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Slow start costly to Moniteau in loss

CLARION — Missed opportunities early on led to a climb that proved too steep for Moniteau's girls basketball team.

Redbank Valley scored just seven points in the first seven minutes of Saturday's District 9 Class 2A girls basketball championship game. The Bulldogs also had to sit KSAC MVP Mylee Harmon on the bench for a good portion of the first half due to foul trouble.

But Moniteau never enjoyed a lead. Its deficit reached double digits late in the first half and a fourth-quarter rally fell short in a 63-55 loss at Clarion University.

"I'm not saying they don't lose something when Harmon's not on the court, but they have other really good players," said Moniteau coach Dee Arblaster. "And because of injuries (to forwards Davina Pry and Kendall Sankey), we're sending five guards out there. I'm proud of the effort from our girls."

Harmon returned in the second quarter. She made just one field goal in the first half, but went off for 21 points in the final two quarters and scored a game-high 30 points, 13 coming at the free throw line.

Abbey Jewart scored 13 points for the Warriors, including three treys that helped keep hope alive of Moniteau's first district title since 2001. Her 3-pointer with 4:51 left in the first half cut Redbank's lead to 15-12. She drained another at 4:21 of the third period, making it 38-27.

"We've told Abbey that if she has an open shot, take it," Arblaster said. "When she scores, it helps Catherine."

That would be senior Catherine Kelly, who attracts a lot of attention from opposing defenses and Saturday's game was no different. She was held to five points in the first half, but finished with a team-high 18 points.

Allie Pry, who scored 16 points, drew a charge before draining a 3-pointer and Kelly followed with a traditional 3-point play moments later, bringing Moniteau to within 55-47 with 2:31 left in the game. But the Bulldogs put their third straight District 9 title on ice from there.

"Getting the 3-peat is great," said Harmon. "It's something we've thought about since last summer."

Kira Bonanno added 15 points for the Bulldogs (20-5), who have won seven straight games.

"Scoring is not my main goal," Bonanno said, "but when Mylee is out of the game, I feel like I have to step up."

Moniteau (18-6) will host West Middlesex on Friday in the first round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs.

"Everybody we see now will be a tall task," Arblaster said.

MONITEAU 55

Abbey Jewart 5 0-0 13, Sophia Fleeger 1 1-2 4, Catherine Kelly 6 5-5 18, Allie Pry 6 1-3 16, Emily Matz 1 0-0 2, Sydney Bayless 1 0-0 2, Cheyenne Curl 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 7-10 55.

REDBANK VALLEY 63

Kira Bonanno 6 3-4 15, Addy Bond 4 0-0 8, Izzy Bond 3 2-5 8, Mylee Harmon 8 13-17 30, Elaina Carrico 1 0-0 2, Addy Hetrick 0 0-0 0, Hadlee Hagan 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 18-26 63.

Moniteau 7 11 19 18 — 55

Redbank Valley 11 18 18 16 — 63

3-point goals: Moniteau 8 (Jewart 3, Pry 3, Fleeger, Kelly); Redbank Valley 1 (Harmon).

Friday: West Middlesex at Moniteau, , PIAA Class 2A first-round playoff,, 7 p.m.

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