Team Effort Lifts North Clarion Girls Past Cranberry
SENECA, Pa. (D9Sports) – Coming off its first regular-season loss since 2017 last Saturday at Brookville, the North Clarion girls’ basketball team had a week to sit around and stew about its next game.
Relisten to the game:
(Photo: Mackenzie Bauer of North Clarion was named the Hager Paving Player of the Game)
Unlucky for Cranberry, the Berries were that next game, and North Clarion showed it still is the team to beat in the KSAC North rolling to a 54-34 road win Friday night.
“Brookville was a hard loss,” junior guard Mackenzie Bauer, who led a great defensive effort by the She-Wolves and also scored seven points while being named the Hager Paving Player of the Game, said. “We just knew we had to get back to our game.”
Watch all of Bauer’s post-game interview.
North Clarion won with defense, forcing Cranberry into 21 turnovers while limiting the Berries to 30.4 percent (14 of 46) shooting.
“I am super proud of the way they played defense,” North Clarion head coach Terry Dreihaup said. “We went from a man-to-man to a zone, which I think changed the whole atmosphere of the game.”
Dreihaup and company didn’t have a whole lot of choice but to go to a zone after two starters – Abby Gatesman, the team’s leading scorer, and Hayley Sherman, both picked up two fouls in the first quarter and had to come out of the game.
But without two of its starters, the She-Wolves went from being up one, 7-6, to up 12, 27-15, at halftime despite neither Gatesman nor Sherman playing a single minute in the second quarter.
“What I really feel good about is in the middle of the first quarter I took out two of my starting five and the rest of the team stepped up,” Dreihaup said. “The girls who were in the game stepped up. I was just really proud of the way the team picked everybody up.”
While North Clarion was able to overcome the temporary loss of two of its starters, Cranberry wasn’t as fortunate. The Berries lost sophomore Ava Ferringer to a shoulder injury midway through the first quarter, and Ferring, who entered the game averaging 15.3 points per game never returned and was obviously missed.
“It (Ferringer’s injury) really deflated our sails,” Cranberry head coach Carrie Melat said. “It really changed the whole game. But, from the tip, we weren’t in sync. I just knew it was going to be a grind. You could just tell. We weren’t ourselves. We didn’t look overselves. Even if that (the Ferringer injury) wouldn’t have happened, I think it would still have been a tough game.”
Cranberry never could get anything going offensively shooting 5 of 21 in the first half while turning the ball over 12 times before halftime. The shooting didn’t improve in the third quarter with the Berries getting doubled up by the end of the quarter, 46-23, while shooting 4 of 13 in the frame.
“North Clarion was aggressive,” Melat said. “They jumped on it, and they jumped on it aggressively. But we really killed ourselves tonight.”
A 10-0 run in the third quarter by North Clarion squashed any hope of a Cranberry comeback, as the She-Wolves used a transition offense to quickly build the lead past 20 points.
“I would like to think we are excelling at our defense right now,” Dreihaup said. “But we have been working super hard on transition from defense to offense, and we scored a lot of points in a row right off the fast break which really contributed to busting out our lead.”
Despite missing over 10 minutes of playing time because of foul trouble and then the score getting out of hand, Gatesman led North Clarion with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Sherman also reached double digits with 11 points while adding seven boards, and Gabby Carll scored 11 points as well. Cierah Manross chipped in six points off the bench, and Gabby Schmader also scored six.
“We played well as a team,” Dreihaup said. “The girls off the bench played super. You can’t ask for anything more.
“In order to win big games, everyone has to contribute. And if I can get three players in double figures, I will take that every day.”
Malliah Schreck was the one strong point for Cranberry finishing with game highs in both points and rebounds and ending with a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Overall, Melat said she will use the game as a teaching moment for her team.
“It’s a great teaching moment,” Melat said. “You are going to have games like that where nothing is going right, and it seemed like everybody had that game tonight, not just one or two, it was everybody. You have to be able to grind through it. Hopefully, we can get better at grinding through it.”
North Clarion improved to 2-1 on the year and 1-0 in the KSAC North. The She-Wolves return to action Tuesday when they host Clarion-Limestone.
Cranberry fell to 3-1 and 0-1 in the conference. The Berries are back at it Tuesday at Clarion.
NORTH CLARION 54, CRANBERRY 32
Score by Quarters
North Clarion 11 16 19 8 – 54
Cranberry 9 6 8 11 – 34
NORTH CLARION – 54
Cierah Manross 2 2-5 6, Gabby Carll 5 0-0 11, Mackenzie Bauer 3 1-3 7, Gabby Schmader 3 0-0 6, Abby Gatesman 4 4-5 13, Hayley Sherman 3 5-8 11, Natalie Meyers 0 0-0 0, Gabby DiDolce 0 0-0 0, Addison Shaftic 0 0-0 0, Faithlynn Vanek 0 0-0 0, Hayley Bush 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 12-21 54.
CRANBERRY – 34
Kaylie Bruce 0 1-2 1, Megan Hadden 3 0-0 6, Ava Ferringer 0 1-2 1, Carley Schreck 1 0-0 2, Maddie Cornelius 1 0-0 2, Malliah Schreck 8 2-3 19, Carly Wice 1 1-2 3, Tamaria Flinspach 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 5-9 34.
Three-pointers: North Clarion 2 (Carll, Gatesman). Cranberry 1 (Malliah Schreck).
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