MIFFLINTOWN - If the Juniata girls spend the second week in January playing the way they did Saturday, then the rest of the Tri-Valley League is in trouble.
The Indians ran like a well-oiled machine against Greenwood, ending the pre-Christmas portion of the basketball season with a 42-11 win over the Wildcats.
It's what they've done to every league opponent they've seen so far, and the teams that could possible challenge Juniata are dwindling.
Sentinel photo by TIM?SHUMAKER
Juniata’s Carly Burns goes to the basket while Greenwood’s Mallory Fortenbaugh tries to block from behind Saturday in Mifflintown. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
Greenwood was not one of them. The Wildcats, struggling just to keep possession of the ball, were their own worst enemy at times Saturday, but even when playing well the visitors were unable to produce - their best effort was a second-period tie, and not a good one for either team.
"I wasn't happy with that second quarter at all," Juniata coach Meghan Geedey admitted, after her team found the basket once, mostly because nothing was falling. Of course, that was true all afternoon at the other end of the court.
"I thought we ran our offense fairly well. We ran the flex pretty well in the first half," Greenwood coach T.J. Weller said. "But we don't know where we're open to shoot the ball."
IF YOU GO
* Juniata travels to the Juniata County Christmas Tournament Thursday
That hurt the Wildcats - badly. Juniata built a 9-0 lead to open the game; Greenwood got just one through the net, and that was after more than six minutes had run off the clock. It was a story that played itself out until the fourth quarter - Greenwood got exactly one field goal in each of the first three periods, and came up empty on its only trip to the line.
Poor shot selection was even more troubling for Greenwood, as the Wildcats took opportunities from themselves for second chances.
Not that Juniata gave them much to begin with - even in the three-point second period the Indians controlled the flow of play. They had advantages in speed, size and versatility - and there was always someone to get the ball to.
"We talk about getting our teammates the best shot on the floor. These kids are really buying into that," Geedey said. "They're making really good decisions right now. They're patient on offense when they need to, looking for the high-percentage shots. Right now too, our defense is feeding our offense. When we can get turnovers off our defense, we're pretty good in transition."
In the first half it was Janelle Swartz and Maddie Zendt who did the bulk of the scoring, combining for 10 of 18 points before the break, including an on-the-buzzer back breaker targeted by Zendt to end the first with her team up 15-2.
Victoria Varner - the only player to reach double digits - came through in the second half, picking up 11 of her 13 points in what simply became a runaway. It wasn't until the final stanza that Greenwood was able to score twice in a quarter; Hattie Kuhns was the only Wildcat player with more than one bucket.
Even Greenwood's coach Weller had to admit there was plenty of reason for Juniata fans to be happy.
"They're playing a lot of games together and you could tell," he said. "I said to Meghan after the game, 'You might have two MVPs of the league right there on your team.'"
"I love these kids," Geedey said. "They're so coachable, they do everything you ask them to do, they're hard workers. They've put in a ton of time.
"We have very high expectations and we just need to keep taking care of ourselves."
Both teams will see tournament action this week after Christmas. Juniata (5-1, 3-0) is part of the field for the Juniata County Christmas Tournament at East Juniata; Greenwood (0-7, 0-5) heads to Bermudian Springs. Both of those are slated for Thursday and Friday.