Tussey Mountain struggled offensively in its second-round PIAA state tournament contest against Vincentian Academy at Central Cambria High School Wednesday. The Titans fell behind in the second quarter and it was the Royals taking a 45-36 decision.
The Titans (18-9) had a hard time generating offense against a taller Royals team that was packed in a zone defense. When Tussey did find an open shot, there were more misses than makes.
“We needed to shoot the ball well and we couldn’t get in foul trouble. We didn’t shoot the ball well and we got in foul trouble,” is how Tussey Mountain head coach Todd Gates summed up the game. “We still competed and were ok. We couldn’t hit shots when we needed to.”
Lexi Weimert led the Titans with 10 points. Sophie Brumbaugh scored nine and Meghan Molosky seven.
Alana Winkler paced the Royals (14-12) with 15 points, most on drives to the basket. Hannah Katz notched 13 points from the low post and Saige Smith added 10 points.
Both teams were slow to get their offense going. Tussey took a 2-0 lead after two and a half minutes had gone by in the first quarter.
Molosky sank a three for a 5-0 lead. Tussey Mountain held an 8-1 lead, but didn’t score the last 2:51 of the period. The Titans were still up 8-5 after one.
Vincentian Academy scored the first nine points of the second period, making it a 13-0 run overall. Tussey Mountain was down seven but cut into the deficit to trail 20-17 at halftime.
“We didn’t make a run when Winkler and Katz were on the bench and we needed to take a lead then,” commented Gates.
The Royals put in the first five points of the second half. They scored on three straight offensive rebounds to edge ahead 27-20.
“They were killing us on the boards because we were tentative being in foul trouble,” remarked Gates.
Maddie Garner made a trey for the Titans to make it a 29-25 game. The Royals scored four points the last 2:31 of the third to lead 33-25. Winkler took the in bounds pass with six seconds left and went coast to coast for a layup at the buzzer.
A bucket by Molosky put the Titans within six at 35-29 in the fourth. Vincentian Academy pulled ahead by 12 with 53 seconds remaining.
“We’ll be back. We have some younger kids coming up. When you look at who we lost to, everybody is a solid team. We’ve had a good season,” noted Gates.
The Titans only lose Garner to graduation before next season.
“Maddie had a great career. She came up as a ninth grader. She’s going to be missed. Her leadership and everything she brought to us,” explained Gates.