JEFFERSON TWP — Two different halves.
That is one way to describe Tuesday night as Knoch defeated Mars 59-55 in non-conference action for their sixth consecutive win.
Bella Pelaia of Mars and Madilyn Boyer of Knoch each tallied a 20-point game in the contest.
“Things started a little slow,” Knoch coach Chris Andreassi said. “I think we played really good defense. That first half is the best we've defended all year and something we need to see at the end of the year going into the playoffs.”
The Knoch defense stayed disciplined throughout the game, allowing Mars only six free throw attempts.
Mars failed to score on its first six possessions of the game, putting itself in a 10-5 hole after the first quarter.
“First off, hats off to Knoch,” Mars coach Dana Petruska said. “They came ready to play and I don't thing they could've shot any better than they did.”
Field goals became more frequent in the second quarter, but Knoch was able to make more of its opportunities as the Knights were able to take a 23-14 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, a combined 46 points were scored with 16 field goals.
“They (Knoch) all did it. It just wasn't one player,” Petruska said. “We just didn't show up tonight until reality set in.”
“I told the girls at halftime that these girls from Mars are too good not to start making shots,” Andreassi said. “I had no idea they were going to be knocking down shots from 35 feet.”
Despite Mars' effort in the third quarter, the Knights still outscored the Planets 25-21 in the frame.
In the fourth, Knoch played a conservative defense, but Bella Pelaia and the Planets just wouldn't go away.
Mars made it a three-point game with under a minute left, but Nina Shaw, who missed her first four free throws, made her fifth to make it a four-point game and give the momentum back to Knoch.
The Knights would hold on for the 59-55 victory and sixth consecutive win.
“Confidence,” Andreassi said on his team's win streak. “I think they're gaining confidence and just going about their business. Every night it's just business as usual.”
Four players scored double digits in the game as Nevaeh Ewing of Knoch netted 12 and and Kaitlyn Pelaia of Mars 10.
Mars faces Hollidaysburg at home on Thursdaywhile Knoch will travel to Burrell.
“It's that mental preparation,” Petruska on her team's next game. “It's how ow you prepare yourself mentally and it doesn't matter who you're playing.”
“Burrell is an improving team,” Andreassi said. “Very well-coached, they gave us some trouble the last time, but the one good thing is our girls right now, they're coming to play every night, no matter who we play.”
Bella Pelaia 5 6-6 20, Alek Johnson 3 0-0 8, Ava Black 4 0-0 9, Kaitlyn Pelaia 4 0-0 10, Olivia Donnelly 4 0-0 8. Totals: 20 5-6 55.
Abbey Shearer 2 0-0 4, Nevaeh Ewing 5 2-2 12, Nina Shaw 2 1-6 6, Madilyn Boyer 5 11-13 20, Megan Vasas 1 0-0 2, Lauren Cihonski 1 7-8 9. Totals: 16 21-29 60.
Mars 5 9 21 20 — 55
Knoch10 13 25 11 — 59
3-point goals: B.Pelaia 3, Johnson 2, Black, K.Pelaia 2; Ewing 3, Shaw, Boyer 2