FRILLS CORNERS, Pa. – North Clarion maintained a lead throughout the vast majority of the contest, but a fourth-quarter run from A-C Valley coupled with clutch foul shooting down the stretch gave the Falcons a 36-27 win.
(Photo: Hager Paving Player of the Game Rachel Cullen)
North Clarion was ahead after each of the first three quarters, and led by as many as 12 points in the contest. A massive 16-2 fourth-quarter run from the Falcons flipped the script on the contest, with Rachel Cullen scoring a clutch bucket to give A-C Valley their first lead of the half. The Falcons closed the game going seven-for-eight from the line, sealing the deal.
Cullen led all scorers with an impressive 20 point effort. Her superb work ethic on defense was emblematic of the hard work that the entire A-C Valley squad put in blocking shots, forcing turnovers, and jumping on loose balls. Andrea Meals also scored eight points for the Falcons. Emily Aites led North Clarion with seven points.
North Clarion’s defense was on point straight from the start, preventing the Falcons from creating quality scoring opportunities from both inside and outside the arc. The Wolves also struggled to score, failing to convert on their shot opportunities. North Clarion built a small lead, and a three from Claire Kriebel on the Wolves’ final full possession provided the Wolves with a 9-3 lead after the first quarter.
The Wolves expanded their lead early in the second quarter, as two buckets from Aites capped an 8-2 run, giving North Clarion a 12 point advantage. Just as the Wolves looked to be breaking away, A-C Valley struck back, cutting the deficit to three by scoring nine unanswered points. During their run, the Falcons also tightened up on the defensive end, forcing numerous turnovers and stopping all of North Clarion’s attempts to score down low. A-C Valley’s big scoring push put them back in the game, with the Falcons trailing 17-14 at the half.
The third quarter took a plodding pace, with only eight combined points scored during the first five minutes of the half. After falling behind by seven midway through the quarter, the Falcons fought back to cut the Wolves’ lead to three with a minute to go in the third. Olivia Siegel scored the frame’s final bucket, providing North Clarion with a 25-20 lead heading into the final period of play.
The Falcons struck quickly to begin the fourth, scoring two early buckets to cut the North Clarion lead to one. After Green scored on a driving layup to up the lead to three, Cullen drained a deep three-pointer to tie the game with 4:00 remaining. Tight defense prevailed as the quarter wore on, but Cullen broke the deadlock with a jump shot to give A-C Valley their first lead of the second half. After getting three consecutive defensive stops, the Falcons went 5-for-6 from the line on three one-and-one trips to open up their lead to seven. One more defensive stop and two more made free-throws by Cullen iced the victory for the Falcons, who clinched a come-from-behind 36-27 win.
A-C Valley advances to 7-10 with the win, while North Clarion falls to 7-6.
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