MIFFLINTOWN - After a tough loss to Bald Eagle Area, the Juniata girls basketball team rebounded sharply Tuesday night, led by a combination of balanced scoring and a clamp-down defensive effort, defeating a spirited Newport team, 50-40, in Tri-Valley League play.
The Indians got strong performances from Victoria Varner and Carly Burns who both finished in double-figures.
However, the two's scoring couldn't have come more differently - Varner tossed in five triples and Burns was sharp from the charity stripe, hitting 7-of-10 for an 11-point effort.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Juniata’s Maddie Zendt (21) looks for a shot as Newport’s Erin Zeiders reaches out on defense Tuesday evening in Mifflintown.
Juniata had it going on from the inside as well as Joelle Winey capped off the strong effort on the boards with eight points.
"We have a lot of kids who can score. One of the things I like most about this team is how unselfish they are," Juniata coach Meghan Geedey said. "We just reiterated that last night, to find your teammate and take the best shot on the floor.
"I thought we moved the ball well," she said. "We even got good shots that we didn't make but we got good looks. I thought our shot selection was pretty good and I was really pleased with the unselfishness play."
IF YOU GO
Juniata hosts Greenwood on Saturday.
Due to a strong effort on the defensive side, Juniata allowed Newport only one double-digit scorer, Erin Zeiders. Zeiders hit most of her shots on strong penetration to the bucket, giving her an 11-point performance.
In the first quarter, the contest started as a game of tempo, after a long-distance bomb by Varner to open the scoring, Newport retaliated with two field goals, one from Miranda Sheaffer and one from Tessa Campbell, giving the Buffaloes a 4-3 lead.
However, Juniata battled right back on two Burns free throws, taking the lead back at 5-4.
Minutes later, Newport would take its final lead of the game when Darian Holley went right at the center of the lane and layed it in. The Buffaloes increased their lead to three points before the Indians took back control for good.
From there, the Indians picked up the heat on the offensive end, outscoring the Buffaloes on a 10-0 run, building a 15-8 lead with 1:20 left in the opening stanza.
In that run, Juniata got scoring from Winey (4), Janelle Swartz (2), Hannah Knepp (2) and Maddie Zendt.
Newport ended the quarter on a small 4-0 run of its own but still trailed 15-12.
Defense took center stage in the second quarter, as the Indians allowed the Buffaloes only an eight-point effort while the Juniata offense doubled the Newport total, netting 16. Leading the scoring in the second was Varner with eight.
When the two teams went into the intermission, the Indians were in command, leading 31-20.
Juniata put the clamps back down in the third quarter, building a comfortable lead, holding Newport to only seven while it added 11. Newport made one last ditch effort for a comeback in the final stanza but it was too little too late as the Indians went onto the 50-40 victory.
The Indians were just as successful in the JV contest, taming the Buffaloes 34-23.
Juniata (4-1, 2-0) hosts Greenwood Saturday in a game that has been moved backto a 1 p.m. start.