Defense is the key in SS.C.D. victories
PUNXSUTAWNEY — The SS.C.D. girls' elementary basketball teams have found their stride and continue to frustrate teams with their defense, as both the fifth- and sixth-grade teams earned a pair of victories over Marion Center last Tuesday and North Clarion Catholic Sunday in Punxsutawney.
The sixth-grade team's defense shined the brightest against Marion Center, allowing a total of just three points, and the fifth-grade squad showed its defensive prowess Sunday by holding NCC to six points.
The sixth-graders used what SS.C.D. elementary basketball director Kurt Nestel called "a suffocating defense that has been head coach Steve White's trademark for the past three years," as the team jumped out to a 21-0 first-half lead en route to a 38-3 win over Marion Center.
Kate Horner led the way for SS.C.D. with an all-around strong performance including 11 points, 10 steals, five assists and five rebounds.
Everyone chipped in for SS.C.D.'s offense with Kylee Lingenfelter, Mia Lingen-felter and Leah Miller each scoring six points; Toya Jones with four points; Elyse White and Alyse Whitman adding two each; and Jordyn Powell adding a free throw for one point.
SS.C.D. dominated Marion Center on the boards, as well, with Miller, Powell and Jones each grabbing six boards and Whitman and Kaitlyn Doverspike each notching five.
White and Mia Lingenfelter led SS.C.D. with five steals apiece, and Kally Graham added four. Kylee Lingen-felter had four assists, as well.
In the sixth-grade contest Sunday, the game ended up an exciting shootout, but SS.C.D. pulled away in the last two minutes to pick up a 20-16 win.
Offensively, Miller and Doverspike led the way with eight and six points, respectively. Horner added four points, and Kassidy Graham rounded out the scoring with two points.
Horner had another good all-around effort with six assists, seven steals and five rebounds to go with her four points.
Miller and Powell were strong on the glass again, combining for 13 rebounds between the pair, and Jones added four.
A plethora of defenders notched steals, with Mia Lingenfelter (4), White (4), Whitman (3) and Graham (3) leading the way.
The fifth-grade team's strong defensive effort came Sunday against NCC, as SS.C.D. held it to just six points in the 24-minute game.
NCC kept it close early, scoring four points to SS.C.D.'s first six, but Kyrie Nestel scored five points in a row to open the floodgates for SS.C.D.
On the game, Nestel had a double-double with 13 points and 11 steals.
Emily Griebel put up numbers in several categories with three points, three assists, five rebounds and four steals.
Four SS.C.D-ers — Katelyn Griebel, Cassidy Reed, Kylee Shoemaker and Kassidy Graham — each had a pair of points to finish the scoring.
Bailey Jones led the way on the boards with nine rebounds, while teammates Shoemaker and Reed picked off seven boards apiece.
Ally Whitman (6) and Teagan Ludwig (5) also added to SS.C.D.'s rebounding dominance.
Elizabeth Stello had four steals for SS.C.D. in what Kurt Nestel called "an excellent team effort" all around.
In last Tuesday's 20-13 win over Marion Center, the fifth-graders trailed 8-5 at halftime, but a pair of third-quarter foul shots by Emily Griebel and a steal by Kyrie Nestel, which she finished with a lay up at the other end of the court, put SS.C.D ahead for good.
Emily Griebel led the scoring with six points, and Megan Ray and Graham each had four.
Ally Whitman had three points, Nestel had two and Ludwig finished the countdown with one to wrap up SS.C.D's scoring.
SS.C.D. was again in charge of the boards with Shoemaker and Jones notching eight rebounds apiece.