What a difference a year makes.
Last year’s Scotia-Glenville girls’ basketball team wouldn’t have had the confidence or the excecution to pull out a victory like this one.
Down seven points with less than four minutes left, the Tartans charged back with several key defensive stops and clipped Johnstown, 46-45, when senior guard Gina Cappuccitti made one of two free throws with 14.1 seconds left.
Cappuccitti, who finished with nine points, four steals and seven rebounds, also preserved the victory when she stole an inbounds pass from Hillary Kollar after the Lady Bills had called a timeout under their own basket with 3.9 seconds remaining.
Scotia-Glenville, which struggled with a 4-16 record a year ago, is now 5-2 in the Foothills Council and 5-8 overall. Johnstown slides to 4-2 and 6-6.
“I knew I had to make at least one of my free throws,” said Cappuccitti. “It wasn’t one of my best foul-shooting nights, but at least I made the one that counted. On that last pass, I knew they were going to throw it my way, so I slowed down and then went for the ball.
“This is a great team win. They made a lot of threes to take the lead, but we picked up our defense and made some adjustments. We definitely had a lot of motivation to win this game after what happened to us last year. We have so many players back [seven] that we all know each other. This means a lot.”
“We had to make a lot of adjustments tonight,” said Scotia-Glenville coach Regan Burns. “When they were hitting those threes, we had to come out of our 2-3 zone. We adjusted by going man-to-man, and then we also used some triangle-and-two. We knew that Katie Kollar was a force for them, and we wanted to neutralize her, if we could. I think we did a pretty good job. Although she scored 15 points on us in the first half, we held her to just six in the second half.”
Scotia-Glenvile’s pressing defense frustrated the Lady Bills early, and the Tartans were able to grab a 13-8 lead, but Kollar found the range for a pair of three-pointers to help her team draw within 15-12 after the first quarter.
Johnstown took control in the second period when the Lady Bills connected for four three-pointers by four different players. The Lady Bills grabbed a 29-23 lead at intermission.
Hillary Kolllar found the range for five points late in the third quarter to help Johnstown surge to a 40-34 lead entering the final quarter, and when Katie Kollar registered a pair of layups midway through the period, the Lady Bills owned a 45-38 cushion with 3:53 to go.
But that’s when the Tartans clamped down on defense and became opportunistic on offense. They scored seven straight points to knot the score. Junior guard Laura Coderre, who finished with 13 points, hit a three-pointer — the Tartans’ only trey of the night — to start the run. Senior forward Katie DeVantier then scored on an offensive rebound and nailed a 10-footer to tie the score at 45-45 with 2:12 to go.
After the Tartans called a timeout with 31.7 seconds left, they got three chances on offensive rebounds to take the lead. Cappuccitti finally was fouled with 14.1 seconds remaining and sank the second of two free throws for what turned out to be the game-winning shot .
Nicole Stock had a chance to tie the score for the Lady Bills, but she missed a pair of foul shots with 8.5 seconds left. Cappuccitti grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled. She missed both free throws with 6.8 seconds left, and the Lady Bills got control of the loose ball and called timeout with 3.9 seconds left. But Cappuccitti came up big again with the game-clinching steal.
“Our team defense was the key to this win,” said Burns. “We didn’t make our free throws tonight, but we rebounded well. Our team balance on offense was also a big help. This year, we have more than two players who can score. Laura Coderre is our leader. She’s intense, especially on defense, and the other girls follow her lead. The seven players we have back from last year are a lot better this year.”
Johnstown coach Tim Derwin tipped his hat to the Tartans. “They made the right adjustments tonight,” he said. “We shot well from three-point range, but they killed us on the boards in the second half. I think they must have had 10 offensive rebounds in the second half alone, and we stopped going after the ball.”
Nellis 1-0-2, Sweet 2-0-6, H. Kollar 3-0-8, Stock 1-0-3, Croucher 1-0-2, Cooper 1-0-2, Kosowicz 0-1-1, K. Kollar 7-4-21. Totals: 16-5-45.
DeVantier 4-0-8, Cappuccitti 3-3-9, Shelby 2-1-5, Coderre 5-2-13, Motta 3-0-6, Brucker 2-1-5. Totals: 19-7-46.
Johnstown 12 17 11 5 — 45
Scotia-Glenville 15 8 11 12 — 46
Three-point goals: Sweet 2, H. Kollar 2, Stock, K. Kollar 3.
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