By Andy Close
KANE — Try as they might, Coudersport couldn’t find an answer for Keystone’s Maddie Johnson.
Johnson scored 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as Keystone knocked off Coudy 46-27 in the Class A quarterfinals Friday at Kane High School.
“I always say Maddie’s a gamer,” said Keystone coach Barry Foust. “When Maddie steps on the floor, there’s no doubt she’s going to give you 110 percent each night. She’s an X-factor. She can make things happen and take control of a game. That’s what makes her special.”
Added Coudersport (19-4) coach Chris Fink: “She’s probably the best player we’ve played against all season.”
Johnson sat out last season’s win over Coudersport in the quarterfinals after suffering a serious knee injury, but was a factor right from the get-go in the second meeting between the schools in as many years in the quarterfinal round.
She started off the game with back-to-back three-point plays, as Keystone raced out to a 15-3 lead by the end of the first quarter.
As good as Johnson was, however, it was the collective effort of the Panthers’ defense that spearheaded the quick start.
Keystone (17-7) forced 11 turnovers in the first quarter, which wasn’t lost on Fink.
“A lot of our lack of offense tonight is credited to Keystone’s defense,” he said. “We were ready for the full-court pressure. We just don’t get enough experience against a physical man-to-man defense and I think that showed tonight.”
Coudy cut the lead to single digits just once more, 15-6 after a jumper from Jenna Gabreski, the senior 1,000-point scorer who finished with a team-high 14 points.
Keystone extended it’s lead to 29-12 at halftime, with Johnson accounting for 15 points and nine rebounds in the first 16 minutes.
Keystone’s lead grew to as many as 22 after a free throw from Kennedy McLendon with 5:21 remaining in the game before the 19-point margin of victory.
It was perhaps an upset in seed only, with Coudersport being the No. 2 seed and Keystone No. 7.
But after an impressive win over Cameron County in the opening round, and playing in the very competitive KSAC, it’s easy to see why Keystone is moving on.
“The girls’ goal was to win the KSAC and go from there and now it’s to win the district title,” Foust said. “We’re taking it one game at a time though.”
For Fink and the Lady Falcons, it was a disappointing end to another very good season.
“It was a good year,” he said. “I want to thank the seniors for what they’ve done for the program. They worked hard every night and have a great attitude.”
Keystone will play Venango Catholic, whom they lost to by 21 early in the season, in the semifinals.
Mallory Reed 2-0-0-4, McKenna Shick 2-0-0-5, Kennedy McLendon 1-1-2-3, Maddie Johnson 10-3-4-24, Shayla Chapman 0-0-0-0, Amber Hess 2-0-0-5, Alyssa Beichner 2-0-0-4, Kaci Weaver 0-0-0-0, Maria Bowser 0-1-6-1, Totals 19-5-12-46
Courtney Rogers 1-0-3-2, Keirsten Counts 0-0-0-0, Jenna Gabreski 5-3-7-14, Liz Burd 2-4-6-8, Nicole Fink 0-0-0-0, Emily Morey 0-0-0-0, Kayla Morey 0-0-0-0, Katie Bertrand 1-0-0-2, Macy Gleason 0-1-2-1, Allie Easton 0-0-0-0, Totals 9-8-18-27
Keystone 15 14 10 7—46
Coudersport 3 9 6 9—27
Three-point FGs: Keystone — Shick 1, Johnson 1, Hess 1; Coudersport — Gabreski 1