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Lewistown Lady Panthers
Kevin Kodish
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Lewistown, Pennsylvania
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Thursday, October 14
2010-11 Lady Panther Varsity Game Schedule

2009-10 GAME SCHEDULE

Lady Panthers in the PIAA State Tournament
Lady Panthers in the PIAA State Tournament through the years:
1989: 0-1
1990: 0-1
1995: 2-1 Finished in Elite 8
1996: 2-1 Finished in Elite 8
1997: 5-0 State Champions
1998: 5-0 State Champions
1999: 0-1
2000: 0-1
2001: 2-1 Finished in Elite 8
2002: 0-1
2003: 3-1 Finished in Final 4
2004: 4-1 State Runner-Up
2005: 3-1 Finished in Final 4
2007: 1-1 Finished in Sweet 16
2008: 0-1
2009: 0-1
2011: 0-1
TOTALS: 27 WINS, 15 LOSSES; .643 winning percentage

LADY PANTHER PIAA TOURNEY FACTOIDS:

*STARTING WITH 1995, THE LADY PANTHERS QUALIFIED FOR THE STATE TOURNAMENT 11 CONSECUTIVE YEARS, 14 OUT OF 15 YEARS, AND 15 OUT OF 17 YEARS.
*THE LADY PANTHERS HAVE LOST IN THE FIRST ROUND IN JUST EIGHT OF THE 17 YEARS THEY HAVE QUALIFIED.
*IN EIGHT OF THE NINE YEARS THE LADY PANTHERS WON IN THE OPENING ROUND, THEY ALSO WON IN THE SECOND ROUND AS WELL!
*THE LADY PANTHERS HAVE MADE IT TO AT LEAST THE STATE "FINAL FOUR" IN FIVE OF THE LAST 15 SEASONS --- FINISHING THIRD ONCE, SECOND ONCE, AND FIRST IN BOTH 1997 AND 1998.
*THE LADY PANTHERS HAVE MADE IT TO AT LEAST THE ELITE EIGHT 8 TIMES IN THE LAST 17 SEASONS.





NEWSPAPER ARTICLES FROM 2004-05 SEASON
2004-05 Season

Prepping for Final Four
Lady Panthers fend off Scranton Prep
Kenny Varner Sentinel Reporter
   
    MECHANICSBURG — In every successful play off run, a team will face many different challenges and obstacles and must overcome many to be successful. On Saturday, the Lewistown Lady Panthers hurdled one large obstacle in the form of a 6-foot-4 inch player Kristin Folk, and a sharpshooting guard, Molly Cowley. Despite the height disadvantage, the Panthers out-rebounded and outscored the Scranton Prep Classics 66-42, in the Cumberland Valley High School gym advancing them to the PIAA Final Four. Lewistown won the “battle for the boards” by a 28-24 decision.
    Leading the way for the Lady Panthers (28-2) was Brittney Stauffer with 19 points. Stauffer was huge from beyond the arc, with six treys. She was followed by Jenny Cunningham’s 18-point, nine-rebound, three steal performance. Rounding out the double-digit scorers for Lewistown was Jenna Craig with 16. Craig also collected 10 rebounds, one block, six assists and three steals. Emily Searer collected eight assists and had a seven point effort in the contest.
    Scranton Prep (24-7) was led in scoring by Cowley, who had 16 points, and Folk, who netted 12 and collected nine rebounds, in a losing effort.
    The game started off in the Classics’ favor on Cowley’s drive and shot that took her across the middle of the key and onto the scoreboard, 2-0. Cowley picked up two more points just seconds later on two free throws from the charity stripe, making it 4-0.
    Lewistown got on the scoreboard in a big way when Stauffer squared up from behind the line and launched her first triple attempt. She found nothing but the bottom of the net, bringing Lewistown to within one at 4-3.
    Cowley put the Classics out by three by hitting a wide open jumper, taking a 6-3 advantage.
    On the following Panther possession, Lewistown went back inside to Jenny Cunningham. Cunningham muscled her way into the lane and in for two points. Cunningham’s shot went right over the outstretched arms of Folk.
    The Panthers’ defense started to tighten up. After holding Prep on the offensive end, the Panthers got the ball to their floor leader, Searer. Searer called her own number as she went up for a trey of her own. However, Prep hacked her on the way up and forced her to go to the line and shoot three. Searer, seemingly unphased, went right to work and hit on all three attempts, putting Lewistown in the lead for the first time at 8-6.
    The Lewistown defense again came up big by forcing another Classic miscue. This one resulted in Stauffer’s second triple of the ball game, giving the Panthers some breathing room at 11-6. Stauffer went 6-for-8 in the contest from beyond the arc.
    Prep chipped away at the Panthers’ lead, picking up consecutive baskets from Cowley and Folk to cut the lead to 11-10.
    “Brittney (Stauffer) got on a roll early and forced them to come out on her and that opened up the inside,” said Lewistown head coach Kevin Kodish. “I felt we did an admirable job overall.”
    With the game close, the Panthers went to their hot hand, in Stauffer. Stauffer didn’t hesitate to answer the call, lighting up her third triple, again giving the Panthers a little room to breathe.
    The quarter ended with Prep’s Ellen Lavelle sneaking one in off the inbounds pass ending the scoring in the first, at 14-12.
    The second quarter started off a little shaky for “The Blue and White” when Prep went on a 4-0 run to get the quarter underway. Cowley and Folk were at it again, putting the Classics ahead 16-14.
    The Panthers called a quick time out to regroup, with 7:08 showing on the clock. The Panthers used the time out wisely and went on a scoring run of their own. Cunningham got Lewistown off and running on a mid-range jumper, tying the game at 16-16.
    Craig followed with an offensive put back on the Panthers’ next possession to take the lead again, 18-16. Rachel Griffith ended the 6-0 spurt as she went up for the easy jumper, thanks to a pinpoint pass from Craig.
    Prep brought the game to within two for the last time when Cowley hit a runner in the lane for the bucket cutting the lead to 20-18.
    However, the Panthers were just getting warmed up, outscoring the Classics the rest of the half 10-2. At intermission, the Panthers held a comfortable eight point lead, 30-22.
    The Panthers scoring run was led by Craig, who tallied 10 points.
    After both teams exited the lockeroom for the third quarter, the momentum and the lead went right to the Panthers who blew open the game by going on a scoring run of 20-5 in the third quarter that sealed the victory and give the Lady Panthers’ reserves some floor time and valuable play off experience. As the third quarter ended, the Panthers were eight minutes away from a final four match up against Mercyhurst Prep. The Panthers led 50-27 when the fourth quarter got underway.
    “We’re traditionally a third -quarter team,” Kodish said. “I thought we came out strong. It wasn’t bad first half, we just played a super third quarter.”
    Stauffer led the way for the Panthers in the period with seven.
    Prep tried to put off the inevitable but to no avail as the Panthers went on to the victory and a spot in the PIAA Final Four. The trip is the third in as many years for the Lady Panthers. Lewistown will face Mercyhurst Prep on Wednesday at the Tippen Center in Clarion at 7:00 p.m. for the right to play in the finals at Hershey park, Saturday.
    “This was a great boost to know how well we can play when we need to,” said Cunningham. “Everybody played a great game tonight.”
    Mercyhurst Prep advanced to the final four with a 27-26 win over Moon, Saturday. Earlier in the season, the Panthers also defeated Moon, but by six points.

* * * * * * * * * *

Overtime nailbiter
Lady Panthers advance to face Scranton-Prep
Kenny Varner Sentinel Reporter
   
    CLARION — The Lewistown Lady Panthers’ playoff trail sent them due North to the familiar confines of Clarion University, where the team faced off against Villa Maria in the second round of the PIAA playoffs. The scene was a familiar one to the Lady Panthers as they fell two years ago to Villa Maria.
    However, Lewistown (27-2) got the best of this contest, winning 48-42 in overtime. The game was not for the faint of heart, with many lead changes and momentum shifts.
    Jenny Cunningham led the Panthers in the scoring department with a 20-point effort and she tallied six rebounds. Emily Searer followed up Cunningham’s performance with 12 points, going 4-of-6 from the charity stripe.
    In the fourth period, the Panthers found themselves in unfamiliar territory, trailing 32-31.
    The Panthers took the lead back for the third time when Cunningham took the ball right into traffic and came out with the bucket and the 33-32 lead. Searer put the Lady Panthers up 34-32 as she hit 1-of-2 from the line.
    Villa Maria came firing back. Steph Prishak tied the game at 34 by taking a strong shot to the hole. After a Lewistown miscue, the Victors took back the lead on a Prishak basket underneath. Villa Maria called a timeout to go over their strategy for the remaining 4:47.
    However, it was the Panthers who used the timeout to their advantage as they quickly tied the game on a Cunningham jumper from the key.
    The Victors refused to surrender their lead, Nicole DiRaimo hit two of her 16 points on free throws, making it 38-36 with 3:16 still left in this back-and-forth contest.
    The Victors went up by four, 40-36. Prishak scored on a steal of a Searer pass and went coast-to coast for the lay-in.
    The steal did not deter the veteran Panther team. Searer was able to shake off the interception and find an open Jenna Craig seconds later for the easy two. The game was just starting to heat up.
    With 57 ticks left in regulation, Panther forward Rachel Griffith made the biggest play on the night up until that point as she trapped guard Ashley Madigan up against the sidelines and then out-of-bounds.
    With the new found life, the Panthers made the most of their chance when they went to their bread-and-butter, a pass inside to Cunningham. Cunningham was automatic and the game was now tied, 40-40.
    “It feels great,” said Cunningham. “We lost to them two years ago on this same court. We came out and played as a team. I thought we played an excellent game.”
    Neither team was able to convert the rest of the way. As the fourth quarter ended, the game was a stalemate at 40-40.
    In the overtime period, the Panthers made the best of their new life and took control of the ball game. However, it wasn’t the regular high scorers for Lewistown that had the biggest shot and most memorible moment of the game, that belonged to Griffith.
    “It’s definitely the biggest shot of my career,” said Griffth. “I was very excited when it went in.”
    With the game tied at 42-42 with 1:19 left, the Panthers got the ball to Griffith, who was alone at the key and she didn’t hesitate to take the shot. The ball found nothing but the bottom of the net putting the Panthers ahead 44-42. Emily Searer added some insurance points seconds later by hitting 2-of-2 from the line. Cunningham put the last nail in the Victors coffin as she also went a perfect 2-of-2 from the line.
    “It was a clutch, mega clutch shot by Rachel (Griffith),” said Lewistown head coach Kevin Kodish. “We practice that shot in practrice. She stepped up and wasn’t afraid to take the shot. Rachel had two big plays for us as she helped force a turnover with under minute to play. Those were two keys of the game.”
    In the third quarter, the Panthers went in with the lead but were outscored in the quarter 14-9. Cunningham shifted the momentum of the game by hit a follow up shot at the buzzer to put the Panthers down only by one, 33-32.
    The Panthers opened a big lead in early in the first. Going into the second stanza Lewistown had a 13-4 lead. However, that lead would get shortened by the Victors. Villa Maria outscored Lewistown 14-9.
    In the first the Panthers defense showed its fangs early by pitching a shutout for all but 45-seconds of the quarter. Villa Maria was able to notch two field goals late but found themsleves trailing 13-4.
    Lewistown moves into the Elite Eight with its win Wednesday and will face Scranton Prep on Saturday at a time and location to be announced. Tickets are available at the Lewistown High School this morning and cost $3 per student and $6 per adult.
    “We keep our streak alive,” said Kodish. “Every time we’ve won the first game of state competition we also have won our second. We’re happy to come out with the win.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Mission 1: Complete
Lady Panthers cruise into second round of states
Kenny Varner Sentinel Reporter
   
    STATE COLLEGE — The Lewistown girls took their first steps on the state tournament trail Saturday as the Lewistown Lady Panthers basketball team defeated Chartiers Valley, 62-40, in the first round of the PIAA state play off .
    The Panthers (26-2) were led in the scoring department by Jenny Cunningham, who scored a game high 26 points. Cunningham also tallied 10 rebounds, two blocks and two assists in the contest. Teammate Jenna Craig followed with a double-double of her own scoring 19 points and 15 rebounds. Craig also had four blocks and three assists. Panther point guard Emily Searer passed out the assists tallying six on the afternoon. Rachel Griffith chipped in with five rebounds of her own to go along with two points. Rounding out the Panthers’ performers was Brittney Stauffer with two treys and three assists.
    “Come playoff time you have to expect anything,” said Griffith, when asked if she was surprised on the physical play of the Colts. “You either win or you go home. We knew what we had to do and what we do is play a tough defense.”
    The game started out in the Panthers' favor with the tip and the first possession belonging to Lewistown. The Panthers went immediately to Cunningham in the middle of the lane and she was automatic, making it 2-0.
    The Colts seemed undaunted as they went to their inside game with Stacie Aleski crossing for the jumper and the bucket.
    The Panthers crept out on a quick 6-0 run sparked by Craig who went straight into traffic for the tough jumper.
    After baskets from Searer and Cunningham made it 8-2, the Colts put a stop to the run with a bucket of their own with 5:10 left on the first-quarter clock. Allie Wandrisco found herself open on a backdoor move and put it in for the easy short jumper.
    The Panthers rallied again by going on another 6-0 run, this time sparked by the floor play of Searer. Searer put the first points of the run on the board hitting a mid range jumper to put the Panthers in double-digits at 10-4. The Panthers went right at the Colts' strengths as they forced Chartiers Valley to shoot unbalanced shots, which gave the Panthers the advantage. When the run was over, the Panthers held a convincing 14-4 lead with over four minutes remaining.
    The Colts mounted a run of their own with two and a half minutes left in the quarter. It started when Lindsey Hyre found herself with the ball and went coast-to-coast for the lay-up. After a Lewistown missed shot, the Colts notched a second consecutive basket. Undersized at 5 foot 7, Aleski hit a high lofting shot over the reach of Cunningham, making it 14-8.
    “We knew that they were a very physical team, and not having anyone over 5 foot 7 inches, they wanted to be aggressive,” said Lewistown head coach Kevin Kodish. “We just wanted to emphasize the things we do well. They [Chartiers Valley] made over 150 3-point shots this year and we held them to only one.”
    The Colts outscored the Panthers 5-3 to end the opening period of play, making it a 17-11 contest.
    The Colts continued their scoring run into the second quarter closing the gap to 18-15 with five minutes left in the first half.
    “At this point in the playoffs there are no laugher teams,” said Kodish. “You face a lot of teams with different strengths. This was a nice test early, but now we've got to get ready Monday and prepare for Villa Maria.”
    From there, the game phased itself from an offensive contest to a defensive one causing a scoring drought of two minutes by both teams.
    Cunningham brought the Panthers out of the struggle with a short shot thanks to a seeing-eye bounce pass from Searer, making it 20-15.
    Despite the Panthers looking a little out of sync in the second quarter, they were still able to hold a 29-20 lead at the half.
    “I was really excited how we stepped and did what we needed to do,” said Craig after being asked how she felt about her and her teammates efforts to do anything it took to come out with the victory. “It is going to help us get that extra step in the future.”
    The Panthers came out of the intermission seemingly calm and ready to do battle. It was evident as the first ticks went off the clock. The Panthers seemed back on their game and outscored the Colts, 19-9. With that, the Panthers were in the drivers seat, leading 48-31 after three periods.
    In the fourth, the Panthers and their fans held their breath as Craig hit the floor hard after going in for a rebound. Craig fell on her shoulder and was slow getting up. However, she did get up moments later and walked off the court holding her shoulder. Minutes later, she was back in the game seemingly unscathed.
    “It’s just part of the game,” added Craig. “You’ll get bumps and bruises.”
    The Panthers sealed up the contest in the final quarter outscoring the Colts for the last time by a margin of 12-9, taking home the 62-40 victory.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lady Panthers are moving on to states
Jason Wolf Sentinel Sports Editor
   
   
    LORETTO, Pa. — Breaking open a 10-point lead by blocking a shot and going coast-to-coast, Lewistown junior Jenna Craig sent the Panthers faithful into celebration mode.
    "Lewistown doesn’t have a 10-0 lead on us to start the game," Bellefonte coach Tina Gaughan said earlier in the week, pointing out the District 6 Class AAA title game would begin on even ground.
    But by unleashing a 13-0 run just moments into the second half, the Lewistown Lady Panthers snapped a deadlocked score to attain the double-digit lead Gaughan had feared, cruising to a 65-50 victory over the Lady Raiders Friday at DeGol Arena on the campus of St. Francis University. With the win, Lewistown claims its third consecutive District 6 crown and a trip to the state playoffs.
    "We said (to the team) at halftime, Do you want to turn your uniforms in?" Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. " I said, I’d like to practice next week, would you like to practice? and they came out and showed that they did."
    Lewistown (24-2) finished with four players in double figures. Jenny Cunningham led the Panthers with a game-high 21 points, followed by Craig’s 18 and 11 each from Emily Searer and Brittney Stauffer.
    Bellefonte (18-7) was paced by a 16-point effort from senior Kristin Irwin, while freshman Angie Proper chipped in 11 points, including three treys. But after knotting the score just seconds into the second half, the third quarter would prove disastrous for the Lady Raiders.
    "They definitely outplayed us in the second half," Gaughan said. "We just gave them too many second and third opportunities on the boards."
    Conversely, the Lady Raiders coughed up the ball on a plethora of their own possessions. Craig was a glass-cleaning, shot-blocking monster throughout the contest, providing Lewistown (24-2) with far more than just her 18 points.
    Craig said it was most likely the best defensive game she had ever played.
    "We brought in Chris Tressler and Mike Baker from the boys team to practice with us this week, and Chris is so fast that everyone seems so slow compared to him," Craig said.
    "So when they were doing lazy passes and things like that, it seemed like a field day for me, just to go pick them off. It made everything seem so much easier, so, we’ll bring him in next week hopefully to get me ready."
    Lewistown continues its quest to return to the state title game for the second time in as many years when it opens PIAA competition next Saturday, against either North Catholic or Chartiers Valley.
    "They are all going to be good now," Kodish said.

* * * * * * * * *

Lady Panthers steamroll to D6 title game
Mercy rule imposed as LAHS routs Somerset
Kenny Varner Sentinel Reporter
    By KENNY VARNER
    Sentinel sports reporter
    kvarner@lewistownsentinel.com
   
    ALTOONA — It was back to business for the Lewistown Panthers girls’ basketball team Tuesday, blasting Somerset 61-24 in the semifinal round of the District 6 Class AAA playoffs at the Altoona Area High School Sports Complex.
    The Panthers are going back to the District 6 Championships for the tenth time in 11 years. After shaking off an 11-day layoff, the Panthers took off in the second quarter and never looked back as they now advance to the championship game against Bellefonte. Bellefonte defeated the Indian Valley Warriors to set the scene for a Friday or Saturday match up that will take place at St. Francis University.
    “We’re very happy with the win tonight,” said Lewistown head coach Kevin Kodish. “This will be our tenth trip to the finals. What a tribute to all the girls. We won six of the last nine final games.”
    It will be winner-take-all this season as District 6 changed its state playoff qualifiers from three teams to only one this season.
    There was a huge following of Panther fans filling the seats at the Altoona Complex, giving the atmosphere more of a home game feel for the Panthers.
    In the pre game, the Lady Panthers seemed to be chomping at the bit to get the contest going.
    The Panthers were led in scoring by Jenny Cunningham and Emily Searer, both with 15. Cunningham also added eight rebounds and four blocks to her final stats while Searer added three steals. Jenna Craig ended her night with a double-double as she notched 10 points and collected 10 boards.
    The Panthers offense allowed only eight offensive turnovers on the evening.
    The layoff seemed to slow the Panthers offense in the opening quarter as they tallied only nine points. However, Lewistown’s defense came out strong, allowing Somerset just two foul shots late in the quarter.
    Brittney Stauffer got the Panthers off to a quick start as she roped a trey on the Panthers’ opening possession. The Panthers defense was near perfect as they kept the Lady Golden Eagles empty after 10 trips down into the offensive end.
    Searer put the Panthers up 5-0 as she snared a Somerset pass and took it all the way in for the lay-up. Craig added her first bucket on the following Panther possession after Cunningham found her down underneath and wide open, making it 7-0.
    After leading 9-0, Cunningham had arguably the biggest play of the first half. With the Lady Eagles on a fast break, Cunningham found herself outnumbered 2-to-1. As Somerset’s Amber Tinkey set the pass to teammate Lisa Kozuch, Cunningham followed the pass and as Kozuch went up for the seemingly sure easy lay in, up came the arm of Cunningham, creating a monster block and keeping the shut out alive for “the Blue and White”.
    With 29 seconds left on the first quarter clock, Amber Kister hit two points via the charity stripe, ending the first quarter scoring at 9-2.
    Leading the way for the Panthers in the first was Brittney Stauffer with three points.
    “I was pleased on how well our defense played,” Kodish said. “Somerset came out and tried to catch us sleeping and pick up the easy bucket but our defense maintained its composure and we got some tips and steals. As the game went on I thought we shot the ball real well.”
    Lewistown shook off the rust in the second as they exploded for 23 points. Cunningham had more points (12) in the second half than what was scored in the entire first half. Searer chipped in with a five point effort. When the buzzer sounded for intermission, the Panthers were in total control of the contest, leading 32-10.
    Things didn’t fare much better for the Lady Eagles in the third quarter either as they were outscored 24-6. Searer was the top scorer in the period with an eight-point effort. The Panthers only needed to sit and watch the clock as they held a very secure 56-16 lead going into the final stanza.
    It was “Mercy Rule” time as the fourth quarter got under way, and Lewistown had a chance to clear its bench. Lewistown’s Dani Rhoades led the way in fourth-quarter scoring with five points. When the final buzzer sounded, the Panthers went home 61-24 winners.
    The Panthers will be back in action Friday or Saturday at St. Francis University against Bellefonte in the District 6 title game.

* * * * * * * * *

Lewistown girls topple Bishop Guilfoyle
Lady Panthers capture Mountain Athletic Conference title
Laura Palazzi Sentinel correspondent
   
   
    WINGATE — It was a long ride home for Bishop Guilfoyle after giving up the Mountain Athletic Conference Division II girls’ basketball title to the team they had beat convincingly a week ago. The Lewistown Lady Panthers, led by power forwards Jenna Craig and Jenny Cunningham, cruised to a victory of 55-41 last night in the Bald Eagle Area gym and won the MAC title.
    After being beaten by Bishop Guilfoyle nine days ago (one of their two losses on the season), Lewistown made the proper adjustments on defense, stifling inside play and forcing BG to take low percentage shots from the perimeter. These teams have met three times this season, each taking a game at home, but Lewistown proved victorious when it mattered most.
    To prepare for this rematch, Lewistown concentrated on their defense. Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish commented, “When we went up to BG we let them jump out 15-4 in the first quarter. We wanted to set the tone early, play good defense and we wanted to make them play against the zone defense. We played the zone to make them work for all of their points.”
    BG jumped out to another early lead (4-0) in the first quarter, but this time Lewistown answered quickly, using their height inside. Lewistown’s Cunningham cleaned up the glass on both ends of the court while putting up 21 hard-earned points for her team. Jenna Craig added another 13 to compliment her tenacious defense and overall dominating play.
    The second quarter was still close as BG pulled within two with six minutes remaining in the half. A few easy buckets and a great pass by point guard Emily Searer to Craig boosted Lewistown ahead 25-18. BG called a timeout late in the second when the score reached 29-18. Lewistown however kept the momentum rolling and shattered any dreams of a BG comeback.
    “I am very proud,” Craig said. “We played as a team and were prepared, we came out and did what we had to do. We went up there earlier in the season and lost by 13. We had a sign in the locker room reminding us of how bad we lost. It was a good motivation for us for tonight’s game.”
    A complete team effort was achieved by Lewistown. Scoring came from many different players. Starting point guard Emily Searer had an impressive game with 12 points, including one three-pointer. Brittney Stauffer added another four points along with Dani Rhoades and Rachel Griffith who each added two. Freshman Spring Krepps came off the bench, adding teeth to Lewistown’s hungry zone defense.
    In the second half Bishop Guilfoyle trailed and tried desperately to regain the lead. Due to the strong defense of Lewistown, BG never got the opportunity. Lewistown kept the lead and ended strong with a final score of 55-41.
    Coach Kodish had nothing but compliments for his team. “Emily Searer, our point guard, makes it all start for us. She’s been starting point guard for the last couple of years and she does a great job. Jenny Cunningham was good inside on the boards. Jenna Craig had a big first half and also did a great job with rebounds. All of our players worked together and talked on defense.”
    Lewistown improved their record to 23-2 and proved themselves Mountain Athletic Conference Division II Champions. Lewistown is hoping this win will not be their last as they prepare for the upcoming District 6 playoffs.

* * * * * * * * *

Season Sweep
Lewistown girls too much for IV
Jaynee Carolus Sentinel correspondent
   
   
    HIGHLAND PARK — Records don’t usually mean much when cross town rivals meet on the hardwood, but with a record of 21 - 2 and an early season victory over Indian Valley under their belt, Lewistown had to be feeling pretty confident as they departed their bus at the Warrior gym. After 32 minutes of play the Lady Panthers had notched another victory (89-53) and improved their record to 22-2.
    Indian Valley won the tip and Blayke Narehood nailed “nothing but nylon” to give the Lady Warriors their only lead of the game 3-0. Jenna Craig tossed in a two pointer, IV turned the ball over, and Emily Searer was fouled on a lay-up to score a three the old fashioned way. Courtney Bell scored to tie it at 5-5 all, but scores by Searer, Rachel Griffith (4), and Craig led Lewistown on an 8-0 run. Megan Tewksbury finally converted a free throw to stem the scoreless period by the Lady Warriors. “Tewks” later added a jumper from the free throw line extended, but the Lady Panthers wasted little time in the first quarter setting the tempo and dictating the pace of play. At the end of the initial eight minutes of play, Lewistown led 21-8. Emily Searer with 11 first quarter points outscored the entire Indian Valley squad.
    Lewistown’s defense was denying any inside attack and Indian Valley’s shots just wouldn’t fall; if one lives by the three, one dies by the three. After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Jenny Cunningham scored the first four Lewistown points in the second quarter. The height advantage of the Lady Panthers enabled point guard and quarterback, Emily Searer to pass the ball over the IV defense for high percentage inside shots. The much taller Cunningham and Craig took over on the inside while Spring Krepps, Griffith, and Searer scored from the outside. Cunningham ended the first half with ten points and total control of the “glass”. Without a doubt, snagging rebound after rebound, Jenny earned her position as “chairman of the boards.” Tewksbury scored six points, Allison Mitchell nailed a three, and Megan Schulze contributed two free throws, but it was too little too late. At the half, firing on all cylinders, the Lady Panthers led 46-19.
    Indian Valley scored nineteen points in the third quarter, as many as they had scored in entire the first half, but Lewistown’s continued defensive hustle and scoring by committee was too much to overcome. Bright spots in the Lady Warrior offense were Mitchell with 7 points and Deisha Warntz with back to back treys. Brittney Stauffer nailed two three pointers in the third quarter for the Lady Panthers. Craig, Cunningham, Griffith and Searer also put points in the book for Lewistown. As time expired in the third quarter, the Lewistown lead stood at 69-38.
    The Lady Warriors played hard throughout the game, but the taller, quicker, and more experienced Lewistown team owned the game on this night. Coach Roger Herto noted that “we have a long way to go on defense before playoffs begin. We must be more consistent. Our three seniors battled hard, but our younger players have got to step up.”
    Deisha Warntz (8) and Megan Tewksbury (7) , two of Herto’s seniors, scored all of Indian Valley’s fourth quarter points. The Lewistown ladies had scoring from Cunningham (8), Morgan Bobb (4), Heather Wilson (3) and Searer (2).
    “I am extremely pleased with all aspects of our game tonight” smiled Lewistown Coach Kevin Kodish. “Rachel Griffith stepped up and scored early to allow us to open a nice lead.
    Emily Searer runs our offense, but tonight she was phenomenal. She took it to the basket, dished it off, and shot from the outside. She had a double/double tonight.” (scoring and assists). Emily just stepped up and did a super job. We will welcome that kind of scoring in the next few games. Cunningham had a double/double too, points and rebounds.”
    Coach Herto extended to the Lady Panthers “we wish you well Friday against Bishop Guilfoyle as you play for the league championship.” (Lewistown plays BG at Bald Eagle Area at 6:30 pm this Friday.)
    Jenny Cunningham led all scorers with 24 points and 19 rebounds. Teammates Emily Searer (19), Jenna Craig (18), and Brittney Stauffer (11) also scored in double figures. Megan Tewksbury had 17 for the Lady Warriors and was joined in double digits by Allison Mitchell with 10.
    In the JV game, Indian Valley led 27-21 at the half before falling to the Lady Panthers 51-36. Coach Jim Fosselman remarked that “we challenged the girls to play better defense in the second half and they responded to that challenge by holding Indian Valley to only 9 second half points.” Kati Spickler led Lewistown with 18 points. Britney Zimmerman was a key 6 for 6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter for Lewistown. Jesse Mernin led Indian Valley with 11 points.

* * * * * * * * *


Lady Panthers demolish Mounties
Cunningham becomes first Panther to make 1,000 rebounds
Kenny Varner Sentinel Reporter
   
   
    LEWISTOWN — There was electricity in the air Saturday night in the Lewistown Gym when the Lewistown girls basketball team set to do battle in a Mountain Athletic Conference showdown.
    The electricity was not for the game itself but for Panther center Jenny Cunningham’s quest for a feat that has never been done in Lewistown basketball history, collecting 1,000 rebounds in a career. Cunningham came into the game needing 15 rebounds to hit the magical number.
    She accomplished that just minutes in the the third quarter, putting the Lewistown (20-2, MAC 11-1) senior in a class of her own and solidly placing her name in Lewistown Lore.
    “What a monster game she had,” said Lewistown head coach Kevin Kodish. “She’s had an incredible career. She set that goal (of 1,000 points) back in eighth grade before she ever played varsity. She wanted to get the record in her last home game, she needed 15 and she got 15. The whole team was behind her. It was great to see the entire bench rally behind their teammate.”
    Besides the achievement of Cunningham, the Panther fans had a chance to say goodbye to the seniors on Senior night. It was a chance for the fans to say goodbye to all the senior Panthers that graced the court for the “blue and white” for their four years. Those honored on this night were Emily Searer, Rachel Griffith, Brittney Stauffer and Cunningham.
    There also was a game being played between the Panthers and the Mounties. Lewistown won in a landslide 70-25.
    Cunningham, not only had it going in the rebound department but she also had it going in all facets of the game as she finished with a game high 27 points, six steals, and two monster blocks. Teammate Jenna Craig rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Panthers with 11 points. 10 of the 12 players the Panthers put on the court ended the night in the scoring column.
    The Panthers got off to a slow start as the game entered its early minutes. Fittingly, it was Cunningham who got the scoring started in the game. She put the missed Panther shot in via an offensive rebound and put back, making it 2-0. On the Mounties next possession, the Panthers defense forced an ill-advised shot and gave the Panthers the ball back with a chance to put up another two points. Lewistown did not disappoint as Searer got the break started and finished it with a pass to Stauffer. Stauffer took it in on the break extending the lead to four.
    The Panther defense was relentless as they forced the Mounties turnover on the following Mountie possession. Cunningham showed her toughness under the boards once again as she grabbed an offensive board and was fouled putting the ball back up for the shot. She was automatic from the line as the Panthers took a 6-0 lead.
    Philipsburg got its first points on the board at the 4:30 mark when Mountie center Erin Albert hit a mid-range jumper in the middle of the key cutting the Panthers lead to 6-2.
    Craig took over the scoring reigns for the next couple Panther touches as she scored five consecutive points to give Lewistown some breathing room at 11-2 with 3:38 showing on the first quarter game clock.
    With the score 11-2, the Mounties scored their second basket of the game as Ashley Cowher stepped back behind the three-point line and hit the trey, making it 11-5.
    Craig followed with her seven points of the ball game as she hit on a long jumper putting Lewistown up by eight. Lewistown ended the quarter on a 4-2 run and after the buzzer, Lewistown held a 10-point lead at 17-7.
    The second quarter belonged to Cunningham as she caught fire offensively. Of the 32 points scored by Lewistown in the second, Cunningham scored 21 of them. Cunningham also notched seven rebounds in the period, putting her two away from the 1,000 point milestone. As the half concluded, Lewistown had the game in total control leading 49-13.
    With the game well in check, the only excitement left was the anticipation of Cunningham picking up the record. With 5:14 left to go in the third that was taken care of also. Cunningham pulled down rebound number 15 and the crowd went wild. The ball game was stopped and she was congratulated by her teammates and family. As the game resumed, Coach Kodish pulled Cunningham to a rising ovation by the Panther faithful.
    “It felt pretty good,” said Cunningham when asked about how she felt when she brought down number 1,000. “I set that goal for myself and I wanted to be the one to reach 1,00 rebounds and I did that tonight.”
    Cunningham was then asked how it felt after it was over. “I was so excited that I could finally relax and play my game and not worry about everything.”
    As the clock ran out, it was Lewistown notching the 70-25 victory.
    In the JV contest, the Panthers also won the game going away as they took the contest, 75-34. High scorer for the Panthers was Tasha Pecht with 16 points, while teammate Heather Wilson had 13. Rounding out the double-digit scorers was Steph King with 10. With the win, the JV’s improved to 18-2 on the season.
    The Panthers will be back in action Tuesday as they play cross-county rival Indian Valley. With a win, Lewistown will force a play-off game against Bishop Guilfoyle for the MAC title.

* * * * * * * * *
Fight to the finish
Lady Panthers still perfect; Cunningham notches career high 31
Jeff Gill Sentinel Reporter
   
   
    LEWISTOWN — For the first time this season, the Lewistown girls basketball team found themselves behind at the half, by just one point 31-30, against Mountain Athletic Conference foe Bellefonte. But, a career-high 31-points from senior Jenny Cunningham and an intesense-filled second half, gave the Lady Panthers a 64-59 win over the Lady Raiders and win number 20 on the season.
    “This was one of the hardest games of the year,” said Spring Krepps. “It was very physical and I had to guard (Kristen) Irwin and she is one the tallest players on their team, but I did the same up there and was prepared for it.”
    Bellefonte (13-4) ran out to a 6-0 lead at the 6:30 mark, before Cunningham sank a pair of free throws to start a 6-0 for the Lady Panthers. The Lady Raiders took an 8-6 lead, but Lewistown ran off six more points to take a 12-8 lead with 3:18 remaining in the quarter. But, Bellefonte stayed right with Lewistown and eventually took a 15-12 lead with 1:16 left. Spring Krepps hit a short jumper with 40.7 left to make it a 15-14 contest and Cunningham ended the quarter giving the Lady Panthers a 115 lead.
    Bellefonte fell behind and it looked as if the Lady Panthers were going to take control of the game, as they started off the second quarter on a 6-0 run and a 22-15 lead. But Irwin sparked the Lady Raider offense with back-to-back baskets and Melissa Clousser followed suit making it a 24-23 Lewistown lead with 3:45 left. Angie Proper hit the first of a pair of free throws to tie the game at 24, but Cunningham sank a pair from the charity stripe of her own and Krepps added a basket to make it 28-24 with 1:34 left in the half. Irwin and Cassie Proper each scored tying the game at 28, but Jenna Craig gave the lead right back to Lewistown with 30 seconds to go before the half. Bellefonte then shocked the Lady Panther faithful, as she hit a three-pointer with one second left to give Bellefonte a 31-30 lead at the half.
    “I’m not sure that we were not anticipating tomorrow,” said Lewistown head coach Kevin Kodish. “We had to move better on offense in the first half. Bellefonte played an outstanding game tonight and my hat’s off to them. They are becoming a quality team.”
    The trio of Rachel Griffith, Krepps and Cunningham got the Lady Panthers rolling in the third quarter. Griffith got Lewistown within one at 33-32 and again at 35-34, before Emily Searer tied the game at 35 when she hit the back end of a pair of free throws. Cunningham gave the Lady Panthers the lead with a pair of free throws. Angie Proper’s trey with 4:24 left in the quarter put Bellefonte ahead 38-37, but Lewistown would outscore their challengers 10-6 over the final 4:07 of the quarter to take a 48-44 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.
    Bellefonte would take its final lead of the night when Cassie Proper drilled a three-pointer in the opening minutes of the of the fourth stanza at 49-48. Again, the Lady Panthers used a 6-0 run to take the lead 54-49 with 4:52 left to play. Melissa Clousser would get the Lady Raiders within three at 54-51 and 56-53, before Lewistown put some distance between themselves and Bellefonte and the final score of 64-59.
    “We might have been thinking about Harrisburg in the first half,” admitted Kodish. “But, we got a slap in the face and we had two choices. One, fall apart or pick ourselves up and take charge and not allowing someone to come into our house and beat us.”
    Griffith added, “We came out in the second half with a lot more intensity and we got some stops on defense and some key baskets. I think we were thinking of the weekend, but we came out knowing that we had to take care of tonight.”
    Cunningham accented her career-high with her third consecutive “double-double” by pulling down 17 rebounds and three blocked shots and one steal. Jenna Craig was the only other Lady Panther in double figures with 10 points. She also had six rebounds as did Griffith. Bellefonte had three players in double figures led by Angie Proper and Melissa Clousser, who each scored 12 points and 11 points by Kristin Irwin.
    The Lewistown junior varsity team fought off a Bellefonte half time lead to win 39-32 behind Brittney Zimmerman’s 13-points and Heather Wilson added nine, as Jim Fossleman’s team improves to 17-1 on the season.
    Both Lewistown boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will play in the Seventh Annual SportsFever Challenge. The game originally was to be played last weekend, but was postponed until today and will be played at Trinity High School in Camp Hill. According to head coach Kevin Kodish, the game will not be televised on PCN Network as announced. There will be no local television coverage for both Lewistown games.
    Lewistown (20-0) will face off against top-ranked Class AAAA Harrisburg at 3 p.m., while the boys’ will open the day when they face West York, the number-five team in the state Class AAA rankings.
   
* * * * * * * * *

Taming the ‘Cats’
Cunningham and Craig hit double-doubles for LAHS
Jeff Gill Sentinel Reporter
   
   
    HUNTINGDON - The first time the Lady Panthers of Lewistown played Huntingdon, the Bearcats were only able to score a total of 11 points in a 60-11 rout by the Lady Panthers. Wednesday night's rematch on the Bearcats' home court saw the home score a little more, but with the same results as Lewistown remained unblemished at 19-0 on the season. The Lady Panthers were seeing "double" again as Jenny Cunningham and Jenna Craig each finished with "double-doubles" in the win. It was the second consecutive game the tandem reached double figures in scoring and rebounds.Cunningham finished with a game-high 27 points and 16 rebounds, while Craig finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
    "I was not pleased with the way we played in the first half defensively," said Lewistown head coach Kevin Kodish. "Huntingdon is three times better the team that it was a month ago. I think we played with the thoughts of the last time we played and was looking for the lazy way out. I don't think we were mentally in the game. But, we have three tough games coming up in Bellefonte, Harrisburg and Bishop Guilfoyle and these are not easy games."
    Both teams came out sluggish in the first half, but the Lady Panthers were able to take a 4-0 lead with 6:06 left in the quarter. The Bearcats started to keep pace with Lewistown getting within two points a 6-4 with five minutes left. Lewistown then went on a 15-4 run over the final 3:30 of the first quarter to take a 21-8 lead. Olivia Hallahan led the Bearcats with six points in the quarter and Cunningham paced the Lady Panthers with eight points.
    Lewistown then went to work on putting some distance between themselves and their host, building a 26-10 lead with 5:55 left before the half. Brittney Stauffer then caught fire for the Lady Panthers scoring on three straight possessions from beyond the three-point arc. Stauffer's outside shooting gave her team a 37-16 lead with 3:34 left before the intermission.
    "I was glad to hit those shots in the first half," said Stauffer. "I wasn't able to hit anything in the second half."
    The Lady Panthers took at 45-20 lead with 1:37 left when Craig hit a put back shot and was foul and converted the tradition three-point play.
    But, Huntingdon was able to get some momentum going late in the quarter by scoring eight points over the final 1:22, including a behind the head shot by Staci Hurley with 1.1 seconds left before the half. The Panthers took a 20-point lead into the locker room at the break by the score of 48-28.
    Lewistown opened the third quarter with a 14-4 run to really put some distance between them and the Bearcats and 62-32 lead with 3:55 left in quarter. Still the Bearcats hung around, but still found themselves down by 30 at 72-42 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
    Kodish went to his bench early to rest his starters before coming off the court with the 33-point win.
    "I think our confidence is a lot better than what it was a month ago," said Huntingdon head coach Craig Sellers. "We are a lot better shooting wise and it has shown lately.
    We knew that we could not match up with them man-to-man because they would have gotten the ball inside to Cunningham, so we went to the zone and the still got some lobs into Craig."
    Stauffer finished the game with 17 points, while Emily Searer finished with eight points and six assists.
    "I just go and look for the open person," said Searer. "Jenny and Jenna are there, but it's my job to keep the ball and the team moving."
    Jenna Shefflield led Huntingdon with 14 points and Hallahan finished with 10 points.
    In the junior varsity game, the Lady Panthers had to hold off a late charge
    by the Bearcats to bring home a 46-40 win. Lewistown is now 16-1 on the season.
    Lewistown will look for win number 20 on the season as they travel to take on Bellefonte in a crucial Mountain Athletic Conference contest Friday night.

* * * * * * * * *
Lady Panthers dominate again at PC
Sentinel Staff
   
   
    CRESSON — The Lewistown Area High School girls’ basketball team crushed host Penn Cambria 76-35 Monday to remain undefeated on the season.
    “We got off to a sluggish start,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said, “but we shook it off and had a good game with very balance scoring.”
    Jenna Craig had a monster game, leading the Panthers with a 19-point effort while registering 10 rebounds, seven steals and four blocks. Jenny Cunningham also chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds for Lewistown. Emily Searer finished with 14 points.
    In junior varsity action, Lewistown won 54-27 behind an 11-point effort by Steph King.
    Lewistown (18-0) visits Huntingdon Wednesday.

* * * * * * * * *

Panther girls tame the Golden Eagles
Another game and another win for Lewistown girls
Jeff Gill Sentinel Reporter
   
    LEWISTOWN — Jenny Cunningham scored a career-high 26 points leading the Lewistown girls’ basketball team to an 82-41 win over Tyrone in a Mountain Athletic Conference Division Two contest. The Lady Panthers are now 17-0 overall and sit alone at 9-0 in the MAC Division Two standings.
    “Our guards did a great job of passing the ball inside tonight,” said Cunningham on her feat. “We are just trying to get better and get back to the states.”
    The Golden Eagles hung tough for the first two minutes of the game, tying the score at 4-4 with 6:25 left in the quarter. The Lady Panthers then went on a 12-0 run over the next five minutes to build a 16-4 lead, paced by Cunningham’s 14 points and Jenna Craig’s six point effort. Emily Ingle drilled a three-pointer with 1:22 left in the quarter to make it 16-7, but Lewistown scored four more points over the final minute to take a 20-7 lead after the first period.
    “As the “dog-days” of the long season sets in, you play a lot of games,” said Kevin Kodish. “We play three games next week and a tough schedule at that, but we have the people that are stepping in at vital times that help us to get wins like this.”
    Tyrone tried to get things going offensively, cutting the score to 25-12 in favor of the Lady Panthers. Spring Krepps sparked a 17-4 run over the final 5:12 to grab a 42-16 lead at the half.
    After Hilary McNelis got Tyrone’s first basket of the second half, but Lewistown went on an 8-0 run to take a 50-18 lead. Lewistown scored 11 more points in the quarter to take a 61-26 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.
    “We like to use an up-tempo game,” said Kodish. “If we can get teams to miss their shots and we get the fast break working, we can run the floor. The girls are unselfish on the fast breaks. There were times tonight that a girl could have finished a fast break, but they passed the ball to the open person.”
    Lewistown was able to get the “mercy-rule” clock in motion with 5:30 left to play in the game, when they led 73-26. The Lady Panthers went on a 12-0 run to open the fourth quarter. Kodish then went to his bench for the remainder of the game as the Lady Panthers coasted to the win.
    “We have a good bench that keeps up the pressure on teams,” said Kodish. “Our starters can not go 48 minutes and the girls that are coming off the bench continue to get better with each game. I think that Emily Searer has done a great job at point guard for us. She is the glue that keeps us together on offense and on defense. She sets the tone.”
    Craig and Emily Stauffer added 14 points for the Lady Panthers, while Spring Krepps came off the bench to score seven and Searer finished with six points.
    “As the season goes on we need to get better,” said Stauffer. “The better we are the more advantages we have down the road.”
    Craig led Lewistown in rebounds with 14, while Cunningham hauled in eight and Krepps with six. Stauffer had four assists and Searer three. Cunningham hit 11 of 15 from the floor in her career-high performance for 73 percent shooting.
    In the junior varsity game, the Lady Panthers improved to 14-1 on the year with a 63-31 win, behind Katie Spickler’s 14 points and Brittney Casner’s 10 points.
    Lewistown (17-0, 8-0 MAC Division II) will play at Penn Cambria on Monday, before heading to Huntingdon for an MAC battle Wednesday.

* * * * * * * * *

Panthers stuff Eagles
    WINGATE — The Lewistown girls basketball team continues to cut through its opponents like the cold January air; this time they took their high-scoring show on the road and beat Bald Eagle Area 78-40. The win puts the Lady Panthers at 16-0 overall and atop the Mountain Athletic Conference Division 2 standings at 8-0.
    “We wanted to take control early and we did that,” said Lewistown head coach Kevin Kodish. “We had a 14-point lead after the first quarter and built it to a 21-point lead at the half.
    The Lady Panthers ran out to a 23-9 lead after the first quarter, with Jenna Craig and Emily Searer scoring seven and five points, respectively to lead the way for the Lady Panthers.
    Lewistown took a 42-21 lead into the locker room at the half.
    The Lady Panthers continued to put some distance between them and the Lady Eagles, taking a 63-38 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play. Kodish went to his bench and sent in the reserves, who played well, according to Kodish.
    “All the kids off the bench did a good job tonight,” said Kodish. “Spring Krepps, Brooke Kodish and Morgan Bobb all came off the bench and really contributed. Everyone is doing their job.”
    Craig led all scorers with 23 points, she also had 13 rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots. Jenny Cunningham followed with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Searer finished with nine points.
    Mindy Garner and Christy Garner led the Eagles with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
    In junior varsity action, Morgan Bobb scored 10 points to lead the Lady Panthers to a 44-23 win.
    Lewistown returns to MAC action Friday night when they play Tyrone at home.
   
* * * * * *

Heating it up
Lewistown girls remain undefeated
Jaynee Carolus Sentinel correspondent
   
   
    LEWISTOWN — With the frightful, frigid weather last evening, both players and fans alike were thankful that, in December 1891, basketball was created to provide a new indoor winter activity. Since then, the game has become a “thrill to play and a thrill to watch” and last evening was no exception. The Lady Panthers entered the contest with an unblemished 14-0 record and when the final buzzer sounded, they were 15-0 with a 67-34 victory over Central Mountain.
    Shooting on both ends of the floor started out as cold as the winter wind. “I think we suffered a post-rivalry let down at the beginning of the game” retorted Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish. “The same thing happened to us last year”.
    Central Mountain initiated the scoring with a three pointer from Courtney Fornwalt. Jenny Cunningham answered with a deuce for Lewistown before the Lady Wildcats scored five unanswered points to take an 8-2 lead. The Lady Panthers picked up the intensity on defense and in doing so, seemed to jump start their offense. Cunningham powered her way into the paint to score two more cutting the lead to 8-4. Jenna Craig and Emily Searer each added four points before Arlene Bowes added two for the Lady Wildcats. The first quarter ended with Lewistown ahead 12-10.
    The second quarter was dominated by the Lady Panthers as they outscored the Lady Wildcats 23-7. Craig and Cunningham took turns “cleaning the glass” and igniting the fast break, Emily Searer quarterbacked the offense, and Brittney Stauffer hit back to back tri fectas and then back to back deuces as everyone turned it up a notch at both ends of the court. During one stretch of play, Lewistown reeled off 21 unanswered points. In this second stanza, Stauffer put in 10 points, Cunningham and Searer four apiece, Craig three points, and Britteny Casner two. At the halfway point, the Lady Panthers led by a 35-17 margin.
    The third quarter began much in the same way the second quarter ended: great defense and strong offense. Emily Searer dished out some fine feeds enabling Cunningham and Craig to score on the inside (seven points each), and Krepps and Stauffer on the outside. Freshman Emily Williams and sophomore Abby Lawless each scored four for Central Mountain.
    Throughout the second half Lewistown played everyone on the bench, mixing substitutes and starters, giving everyone a chance to play together. Coach Kodish noted that “13 girls played tonight. The youngsters got some quality court time and valuable experience playing with the veterans. We have four games this week, as we did last week. It keeps everyone’s legs fresh when everyone gets to play.”
    Jenny Cunningham set the standard of play with three steals, five blocks, 10 rebounds and 17 points. “Cunningham had a good day at the office,” smiled Coach Kodish,
    The Lady Panther JV team of Coach Jim Fosselman improved its record to 12-1 with a 55-32 victory over Central Mountain. Heather Wilson (12) and Stephanie King (10) scored in double figures for the Lewistown squad.

* * * * * *

Lewistown 78, Indian Valley 59
Cunningham explodes for 19-point first half

Kenny Varner Sentinel Reporter
   
   
    LEWISTOWN — To most Mifflin County high school sports fans there are two kinds of games during the year. In one group there are the regular scheduled contests, and then there are the Indian Valley vs. Lewistown contests.
    Saturday night, it was the girls turn to renew their hardcourt rivalry and in the end it was the Lewistown Panthers remaining unblemished with a 14-0 record and a 78-59 win over their cross-town rivals.
    Jenny Cunningham spearheaded the Lewistown (14-0) victory with 25 points. Cunningham’s 19-point first half led the Panther charge that broke it open. Teammate Jenna Craig added 24 in the contest rounding out the double-digit scorers.
    “Jenn (Cunningham) took control early,” said Lewistown head coach Kevin Kodish. “She was determined to have a good game tonight and she did. She played a fantastic ball game.”
    Indian Valley (8-7) was led by leading scorer Megan Tewksbury who ended up with a team high 16 points while Megan Schulze added 13. Teammate, Allison Mitchell rounded out the double-digit scorers for Indian Valley with 10.
    In the first quarter, Indian Valley came out strong against the undefeated Panthers and showed its toughness on defense as they covered Lewistown tightly, forcing them into uncharacteristic mistakes. The Warriors looked unintimidated by the Panthers as they walked onto the court.
    Lewistown got the tip to start out the game and the Panthers went right inside to Cunningham. Cunningham did not disappoint as she tossed in the first bucket of the game and the first free throw of the game, all on the same play. Cunningham was perfect on both as Lewistown went out to a 3-0 lead.
    After an Indian Valley miscue, the Panthers went up 5-0 as Cunningham used her offensive presence under the boards to collect the rebound and hit on a follow up.
    On the Warriors third possession, Megan Schulze got the Indian Valley offense off and running as she went strong past Cunningham and in for the bucket.
    After two more consecutive Cunningham buckets, making it 8-2, Indian Valley went back to Schulze. Schulze was the recipient of an spectacular save by Megan Tewksbury. Schulze again went hard to the hoop and cut the lead to four at 8-4.
    “We shot the ball poorly,” said Indian Valley head coach Roger Herto. “When they went into the zone defense we got the shots we wanted to take but they just weren’t going in. Thats been our season so far. We work hard to get the shots we want, it just isn’t going in for us.”


Sunday, November 23
2007-08 Stories

2007-08 stories

Panthers to vie for D6 title: Lewistown will meet Bellefonte once again

By JOEY GULINO, Sentinel assistant sports editor
jgulino@lewistownsentinel.com

STATE COLLEGE — Lewistown shot just 44 percent Tuesday, including 37 percent from downtown.

The Panthers didn’t get to the free throw line until early in the fourth quarter, while committing too many fouls of their own.

And because they forced 26 turnovers, none of it mattered.

For the third time this season, Lewistown’s press wrought havoc on Indian Valley and paved the way for a 64-48 victory over the rival Warriors in the District 6 Class AAA semifinals at State College Area High School.

The win sets up another meeting with Bellefonte in the district title game, the fourth year in a row the two schools have met at that stage.

Lewistown’s shooting percentage may have been lower than usual, but the Panthers (20-4) attempted 18 more shots than Indian Valley (16-10), and good ball movement and spacing helped them pull away.

“It was determination,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. “They had to generate turnovers, because (Indian Valley center) Steph Zewe is a major weapon for them down there. We don’t want to stand in a passive defense and have them feed it to her all night and watch her shoot foul shots and make layups. We had to put some pressure on the guards out front and try and generate turnovers, which we did.”

Lewistown’s trapping full-court press, which had been the bane of Indian Valley’s existence in the first two Panther victories, didn’t hassle the Warriors early on as much as mistakes in the halfcourt game. Several passes flew either out of bounds or right into the hands of the Panthers.

“We knew what we had to do coming in, and I thought in the second half we played a little better, more aggressive,” Indian Valley coach Roger Herto said, “but I thought the first half, we panicked a little bit, and made some really bad decisions with the basketball. Sometimes we threw it away when there really wasn’t any pressure.”

Fortunately for the Warriors, Lewistown took awhile to find its footing on offense. The Panthers were whistled for nine fouls in the first half, and spent most of their possessions in the first quarter by passing once and then hiking up a 3-pointer.

But Spring Krepps helped them stay afloat, hitting long jumpers with regularity.

“We’ve been practicing really hard,” Krepps said. “We had a lot of fouls, but in the end we knew what we had to do, so we just picked up.”

Lewistown indeed turned it up a notch offensively in the second half by scoring 39 points, 19 of which came from Hannah Geedey and Dani Rhoades.

Zewe began to make her mark as well, however, using her size to snag rebounds and score 13 of her game-high 19 points in the second half.

“Steph got some points,” Kodish said. “She’s going to get them, she’s a good player. What pleases me is how we got a little more patient on offense, because early on, we were shooting the first 3-pointer that came along.”

The Warriors continued to attack Lewistown in the lane and get to the line, which helped slow things down to their pace. Indian Valley did have more success in the second half breaking the trap, and the insertion of quick guard Marta Litwiller into the lineup helped.

“We got into halftime and we were only down 10 and I wasn’t sure how, because we weren’t doing anything we wanted to do,” Herto said. “In the second half, we started doing a little better getting that ball down in there.

“I’ll say one thing about this Lewistown team. I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way, because they’ve had some state championship teams, but I don’t know of a Lewistown team that’s worked harder than this team. Those kids really work hard and scrap, and they’re the kind of kids that you like to take into battle with you.”

As the game wore on, Lewistown gradually built on its lead, and after Tasha Pecht shot the team’s first free throws with seven minutes left, the Panthers cushioned the advantage by going 13-of-14 from the line.

“We wanted this really bad,” Krepps said. “The seniors didn’t want it to be their last game. We want to go as far as possible, so we’re not going to give up that easy.”

The Panthers now turn their attention to Bellefonte, who they beat 58-52 on the road and 68-65 at home this season. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at State College Area High School.

“I’m excited,” Kodish said. “I’m sure Bellefonte will be excited. We always play good games. We’ve had two great basketball games this year, I’m sure we’ll have a third.”

The Warriors, meanwhile, finish the season at 16-10.

“We tried hard, we did what we could,” Litwiller said. “I wish Lewistown well for the postseason, and I hope our kids work hard and get them next year.”

Taylor Bargo, a senior co-captain along with Litwiller, says that teamwork was the hallmark of this year’s club.

“I definitely think it’s the teamwork,” she said. “We’re a lot closer this year than we were last year, and we came together and played our best always. We had a great season, we’d have liked to do better, but it came out the way it did. I wish them good luck and I hope they do well.”

With a young nucleus coming back, the Warriors could do even better next season.

“I’m really proud of them,” Herto said. “We had a 16-win season. A lot of people wouldn’t have thought that a year ago after we lost all the quality kids we had. I think Marta and Taylor deserve lot of credit as senior captains.

“This may have been one of the best defensive teams I’ve ever had. They were that good. We just needed to do more offensively to win ballgames, and we weren’t able to do it.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Panthers return favor: LAHS girls sweep regular season with IV

By JOEY GULINO, Sentinel assistant sports editor

HIGHLAND PARK — Some teams hit the playoffs hard.

If Thursday’s fourth quarter is any indication, Lewistown’s going to hit them like a battering ram.

The Panthers scored 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to obliterate a tense rivalry game and run away with a 67-50 victory over Indian Valley in the raucous Indian Valley High School gymnasium.

Trailing 47-44 midway through the final period, Hannah Geedey and Heather Wilson hit back-to-back 3s, and Lewistown (19-4) finally got the chance to set up its full-court press, which led to several turnovers by the Warriors (15-9) that fed the run.

If there’s a better way to close a big game, Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish is all ears.

“It’s very encouraging,” he said. “I’m very impressed with the girls, how they pulled together. I wanted to put the pressure on a little bit earlier, but the game was being called fairly tight. We were getting some girls with two, three fouls, so I saved it until a little bit later, and they really slapped it on.”

Indian Valley, meanwhile, did a good job of pressing Lewistown’s outside shooters with its 3-2 zone, which helped the Warriors stay a step ahead on the scoreboard for much of the game.

But once Lewistown got the chance to trap, Indian Valley coach Roger Herto says his team simply didn’t execute.

“We knew all game, at some point they were going to go to that, and they were very confident that they could wait and do it,” he said. “I thought the key was we didn’t convert. Two or three times, they ran it, we broke it and had a layup and missed, and when you don’t convert, then the game gets into what they want.”

The first quarter went the way the Warriors wanted, a slower, lower-scoring affair that was dictated by defense. Lewistown, however, was up to the task, and utilized a 1-3-1 zone to limit Indian Valley’s offense.

Steph Corbin helped stretch the zone by hitting three treys in the first half, all while Lewistown struggled from beyond the arc.

At least until the second half, when the Panthers fired at a 60 percent clip from downtown, and Kayla Espigh scored 15 of her team-high 17 points, including three 3-pointers.

“We played as a team and we worked really hard,” Espigh said. “We came out, we played aggressive, we hit our shots, and we all contributed.”

The bigger Warriors suffered a blow when forward Linzee Ruby picked up her second foul barely two minutes into the game, which forced her to the bench until the

third quarter.

Indian Valley also couldn’t seem to buy a bucket inside, points that could have come in handy in the fourth quarter.

“I thought we should have had a larger lead,” Herto said. “We had a little bit of a lead there. I was surprised with Ruby sitting the bench for most of the first half. I was very disappointed with that. Later in the game, they were allowing trapping and knocking people over, and early in the game, Ruby bumps somebody and she’s on the bench with two fouls, but that’s basketball.”

Lewistown forced six turnovers during its mega-run in the fourth, and capitalized on free throws by going 9-of-12 from the line during that stretch.

“Heather Wilson, Dani Rhoades, all those people up front (in the press) were really making it happen,” Kodish said. “We had everything going for us. It was like the snowball going down the hill. We were basically treading water, running in place, or whatever you want to say. It was a nip-and-tuck game, very close until we made our run, but it was a heck of a run to do it. 22-0, it doesn’t get much better than that.

After a Rachael Ziegler 3-pointer broke the 44-44 deadlock, the Warriors didn’t score again until Corbin hit a free throw with a little more than a minute to play.

Corbin ended up with a team-high 15 points.

“We just lost it,” she said. “We need to finish.”

Lewistown’s win comes on the heels of a 16-point victory over Penns Valley earlier in the week, and the Panthers will finish the regular season at Tyrone at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

“It makes us feel really good,” Espigh said. “It meant a lot to all of us. We really wanted to come out and win tonight, and we succeeded and we won.”

Indian Valley will now prepare for Huntingdon in the first round of the District 6 Class AAA playoffs, which will take place at 7:30 p.m. next Friday in Tyrone.

“We have a simple mission in front of us,” Herto said. “We have a week to get ready for Huntingdon, and that’s no gimme. We’re going to have our hands full there. We’ve got to do our best to try to be focused and beat Huntingdon.”

* * * * * * * * * * 

Panthers overcome Penns Valley

By BRIAN COX, Sentinel sports reporter

LEWISTOWN — Nothing came easy for the Lewistown Panthers girls basketball team Tuesday night.

Not baskets, not foul calls, not rebounds. It was a night on which everything would have to be earned. Including a win.

Lewistown (18-4) survived a nearly seven-minute stretch in the first half without a score and a tough, physical game against visiting Penns Valley to defeat the Rams 44-28.

“It was a tough game,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. “(Giving up) 28 points defensively, I’m very pleased with that effort. I thought the girls showed a lot of hustle and a lot of heart. The seniors wanted to win their last home game.”

All appeared to be going well for the Panthers early on, especially from long range.

Nine of Lewistown’s 10 first-quarter points came on 3s, the only three long balls that the Panthers hit on the evening.

Lewistown was out to a quick lead, but it would not remain that way for long. Penns Valley, champions of the Mountain League Nittany Division, started to feed the ball to the inside. The good play inside brought the Rams back even by quarter’s end and had the score tied at 10 heading to the second quarter.

Even though just 20 points were scored by the two teams in the first, it would look like a barn-burner compared to the second.

Lewistown went stone cold from the field, but Penns Valley could not really take advantage. Both teams struggled to get anything to fall from the field. A Dana Lee bucket gave the Rams the lead, but only by a basket.

Lewistown finally got into the act when Brittney Zimmerman hit a shot with five minutes remaining in the second to tie the score at 12. She was later fouled and hit a pair of free throws that gave the advantage back to the Panthers.

But Penns Valley was not done. Brittany LeVan hit a free throw with just 1:35 to play in the half to give the lead back to the Rams.

The lead see-sawed back and forth at the end of the half, with LeVan hitting a field goal to give Penns Valley a 17-16 halftime lead.

The third quarter was the turning point in the game. While the Rams remained ice cold shooting, the Panthers began to heat up.

Lewistown sprinted out of the half with a quick 6-0 run that forced a timeout by the Rams. It didn’t do much to break the momentum of the Panther offense. The home team would find itself out in front by 11 after the third with great defense in a very physical quarter.

“It was a hard-nosed basketball game,” Kodish said. “This was like a playoff game. (The officials) tend to let them play and let more things go in the playoffs. This was good. I was glad that we were able to come out on top.”

Zimmerman continued to be the catalyst for Lewistown as she chipped in six of her game-high 17 points in the third to outscore the Rams in the period by herself.

“Brittney Zimmerman really came through in her last game here on this floor,” Kodish said. “She had 17 points and I don’t know how many rebounds. She also had a lot of hustling plays.”

Lewistown had to earn its win in the fourth on the free throw line. The Panthers did not hit a single field goal in the final quarter, with all 10 points coming on foul shots. It was microcosm of the game, as the Panthers shot 83 percent from the line as a team in the game.

“That’s big,” Kodish said of his team’s foul shooting. “Saturday we were 5-of-12, so we were able to recover from that. Tonight we came in here and cashed in those free throws. We shot them in practice yesterday and they did the job tonight. I’m proud of each and every one of them.”

Lewistown has two games to finish out its regular season, beginning with the showdown with rival Indian Valley at 7:30 p.m Thursday night in Highland Park. The Panthers will also make up their game against Tyrone at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Tyrone.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Lewistown knocks off unbeaten Seals

By Dan Graybill, Sentinel sports editor, dgraybill@lewistownsentinel.com

LEWISTOWN — Selinsgrove showed in the first couple of minutes why it was undefeated.

But after that Lewistown showed that it wasn’t afraid of the Seals.

After Selinsgrove jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, Lewistown controlled the game and defeated Selinsgrove 65-47 Saturday night in girls basketball action, ending the Seals’ undefeated season.

Kayla Espigh led the charge for the Panthers (17-2). She fired and hit two 3s in the first quarter that saw Lewistown take an 18-15 lead by the end.

Espigh kept shooting the entire game and finished with 20 points, including six 3s.

Dani Rhoades also hit a 3 in the first quarter, and she finished with 15.

“Espigh got hot,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. “Dani Rhoades played out of her mind.”

Selinsgrove (18-1) controlled the tempo early on, wanting to run up and down the floor. The taller Seals also controlled the boards early in the contest.

Once Lewistown got control of the ball and grabbed some rebounds they controlled the tempo of the game.

The Panthers gave up six points quickly in the first quarter, but they would give up just seven the entire second quarter to distance themselves from the Seals.

With a little more than a minute to go in the half, Selinsgrove got a fast break, but Brittney Zimmerman hustled back to block the shot. Selinsgrove got the ball back, but immediately turned it over to Lewistown.

“She doesn’t always show up on the score sheet, but she is always in there battling,” Kodish said about Zimmerman.

Lewistown spread the ball around evenly in the second quarter and kept the Seals guessing.

Selinsgrove also got into foul trouble in the quarter. It sent Spring Krepps to the foul line three times and she made the Seals pay as she went 6-for-6 from the line.

Part of that was due to the substitutions Kodish made. He wanted to keep fresh legs in the game, especially after playing a game Friday night too.

“We got them in transition,” Kodish said. “We got some open 3s and some layups.”

As a whole the Panthers went 9-for-11 from the line.

Selinsgrove’s Emily Soper came alive in the third quarter, scoring 10 of her 20 points in the third frame.

However, Espigh countered for Lewistown. She knocked down three more 3s and 11 in the quarter to keep the Panthers on top by 20.

“I am very happy with the effort,” Kodish said. “We worked hard.”

The hard work will need to continue as another undefeated team, Central Mountain, comes to Lewistown at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Lewistown 59, Central 48

MARTINSBURG — Lewistown put a cold-shooting first half behind it, as it scored 41 points in the second half for a 59-48 win.

Kayla Espigh scored a game-high 20 points, including four 3s in the third quarter. Heather Wilson drained a 3 of her own at the end of the quarter, as the Panthers put down 21 points.

The Panthers went 15-of-21 from the foul line to extend their lead.

“We were long ranging it tonight,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. “It was a good night shooting on the foul line.”

Hannah Geedey added 13 points for Lewistown.

Lewistown will host undefeated Selinsgrove at 6:30 p.m. today for its coaches vs. cancer game. JV will begin at 5 p.m.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Espigh, Panther girls crush Bald Eagle Area

From staff reports

WINGATE — Kayla Espigh scored 23 points, including 20 in the second and third quarters, to help the Lewistown girls basketball team blow out Bald Eagle Area 87-43 in a Mountain League game Wednesday.

Dani Rhoades added nine points in the third quarter and 12 overall, and the Panthers (15-2) hit 11 3-pointers.

“The game was rough around the edges,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. “It was tough to get into a smooth groove, but after halftime I thought we came out and performed much better. The third quarter was a lot of Espigh and Rhoades getting us out of halftime.”

Lewistown outscored Bald Eagle Area 55-23 in the second half.

Heather Wilson scored 15 points and buried four 3-pointers, as did Espigh. In all, nine different Panthers scored at least four points.

“We had nice, spread-out scoring,” Kodish said.

Lewistown, currently No. 8 in the Class AAA state rankings, will hit the road at 7:30 p.m. Friday to face another Mountain League foe in Central.

* * * * * * * * * * 

LAHS wins another ML tilt

From staff reports

HUNTINGDON — The Lewistown Panthers girls basketball team used stellar third-quarter defense to open a lead and go on to a 63-51 Mountain League road win over Huntingdon Friday night.

The Bearcats only managed two points in the third, thanks to a strong second-half effort from Kevin Kodish’s Panthers.

“After a lackluster first half where Huntingdon lead going into the half, we came out and played excellent basketball,” Kodish said. “We weren’t mentally prepared to play in the first half, but I was pleased with our effort after halftime.”

Lewistown outscored Huntingdon 31-18 in the second to win comfortably.

Brittany Zimmerman had a big night for the Panthers as she had 17 points to lead all scorers in the contest.

“Brittany Zimmerman had a fantastic game,” Kodish said. “She was the spark plug for us tonight.”
 

* * * * * * * * * * * 

Top 10 tussle: No. 8 Panthers down No. 9 Red Raiders

By JOEY GULINO, Sentinel assistant sports editor

LEWISTOWN — Lewistown entered Wednesday as one state-ranked team — and it celebrated by knocking off another.

The Panthers assaulted the offensive glass and neutralized Bellefonte’s size advantage to earn a scrappy 68-65 victory in a league and district showdown at Lewistown Area High School.

Having built a steady advantage thanks to second shots and suffocating defense, Lewistown held a 13-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter. A furious rally by Bellefonte over the final eight minutes couldn’t trip up the Panthers, ranked No. 8 in the state in the latest Class AAA poll.

Nor could the potent inside-outside combo of Josie Capparelle and Angie Proper, who exploded for the ninth-ranked Red Raiders in the second half.

“Bellefonte comes at you hard,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. “We know they’re not going to quit. We had them by double figures heading into the last quarter, but they put the charge on, and started finding some girls down low. Finally we tightened up and were able to pull it out.”

The Red Raiders shot a miserable 26 percent through the first three quarters, but really put the heat on Lewistown (13-2) by shooting 71 percent and scoring 27 points in the fourth.

A pair of buckets by Capparelle cut Lewistown’s lead to 60-58, with two and a half minutes to play, and Hannah Geedey responded by drilling a 3-pointer at the other end.

After a steal and score by Bellefonte’s Lacee Port, Geedey found Kayla Espigh down low for two. A runner by Tosha Stover and a trey by Proper sandwiched a free throw by Brittney Zimmerman to pull the Red Raiders within one at 66-65. But two more free throws by Geedey stretched the lead back to three, and an offensive foul was called on Bellefonte to end the game.

“We made smart decisions in the last minute,” Kodish said. “We got to the foul line and, for the most part, converted. I’m happy with our kids’ performance.”

One of the reasons Lewistown kept its lead was Dani Rhoades, who scored nine of her 16 points in the third period and challenged the Bellefonte shooters at the edge of Lewistown’s zone.

“We played really well in the third quarter,” she said. “I’m just glad we pulled it through. We kind of slacked off a little bit after the third. We need to work on our fighting through screens for the next meeting.”

Fortunately for the Panthers, their press threw Bellefonte out of its rhythm. The Red Raiders didn’t want to necessarily push the tempo, but they couldn’t set up their halfcourt game as effectively with Lewistown pressuring up the court.

“We wanted to slow them down with the press a little bit, give them something different we haven’t shown them the last couple years, so we broke that out tonight,” Kodish said. “I thought we got the desired effect. We got them out of sync a little bit on the offensive end.”

As they’ve done all year, the Panthers swarmed the bigger Red Raiders underneath the basket on entry passes, and didn’t allow their forwards to get anything down low.

Bellefonte also played much of the game without the services of Stover, one of the team’s best defensive players, because of foul trouble.

Still, Bellefonte kept grinding in the second half, and Lewistown needed clutch plays by several different girls to seal the win.

“Dani Rhoades and Kayla made a couple key buckets,” Kodish said. “Hannah had key buckets and two foul shots and that dish to Espigh late, which was a critical layup at a critical juncture.”

Lewistown is now 2-0 against Bellefonte this season, and while the wins are important in the Mountain League race, the two rivals could meet again in the District 6 Class AAA playoffs, as they did last year in the district title game.

“I’m sure we’ll meet up with them in districts,” Rhoades said. “We’ll go into districts with two wins over them, and they have none, so that’s going to help us a lot there.”

The Panthers will travel to Huntingdon at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

* * * * * * * * * * * 

Senior showtime: Lewistown veterans lead Panthers past P-O

By JOEY GULINO, Sentinel assistant sports editor

LEWISTOWN — Lewistown honored five seniors Friday evening, and the stars of the show didn’t disappoint in the game that followed.

The senior class combined to score 55 of Lewistown’s 68 points — including seven treys and 25 points from Heather Wilson — to trounce Philipsburg-Osceola 68-26 at Lewistown Area High School.

Along with Wilson, Spring Krepps, Tasha Pecht, Dani Rhoades and Brittney Zimmerman started and played a bulk of the minutes. The group has won 79 of its 98 games with the Panthers over the past four seasons, and Kodish is happy with how they’ve continued the winning tradition.

“The seniors have worked hard over the years, and it’s nice to see them have success,” he said. “It was nice to put them all out on the floor like that, and also to finish the game and pull them off one at a time for their curtain call. They’ve meant a lot to the program, and they’ve kept it going, the winning tradition, and passed it on to the other ones. I’m really proud of all of them.”

The Panthers (12-2) blitzed young Philipsburg-Osceola right from the opening whistle, moving the ball crisply and finding open shooters. Wilson began her night with four 3s in the first quarter, during which four of the five seniors scored.

The Mounties, meanwhile, couldn’t break the Panthers’ full-court press, although they shot a modest percentage in the few times they did make it down the floor.

From the second quarter on, Lewistown continued to feed its shooters and break down Philipsburg-Osceola’s zone, and Kodish credits his veteran crew.

“I thought offensively, the seniors worked the ball well,” he said. “Everybody that went in the game did their best. We did a good job.”

Philipsburg-Osceola center Megan Yonushonis had success in the post in the second half, putting up seven of her team-high 12 points in the third and fourth quarters. Even though the Mounties are made up almost exclusively of freshmen and sophomores, Kodish says coach Kelly Kephart has them heading in the right direction.

“Kelly’s doing a good job with them,” he said. “They have one senior and no juniors on the team, so they’re going to be around the next several years. They’re taking their lumps now, but I know that Kelly will work them hard. They’re going to have a nice basketball team here in a couple years.”

Even the best of teams may have had trouble stopping Wilson on this night, however. Wilson hit a couple close looks in the second quarter, and drilled three more 3-pointers in the second half.

“Heather Wilson kept her hot hand from the other night,” Kodish said. “Seven 3s in one game is hard to get. When she has her confidence going, she can do just about anything from the perimeter with that shot.

“She’s one of those classic momentum players. She can go hurricane force in a positive direction. Sometimes she gets down on herself, but she’s on a positive spin right now, and I hope she keeps that rolling for the rest of the season.”

Rhoades finished with 13 points for Lewistown, and Brittney Zimmerman had 10. Taylor Harpster scored four in support of Yonushonis for Philipsburg-Osceola.

The Panthers will now have plenty of time to rest and prepare for a big showdown with league and district rival Bellefonte, which comes to Lewistown at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Defense, outside shooting lift Lewistown girls past Indian Valley

By JOEY GULINO

LEWISTOWN - Last season, Indian Valley left Lewistown’s floor with a 23-point victory.

Wednesday night, the Panthers weren’t about to let it happen again.

Lewistown shot a blistering 50 percent from beyond the arc, flustered Indian Valley with its press and got 24 points from Heather Wilson in a 69-49 victory at Lewistown Area High School.

Trailing 9-7 following a rigid first quarter, the Panthers (11-2) began to trap Indian Valley full-court, a press that opened up their game and never allowed the Warriors to get comfortable.

“Indian Valley plays very good defense,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. “I think the tempo favored them, so we went to the press, which caused them a lot of problems and we also started running the ball and we got good spacing and attacked a little bit. When they were showing that zone look, we were flat on our heels. Once we got into the flow of how we like to play, things picked up for us.”

With Indian Valley’s zone either scrambling to recover or stretching to contain Lewistown’s athleticism, the Panthers began to get open looks from the outside. Wilson made the most of her opportunities by nailing five 3-pointers, and she and several other Panthers capitalized on high percentage shots thanks to Hannah Geedey’s dribble penetration.

“I was just going and playing my game,” she said. “We’ve been playing this new trap defense, and it really worked for us.”

The Warriors (9-5), meanwhile, tried to slow things down and take advantage of center Steph Zewe and forwards Taylor Bargo and Linzee Ruby.

“I really thought the key to the game was that we didn’t really play well in the second quarter,” Indian Valley coach Roger Herto said. “To me, the way we dictated tempo and did things in the first half, I thought we should have had an eight- to 10-point lead, but we didn’t.”

One of the reasons may have been Zewe’s foul trouble, which sent her to the bench for much of the second quarter. Several Warriors spread out the scoring on offense, but with Lewistown’s outside shooting heating up, it was tough to answer every basket.

The Panthers shot out of the gates in the second half and turned a four-point lead into a 35-23 advantage almost instantly, and a 24-7 third quarter for Lewistown provided a healthy lead the rest of the way.

Kodish, however, says it all started with his team’s play before the half.

“I really didn’t want that halftime buzzer to go off, because that’s when we were just starting to take fire,” he said. “We were able to continue in the third quarter. We were able to get the spacing that we needed on the floor and attack. When you hit your 3s, everything looks good.”

The press problems continued for Indian Valley as well, and with the Panthers shooting 56 percent in the third quarter anyway, the turnovers proved to be the difference.

“I give them all the credit in the world for the pressure they put on us, but fundamentally, we were bad breaking the press,” Herto said. “We were not good tonight against that pressure, which caused us defensively to get out of our element and do some things and let them have more 3s.

“If you catch the ball and you don’t dribble, and you pick your head up and look up the floor, you’re going to get layups. If you catch the ball and you put your head down and dribble, you’re going to have what happened tonight.”

Zewe did a good job of getting position and getting to the line in the second half, and her 20 points led the Warriors. But as she acknowledges, even the best defense might have been overmatched by Lewistown on this night.

“We’re always very good on defense,” she said. “Defense is our thing. We were in it until the third quarter. What really killed us were the couple 3s they had.”

In all, five different Panthers hit from downtown, and although no one finished in double figures other than Wilson, Lewistown equally distributed the support to keep Indian Valley guessing.

Geedey scored nine points, while Dani Rhoades and Tasha Pecht each had eight, and Kayla Espigh, Brittney Zimmerman and Lauren Coleman all finished with six.

“The key for Lewistown tonight was the Wilson girl,” Herto said. “She was on fire. She really shot the ball well. If I was Kevin, I would bottle up her performance and try to have it ready every night, because she shot the ball very well this evening.

Kodish agreed, and credited another aspect of Wilson’s game.

“Heather Wilson was instant offense off the bench, and also she was a pest on defense,” he said. “We call her the ‘flea’ because she’s a pest on defense, and she did it to the hilt tonight.”

Linzee Ruby had nine points for the Warriors, and Marta Litwiller wound up with seven.

Indian Valley will travel to Penns Valley at 7:30 p.m. Friday, which wraps up a difficult stretch of the schedule.

“The key thing for our kids right now is we had a tough stretch here,” Herto said. “We had five games in eight days. I knew coming in the last two would be the toughest, and I’ve told them good teams respond to things.”

Lewistown, meanwhile, will host Philipsburg-Osceola at 7:30 p.m. Friday for Senior Night, during which the Panthers’ five seniors will be honored.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Espigh scores 22 as Panthers stomp Golden Eagles, 87-33

By JOEY GULINO, Sentinel assistant sports editor

LEWISTOWN — Kayla Espigh scored more points in the first four minutes than Tyrone did in the first quarter.

Five Panthers finished in double-figures.

As a whole, they put up 87 points — only two of which came from leading scorer Hannah Geedey.

Yeah, you could say things went well for Lewistown Thursday.

Espigh finished with a game-high 22 points and the Panthers hit 11 3-pointers in an 87-33 thrashing of the Golden Eagles at Lewistown High School.

Tyrone shot only 24 percent from beyond the arc itself, and to find a problem in Lewistown’s game, you’d really have to be focusing hard.

Then again, that’s a coach’s job.

“The last three and a half minutes of the first half, I felt we let them get too many offensive rebounds,” Lewistown’s coach Kevin Kodish said. “That’s the only thing I can point to.”

The tempo of the first quarter pointed to a long night for Tyrone, who couldn’t keep up with the Panthers in transition or half-court sets. The beneficiary of Lewistown’s crisp ball movement was Espigh, who nailed five shots in the opening stanza, including four 3-pointers.

The Golden Eagles couldn’t crack the Panthers’ press, either, which led to extra possessions on which Lewistown capitalized.

“We wanted to push the ball,” Kodish said. “We wanted to keep the game fast paced. Even if they made a basket, we wanted to get it and run the floor all the time. We wanted our subs to be in that same habit, looking for quick opportunities for our spot-up shooters.”

Tyrone’s Kayla Corle, the team’s primary offensive threat, only scored five points, all in the first half, and Kodish says the Panthers (10-1) made a concentrated effort to stop her.

“We wanted to watch (Corle),” he said. “She’s been a big scorer for them lately. She had 20 against Bishop Guilfoyle. We wanted to limit her opportunities.”

Corle shot only 20 percent for the game, and Lewistown also did a good job of denying Tyrone center Marah Hawes the ball early. Hawes was able to get to the line several times, but she didn’t register a field goal.

Lewistown, meanwhile, registered a ton of them. Spring Krepps scored 12 of her 16 points to key a 27-3 third quarter, and Lauren Coleman hit three of her four treys in the final period.

The Panthers ended up playing 13 girls, 10 of whom scored. And while Geedey only hit one shot, Kodish says her impact, as always, was felt in several different areas.

“Hannah gets as much, if not more, of a thrill out of a great pass,” he said. “She loves distributing the ball. She’ll do that anytime. She doesn’t care about the points on the scoreboard. She wants our team points to go up.

“They call her the ‘mother hen’ out there because she makes sure everyone’s in the right defense and everything. She’s kind of sitting on the nest, so to speak, out on the floor for us, making sure everyone’s where they should be.”

Dani Rhoades scored 13 points and Heather Wilson ended up with 12 for Lewistown. Carla Ray and Kassie Faretta each finished with nine to lead the Golden Eagles.

“We got a couple more JV girls in there tonight to suit up and see some action,” Kodish said. “We had a couple really good practices the last couple days. I thought we were going to shoot well and play a decent game.”

The Panthers will travel to face Penns Valley at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * 

Lewistown blows past Spartans

By Dan Graybill, Sentinel sports editor

LEWISTOWN — Lewistown got on a roll early and point guard Hannah Geedey did too.

Geedey scored Lewistown’s first 11 points of the game as the Panthers rolled to an easy 66-38 win over North Schuylkill at the Panther Club Holiday Tournament Saturday.

The win gave the Panthers first place in the tournament, as they beat Freire Charter Friday.

All told Geedey, scored a game-high 18 points, 13 of them coming in the first half.

Lewistown (9-1) held a decisive 41-18 lead at the break.

“I was pleased with our intensity,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. “It was great to jump out to a commanding lead.”

Lewistown slowed down in the third quarter, but the Spartans could only cut the lead by one point.

The Panthers picked the pace back up in the fourth quarter to close out the victory.

North Schuylkill’s Jenni Butts — the Spartans’ go-to player — was stifled in the second half. She was limited to two points and one trip to the foul line where she missed both shots.

Butts finished the game with 12 points.

“(Butts) was their star inside and we denied her,” Kodish said. “When she did get the ball she had a lot of company.”

Geedey began the game with a bang.

She hit two consecutive 3s to begin the game and give Lewistown a 6-0 lead. The first 3-pointer came with about six minutes to go in the first quarter as neither team was able to put points on the board in the first two minutes of the quarter.

Geedey was fouled on the third possession and she made both her shots, putting the Panthers up 8-2.

Free throws were a big part of the Panthers’ game. They sunk 18 of their 27 free throws.

Geedey hit her third 3 of the game for an 11-6 lead. That bucket began a 9-0 run for Lewistown.

Butts scored the final three points of the quarter and Lewistown led 17-9.

Brittany Zimmerman picked up where Geedey left off in the second quarter. Zimmerman had six points in the second quarter, four coming from the foul line.

She finished the game with 10 points and she forced numerous turnovers on the defensive end.

In the third quarter, Lewistown wasn’t able to get its shots to go down and the Panthers only scored eight points in the quarter.

Kayla Espigh also finished in double digits with 11 points. She hit two 3s in the contest.

“We controlled the game early,” Kodish said. “We beat them up the floor.”

Geedey was named MVP of the tournament. Dani Rhoades and Heather Wilson were named on the All-Tournament team. Espigh was awarded Outstanding Offensive Player and Zimmerman was Outstanding Defensive Player.

Lewistown will host Tyrone at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

* * * * * * * * *

LAHS falls to ’Cats

From staff reports

LOCK HAVEN — In a battle of unbeatens in the Mountain League, Lewistown fell on the short end to Central Mountain 56-48.

Kayla Espigh scored a team-high 16 points for the Panthers. Mallory Moore had a game-high 23 points for Central Mountain.

The difference was the second and third quarters. Lewistown scored a combined 13 points in the two quarters.

“We had two long scoring droughts and you can’t do that against a good team,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said.

Lewistown was down as many as 17 points in the second half and battled back. At one point it was down six and had a three-pointer that didn’t go that could have cut the lead to three points.

“Our shooting was very arctic,” Kodish said.

Lewistown (7-1) will play in the Panther Club Holiday Classic beginning Dec. 28.

* * * * * * * * *

Panther girls rout Scarlet Dragons

From staff reports

LEWISTOWN — Heading into a big showdown with Central Mountain Thursday, the Lewistown girls basketball team couldn’t be playing much better.

Spring Krepps scored a career-high 13 points, Lewistown built a 19-point halftime lead and roared past Central 63-35 Tuesday evening.

The Panthers (7-0) also double-digit efforts from Kayla Espigh, Dani Rhoades and Heather Wilson, who drilled three 3-pointers.

“I’m extremely pleased with the effort the girls put forth tonight,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. “We challenged them to play basketball the right way at both ends of the floor, and they did. I don’t have any complaints tonight.”

Lauren Coleman scored a career-high eight points as well for the Panthers, who stayed hot from the field in the second half.

Lewistown had a lot of success on the scoreboard thanks to Hannah Geedey, who constantly found open teammates all over the floor.

“We hit the open person tonight, and that person hit a shot,” Kodish said.

In all, the Panthers hit 25 field goals, including eight treys.

Lewistown will travel to face undefeated Central Mountain in Lock Haven at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
 

* * * * * * * * *

Panther coach Kodish scales 500-win plateau

By JOEY GULINO, Sentinel assistant sports editor

LEWISTOWN — There isn’t much Lewistown girls basketball coach Kevin Kodish hasn’t done.

He’s won state championships. He’s lost a state championship. He’s won league and district titles. He’s lost players to graduation and college.

On Dec. 6, 2007, Kodish won the 500th game of his 24-year career, and two games later, he was presented with a plaque commemorating the achievement.

Those accomplishments have allowed Kodish to realize that while he’s given his all to the game, the game has given him just as much.

“The love of basketball and the love of working with kids have kept me in the game this long,” he said. “Seeing kids grow up throughout high school and later become productive citizens is a big thrill, a thrill that dwarfs wins and losses.”

Kodish himself grew up with the current Lewistown Area High School, entering the building that stands today as a junior in the mid-’70s. Kodish graduated in 1978, and after attending Bloomsburg University, he returned to his alma mater and began coaching in the 1984-85 season.

503 wins later, it’s worked out for everyone — literally.

“Family support is critical, and obviously the parents of the kids and all the assistant coaches I’ve had, up and down the ladder,” Kodish said.

”The people working with younger kids, they know what kind of style we play. We can’t be in all the places at once. To have a program, you have to have other people help you, and build them and send them up the ladder like that.”

The ladder reached its highest point in 1996-97 and 1997-98, when Lewistown won back-to-back Class AAA state championships. In 2003-04, Kodish guided a the Panthers to a state runner-up finish.

All told, Kodish has steered the program to five state final fours, eight elite eights, eight District 6 championships, 10 Mountain League championships, and 22 straight winning seasons, with this year’s team well on its way to No. 23.

To have that kind of success, you need adaptation without wholesale transformation, a process Kodish attacks every season.

“You always have to do an inventory and see the skill levels you have at each position, and tailor your team and your offense to what you have,” he said. “The goals for Lady Panther basketball are always to work hard, give our best effort represent our school and community in a positive way, and enjoy playing the game. If we accomplish those things, that’s really all that matters.”

Those principles have helped countless players graduate from Lewistown and move on to the college ranks and become everything from doctors to teachers to coaches themselves.

“It makes me feel great,” he said. “I love seeing players move on to the next level. Basically, I love to see them going to college, period. “It’s just great to see, because they commit themselves to excellence on the basketball court and in the classroom as well.

“Twenty-two straight winning seasons says a lot for the work ethic of the girls and the program because they’ve bought into what we’re trying to do, and it’s kept on rolling.”

In fact, Kodish says that family support is as important as anything for a coach, and when you mix in the success he’s had at Lewistown, it’s extra special.

“My family has been critical,” he said. “My two daughters and my wife have always been supportive of me, and if they weren’t supportive of me, we wouldn’t be able to do this. Nobody knows how much a coach’s wife has to endure, and 24 years of support is a tremendous sacrifice.”

Kodish has made plenty of sacrifices over the years as well. At 47 years old, he’s been commuting to and from Harrisburg for work for 25 years, and many nights he gets home just in time to change into his basketball shirt and sneakers and leave for practice.

But does he ever think about stepping down?

“Once in a while, I do,” he said. “I’m getting old. When I was young, it didn’t bother me at all as far as physically, but now, I’m feeling the ride to and fro. After all these years, the miles are starting to add up on me. I love the game so much, and I love the kids, and that’s what keeps me going, as long as I love doing that.”

The 500th victory could turn out to be one of the signature wins of this season. Down by six heading into the fourth quarter, Lewistown outscored perennial district contender Bellefonte 21-9 during the final eight minutes to seal it.

At that point, perhaps the milestone hadn’t yet dawned on Kodish.

“I was feeling very, very good because we beat a great Bellefonte team on the road,” he said.

There he goes again, keeping things in perspective.

* * * * * * * * * 

Lewistown girls whip Wildcats

By KENNY VARNER, Sentinel sports reporter

LEWISTOWN — After posting a 13-point lead at halftime, the Lewistown girls basketball team played a total game as it held off feisty Mifflinburg 58-46 Saturday night in a non-league matchup.

The Panthers finished with a total of eight players in the scoring column. Leading the way for the blue and white was Kayla Espigh with 15 points. Defensively, the Panthers also had six players pull down at least one rebound en route to the victory.

“It was a very competitive game. Mifflinburg is very feisty,” Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said after the game. “I think they came out and played hard and we answered the challenge as well. Both teams played spirited. We were able to get that spread the first half up to about 13. We pretty much rode those reins the rest of the way.”

Hannah Geedey had her shots hitting from the outside, posting four triples in a 14-point performance.

Lewistown’s defense also proved to be pretty stingy in its own right, allowing only four players to score and forcing the Wildcats to shoot from the outside for much of the contest. It was extremely strong in the first half, allowing Mifflinburg only 18 points, good for a double-digit lead at intermission.

However, the Panthers found it hard to stop Mifflinburg’s Hannah Allison, who finished as the game’s high scorer with 21. In that effort, Allison put down four triples and went 5-for-6 from the charity stripe. Teammate Amy Cline also had a strong night on the floor, finishing with 14 points, three of which were from beyond the arc.

The rest of the Mifflinburg team finished with only 11 points combined.

Lewistown’s offense got off to a fast start by scoring 16 points while holding Mifflinburg to only eight. Geedey opened the game with consecutive threes, sparking an 8-2 run. Espigh continued the Panthers by scoring five consecutive points of her own.

Geedey hit for nine points, all threes, to lead all scorers in the first quarter.

In the second, the offensive onslaught continued as Lewistown opened 15-point lead midway through the period. That was due in part by a another big Lewistown run.

Led by Geedey again, the Panthers rolled off a 10-6 run with a minute left to take a 31-16 lead over the Wildcats.

In the third and fourth, the Panthers had enough firepower to fend off the scrappy Wildcat team as they were outscored by just one point, but it was still enough for them to earn the 12-point victory.

“In the second half we basically traded points,” Kodish said. “It was a pretty even game in the second half. There was a lot of contact and a lot physical play going on by both teams. They were playing hard and really going after it.”

Lewistown (6-0) will try to keep its undefeated streak alive as it hosts Central 7:30 on Tuesday.

Notes: Kodish was presented with a trophy celebrating his 500th victory before the game. 

Panthers battle past Bald Eagle

By JOEY GULINO, Sentinel assistant sports editor, jgulino@lewistownsentinel.com

LEWISTOWN — The Lewistown Panthers weren’t pleased with their performance Wednesday night, but if it were another group of players, it might have been different.

How different?

For starters, they wouldn’t have won by 17.

The Panthers went on a 10-0 run to close the first half and spread their point production out in the second to earn a 56-39 win over Bald Eagle Area in Mountain League action.

But Lewistown stayed afloat for much of the first half despite its shooting, not because of it. The Panthers moved the ball well and got open looks, but they shot an arctic 30 percent for the game and stayed ahead thanks to their hustle, which produced plenty of turnovers and second shots.

Still, coach Kevin Kodish would just as soon get back to practice and move on.

“We want to just take the win, and forget everything else about it,” he said. “Bald Eagle Area played a determined game, and I credit them a lot. We’ve got a lot of ear aches and stuffiness going through the team, and today I’ve got a sore throat, and I think this game finished me off with a root canal”

Fortunately for the Panthers, Bald Eagle Area couldn’t capitalize on the other end of the floor. The Eagles tried to run the offense through center Danielle Reese, but with Lewistown doing such a good job of denying her the ball, they became stagnant and occasionally resorted to NBA-esque individual games.

Bald Eagle Area did have a fair amount of success when it went small in the second quarter, a run Carly Kristofik capped with a pair of 3-pointers to cut the lead to 18-15.

Hannah Geedey responded with a couple treys of her own, however, and gave Lewistown a comfortable advantage it would never relinquish.

“It was one of those things where you don’t feel like you’re in danger of losing the game,” Kodish said. “You’re just not playing smoothly at either end. The game was just disjointed.”

Brittney Zimmerman and Dani Rhoades scored all nine of Lewistown’s points in the third quarter, and 3-balls by Spring Krepps and Heather Wilson helped the Panthers put the game away in the fourth.

The Eagles used their size to block and challenge shots all night, which may have affected Lewistown efforts. Reese scored five of her team-high 10 points in the fourth, but Bald Eagle Area shot a dismal 34 percent for the game.

The Panthers took advantage of their extra chances by hiking up 26 more shots than Bald Eagle Area, which somewhat made up for their struggles from the floor.

In response to the first period, Lewistown started driving to the tin, using its quickness to cut through Bald Eagle Area’s zone and whip the ball to open shooters.

And if his team had done a better job of stopping penetration, Kodish says, it might have been more successful.

“It seemed like very time we made a little mistake on defense, they would have a drive and hit a runner or something,” he said. “These things snowball, but when we made a fundamental mistake on defense, they made it every time, to their credit.”

Geedey’s 13 points led all scorers, and Rhoades finished with 12. Zimmerman added 11, and Kristofik and Brittany Butterworth each scored eight for Bald Eagle Area.

“If you get the ‘W’, you get the ‘W’,” Kodish said. “There are nights like this sometimes when you’re hoping you have enough to get by and win, which we did, so we’ll concentrate on the positive and get better tomorrow.”

Lewistown, which has beaten Mountain League teams in all four games, will host its first non-conference game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday against Mifflinburg.

* * * * * * * * * * 

LADY PANTHERS DOWN BELLEFONTE TO MOVE TO 4-0 

Centre Daily Times Article on Lewistown/Bellefonte game from 12/6/07 

Bellefonte’s Angie Proper surpassed 1,000 career points with a 15-point effort in a 58-50 loss to Lewistown on Thursday.

Unfortunately for the Lady Raiders one historic memory offset another as Bellefonte fell 58-52 to perennial power Lewistown.

On the bright side, Bellefonte senior Angie Proper dropped in 15 points to surpass the 1,000-point mark for her career. She also added 11 rebounds for a double-double.

“It was exciting to score my 1,000th point,” said Proper. “There have only been a couple of players score 1,000 points at Bellefonte and it was nice to get it so early in the season. I guess I keep them (fans) guessing but someone was on me the whole time and made me work for the points.”

Proper entered the final period needing four points for the magic numbe


Kayla Espigh


Friday, March 7
Articles from 2010-11 Season

NOT ANYMORE

Lewistown holds off previously unbeaten Eagles

LEWISTOWN - Opportunities like the one that Lewistown had on Friday evening don't come along all that often in high school athletics.

The Panthers, playing in front of a swarm of their hometown supporters, stood toe-to-toe with previously unbeaten Bald Eagle Area and pulled out an exciting 48-40 Nittany Division victory over the Eagles.

"I told the team afterward that I saw a lot of growth tonight," Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. "They had the nine-point lead at halftime and did a good job of getting that, but then they got behind and earlier in the year they might have folded under that. This time of the year, you like to see that growth."

With the result, both squads stand at 6-1 in the division, although Bald Eagle Area's conference record gives the Eagles the tiebreaker with three more league games to go. The Panthers will need some help, but Friday's win certainly puts the pressure on the Eagles while boosting the confidence of their own club.

"They've got to win now," Kodish said. "Both of us are still alive - (Bald Eagle Area) has the upper hand because they have the tiebreaker, but we are tied for the division now. If it would end today, it would be one of those situations where they would go to the Rose Bowl and we would just be co-Big Ten champs."

You can blame the first quarter on a lot of different things - intensity, nerves, playing in a game of this magnitude - but any of those can explain a portion of a first quarter that ended in a 5-3 advantage for the visitors. Abby Gettig and Anne Hoover made the only Eagle field goals while Ashleigh Williams added the only deuce for Lewistown.

"Both teams got to a really slow start offensively," Kodish said. "There was a lot of tension. They're undefeated and they know that we've been up for years, so both teams were very tense in the beginning of the game and you saw a very low-scoring quarter. You had a lot of hustle and a lot of action, but they loosened up and the scoring came later. I really am pleased to see that we were able to ratchet it up a level to get that eight-point win."

It was all Panthers in the second quarter, as Olivia Halfpenny and Williams found their range from beyond the arc to combine for three triples before the half. Lewistown also kept its intensity on the defensive end, holding the high-flying Eagles to a second five-point quarter to take a 19-10 advantage to the break.

Bald Eagle Area showed the poise of an unbeaten team to start the third quarter, briefly re-taking the lead in the process. Kodish was forced to call two timeouts during the run, and his team finally responded toward the end of the frame. Cheyenne Stonerook started to find her inside rhythm for six points while Logan Snyder chipped in with five - including a huge triple to put her team back in front.

For the Eagles, Gettig and Marissa Ward went back to work to combine for 16 points in the stanza. But despite a 21-point quarter for the visitors, Lewistown's late run allowed the Panthers to hold a 36-31 edge heading into the final eight minutes of its upset bid.

Williams opened the fourth with a three-ball that seemed to take the wind out of Bald Eagle Area's sails, despite the fact that Maggie Meek answered right back with one of her own on the ensuing trip down the floor. The Eagles, who were in need of a repeat performance of their third quarter, managed only six more points by the final buzzer. That fact, coupled with the Panthers connecting on some important free throws down the stretch, put Brandy Preslovich's squad in a position that they hadn't been in all season - the loss column.

"We made mistakes, but we recovered from them and we persevered," Kodish said. "(Bald Eagle Area) didn't get undefeated by being a bad team. They're a strong team and they're senior oriented. It's a great win for us to get here late in the year."

Williams led the way with 14 points for Lewistown, while Stonerook (11) and Halfpenny (10) finished just behind. Gettig topped the charts for the Eagles with 15 points while Ward added 10.

And if the big victory isn't enough to get the locals excited, the Panthers (15-3, 9-3) will now prepare for their final meeting with cross-county rival Indian Valley - barring a meeting in the distrcit playoffs - on Tuesday evening at 7:30.

*******

Open scoring lane

Lewistown opens with 30 in paint

January 5, 2011 - By Drew Pellman, Sentinel sports reporter

 LEWISTOWN - Through the years, not many teams have relied on their guards like the Lewistown girls basketball team has. Nearly year in and year out, the Panthers have dominated the backcourt with speed, athleticism and the ability to score from the outside.

So on Tuesday night against cross-county rival Indian Valley, it was odd - and perhaps a bit stunning - to see the first 30 Lewistown points come from in the paint. The Panthers used the quick start to take control early en route to a 68-45 Mountain League victory over the Warriors.

Veteran coach Kevin Kodish said that he couldn't remember a game that started like this one during his coaching reign.

"I'm confident in saying that it's probably the first time ever in 27 years because we have been guard-oriented over the years," Kodish said with a smile. "But these (post players) have that capability and the (guards) found them. We weren't hitting the outside shot early."

Starting forward Cheyenne Stonerook and first substitution Chelsea Siddons were the beneficiaries of that early on as each tallied six points in the opening quarter.

"We took what was available to us and they finished the shots to give us the big lead and that loosened up their defense a little bit more," Kodish said.

Indian Valley coach Roger Herto was making his return to the rivalry after not being involved for the last two seasons. And it was pretty apparent to him as to where his team was beaten on this night.

"I told them before the game that the key to this game was not going to be the first shot at each end, but the second or the third," Herto said. "And in some cases tonight, it was the fourth or the fifth. In a nutshell, No. 20 killed us. Cheyenne just absolutely dominated the glass on both ends - she was the difference in that game."

Herto went to say how impressed he was with Stonerook's game following her setback last season.

"I had the pleasure of coaching her in softball when she was a kid - what a great kid, what a great family, and for her to come back from that ACL injury and do what she's done, that's a real credit to her," he said. "She just killed us - I joked with her after the game that you're not supposed to do that to friends, but she deserved everything she got and more."

Count Kodish among those who are glad to see Herto back on the bench.

"We were coaching against each other for so many years - it was weird the last two years not having him over there opposite of me on the sidelines," he said. "It felt like Lewistown and Indian Valley again having Roger over there. It's a great rivalry between the schools and it was a nice occasion to have him back there."

Aside from Lewistown's duo inside, a layup from Logan Snyder was the only other field goal of the first quarter for the Panthers while Indian Valley managed a bucket apiece from Dani Treaster and Whitney Corbin to make it 14-4 at the end of one.

It was more of the same in the second, as Stonerook and Siddons combined for 12 more, Snyder added six and Olivia Halfpenny got in the mix with five. Corbin and Treaster hit triples for the Warriors and Breanna Cline added a deuce, but the visitors were unable to keep up as Lewistown increased its lead to 22 at 37-15 by the half.

Indian Valley showed that it had no plans to quit when the teams returned from the break, as Corbin struck for 12 points from beyond the arc in the third quarter alone. Couple that with three points from Priscilla Weaver and three more from Sammie Chesnut and the Warriors won their only stanza of the night (18-13) to cut the Panthers' lead to 50-33 with one more period remaining.

But Lewistown freshman Ashleigh Williams, who was held to just two points through three quarters, found her touch in the fourth with seven quick points to put the hammer down on any comeback thoughts that Indian Valley may have had.

Corbin added seven more points in the final frame for a game-high 24 points, but Lewistown's balanced attack featured four players that reached double digits in scoring. Stonerook's 20 led the way and was followed by Snyder (12), Siddons (12) and Williams (10). Just missing out of that group was Halfpenny, who finished with nine.

"It's nice to see that many players in double figures," Kodish said. "You obviously want to see a good rounded team effort."

Herto said that Corbin, as well as her teammates, did a solid job of stepping up in the second half after a slow start.

"We realize that offense is not one of our strengths and everybody knows that she is the player that we have to get the ball to sometimes," he said. "That's a credit to her and her teammates that it's happening. We still need other people to step up to give us that one-two punch, but I thought after what was a very timid first half, we had a pretty good second half."

Lewistown (7-1, 3-1) hosts Juniata on Thursday night before stepping out of the league for an anticipated battle at Greenwood on Saturday. The Warriors (4-4) also return to action Thursday when they will welcome in Bellefonte.

*******

Powerful stuff

Panthers burst scorebook in win

December 14, 2010 - By DREW PELLMAN, Sentinel sports reporter, dpellman@lewistownsentinel.com

LEWISTOWN - With three minutes and 49 seconds left to play in the opening quarter Monday night, Lewistown girls basketball coach Kevin Kodish called for a timeout after watching his team score just two points in its first several possessions.

From there, it was simply all Panthers for the rest of the night. The locals finished out the quarter on a 15-4 run and never looked back in a convincing 67-18 victory over Penns Valley in the 2010 Nittany Division opener.

"It seemed like the ball was bouncing all over the place and we couldn't hit an easy shot (in the first four minutes)," Kodish said. "But once we got rolling there, we had two 17-4 quarters in the first half. 34-8 at halftime is good and we were able to get everyone a bunch of playing time."

With the exception of senior guard Ellyn Geedey who was nursing an injury on the bench for the majority of the game, everybody in the book scored - and then some. The Panthers were willing to accept a technical foul when they entered freshman Rebeka Knable, who was not listed in the book for the varsity game, in the fourth quarter. The move paid off when Knable added a free throw for her first varsity point - matching the point scored by the Rams on their two attempts from the technical.

"It was nice to see them all out there and getting a chance," Kodish set. "They practice hard every day and it's always nice to get them all out there on the floor, too."

But that was a long way from the opening. With the score standing at 2-0, it was senior forward Cheyenne Stonerook who took over the remainder of the first quarter after Kodish's timeout. She knocked home three field goals and four free throws for a 10-point quarter and classmate Lauren Hower drilled a three to end the frame at 17-4.

Sophomore Logan Snyder, who had one bucket in the first, added seven more points to her total in the second quarter and did just as much work on the defensive end to help her squad throughout the evening.

"Logan was all over the place - she's so athletic," Kodish said. "She dives on the floor, she gets tips, she gets rebounds and I wouldn't like playing against her if I was on another team. She's like one of those gnats at the summer picnic that just won't go away. She's always making something happen out there and she's always going 100 percent."

Senior Chelsea Siddons came off the bench to chip in six points in the first half and propel Lewistown to a 26-point lead at the break.

Three more scorers got in the mix in a 21-point third quarter for the Panthers as sophomore Olivia Halfpenny and freshman Ashleigh Williams registered six points apiece and senior Clarissa Adams knocked home four. With just eight more minutes remaining to play, the Panthers had put the mercy rule into effect at 55-12.

The final stanza saw a trio of Panthers, including Knable, put their names into the scoring column as seniors Taylor Snyder and Shawndel Williams each hit from behind the arc in combining for nine total points.

Simply put, Kodish couldn't have drawn up a better start to the Mountain League campaign.

"We stressed that in pregame because not only is this a league game, it's a divisional game," he said. "The Mountain League this year is going to use the 10 divisional games as the number one criteria for a division championship. Then there will be a league title game between the two division winners so every game is going to count."

Stonerook finished with a game-high 15 points while Snyder added 11 as the Panthers moved to 3-0 on the year.

The team will be back in action with its first road test of the season on Friday evening at Bellefonte.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Panther girls win tourney

December 13, 2010 - By Chris McFarland, Sentinel sports reporter

LEWISTOWN - Huntingdon scored the first basket in the Panther Club Tip-Off Tournament championship game Saturday evening - the only time the Bearcats would hold the lead. The Lewistown girls stormed out of the gate with a 32-point opening quarter in the process of rolling to an 86-54 victory.

The Panthers took a 10-7 lead midway through the first quarter, then deciding to push the pace, exploded on a 22-3 run to finish the period up 22 points. Freshman guard Ashleigh Williams scored half of her 16 points in the quarter.

However, it would then take Lewistown the first six minutes of the second quarter to sink another shot from the field.

"We stopped hustling," Lewistown coach Kevin Kodish said. "We got I think a 32-8 lead. I thought we played a great first quarter offensively and defensively and then we started resting on our laurels a little bit."

While the Panthers couldn't buy a basket, the Bearcats began raining threes. Fifteen of Huntingdon's 23 points during the second period came from long range.

"They started out-hustling us, hit a couple 3-point shots and all of a sudden they started feeling it and getting excited," Kodish said. "They picked up their intensity on defense. Points can do that. I think they got a spark there and we played flat-footed because we had a big lead."

The Bearcats cut the deficit to 16 at the half, but that was about as close as the game would get. Once the Panthers got out of their second-quarter funk, it was smooth sailing.

The second half started just as the first, carried by the efforts of Cheyenne Stonerook and Logan Snyder. Stonerook tallied 20 points, nine coming in the third quarter, and pulled in 15 boards for the double-double. Fast-break drives in the second half gave Snyder eight of her 10 points on the night.

"I though Cheyenne got good chances inside, got some good follows and got fouled a few times. Cheyenne had a very good game," Kodish said. "The guards out front too, Ashleigh and Logan did a good job. Olivia Halfpenny hit a few open shots for us. I thought we shared the ball well."

The Panthers didn't hold back much in the final quarter either. Lauren Hower scored four points in the fourth, while Chelsea Siddons notched seven in the period.

Lewistown (2-0) jumps right back in action tonight, hosting Penns Valley to open Mountain League play.

In the Tip-Off Tournament awards, Lewistown's Logan Snyder and Cheyenne Stonerook were named to the All-Tournament team, while teammates Olivia Halfpenny received the top offensive player award and Ashleigh Williams was named tournament MVP.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Freshman sparkles in debut

Panthers to face Huntingdon in title contest

December 11, 2010 - By DREW PELLMAN, Sentinel sports reporter, dpellman@lewistownsentinel.com

It was, however, a newcomer that stole the show.

Freshman guard Ashleigh Williams hit a pair of three-pointers to go along with four free throws in the opening eight minutes en route to a game-high 24 points as the Panthers held off visiting Milton by a 54-47 score.

"Ashleigh is a gifted player, no question," Kodish said. "She's worked hard her whole life to play basketball at a high level and she stepped right into varsity (tonight). We've seen her a long time and we know the kind of player she is and what kind of work ethic she has. She works hard and her game - she takes it seriously and she's going to be a lot of fun to watch."

Williams drew a foul on a three-point attempt to open the game and preceded to knock down two of her three foul shots before going on to score 10 of her squad's 13 points in the opening frame. Sophomore Olivia Halfpenny also got into the mix with a long ball before the quarter ended with the Panthers holding a 13-6 advantage.

Milton, a team that some say is one of the favorites in the Heartland Conference, stayed within striking distance in all the way to halftime behind balanced second-quarter scoring. Mandy Metzger registered five, including a three, while Madison Krebs dropped in three of her team-high 23. Senior Cheyenne Stonerook and sophomore Logan Snyder did all of Lewistown's work in the quarter, combining for all 10 points to make the Panther lead 23-17 at the break.

The Black Panthers stormed out of the game in the third quarter behind the offensive outburts of Krebs, Metzger and Ali Derr. Milton got as close as 31-30 before the homestanding Panthers got their swagger back. Williams registered her only deuce of the game before coming back with three straight triples to make the scoreboard read 39-32 in favor of the locals with just eight minutes left to play.

Although Lewistown could never put the game out of Milton's reach, it was never truly challenged down the stretch either. Krebs kept her squad within striking distance with 10 points in the final period, but Snyder, Williams, Halfpenny and Chelsea Siddons sealed the deal from the charity stripe down the stretch - going 9-for-12 between the foursome.

Kodish said that coming away with a victory against a strong team this early in the season was quite an accomplishment for his group.

"They have a veteran team - I think they started five seniors - and they're picked to win their division," he said. "I was expecting a test because of their leadership. When you have a veteran team like that who has been around, they're going to put up a fight."

Naturally though, that doesn't mean his team can start getting ahead of themselves.

"The thing that disappointed me about (the game) was that we have to rebound much better - we gave them a million offensive rebounds and I don't think I'm exaggerating by a lot either," Kodish said. "They just attacked the offensive boards and we didn't box out - we just let them have it way too many times."

The Panthers did get a bit of a surprise as Milton showed a zone defense for virtually the entire game.

"Because they're senior-laden I figured they would play a little bit more man, but they did not." Kodish said. "That's evidentally the game that they're going to go with and they've got a big team that can do a nice job on the glass. So maybe they figure that if they can force people into long shots they're going to come out on the winning end more often than not."

Lewistown (1-0) is back in action at 4 p.m. today against Huntingdon in the tournament championship game. The Bearcats defeated Mifflinburg on Friday.



   
Lewistown Lady Panther Basketball
Lewistown Lady Panther Basketball
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