Golden Eagles Complete Wild Comeback Win at Pitt-Johnstown
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Sierra Bermudez made a buzzer-beating jumper to send the game to overtime, and the Golden Eagle women’s basketball team finished off a back-and-forth battle in Johnstown as Clarion defeated Pitt-Johnstown 81-75 in overtime.
With less than five seconds remaining in regulation play, it seemed like the Mountain Cats might complete an improbable comeback. Pitt-Johnstown had already erased a 13-point halftime deficit and led by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, but a three-pointer by Emily Hegedus briefly put the Golden Eagles ahead 64-61. Peyton Alazaus tied the game on the next possession with a three-pointer of her own, and Ashley Norling scored on a layup with three seconds left on the clock to put Pitt-Johnstown ahead 66-64.
The Golden Eagles called timeout and elected to advance the ball past half court with 3.2 seconds left on the clock. Gloria Bwende inbounded the ball to Bermudez, who shot a turnaround jumper with a hand in her face as the clock ticked down. The ball took a bounce off the rim and the glass before dropping through the hoop as time expired, tying the game at 66.
Cory Santoro and Bermudez kicked off the overtime period with three-pointers, and Santoro added a pair of free throws at the 1:20 mark to finish off Clarion’s 8-0 run. The Golden Eagles held the Mountain Cats without a point for the first 3:55 of overtime and without a field goal until there were just 45 seconds remaining, locking them down for the 81-75 victory.
Santoro scored a team-high 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting , including a 7-of-8 mark at the free throw line. Bermudez finished with 15 points, and Jada Smith added 12 points and six rebounds before fouling out. Hegedus came off the bench for 11 points.
Clarion enjoyed a dominant start to the game, opening on a 13-0 run that was capped by a bucket in the paint from Santoro. Bwende made it 15-3 with 5:06 left to play in the first quarter, and Smith scored on the fast break as time expired in the period to keep it a double-digit advantage for the Golden Eagles. The Mountain Cats pulled to within single digits in the second, but Bermudez buried a three-pointer at the 4:12 mark to push the lead back to 30-18. Allyson Kirby scored a transition three-pointer on the next possession as Abby Gatesman took the ball from Norling and dished it to Charjae Brock, who then worked it to Kirby.
The Golden Eagles carried a 33-20 lead into halftime but the Mountain Cats came out on fire in the third quarter, outscoring them 26-7 to take the lead. Pitt-Johnstown led 60-52 with 4:31 left to play before an 9-1 run pulled Clarion even. Hegedus’s trey made it a 12-1 run and set up the heroics in the final seconds.
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