DUKE CENTER — The Smethport and Otto-Eldred girls basketball teams had no idea they would be playing each other Monday night until earlier in the day.
O-E was supposed to open the season Monday night at Kane, but COVID-19 issues for Kane led to that matchup getting postponed and on the other side, Smethport was scheduled to take on Port Allegany on the road Monday evening, but that game was also postponed due to COVID-19 issues.
Communication between the two schools led to a quick turnaround and O-E opening up its season against the Lady Hubbers in the Terror Dome.
“I got the call probably about 11 o’clock (a.m.) and it was a matter of 45 minutes that I was getting another call from our (athletic director) that (said), ‘Hey, do you want to play Eldred tonight?’ And I said yes,” Smethport head coach Chad Goodman said. “That’s what we’re here to do — play games and you got to get them in when you can right now.”
“We got notified today at like 12:30 or 1 o’clock that we might be playing,” O-E head coach Shawn Gray said. “I give it to my kids, they were ready to go.”
The night ended with the Lady Terrors starting off their season in resounding fashion, blowing out Smethport by a score of 62-16.
O-E got hot offensively to start things off as the Lady Terrors (1-0) opened the game with an 11-0 lead, thanks to back-to-back three pointers from Katie Sheeler and five straight points from Kayley Heller, which included a three-pointer.
Sheeler was the game’s top scorer with 25 points, while Reilly Raught and Heller were behind her with eight points apiece.
“We got some kids that have put in some work,” Gray said. “Kayley Heller last year was just starting to be comfortable shooting threes and she came out and hit her first two. Katie Sheeler, that’s her thing. She’s open, she’s a killer from behind the line.”
The hot start eventually led to O-E taking a 22-10 first quarter lead before a low-scoring second quarter followed in which the two teams combined for just six points. O-E still maintained its lead and was up 26-12 at halftime.
Smethport (0-2) switched to a man-to-man defense in the second quarter after playing a zone in the first, which proved to be effective, but the Lady Hubbers’ offensive struggles and turnovers continued.
“Second quarter I thought we really settled down and played a lot better basketball. I think we held them scoreless for a good three or four minutes there,” Goodman said. “I thought maybe we would gain a little bit of momentum…Turnovers continued to mount and you just can’t overcome those.”
“Kudos to them,” Goodman said of O-E. “They’re well-coached. They shoot the ball well. They’re a great team and they’re going to do some good things in the districts hopefully.”
O-E blew the game open in the third quarter and never looked back as the Lady Terrors outscored the Lady Hubbers 24-1 during the eight-minute quarter to take a commanding 50-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Smethport’s lone point in the quarter came when Sabrina Tanner made the second of two free throws.
Gray said the key to O-E’s dominant third quarter was just letting the team play and running fewer set plays as well as creating turnovers on defense which led to some easy baskets.
“I think I kind of screwed up our rhythm to be honest.” Gray said. “I think it was me more than anything and we’ve had some kids out at certain times and a couple of plays that I called, a couple of the kids hadn’t been at practice and gone over some of the things, so I’ll take the blame for that (second quarter) for sure.”
Elizabeth Hungiville was Smethport’s top scorer for the second straight game, tallying 10 points.
Goodman said the team needs to have more confidence on offense, especially when it comes to handling the ball. Smethport will next face Elk County Catholic on the road on Thursday before hosting O-E on Friday in a rematch of Monday night’s game.
“We’re going to have to do a lot better job on the boards against Elk County Catholic,” Goodman said. “They have a couple nice guards, so it’s going to be a tough matchup for us as well. This whole week’s a tough matchup, we got Eldred again on Friday. Hopefully we’ll get through this week healthy and move on to next week and hopefully some greener pastures on the other side.”
Monday night’s lopsided victory for the Lady Terrors was as good a start as Gray could’ve hoped for, but the team will have its hands full in its next game, which is a road matchup at Coudersport on Wednesday.
“We got to keep (Rosalyn Page) off the boards. We got to try to shut down Sarah (Chambers) as much as we can,” Gray said of the team’s upcoming matchup against the Lady Falcons. “It’d be nice to finally beat them. I’m 0-6 against them, so it’d be nice to get a win against them.”
AT DUKE CENTER
Elizabeth Hungiville 4 1-2 10, Lutz 1 1-1 3, McClain 1 0-0 2, Tanner 0 1-2 1 Totals: 6 3-5 16
Katie Sheeler 10 2-2 25, Close 1 2-2 4, Raught 3 0-0 8, Merry 2 0-0 5, Dalton 2 0-0 4, K. Heller 3 0-0 8, B. Heller 1 2-4 4, Gordon 1 0-2 2, S. Rounsville 1 0-0 2. Totals: 24 6-10 62
Smethport 10 12 13 16
Otto-Eldred 22 26 50 62
Three-point goals: Smethport 1 (Hungiville 1), O-E 8 (Sheeler 3, Raught 2, K. Heller 2, Merry 1); Total fouls: Smethport 9, O-E 9; fouled out: None.
JV: Otto-Eldred won, 24-22.