By Andy Close
ST. MARYS – The young Kane girls basketball team continues to amaze.
Down by six at halftime, the Lady Wolves (13-12), the No. 7 seed in Class AA, outscored No. 2 seed Curwensville 21-8 in the third quarter en route to a 52-45 victory in the D-9 Class AA quarterfinals Thursday at St. Marys High School.
“We’re gutsy,” Kane coach Dave Kiehl said. “I’m proud of these kids. They’re young and they’re feisty.”
They certainly came out that way in the third quarter.
Taylor Morgan, Kane’s leading scorer on the season, attacked the basket with tenacity in the third, converting five of six free throws as part of a 16-point, 10-rebound effort.
Kane took the lead for the first time in the game on a jumper from freshman point guard Kiley Kinney with 3:43 left in the third quarter, and never trailed again.
Katelyn Moran came off the bench to hit a pair of jumpers as Kane led by as much as nine, 42-33.
Turnovers were also key to the Kane charge, as they forced 20 for the game, including eight in the third quarter.
“Our defense was key,” Kiehl said. “And we were able to attack the basket. We have to keep playing defense and we did that.”
They also did a number on explosive Curwensville junior Ciara Strickland.
Strickland, who needed 17 points for 1,000 in her career, looked like she would get it was ease in the first half, scoring 12 points as the Lady Tide (15-8), took a 27-21 lead into halftime after leading by as many as eight.
Much like in the second regular season meeting between the teams (Kane won both games by 11 points), when Strickland scored all 17 of her points in the first half, Kane did a good job containing her in the final 16 minutes.
“Give that kid credit, she can hit ’em,” Kiehl said.
Strickland finished with 16 points, giving her 999 for her career going into her senior season.
“The key was that Kane started making baskets and we didn’t,” said Curwensville coach Rusty McCracken. “For the most part we do a good job handling the ball but we threw the ball away because we tried to make things happen too much.”
Curwensville cut the lead to five on several occasions in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer.
Tierra Shope was also in double figures for the Lady Tide with 13 points, while Kinney finished with 13 for Kane.
Next up for the Lady Wolves is No. 3 seed Clarion-Limestone, a 50-38 winner over Cranberry Wednesday, in the semifinals last week.
“We’re going to have our work cut out for us, C-L is big,” Kiehl said, while adding that he is having a tremendous amount of fun this season. “I’m having fun. Maybe the kids our so innocent they don’t know any better, but I have freshmen talking strategy with me. Isn’t that exciting?”
The Kane-Clarion-Limestone game will be at a site and time to be determined next week.
Taylor Morgan 3-10-16-16, Kiley Kinney 5-3-4-13, Camryn Cummings 3-1-2-7, Sydney Dyne 1-1-2-3, Emily Truden 0-3-4-3, Kelsey Johnson 1-0-0-2, Katelyn Moran 3-0-0-6, Emily Hauser 1-0-0-2, Alania Barner 0-0-0-0, Totals 17-18-28-52
Ciara Strickland 4-5-6-16, Heather Thorp 3-0-2-7, Tierra Shope 3-7-11-13, Abby Dugo 1-0-0-2, Kealy Wassil 1-0-0-2, Hannah Dixon 1-0-0-3, Shauna Guy 1-0-0-2, Totals 14-12-19-45
Kane 9 12 21 10-52
Curwensville 14 13 8 10-45
Three-Point FGs: Kane – None; Curwensville – Strickland 3, Thorp 1, Dixon 1