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Penns Valley notches Playoff victory over Richland

By Kenny Varner

SPRING MILLS – It was a thrill a minute.

Wednesday night, the Penns Valley girls basketball team hosted Richland in the District 6 Class AAA quarterfinals.

The game would take many turns and momentum shifts before coming down to the final minutes before the game would be decided.

In the end, the Penns Valley defense came up strong when needed healing the Penns Valley girls to the exciting 39-32 victory.

Kailen Winkleblech finished strong posting a double-double as she hit a game-high 16 points and pulled down 20 rebounds.

Penns Valley also had two other finish with double-digit rebounds as Leah Beben and Kaitlyn Romig both pulled down 10 each.

“I’m speechless because this was a heck of a way to finish. That was a good game and we did our thing,” said Penns Valley coach Terrance Green. “We needed everybody. At this time of the year that’s what you talk about. That’s what we worked all year for was contributions. Who ever got in the game they contributed in some way.”

For Richland, center Jordyn Kinsey just missed a double-double pulling down 15 boards and finishing with nine point.

Teammates Mel Bowser and Logan Roman also finished with nine.

Things started strong for Penns Valley as they came out on a 5-0 run.

Penns Valley found itself trailing in the final stanza, 30-28.

But they broke out of the fourth on a pair of free throws by Winkleblech knotting it at 30. On the play, Kinsey picked up her fourth foul.

With Penns Valley having the ball in  its end, Richland went to a full court press.

But it would be broken as Penns Valley got the ball up the court to a sprinting Anna Marie McMurtrie.

McMurtrie’s lay up gave them the lead again.

Kinsey continued to do her job inside and tied things at 32 after going 2-for-2 at the foul line with 4:58 left.

Seconds later, Beben put her team back ahead as she hit a tough shot underneath.

With 4:45 left, Kinsey fouled out of the game.

“She’s a heck of a player and as I told her coach. She’s a heck of a player and one that you focus on and that was our game plan,” said Green. “We tried to make sure we kept her off the boards and we did a good job recognizing it.”

After battling for the ball on Richland’s next possession, the Rams got possession and quickly called time out.

But Richland got the ball back but it would only be momentarily as Ann-Marie McMurtrie played the role of the pick pocket and stole the ball and went in for the uncontested lay up with 3:30 left.

Down the stretch, the Penns Valley defense held while the offense took the clock down and finished things going on a 3-0 run.

Winkleblech started the scoring on an offensive rebound and that was followed by three points by Romig.

Richland got on the board on a steal from Bowser.

With 2:15 left, Winkleblech added her second bucket of the day.

But Richland ended the period on a 3-0 run, closing the deficit to 7-5.

As the game grew older the intensity increased as the two came out firing in the second.

Richland struck first, taking the lead for the first time on a triple by Bowser, making it 8-7.

On Penns Valley next possession, Beben got open down low and got the ball and shot, taking backing the lead.

But Richland answered Beben’s shot with a triple by Emma Malejovich, upping the lead to a 11-9 advantage.

But again, Winkleblech was cool under pressure sending up a triple of her own, giving Penns Valley a one-point lead.

An inside bucket by Richland’s Logan Roman, changed the lead again.

But Penns Valley would have an answer to end the half as it scored three points to take a 15-14 lead at the intermission.

Penns Valley travels to a Central Cambria on Monday to play in the semi finals.

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