District 2 in PIAA Girls 4A Quarter-Final (Dunmore vs. Jim Thorpe)

Written by: on Thursday, March 17th, 2022

 

 

March 16, 2022

 

Bucks Season Ends

 

Jim Thorpe 40, Dunmore 39

 

BERWICK – The comeback began in the third period and by the time the final buzzer sounded, it was the Olympians that came all the way back to grab the lead, outscoring Dunmore 15-6 in the final quarter.  And while the Lady Bucks dominated at times early on and held onto the lead for all but 2.7 seconds of the game, it was the final score that mattered most.  As Jim Thorpe celebrated the 40-39 victory at midcourt, the Dunmore faithful fell silent as they tried to figure out how this one slipped away.  The win puts the Olympians into Saturday’s PIAA Girls 4A Semi-Finals where they will face defending state champion Archbishop Wood.   
After winning the opening tip, Jim Thorpe proceeded to pass the ball around the perimeter, seeming trying to asses their opponent’s weakness.  Senior guard Mia Blume would get Dunmore on the board first.  She then made a steal and hit a layup before Drexel-bound senior guard Moriah Murray would add a layup for a 6-0 lead.  Leah Snitsky would get Jim Thorpe on the board at the 4:40 mark.  The Lady Bucks would then go on a 9-0 run keyed by seven straight points from freshman guard Sophia Talluto and a fast break layup from junior guard Cadie Lewis.  Junior Mackenzie Yuhas nailed a baseline jumper to bring the Olympians with ten points (16-6) after the first period.
Dunmore would extend their lead into the second quarter as Blume got things going with a triple.  Skyler Searfoss (senior guard) would score all five points in the stanza for Jim Thorpe as she converted a nifty spinning layup.  She also made a great steal, but missed the finish at the basket, but she was beginning to make her presence known.  Sophomore forward Tristan Canavan scored a layup before Lewis added a pair of free throws to send Dunmore into the locker room with a 25-11 lead.  And while the 14-point lead was quite impressive, the points left off the board would begin adding up as this one went along. 
Jim Thorpe entered the second half focused on hitting the boards and getting the ball to the basket.  It worked.  Yuhas got their 9-0 run started.  Senior center Olivia Smelas got a putback and an “and 1” opportunity before senior Leila Hurley connected on a triple.  Suddenly it was a 25-20 game and the Jim Thorpe fans made their approval heard throughout the gym.  Dunmore would regroup with a 7-0 spurt with triples by Murray and Talluto wrapped around a free throw by Talluto to go back up by  twelve, 32-20.  But, JT would respond quickly as Snisky connected on a trey and Smelas added a layup.  Murray would connect on a free throw with 0.3 on the clock to give the Lady Bucks a 33-25 advantage heading into the final frame.
Talluto and Snitsky would trade baskets before a Snitsky trey at the 6:03 mark again pulled the Olympians within five points, 35-30.  Murray’s score from in the paint was followed by a pairs free throws by both Smelas and Searfoss to bring Jim Thorpe within a single possession, 37-34.  Things got a bit frantic as teams traded turnovers before Snisky and Murray traded scores (39-36).  A putback by Snisky made this a one-point game, 39-38.  In the closing half-minute, Murray would miss the front end of two 1+1`  opportunities, hustling to get the rebound off the first miss to get back to the line.  Jim Thorpe would then get the ball to Searfoss in the lane for a clutch double-pump shot that gave the Olympians a pulsating 40-39 lead, their first of the game.  Coming out of a timeout, Dunmore had to go the length of the floor with only 2.7 seconds remaining and the Murray heave from midcourt had the distance, but caromed off the board to the right of the basket, sending both teams into a rollercoaster of emotions.
Jim Thorpe was led by Olivia Smelas with 12 points, all in the second half.  Leah Snisky added 10, including a pair of second half triples.  Skyler Searfoss contributed 9 points, none bigger than the final two.
Dunmore was paced by Sophia Talluto with 14 points while Moriah Murray netted 10 points.  The Lady Bucks only converted 5 of their 14 free throw opportunities.
With the win, Jim Thorpe (28-1) advances to the PIAA Girls 4A Semi-Finals where they will face District 12 Champion Archbishop Wood  (23-5) on Saturday.

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