BY HEIDI ZENEFSKI
The Lady Meteors held onto their Denise Reddon tournament champion title – capturing their fifth crown in as many years.
The Montrose girls’ defeated Elk Lake Lady Warriors in the final game to retain the title. The 2014 Denise Reddon Girls Basketball Tournament was held at Montrose Area High School, Dec. 26-27. Four county high schools participate in the annual event and take turns hosting the event in conjunction with the annual Boys Basketball County Christmas Tournament. Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Montrose, and Susquehanna each send a team which has four games on the first day and four games on the second day.
Elk Lake vs. Susquehanna
The first game was between the Lady Warriors of Elk Lake and the Lady Sabers of Susquehanna. The Sabers took an early lead and outscored the Warriors 16-12 in the first half of the game.
However, the Lady Warriors refused to go away quietly and fought back in the second half to avoid going to the consolation game.
During the third quarter the score was tied three times with Elk Lake’s Kerri Jones scoring the first tying basket. Susquehanna’s Gabrielle Cina scored the go-ahead foul shot and was followed by another tying foul shot made for Elk Lake by Julie Van Etten.
Lauren Soden scored the second go-ahead goal for the Lady Sabers in the back and forth third quarter, but it was Abby Johns who scored the third and final go-ahead basket for the Lady Warriors to take the lead permanently for Elk Lake, who had outscored Susquehanna 9-4 by the end of the third quarter.
The momentum continued for the Lady Warriors who, once again outscored the Lady Sabers 15-11 in the last quarter to defeat Susquehanna 36-31 and advance to the championship game the next day.
Whitney Tyler was the high scorer for Elk Lake with 10 points, followed by Darci Warner and Abby Johns with eight points each.
Nicole Barnes scored eight points for the Lady Sabers followed by Alyssa Sweeney and DJ Decker with five points each.
The second game was played between the Montrose Lady Meteors and the Blue Ridge Lady Raiders. The first quarter was all about Montrose’s Meghan Gilhool, who was on fire and made four 3-pointers plus a field goal in the first quarter alone to rack up 14 points. Montrose went on to outscore Blue Ridge 18-3 in the first quarter.
Blue Ridge picked up their game in the second quarter by scoring nine points, but so did Montrose by scoring 21 points despite the starters coming out and the JV players going into the game mid-way through the quarter.
After half time the Lady Meteors outscored the Lady Raiders 16-10 in the third quarter including Gilhool’s fifth and final 3-pointer of the game. Angela Russell also put a three on the board for Montrose.
The Montrose starters did not play in the fourth quarter at all, giving some quality varsity time for the JV players. The Lady Raiders outscored the Lady Meteors 11-7, which included a 3-pointer from Kalynne Myers. It was not enough to take the lead so Montrose advanced to the championship game by earning a final score of 62-29. Gilhool was the high scorer for Montrose with 26 points. Morgan Groover followed with nine points. Isabella Cosmello scored 10 points for Blue Ridge followed by Megan Houlihan with seven points.
On the second day of the tournament, Saturday play action started with the Consolation Game between the Lady Sabers and the Lady Raiders.
Blue Ridge’s Cosmello scored all six of their points in the first quarter, but it was no match for the 21 points put up by Susquehanna. Ten of those points were scored by Mikayla Hargett and they were the only points she scored during the game.
Susquehanna played excellent defense in the second quarter holding Blue Ridge to only two points which were scored by Houlihan. The Lady Sabers added 12 points to increase their lead. At half time the score was 33-8 in their favor.
The Lady Raiders worked during the third quarter to keep pace with the Lady Sabers and it paid off for them. Both teams scored 11 points in during the quarter.
The final quarter was again a close fight but ended with Susquehanna outscoring Blue Ridge 11-10 for a final score of 55 to 29. DJ Decker was the high scorer for Susquehanna with 15 points, followed by Haley Aldrich with 11 points. Cosmello was the high scorer for Blue Ridge with 16.
After the game the Blue Ridge girls came out of the locker room in tears, but not because they lost the game, but because they had played their last game with teammate, Hunter Vaughn, who is moving to Florida.
Montrose vs. Elk Lake
The Championship Game between the Montrose Lady Meteors and the Elk Lake Lady Warriors was played later that night. Montrose started strong with offense scoring 18 points in the first half, but their defense was even better and did not allow Elk Lake to score a point until 18 seconds before half time when Kerri Jones made a foul shot. At half time the score was 18-1.
The Lady Warriors fared better in the third quarter and scored nine points, including a 3-pointer from Justine Johns, but the Lady Meteors more than doubled that by adding another 20 points to the scoreboard which included 3-pointers from Gilhool and Russell.
In the final quarter of the game, Elk Lake matched their third quarter score with another nine points.
With four minutes left in the game, Montrose coach Al Smith, pulled his varsity team from the game and put in the JV team to play. The Lady Meteors scored 10 points.
With 13 seconds left in the game Smith put the five starting seniors back in the game to finish it out and let them have the final buzzer for the championship together on the court. They did not attempt to score another basket and let the final score stand at 48-19.
The Lady Meteors were the defending tournament champions and have remained undefeated in the tournament since its inception.
Gilhool and Russell were the high scorers for Montrose with 11 each and Morgan Groover led handily under the basket with 11 rebounds and three blocks. Justine Johns led Elk Lake with seven points.
The coaches for each team that participated in the tournament chose a player from his or her team to be named to the All-Tournament Team. The players were DJ Decker, Susquehanna; Isabella Cosmello, Blue Ridge; Justine Johns, Elk Lake; and Morgan Groover, Montrose.
The tournament MVP was Montrose’s Meghan Gilhool.