to help Moshannon to a 31-25 edge off the glass.
Juniata Valley shot 38 percent from the field (18 of 47), while Moshannon netted just 6 of 32 (19 percent).
“I knew that with the illnesses that this was going to be a battle. But, every one that played still gave it their all,” noted Hornet head coach Rachelle Hopsicker. “We didn’t shoot very well in the first half. But, we played more zone tonight and the defense was still solid. Blake always puts herself in a great position and grabs a lot of rebounds. But, I felt we did a good job on her tonight. We really tightened up the defense with man-to-man in the second half.”
Moshannon kept things close in the opening period and trailed by just two at the quarter mark. However, Juniata Valley opened up a 22-14 lead at the intermission, then pushed the score to 43-23 heading into the final stanza.
Maelyn Payne and L. Reed score nine points apiece to help the Hornet junior varsity (6-8) to a 31-30 victory.
Juniata Valley will honor its senior players Monday at home with a non-league contest against District Five Class A power Shanksville. The junior high games begin at 3:30 p.m. with senior recognition at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity game to follow at around 6 p.m. There will be no junior varsity game.