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Juniata girls end season with loss to Westmont Hilltop

Photos by Bob Hockenbrock

MIFFLINTOWN – Defense was the name of the game as the number five seeded Westmont Hilltoppers defeated the fourth seed Juniata Indians by the final score of 57-33 in a first round matchup of the District 6 Class 3A girls basketball playoffs Tuesday evening.

It did not take long for the Hilltoppers to go right into their full-court press and attacked the Juniata offense. The Indians had a tough time in bounding the ball let alone getting the ball past the half-court line.

All five starters for Westmont had scored at least a basket for the entire first quarter. Juniata had a tough time trying to attack inside the paint due to the size disadvantage the Indians faced against the 6á1 junior of Carissa Krall and 5á10 Christiana Gordon who refused to allow the Indians chances to drive into the lane.

So Juniata decided to switch up its game plan and became more of a jump shooting teams and started dropping bombs from beyond the arc as the duo of Mackenzie Bennett and Regan Lowrey scored all nine points in the frame all of which were from the three point line.

However, the pressure became too much in the second quarter as the Hilltoppers held the Juniata offense to just two points for the period, which was scored by Bennett.

Westmont big Krall made her presence felt offensively in the period where she scored half of the Westmont offensive outpost and helped extend the lead to a 29-11 lead at halftime.

Then Gordon took her turn in the third quarter offensively and dominated in the period scoring 12 of the 14 total points scored by the Hilltoppers throughout the quarter.

Gordon led the Hilltoppers with 15 points, Krall added another 12 points for the evening.

But despite all of that, the Indians continued to fight on and during the fourth and final quarter of the game. The offense finally broke through the tough Westmont defense as both Bennett and Ava Shearer carried the load for Juniata as the duo combined for all 13 points in the period.

Bennett led the Indians with 14 points. Lowrey was second on the team in scoring with eight points for the night.

With this loss, not only the Juniata season has come to an end, but it is also the end of the Mike Smith era as Smith had announced his retirement late in the season.

And looking back on his coaching career at Juniata, Smith is thankful for all of his players and his coaches for everything that they had done for him. As for this season, coach Smith has no complaints, after the previous season where the Indians had a losing record, to this year where they finished second in the Tri-Valley League, being the only loss for Line Mountain that prevented the Eagles from having an undefeated season in the league. Got to witness a 1,000 points scorer in Bennett, coach Smith feels very grateful for how the season turnout.

Juniata ends its season at (16-7). Congrats for an incredible season!

Westmont 57, Juniata 33
Haley Mummah 1 0-0 2, Autumn Clark 0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Bennett 5 2-4 14, Shalelyn Armstrong 0 0-1 0, Regan Lowrey 3 0-0 8, Mariska Beward 0 0-0 0, Talon Walton 0 0-0 0, Ava Shearer 3 1-2 7, Ima Mercado 0 0-1 0, Anna Mae OáBrien 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 3-7 33
3-point goals: Bennett 2, Lowrey 2
Kendal Shingler 1 2-2 5, Carissa Krall 5 2-3 12, Ella Brawley 3 1-4 7, Olivia Berg 2 0-2 5, Christiana Gordon 7 1-2 15, Beth Buettner 2 0-0 5, Aniyah Gofarth 2 0-0 4, Emily Merritts 0 0-0 0, Zoey Lynch 0 2-2 2, Lilly Craig 1 0-0 2, Jaelynne Schario 0 0-0 0, Aubrie Shingler 0 0-0 0, Isabella Forcey 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 8-15 57
3-point goals: Shingler, Buettner, Berg
Score by quarters
W 17-12-14-14 – 57
J 9-2-9-13 – 33

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