ST. MARYS — The St. Marys girls basketball team kicked off the Elk County Tournament on Friday with one of the more exciting games on the first day, holding off Johnsonburg with a 40-39 win at St. Marys Area High School.

“They really wanted it and they went out and got it,” said St. Marys assistant coach Kayla Hoohuli.

“I think that our shots falling was definitely a confidence booster.”

With the win, the Lady Dutch improved to 5-2 on the season and faced Elk County Catholic in the tournament championship game on Saturday. The Lady Crusaders beat Ridgway, 51-32, in the second game of the tournament on Friday.

Johnsonburg fell to 4-4 on the year and beat Ridgway, 50-48, in overtime in Saturday’s consolation game.

“I don’t know if it was the layoff with Christmas or what, but we were definitely off shooting,” said Ramettes coach Mike King.

“St. Marys is a scrappy team. They hustle, attack, everything. They beat us to 50-50 balls and they outrebounded us.”

Despite St. Marys coming out on the winning end, they didn’t take their first lead of the game until there were five minutes left in the game.

Trailing 32-30, the Lady Dutch’s Megan Quesenberry sunk a three-pointer to give her team the lead that would not be given back.

However, Johnsonburg did keep it a one-possession game the rest of the way.

Down 39-38, Johnsonburg was given possession on a jump ball with 32 seconds remaining. However, St. Marys forced another jump ball on the other end of the court with 12 seconds, forcing the Ramettes to foul.

On the ensuing play, the officials hit Johnsonburg with an intentional foul on St. Marys’ Samantha Hayes with 7.8 ticks on the clock. Hayes hit one of the two free throws to make it 40-38.

“I didn’t see it,” said King of the intentional foul. “I don’t know if she came from behind and pushed or what it was. I wish I could’ve seen it.”

Johnsonburg then fouled Lauren Eckert for a one-and-one from the line. Eckert missed and the Ramettes picked up the rebound.

Johnsonburg’s Cassidy King took the ball down the court and was fouled with 1.1 second to go.

King missed the first foul shot and made the second to set the final.

Johnsonburg took a 13-10 lead after one quarter of play. King put her team up with a runner with over four minutes left to put her team up 8-6. They didn’t give up the lead again until the Quesenberry trey, although St. Marys did also tie it once in the fourth quarter off of a Hayes three-pointer.

The Ramettes picked up their largest lead of the game in the second quarter at eight points after a Rylee Casilio three-pointer with just over a minute left gave Johnsonburg a 22-14 lead.

Still, Bekka Bauer had a putback bucket before the half as Johnsonburg went to the locker room up 22-16.

The Lady Dutch chipped away at the Johnsonburg lead all through the second half. The closest they got it was to two points off a Kyla Johnson three-pointer at 29-27 with 3:15 left in the third.

Hayes’ three to start the fourth tied the game at 30 before Casilio and Kocjancic made a free throw each before Quesenberry’s trey gave St. Marys the lead.

In the second game of the afternoon, the Lady Crusaders had almost everything go their way while Ridgway had almost nothing go their way.

Although it started out well for the Lady Elkers as they pulled out to a 6-2 lead thanks to a layup from Casey Woodford, and a couple buckets from Emily Fullem.

However, the Lady Crusaders got the lead by the end of the quarter after Sady VanAlstine’s three with 39 seconds left gave ECC a 9-6 lead.

ECC’s Taylor Newton got herself going in the second quarter as she gave her team the lead for good on a layin, giving ECC a 12-11 lead with six minutes to play in the first half.

ECC used that bucket to spark a 9-1 run to give the Lady Crusaders a 20-12 lead.

The buckets just kept coming for ECC in the second quarter. The Lady Crusaders scored 19 second quarter points and went to halftime up 28-16.

It was more of the same in the second half for the Lady Crusaders, which started the third quarter on a 7-0 run. Newton had four points in the run, while Mackenzie Cashmer hit a free throw and McKayla Wilson put in a layin to give ECC a 35-16 lead with 3:35 left in the third quarter.

Ridgway’s Karley LaBenne was held scoreless in the first half, but accounted for 12 of her team’s 16 points in the second half to lead the way for the Lady Elkers.

Once again in the fourth quarter, it was Newton that led the way for ECC with six points.

Newton had 18 points to lead Elk County Catholic.

Woodford had nine points for Ridgway, while Fullem was held to seven points.

Elk County Catholic is back in action on Tuesday at Kane. St. Marys, Ridgway and Johnsonburg will all hit the court again on Wednesday. St. Marys hosts Bradford, while Johnsonburg hosts North Clarion. Ridgway will travel to Curwensville.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Elk County Tournament was not covered on Saturday due to press time on Saturday night.

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