Middletown, Pa – The Penn State Harrisburg Lions may not have played their best game of the year, but it was definitely the most exciting. After Kira Carter (Bronx, N.Y. / Milton Hershey) hit a buzzer beater to force double overtime, the home squad played the final five minutes with poise and was able to secure the win over visiting Penn State Altoona 84-78.
The home Lions started the game off in control and were able to build up an eight point lead, doubling their opponents score 16-8 at the 11:18 mark. Harrisburg did not let off the gas and continued establishing dominance with an additional 18-6 run giving them a 20 point margin with 4:29 to go. The opposing Lions made some substitutions that proved to make the difference as they cut the deficit to fourteen going into the half.
The home squad came back to the floor with an overconfidence that helped slowly deteriorate the lead they had worked so hard to gain in the first half. Brittany Boslett's jump shot put the visitors within eleven 35-46 with just under 12:00 to play. Six minutes later Miranda Zeanchock (Carrolltown, Pa. / Cambria Heights) went 2-2 from the line to keep the lead at eleven with 6:37 left.
At this point the visitors put together their best stretch of the night and at the perfect time. They used a 13-2 run over a three minute period to tie the game at 56-56 with just 2:13 to play. After another Zeanchock free throw, Harrisburg had a two point lead with just over a minute to go in regulation. The visitor's got fouled with 25 seconds to play; Kylie O'Toole went 2-2 from the line to tie the game. Harrisburg turned over their last chance to play for the win, giving Altoona a chance to win the game at the end of regulation. Their final shot bounced off the rim sending the game to the overtime.
The first overtime was filled with excitement and controversy. Altoona took the momentum and the lead going up 63-59 early. Freshman guard Rebecca Bailey (Tobyhanna, Pa. / Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg) scored two from the charity strip to answer back while Carter added a layup to tie things up at 63. Carter was a force in today's game, leading the team in 19 points going 9-11 from the field and grabbing an extremely impressive 21 rebounds.
Freshman Kaitlyn Carmo (Palmyra, Pa. / Palmyra) stepped up big over the next few plays scoring five straight points and getting an important steal for Harrisburg. Again, Altoona slowly crept back and was only down two 70-68 with a minute left in the first overtime. Altoona took the lead and after scoring two straight layups; putting the visitors up by two with only one second to play. The home team launched a pass from the baseline over midcourt and called for timeout the second they got a touch; this gave them a half court inbound opportunity with .8 seconds on the clock following the timeout. Kiara Carter received the inbound, took a dribble, and got the shot off as time expired. Did she get the shot off? Only an instant replay could have gotten it perfect, but thankfully the officials saw it as good and we were headed to double overtime.
Coach Patrick went with his veteran line up and Carmo to start the second OT. It worked out well as Harrisburg took a four point lead halfway through thanks to Junior Rachel Moyer's layup. The home team went 4-6 from the line to finish the period which was enough to hold on for the 84-78 win.
Harrisburg had to get output from everyone in order to hold on for the win today. Four players scored in double digits, including freshman Carmo who was just two points behind Carter scoring 17. Point guard Hannah Jorich (Middletown, Pa. / Middletown) led the team with five assists, while coming off the bench, Jasmine Yanich (Harrisburg, Pa. / Susquehanna Township) and Rebecca Bailey (Tobyhanna, Pa. / Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg) both added seven points.
The lions now go on the road for their first ever CAC game this Wednesday when they face off against local rival York College.