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Juniata tops Bearcats; Head to play in D6 title tilt

Juniata tops Huntingdon to move to D6 title tilt

LEWISTOWN – It was a homecoming of sorts Tuesday night when the Juniata girls basketball team led by former Mifflin County and Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish went up against a scrappy Huntingdon team at the Mifflin County gym.

It was a successful one but maybe a little more closer than the veteran coach and his team might have liked as the Bearcats went toe-to-toe with the sharp shooting Indians for three and half quarters before taking the contest 51-41.

Coming up clutch for the Juniata girls was Janelle Swartz as she was cool under pressure posting 13 points in the final quarter alone to lead the final charge. Swartz led all scorers with an 18-point performance.

Senior guard Victoria Varner, who was double-teamed and played close all night, managed to still break free enough to post double figure scoring, finishing with 16.

It was a triple to the rescue kind of night as Varner posted three in the first half to keep her team ahead on the scoreboard and Swartz hit three of her four treys when it mattered in the final stanza.

Teammate Rylie Duck had a solid performance, playing a strong defensive contest as well as posting up for nine hard-earned points.

For the Bearcats, the team had very balanced scoring led by the aggressive play by Janey McCrumb. McCrumb led her team with a 12-point effort while teammates Olivia Marker and Brianna Rivello scored 11 points and 10 points, respectively.

It was close from beginning to end as the Indians tallied just a 3-point advantage, 32-29, when the fourth quarter got underway.

Juniata opened with the first possession, getting the ball Amber Myers went for the shot but was fouled. She hit one-of-two from the charity stripe, upping the lead to four.

The defense got the ball back into Juniata’s hands and as the team worked the ball around Swartz found herself with the ball and a clear shot in the corner. She send the ball up from beyond the arc and blasted her first three of the quarter, upping it to 36-29.

McCrumb got the Bearcats on the board in the final stanza when she went right to the heart of the Indians’ defense.

Varner got the ball rolling again for Juniata, hitting a runner in the lane for a tough two.

Rivello got her team back to within five when she hit 2-of-2 of the line after being fouled in the process of shooting.

Minutes later, De Ja Vu happened again for Juniata when the ball got back to Swartz back in the same corner ending with the same results and three that hit nothing but net, making it 41-33 with 3:55 left in the game.

Marker came alive on the offense when she brought her team back on an easy lay up underneath.

Huntingdon would get the game back to within four before Swartz put the first nail in the coffin with her third triple, upping the score to 44-37.

From there, the Indians were able to keep the Bearcats at bay by making their shots from the charity stripe count while the Bearcats went into desperation mode.

Opening up the third quarter the Bearcats trailed by six points, 24-18. However, Huntingdon came scrapping back in the period by outscoring Juniata 11- 8. Leading the way for the Bearcats in the quarter was Rivello with five and McCrum and Emily Kyle with four each.

In the opening minutes of the first quarter, Juniata  opened the game up in easy fashion, posting an 11-2 advantage with four minutes to play.

But the Bearcats weren’t going to be such an easy team to take down as it rallied to end the quarter trailing only by five, 15-10.

Juniata will be back in action Saturday as they will play for the District 6 Class AAA championship at St. Francis University.

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