By Blake Myers
Knightly News Sports Reporter
On Thursday evening, the Central Penn College Lady Knights would fall in a highly-contested matchup against Penn State Schuylkill, with the Knights falling 53-47, in a USCAA contest from East Pennsboro Middle School.
Early in the matchup, Central Penn and Penn State Schuylkill would find themselves in a seesaw battle as Penn State Schuylkill would jump out to an early 7-6 lead midway through the first quarter. Even though Lady Knights guard Cayla Thomas would score the first six points for Central Penn, both teams would play physical and tenacious defense throughout the first quarter. Penn State Schuylkill guard Ava Novak led the way with seven first-quarter points, as the Knights trailed 12-6 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Knights would show some offensive prowess as Knights guard Sidney Green hit a big layup to cut the lead down to two, making the score 12-10. As the quarter went on, the Lady Knights would find themselves locked in a 16-16 tie with Penn State Schuylkill after two big back-to-back layups would fall for Central Penn midway through the second quarter.
For Central Penn, one of the biggest issues on the night was depth. The Knights only dressed six players and were down to only five available players by the end of the first half. So, when Sydney Bubb picked up her fourth foul in the second quarter, the Knights were literally down to their last foul before having to play the game at a 5-4 player disadvantage.
Late in the first half, Penn State Schuylkill would again turn it up on offense, capped off by a momentum-shifting 3-point shot from Penn State Schuylkill guard Monet Edwards. The Knights would go into the half trailing by the score of 23-18.
To start the second half, Penn State Schuylkill would pick up right where they left off, going on a 9-0 run to start the second half, creating a 32-18 lead. Central Penn would find themselves on a four-and-a-half-minute drought on offense, eventually broken by an Allison Yoder free throw.
Late in the third quarter, the Knights would hit their stride on the offensive side of the ball, going on a 6-0 run that would cut the lead to nine. Going into the game’s final period, the Knights trailed Penn State 41-29.
To start the last period of play, the Knights focused on cutting down the Penn State Schuylkill lead as Green would score the first three points of the quarter, pushing the Knights closer as the score read 41-34 early in the fourth quarter.
Midway through the quarter, the Lady Knights would step it up on defense, creating four steals as they would turn defense into offense, chipping away at the lead after another big layup, making the score 45-40 midway through the quarter.
Late in the quarter, Knights guard Mary Nyagwoka would drill a 3-point shot to cut the lead down to two with a minute left, sending the Knights faithful into a frenzy. With one minute left to go in play, Penn State Schuylkill would get a big-time layup from Penn State Schuylkill forward Serena Jones that would ice the game. After an unbelievable comeback in the fourth quarter, the Knights would ultimately fall, 53-47.
The Central Penn Lady Knights had co-players of the game, Green and Bubb. Green was stellar on defense, also leading the team in scoring with 14 points, adding 9 rebounds. Bubb contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds, though she played the entire second half with four fouls and made two amazing 3-point baskets in the second half that kept the Knights in the game.
In addition to Green and Bubb, the Knights had several other bright spots. Yoder chipped in 7 points and 13 rebounds, while Brandi Swinton added 7 points and 12 rebounds.
After this heartbreaking loss, the Knights fell to 8-11, while Penn State Schuylkill improved to 12-13 on the season.
The Lady Knights next play on Saturday against ESAC Conference rival Bucks County Community College as part of a doubleheader at Easy Pennsboro High School. The game tips off at noon.