DuBOIS — The Curwensville and DuBois Central Catholic girls basketball teams entered their matchup Tuesday on opposite ends of the spectrum, and it was the host Lady Cardinals who came away with a much-needed 49-34 late-season victory.
Curwensville (6-11) came in riding a two-game winning streak, while DCC had lost two of its last three after running off four straight victories in mid-January.
And, it was the Lady Cardinals who got back on track, using a stifling pressure defense and a balanced offensive attack to come away with a comfortable 15-point victory.
The teams traded scores throughout the first quarter, with DCC leading 12-11 after eight minutes. The Lady Cardinals then amped up the pressure in the second and forced the Lady Golden Tide into 10 turnovers in the quarter and 26 overall.
Central Catholic (14-7) then capitalized on those turnovers with some easy baskets in transition while also scoring in the half-court set. The Lady Cardinals used an 11-0 run in the quarter to break the game open and outscored Curwensville 16-6 overall in the period to take a 28-17 lead into halftime.
Central carried that momentum into the second half, where the Lady Cardinals used a 12-6 third quarter to extend their lead to 17 at 40-23.
The Lady Cardinals went up by as many as 19 points (46-27) in the fourth before head coach Mike Nesbit began emptying his bench with just under four minutes to play.
DuBois Central Catholic fueled by the senior trio of Riley Assalone, Jordy Frank and Gabby Caruso, who combined to score 39 of DCC’s 49 points. Assalone led the way with 15 points, while Frank and Caruso each had 12.
Curwensville senior Hannah Dixon netted a team-high 18 points, including seven in the final three minutes of the game.
“That team came in a little bit hot,” said Nesbit. “They’re tied for first in the Mo Valley League and beat Glendale, who also is in first place, and then they just beat Johnsonburg. So, they came in with a little bit of confidence, and we certainly couldn’t expect to come in here and walk right over them.
“We knew they were going to compete, and we talked about our girls competing and playing with energy and effort. For us, everything stems from how hard we play — our effort and energy. When we play with a lot of energy, we play well, and we did that tonight.
“We forced a lot of turnovers and got a lot of fastbreak opportunities. We sort of found which press was going to work, and I think our pressure was too much for them to handle. We also were getting a lot of good looks, especially inside in the first half to Gabby, and she was finishing really well.
“Overall, this was a good win going into the last game of (regular) season.”
Both teams opened the game strong, with the teams trading scores the entire first quarter. A basket by Caruso with 39 seconds left in the quarter gave DCC a 12-11 edge after eight minutes.
Caruso and Assalone each scored four first-quarter points for DCC, while Dixon had four for the Lady Tide.
Assalone and the Lady Tide’s Christine Limbert traded three-pointers to open the second quarter before the wheels came off for Curwensville. As the turnovers mounted for the Lady Tide, so did the lead for DCC, as the Lady Cardinals put together an 11-0 run to take a 26-14 advantage with 1:31 left in the half.
Caruso had four points in the spurt, while Frank capped in it with five straight points, including a three-point play.
Dixon ended a 5:27 scoring drought for Curwensville with a 3-pointer at the 1:18 mark to make it 26-17. However, Assalone scored on a breakaway with 17 seconds remaining to send DCC into the break up 28-17.
Assalone had seven of her 15 points in the second quarter, while Frank added five points in the second.
Central Catholic picked up where it left off to open the third, with Assalone scoring back-to-back hoops to push the Lady Cardinal lead to 32-17.
Baskets by Caruso and Macey Hanes, along with another three-point play from Frank helped DCC grab a 40-23 advantage after three quarters.
The teams traded scores to open the fourth before buckets by Caruso and Alyssa Bittner put DCC up 46-27 with 4:36 to play. At that point, Nesbit began emptying his bench and got everyone on the roster some varsity time.
Central Catholic scored just three points in the final four minutes — on a Bittner free throw and late basket by Jordy Kosko — while Dixon scored all seven Lady Tide points in that same closing stretch to set the final.
Central Catholic concludes the regular season Thursday at home when it hosts Union in a varsity only game at 7 p.m. for Senior Night.
Curwensville is back in action tonight at home against Clearfield.