District 2 Girls 4A Second Round (Dunmore vs. Villa Joseph Marie)

Written by: on Sunday, March 13th, 2022



March 13, 2022


Lady Bucks Rally in Closing Seconds


Dunmore 62, Villa Joseph Marie 53 (OT)


By Phil T.

EASTON – When you miss your first 12 attempts from beyond the arc, your odds of winning go down.  When you trail by five with less than 45 seconds to play, your odds of winning go way down.  When your opponent scores first in overtime, your odds of winning generally go…well, you get the idea.  Dunmore defied all of the odds.

Finishing off a triple-header at Easton Middle School, the Lady Bucks took on District 1 Runner-up, Villa Joseph Marie, in the PIAA Girls’ AAAA Second Round.  In an exciting game in which both teams could taste victory, it would be Dunmore who prevailed 62-53 in overtime.

The ending may have been jam-packed with excitement, but both offenses were slow to start as each team went scoreless for the first 2:45.  A Mia Blume drive to the bucket would result in another miss, but a whistle from the referee sent her to the foul line for two shots, which she would convert.

On the ensuing possession Michaela Joniec would get fouled on her shot and eventually get the Jems on the board with two successful attempts at the charity stripe.  Victoria Nigro would eventually score the game’s first field-goal with a drive to the hoop moments later.

The Lady Bucks looked up at the clock and saw a 5-2 deficit with less than three minutes remaining in the opening frame.  With over five game minutes gone, Sophia Talutto would score the Buck’s first bucket with a mid-range jumper.  Moriah Murray followed that basket with a drive that regained the early lead.  

Emma Hagan responded with a triple and Samantha White made a defensive play and took it coast-to-coast for the bucket to give Villa a 10-8 lead after the opening period.

Both teams struggled shooting in opening frame, going a combined 1-14 from beyond the arc.  Dunmore’s potent offense was not clicking to start on this day, shooting 25% from the field in the first period.

As the Lady Buck’s offensive woes continued into the second stanza, the Jems began to attack.  A triple from White sparked her team as Villa went on a 9-2 run to start the quarter, extending their lead to 19-10.  The only bucket Dunmore would get over that stretch was an offensive rebound putback from Talutto.

As the misses began to pile up, 0-12 from 3 FG, Cadence Lewis would end the drought midway through the second quarter.  Joniec would score on the ensuing Jem possession, but that’s when Murray’s switch flipped on.  After her teammate’s successful triple, Murray followed it up with a triple of her own.  She then made a long two-point field goal and later ended the half with another triple as the Lady Buck’s rebounded from a nine-point deficit to tie the game at halftime, 21-21.

Coming out the break Carley Austin would take control for the Jems, scoring her team’s first nine points in the half giving VMJ a 30-26 lead.  Murray would then hit her third triple of the game and pull the Lady Bucks to within one score heading into the fourth quarter (31-29).

After having only three lead changes, all in the first quarter, fans were all on the edge of their seats as the lead would change hands six times in the fourth quarter.

Constantly chasing the Jems, the Lady Bucks jumped out quickly to start the final period with layups from Murray and Talutto to be followed by another Murray triple to put Dunmore up by five to start the frame, 36-31.

A Joniec triple would end the run and a Nigro layup would tie the game at 36.  Talutto put the Bucks back up with a bucket in the paint, but a White triple would retake the lead for Villa Joseph Marie.

White’s triple would start the most exciting exchange of the game as Blume would regain a one-point lead at the foul line for the Bucks followed by triples from Hagan and Murray, to see the lead flip sides again.  After a Jem’s miss, Hagan would come up with a timely steal and finish to give VJM another lead (44-43).  Murray would have a chance to, yet again, take the lead but she would miss her first of two foul attempts and could only tie the game at 44 with less than 90 seconds left to play.

On the ensuing possession Austin would hit a triple, pushing the Jems up by three  (47-44) and a miss on Dunmore’s side put Villa in control.  Unable to get the ball back, Dunmore had to resort to fouling VJM into the bonus.  Over the game’s final moments, the Bucks committed five team fouls ultimately sending White to the charity stripe for the one-and-one bonus, in which she would convert both attempts extending the Jem’s lead to five (49-44) with only 42.1 left on the clock.

The Lady Bucks would move the ball around, ultimately finding an open Blume from beyond the arc to cut the deficit to a single bucket, 49-47.  As both teams came out of the timeout the Dunmore plan was simple: steal or foul.

They could not force a turnover and with keen passing the Jems found Joniec under the basket where she would be fouled on her attempt.  When she missed her first shot Dunmore knew they had a chance. When she missed her second, Dunmore chased after the rebound which ultimately landed in the hands of Villa’s Austin.  After coming up short on the rebound, Talutto would follow the play, through, stealing the ball from Austin and running down the court for the potential game-tying shot.  As she made her attempt the shot was off but the whistle went sent her to the line with another chance to tie the game.

As the freshman stood at the line, with Dunmore’s season in the balance, she remained calm and converted both shots, tying the game at 49 with 19.1 left to play.  Nigro inbounded the ball for the Jems and played the clock to ensure her team had the last shot.  As she drove to the bucket, Murray came in with stalwart defense to prevent the shot from going in and sending the game into overtime tied at 49.

Villa would take the tip-off to start the OT period and White would put her team up with a drive to basket (51-49).  Riding high on keeping her team in the game, Talutto would promptly score to tie the game at 51.  Murray followed her teammate with a triple and two successful foul shots to give Dunmore a five-point lead (56-51) with under 80 seconds remaining in overtime.

The Jems offense went cold at the wrong time as they would not convert another shot from the field in the game.  Nigro would hit both foul shots, cutting the deficit to three (56-53), but Dunmore would convert their next six attempts as they took this thriller 62-53.

Moiah Murray led all scorers with an outstanding 35 points and 12 rebounds for the Lady Bucks.  Sophia Talutto and Mia Blume each added 12 points in the contest.  All five starters played the entire 36 minutes in their team’s victory.

Carly Austin led the Jems with 15 points and five rebounds in the contest.  Samantha White scored 13 points and came up one rebound short of a double-double, finishing with nine boards.

With the win Dunmore advances to the PIAA AAAA Girls’ Quarterfinals and will face District 11 Champion, Jim Thorpe on Wednesday.

After being injured in the District 2 Championship game, Ciera Toomey was seen at the game walking without the use of crutches but was not suited up to play.







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