Eagles can stand the Heat, win girls' basketball opener at Cranberry Classic

Gary Baker/TR Sports Correspondent
Josie Finch and Emily Weeks apply tough defense on the Heat's Joni Lafary.

First year head coach Katie Engwall has her first win as coach of the Mercer County Golden Eagles girls' basketball team. The Eagles won the opener of the 30th annual Cranberry Classic on Monday, Nov. 16, by defeating multi-year defending champion West Central, 34-25.

From the opening tip-off one could tell it was the first basketball game of the season for both schools. Play was a little ragged in the first quarter with neither team showing any dominance. It was the Golden Eagles 6 and the Heat 4 after one quarter of play. By the second quarter both teams found their grove and closed out the half with West Central on top 17 - 15. After halftime both teams started a bit tentative with West Central garnering only 6 points in the third quarter while the Golden Eagles could only tack on 3  to make the score 23 - 18 after 3 periods. In the fourth quarter the Eagles turned up the heat and applied a full court press to gain control of the game and win going away 34 to 25, outscoring the team from Biggsville 16-2.

Leading the way in scoring for the game was Eagles junior Ellie Lower with 16 points. Lower hit all three of the Eagles three-point baskets. She was followed by newcomer freshmen Dani Hagens with 6. Top scorer for West Central was Joni Lafary netting 12 points.

The Golden Eagles take on the Abingdon-Avon Tornadoes at 6 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Nov. 17). A-Town downed the host ROWVA Tigers, 55-35 in the other first-round game of the round-robin tournament in Oneida.