First Posted: 2/28/2013
Six different Old Forge players connected on 3-point shots Wednesday night while leading the unbeaten Lady Devils to a 50-26 rout of Forest City in the District 2 Class A championship game. Old Forge also had six players hit from beyond the arc on Feb.15 when it captured the Lackawanna League Small School Championship by destroying Montrose, 55-24, in a meeting of teams that went unbeaten in division play.
Defense is an even bigger reason why the Old Forge girls enter the state tournament as the only unbeaten basketball team in all of District 2. “We’ve been playing good defense all year,” said Coach Tom Gatto, whose team has allowed just 30.9 points per game and has held four opponents to 20 points or fewer.
That defense held Forest City’s Carly Erdmann, an all-state selection last season, to just three points. Old Forge had one more factor in its favor in the district final. Post player Tori Tansley overpowered Forest City, pounding the offensive boards and drawing fouls. She went 9-for-11 from the line on the way to 18 points and nine rebounds. “She was tough to stop in there,” said Forest City coach Carl Urbas, who retired following the game, ending a career that included more than 500 victories, all for his alma mater. Tansley also had one of the 3-pointers in the district championship game. Lauren Carey, who finished with 11 points, and Teri Vieira connected from long range in the first quarter when Old Forge took a 12-4 lead. Rhyan Barnic and Tansley made the 3-pointers in the second quarter for a 24-12 halftime lead. When Forest City closed within eight midway through the third quarter, the Lady Devils looked inside. Tansley did all the scoring to close the quarter on a 6-2 run to restore a 32-20 advantage. “We needed a lift,” Tansley said. Barnic hit her second 3-pointer to begin a game-clinching, 11-1, fourth-quarter run that she capped with a drive for a 43-23 lead with 3:02 left. Vicki Lee and Marissa Zambetti added 3-pointers as the Lady Devils continued to pull away. Old Forge finished 7-for-19 from 3-point range in the district championship game. The Lady Devils (24-0) were even sharper against Montrose in the league title game, going 9-for-14 (64.3 percent). Barnic came off the bench to go 4-for-5 on 3-pointers against the Lady Meteors, state Class AA semifinalists last season. Lee, Vieira, Taylor Nemetz and Natalie Bieryla hit the others for a team that has had eight players hit 3-pointers in two local playoff games. Now Old Forge is back in the state tournament. Gatto said this special season has its roots in last year’s state tournament where then-sophomore Carey connected for a career-high 40 points in a 66-43 rout of District 3 champion Lebanon Catholic to send Old Forge to the state quarterfinals. Carey is the only player averaging in double figures in scoring this season on an otherwise balanced team. “Last year when they had that run, they got a taste,” Gatto said. “They knew we could be good.” The carryover was extra dedication to the sport in the summer and an increase in interest in girls basketball in Old Forge all the way down to the fifth-grade level. The Lady Devils reported to the start of the season ready to work and, despite playing several traditionally strong programs in Division 3 of the Lackawanna League, have beaten 18 of 24 opponents by at least 13 points. They have won 15 times by 21 or more.