T-D HS Basketball

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Greater Johnstown’s Robyn Madison (center) goes up for a shot against Forest Hills’ Jill Scott during Monday’s District 6 Class AAA girls quarterfinal at Richland High School.

Greater Johnstown slips past Forest Hills

By: BY HAYLIE HOMWAY

Greater Johnstown and Forest Hills turned their District 5-6-8 Class AAA girls quarterfinal into a battle Monday night at Richland High School.  
A late Trojans push allowed the underdogs to take home a 50-48 win while moving into a semifinal clash with second-seeded Westinghouse.
“I’m just proud of the way that we executed our game plan,” Johnstown coach Rich Price said. “I knew we weren’t going to be ahead by 10 or 12 or 14 points. All that we wanted was to be ahead by one point at the end of the fourth quarter, and hey, we were ahead by two points.”
The Rangers held the lead relatively early into the first quarter, but the Trojans quickly pulled even with a 3-pointer by LaTavia Butler with 2 minutes remaining in the first.
Back-and-forth play continued between the two teams until Forest Hills’ Jill Scott scored from the free-throw line with 13 seconds left in the quarter to make the score an even 10-10 into the second.
In the second quarter, Greater Johnstown turned up the heat starting with a 3-pointer by Lexi Lindrose and a pair of field goals by Tashayla Smith, giving the Trojans a 22-19 lead at the half.
Forest Hills ran into foul trouble, which also benefited Greater Johnstown, which went 5 of 8 from the free-throw line in the second.
“The difference between winning and losing a lot of times is free throws and layups,” Price said. “From the free-throw line tonight, some of them weren’t pretty but they converted and that was the difference in the game.”
The second half turned into an all-out battle as Forest Hills desperately tried to regain the lead.
Caitlyn Gallaher and Nicole Richards stepped up for the Rangers in the third quarter, scoring a combined 10 points.
Greater Johnstown led 33-29 heading into the fourth quarter.
Both teams made a huge push in the remaining minutes of the game.
Greater Johnstown again benefited at the line, going 10 of 12 during the frame.
In the final minute of play, the lead bounced back and forth before a foul by Forest Hills’ Courtney Cecere on Johnstown’s Madison McKee, who sank one final free throw to set the final.
“I’m so proud of the girls. Forest Hills is one of the class teams of the Laurel Highlands and they’re the class of the District 6-AAA for the past two or three years and I’m just so proud of the girls,” Price said. “My hat’s off to Carol (Cecere) and the Lady Rangers, they did such a great job.
“They pressured us the whole game. We made one more shot than they did. I thought it was a great high-school basketball game.”

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