Spartans Squeak Past Eagles

Cassidy Arnold

HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata women's basketball team couldn't hold on to their first-half lead as York came back to win, 68-63, Wednesday evening in Memorial Gymnasium. 

Cassie Mock (Martinsburg, Pa. / Central Martinsburg) got things started for the Eagles when Gracie Stauffer (Loysville, Pa. / West Perry) found her at the top of the key and Mock drilled a three. The Spartans quickly answered with a three of their own before Larissa Leonard (Three Springs, Pa. / Southern Huntingdon) scored on a layup. York made a free throw prior to Grace Long (Harrisburg, Pa. / Central Dauphin) finding Leonard in the corner, and she drilled another three. 

The teams continued their fast start with a Long put back, Madison Colyer (Newville, Pa. / Big Spring)jumper, a Stauffer layup and a Cassidy Arnold (York, Pa. / Eastern York HS) free throw followed by a layup pushing Juniata ahead 17-12 with three and half minutes to go.  

The Spartans got within one at 17-16 before Leonard dribbled into her second three of the quarter to give JC a little breathing room. With under a minute to go, the Spartans scored again, but Taylor Vrabel (Chambersburg, Pa. / Chambersburg) kicked it out to Mock, who nailed her second triple of the quarter to put the Eagle lead at five after one.  

An 8-2 run over the first four and half minutes of the second quarter was capped by Mock's third three off another pass out of a double team by Stauffer, which made it 31-20. The Spartans slowly whittled the lead down to seven, but the Eagles kept coming. Stauffer scored on a putback, Colyer scored on a putback and followed with a jumper. Following another stop, Long corralled the rebound and raced up the left side of the floor. She stopped on the baseline and threw it out of a double team to Leonard on the left-wing, who swished another three to push the lead to 16. The Spartans scored in the final seconds as Juniata led 43-29 at halftime.  

The Spartans scored the opening six points of the third stanza before Arnold laid in an offensive rebound to put the lead back at 10. York continued to trim the Eagle advantage, and with just under three minutes to go, they tied the game at 45. Mock drove and dropped it off to Stauffer, who scored to give JC the lead back, and another Arnold put back gave JC a bit of breathing room again, but the Spartans weren't done. With 40 seconds remaining, a three tied the game at 50 before Colyer's jumper made it 52-50 heading into the final period.  

The fourth quarter saw York take the lead two and half minutes into the period on a pair of free throws. They pushed their lead to three at 57-54 on a fast break layup following a Juniata turnover. On the ensuing offensive possession, Colyer tipped a rebound to herself in the right corner, sized up her defender and fired over them. She made the shot while being fouled, and the free throw tied the score at 57 with just over five minutes showing on the clock.  

The Spartans were called for an offensive foul, and Stauffer went to work in the post and scored on a lefty hook shot. The visitors countered with a pair of free throws to knot things back up at 59 apiece.  

York split a pair of free throws, forced a turnover and hit a pullup jumper in transition to go up by three. The Spartans blocked an Eagle attempt at the rim and looked to score in transition again. This time, Long intercepted a pass along the left sideline, beat the last remaining defender with a burst of speed, and went to the rim. She missed the first attempt but managed to snag the offensive rebound and put it in to bring JC within one. 

The Eagles managed another stop, and Stauffer scored again inside to put Juniata ahead 63-62. The Spartans came out of the time out and took a deep three from the right-wing the hit nothing but net to give them back a lead they did not relinquish. 

Juniata gets back into conference play as they will take on Drew, Saturday at 4:00.