Meadville HS girls to Salisbury basketball tourney title semifinals

As reported to LCL

SALISBURY — Although one cut it very close, the two C-T-area girls’ high school basketball teams participating in the Salisbury Invitational Tournament on Monday (Jan. 4, 2021) advanced to its championship semifinals.

At the same time that fourth-seeded Meadville was repeating its season-opening victory over Glasgow – this time by a 53-43 margin – in Salisbury’s newer “dome” gym, the third-seeded Norborne Lady Pirates were barely escaping an upset bid via a 23-21 overtime triumph over Carrollton in SHS’ older gym.

MHS' Lady Eagles (8-1), who started their season with a 22-points win over Glasgow on the same court, bested the Lady ’Jackets by about half that much this time, although they led by multiple possessions most of the game.

Senior guard Kiera Holcer bombed away for five 3-pointers in the middle two quarters on her way to a game-high 24 points. Maggie McLain produced steadily all game and finished with 13 and Korrie Holcer chipped in 10.

Meadville made only four 2-points baskets, but totaled nine outside the arc and went 18 of 27 at the free-throw line.

Glasgow was led by Malia Carmack's 19 points and Brenna Hubbard's 17.

In a defense-dominated game, Norborne's Lady Pirates (4-0) held Carrollton to six total field goals – NHS had only seven itself – and almost was done in by a subpar third stanza.

Norborne led 8-3 after one quarter and, with the help of senior guard Olivia Dooley's trey that pushed her past 1,000 career points, 13-7 at halftime.

However, the Lady Pirates netted only a deuce and a free throw during the third quarter, while Carrollton was drawing four fouls while in the act of shooting. Capitalizing in a big way, the Lady Trojans sank six of those eight free throws and, combined with freshman Bella Ochoa's deuce and trey, posted 11 points to take an 18-16 lead into the fourth quarter.

However, NHS held Carrollton to only a deuce in the last frame of regulation play, allowing it to force overtime even though it scored only a bucket and two free throws itself.

Even at 20-20 after 32 minutes, the teams didn't discover any better offensive production in overtime. Despite making only one of four foul shots and one basket – all the points coming from Kayla Dooley, Norborne stayed undefeated when Carrollton managed only one made free throw in the extra four minutes.

O.  Dooley's 11 points led all scorers. Ochoa paced Carrollton with eight.

By winning Monday, Meadville and Norborne advanced to semifinal games Wednesday night in which they’ll be decided underdogs.

MHS’ girls will take on the top-seeded, Class 2 host Lady Panthers in a 5:30 p.m. contest in the “dome” gym, thanks to Salisbury’s 53-28 triumph over Paris Monday. The hosts' balanced scoring was led by Rachel Fessler's 14 tallies, including eight in the opening stanza when she swished a pair of 3s.

After its narrow escape Monday, Norborne will follow the Meadville-Salisbury clash by squaring off with second-seeded South Shelby at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. South Shelby, with Kaylee Gaines' 19 points leading three dual-digits scorers, rolled over Cairo 70-46 in its first-round game Monday.

The tournament’s boys’ division will have its opening round of action Tuesday night, including third-seeded Meadville facing Glasgow at 7:30 p.m. in the "dome" gym and No. 1 seed Cairo taking on Norborne in a 5:30 p.m. game in the older gym.

The boys' semifinals will be played Thursday and finals Saturday. All four girls’ final-round tilts are slated to occur Friday.