Season ends for Lady Meteors
BY HEIDI ZENEFSKI
The Lady Meteors earned a berth in the state girls’ basketball tournament with their Feb. 28, 50-42 overtime win over Hanover to take third place in District II Class AA. The team headed to the Shikellamy Fieldhouse in Sunbury, Friday, March 7, to take on the District 4, top-ranked Mt. Carmel Tornadoes.
The Tornadoes, coached by Lisa Varano, took the win, 43-33, eliminating the Lady Meteors from further tourney play action.
Coach Al Smith said, ““They played hard. There was good defense and we stuck to the game plan. In the fourth quarter the turnovers cost us the lead and the momentum. But, they played great as a team all season.”
Montrose was the last Susquehanna County basketball team still playing was the only team that made it to the state tournament.
In 2012, the Lady Meteors had a great run making it to the state’s Final Four and was the only public school still left in the tournament.
Skip ahead to this season and the Lady Meteors were hoping for a similar run with Myra Lattimore, Nicki Lewis, Meghan Gilhool, and Morgan Groover all returning to the State Tournament for the second time.
Montrose came out ready to play. The team stunned the Mt Carmel players from the tip off, when Lattimore out jumped Brianna Lufz by about a foot and tipped the ball into the hands of Gilhool.
The ball was quickly passed to Lewis who spotted Groover under the basket and got her the ball and she scored a layup for the first points of the game.
On the very next Mt. Carmel possession, Lewis got the ball back for the Lady Meteors by causing the Tornadoes’ Ali Varanoto dribble the ball on the line which resulted in a rare turnover for Mt. Carmel.
The Lady Tornadoes took possession after a missed basket and took the ball to their end of the court where it was promptly stolen by Lewis and returned to Groover who was fouled by Lufz, but made the layup anyway and the foul shot to give Montrose a very quick 5-0 lead with the first five points scored by Groover.
Mt. Carmel missed their next shot and Lattimore rebounded the ball for Montrose.
The Lady Meteors continued to dominate the first quarter of the game with Gilhool scoring a 3-pointer and a foul shot and Lattimore adding another basket to give Montrose a 13-8 lead.
The Lady Tornadoes came back fighting in the second quarter outscoring the Lady Meteors 14-9, to tie the score at the half.
The Lady Meteors fought hard under the basket with Gilhool grabbing four rebounds, Lattimore had back to back blocks, a steal, and a rebound, Groover and Kourtney Snigar a rebound each, holding Mt. Carmel scoring opportunities in check. The Lady Tornadoes were only able to snag three rebounds in the quarter despite winning the points battle.
Fallon Gurn, Lewis and Lattimore each scored a field goal for Montrose and Lattimore was a perfect three for three from the foul line to end the first half tied at 22.
The second half of the game had both teams fighting it out in efforts to advance to the next round. The Lady Meteors, once again, dominated under the basket to keep possession of the ball enabling them to gain back the lead and outscore Mt. Carmel 8-4.
Gilhool scored four points and had a steal. Snigar, the only sophomore playing for Montrose, had three rebounds. Lattimore who was perfect the entire game from the foul line scored two more foul shots and a field goal, blocked a shot, grabbed the ball for a steal, and had two rebounds. Gurn had two rebounds and Groover blocked another shot and snatched a rebound under the basket.
At the end of the third period the Lady Meteors were up 30-26 but the team was in foul trouble in the last few minutes of the quarter.
Gilhool, Snigar, and Lewis all had four personal fouls and as a team Montrose had seven fouls fairly early in the quarter to give the Lady Tornadoes the bonus and opportunity to score seven of 14 shots from the charity stripe.
As the clock ticked down to the final minutes, Montrose reached 10 team fouls to give Mt. Carmel the double bonus, giving them two shots each foul instead of the one-and-one chances.
Montrose only had three chances to shoot from the foul line and only one of the shots by Groover was made good. The only other basket made by the Lady Meteors was a field goal by Angela Russell.
In addition to the seven points earned at the foul line, the Lady Tornadoes posted 10 more points to the scoreboard.
Turnovers were the difference throughout the game, but especially hurt the Lady Meteors in the fourth quarter. Montrose had seven turnovers and Mt. Carmel protected the ball and had only one loss of possession when Groover stole the ball.
With the Mt. Carmel lead running down and time running out, the Lady Tornadoes attempted to run out the clock, frustrating the Lady Meteors which resulted in Gilhool sacrificing for her team and fouling on purpose to stop the clock. It was her fifth personal foul and took her out of the game.
The time wasn’t there for the Lady Meteors to mount a comeback and Mt. Carmel ended the 2013-14 season for the last team representing Susquehanna County, the Montrose Lady Meteors.
Smith has been coaching the Montrose girls’ team for six years and took the team to the Final Four game of the 2012 State Tournament said he was proud of his team this year.
Montrose will be losing seniors Myra Lattimore and Nicki Lewis; but the team will remain a force to be reckoned with next season on the court with the return of Gilhool, Russell, Gurn, Groover, and Snigar – all who gained experience as starters and saw significant playing time this season.
The high scorer for Montrose was Lattimore with 11 points; followed by Gilhool and Groover with eight points each.
The high scorer for Mt. Carmel was Varano who scored nearly half the points for the Lady Tornadoes with 21.
The only girls’ team still in the tournament from District 2 Class AA is Dunmore who defeated Warrior Run 56-42 on Friday night.
Dunmore will face York Catholic, the team that beat Montrose two years ago in the Final Four game, on Tuesday, March 11.
Holy Cross, the second place team from District 2, lost to Delone Catholic, the team that Montrose beat two years ago to make it to the Final Four game in double overtime.