COLUMBIA TWP. — In a Jekyll-Hyde performance, Columbia came back in the second half Wednesday night to nip Keystone 39-35 in a Patriot Athletic Conference crossover thriller.
The Raiders made just four field goals in the first half, scored only nine points, didn’t shoot a foul shot and committed 13 turnovers.
What a difference a break makes.
With sophomore sharpshooter Alison Schafer drilling four of five 3-point shots, Columbia roared back in the second half, making 55.6 percent of its field-goal attempts, five of six from 3-point range and cut its turnovers more than in half (five).
Even Keystone coach Scott Terry said Schafer’s long-range shooting, and the Wildcats’ inability to defend it, was the difference.
“We knew exactly what was going to happen, we knew the high ball screens were coming before we got off the bus,” Terry said. “We did a very good job against that in our last game (Fairview), but didn’t do it at all this game. That was the difference.
“Our players sat back in the paint, while Schafer — with no help on the ball screen — got open looks at the basket, and in my opinion, that was the difference in the basketball game. And obviously we struggled to get good looks at the basket on the offensive end, too.”
After a four-point second quarter, the Raiders (10-5, 8-3 PAC) trailed 15-9 at halftime. After that, it was altogether different.
They opened the third quarter with an 11-2 run that included two 3-point baskets by Schafer, one by Emily Vicarrone and a three-point play by Taylor Napoli to lead 26-23 going into the fourth.
Then things got tight.
The Wildcats (7-8, 6-5) got back-to-back threes by McKenah Peters and Morgan Myers for a 29-26 lead barely two minutes into the fourth. With a little 7-0 rally that included another three by Schafer, the Raiders pulled ahead 33-29 with just under five minutes to go. Keystone caught them again at 33 on a turnaround basket by freshman McKenah Peters and a shot from the right side by Myers.
But Columbia’s Schafer nailed her fifth 3-pointer of the game, and the Raiders got a foul shot from Viccarone and two from Schafer to create the final score.
“I shoot a lot and my team helps,” Schafer said. “Every practice we do shooting drills and my (success) comes with practice. At halftime, we knew we needed to come out stronger, because we got off to a slow start. But our whole team came together and made it happen.”
Columbia coach Tom Thompson said the Raiders played stronger defense and were more aggressive on the backboards the second half.
“We also took better care of the basketball and I thought our possessions down the stretch were crucial,” he said. “We hung in there, did some smart things and we’re growing up. They’re playing smarter basketball and responding to time and score in those situations and that’s important with a young team. That’s what Keystone’s experiencing. They’re growing the same way we are.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Columbia 39, Keystone 35
KEYSTONE (35): Madi Bonner 0-0-0, Morgan Myers 4-0-9, Sammie Stefan 1-0-2, Darcy Irish 2-3-7, Jillian Peters 1-0-2, McKenah Peters 4-2-12, Roni Benko 1-0-3, Lauren Shaw 0-0-0. Totals 13-5-35.
COLUMBIA (39): Becca Tacchite 2-0-4, Emily Viccarone 3-2-9, Taylor Napoli 1-1-3, Amy Mirecki 0-0-0, Alison Schafer 6-2-19, Alexis Bycznski 0-0-0, Bailey Patouhas 0-0-0, Shelby Friedel 2-0-4. Totals 14-5-39.
Keystone 12 3 8 12 — 35
Columbia 5 4 17 13 — 39
Three-point goals: Keystone 4-11 (M. Peters 2, Myers, Benko); Columbia 6-12 (Schafer 5, Viccarone). Field goals: Keystone 13-48 (27.1 percent); Columbia 14-42 (33.3 percent). Free throws: Keystone 5-9; Columbia 5-8. Rebounds: Keystone 31; Columbia. Turnovers: Keystone 17; Columbia 18.
Junior varsity: Keystone, 40-27.