CLARION, Pa. – Hitting seven of its first eight shots coming out of halftime, Redbank Valley used a 17-6 run to claim its first KSAC Title game victory, 49-40, over defending champion North Clarion (2020) at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym.
“All summer long we talked about this, we talked about the KSAC championship,” Redbank Valley head coach Chris Edmonds said. “This was very important.”
Redbank Valley (20-4), which won its first KSAC title since 1993, overcame a slow start – the Lady Bulldogs were 0-for-9 from the field in the first quarter and trailed 9-2 at the end of eight minutes – to take a 15-11 halftime lead.
But it was the start of the second half that changed the course of the game.
Redbank Valley came out of the locker room and scored the first six points, including four from freshman Mylee Harmon and two from Alivia Huffman.
“We always talk about that first three minutes, trying to win the first three minutes of the third quarter and create that separation,” Edmonds said. “We wanted to do what we need to do to open up the game, and I think that’s what we did some of that.”
Harmon, only a freshman, and Huffman played key roles in the victory for the Lady Bulldogs.
Huffman, forced to be more of a force inside when Madison Foringer got into foul trouble, delivered with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Harmon scored a game-high 23 points, the second straight KSAC playoff game she led her team in scoring.
Huffman was especially strong in the third quarter scoring 11 of Redbank Valley’s 21 points.
She talked about her performance
The 21-point third quarter gave Redbank Valley a 13-point lead, 36-23.
The lead was still at 12, 43-31, with four minutes left in the game when North Clarion (19-4) tried to rally back.
An old-school 3-point play by Amya Green and a 3-pointer by Madison McFarland quickly got it to a 6-point game, 43-37, with 2:25 to play.
But down six, North Clarion had four possessions to close the gap farther but missed three shots and turned the ball over twice.
That allowed Redbank Valley to hit 6 of 8 free throws in the closing minute to clinch the title.
“I think fatigue is one (reason),” North Clarion head coach Terry Dreihaup said when asked as to why his team couldn’t come all the way back. “But I think it’s just poor decision making, too. I think we made some awful passes again tonight. And, we just didn’t make the shots when we need to make them. That’s a good team we lost to.”
Emma McFarland led North Clarion with 12 points on four 3-pointers while Siegel had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Both teams are headed to the District 9 playoffs.
Redbank Valley is the second seed in the Class 3A playoffs and will play Karns City at Brookville at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25.
North Clarion is the second seed in the Class 1A playoffs will play the winner of the Clarion at Coudersport game at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at North Clarion.
REDBANK VALLEY 49, NORTH CLARION 40
Score by Quarters
Redbank Valley 2 13 21 13 – 49
North Clarion 9 2 12 17 – 40
REDBANK VALLEY – 49
Kira Bonannon 0 0-0 0, Caylen Rearick 1 0-0 3, Ryleigh Smathers 0 0-1 0, Claire Clouse 0 0-1 0, Madison Foringer 1 0-2 2, Alivia Huffman 7 7-9 21, Mylee Harmon 7 8-10 23, Brooke Edmonds 0 0-0 0, Katie Davis 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 15-23 49.
NORTH CLARION – 40
Madison McFarland 2 1-2 6, Maria Bauer 0 0-0 0, Amya Green 1 2-3 4, Emma McFarland 4 0-0 12, Claire Kriebel 1 0-0 2, Gwen Siegel 4 2-5 10, Lauren Lutz 1 1-1 3, Emily Aites 1 1-1 3. Totals 14 7-12 40.
Three-pointers: Redbank Valley 2 (Rearick, Harmon). North Clarion 5 (Emma McFarland 4, Madison McFarland 1)