Muncy lost a lot of height.
It did not lose its inside game.
A year ago Courtney Ebner and Anna Schultz gave Muncy two of the HAC-III's tallest players. Both graduated and shorter sisters Crystal and Charity Good replaced them inside. Good thing for Muncy they play so big.
Both Crystal and Charity were inside forces during last weekend's Muncy Rotary Tournament. They topped 10 rebounds in both games and Muncy romped to its second consecutive championship, defeating Northwest and Hughesville. In both games, the Indians gave up inches inside but nothing else.
"We were looking for that inside presence and Charity and Crystal were excellent these first two games," Muncy coach Craig Weaver said. "They really came alive. We have an inside game."
Crystal started last year and played well as Muncy reached states for a second straight year. Her older sister Charity did not play much, but looked like a polished veteran last weekend. She scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in her debut before adding seven points and 11 rebounds against Hughesville.
"It's hard work inside, but it's fun," Crystal said. "If you work to get the right position it works out OK."
Crystal is a blur on the court, constantly making hustle plays and sparking Muncy. She was fantastic against Hughesville and displayed her strong all-around game. The junior forward scored nine points, grabbed 13 rebounds, dealt six assists and made eight steals. Any time there was a loose ball, Crystal seemed to be there grabbing it.
That was a role Crystal played last year, but she looks even better this season. In addition to playing well inside, Crystal also handled the ball well, showed great awareness and even played point guard some against Hughesville.
"Crystal is the engine that makes us go," Weaver said. "We talk to the girls about how you don't have to be the high scorer or have all the stats to make a big impact. It's about doing the little things and Crystal is a player that is always providing a spark and she gets us going."
FILLING A VOID
Wellsboro has a unique blend of seniors and talented freshmen this season. The freshmen look like they could be terrific players, but they need guidance. Fortunate for them, they have senior point guard Mackenzie Marple helping them settle in.
Marple played excellent at the Muncy Rotary Tournament, scoring 42 points in two games and was dazzling on both ends of the floor as Wellsboro beat Northwest, 50-44, Saturday to take third place. Marple scored a career-high 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds, dealt five assists and made five steals in that win.
"Playing back when I was a freshmen and with girls like my sister (Alex) and Kelly Hebert was great for me," Marple said. "They were leaders to me and they pushed me to come as far as I could as a player when I was first on the varsity."
More important than the stats was the way Marple ran the team. Everytime Northwest threatened, Marple settled Wellsboro. Late in the game with Wellsboro clinging to a four-point lead, a Hornet was about to shoot a long-range jumper. Marple yelled from the the top of the key and took the ball. She then dribbled away precious seconds, drove the lane and was fouled. It was a little thing, but it was huge and it helped Wellsboro seal the win.
The stats are nice, but so is the example Marple is setting.
"I would actually prefer it not be me that is the leader but I think the girls want someone to help them out there and I want to step up and be that person," Marple said. "I try to be as nice as possible but I tell them what to do so they're not lost out there."
It was a good night Saturday for the Marple family. Mackenzie's sister Alex scored 19 points for Lemoyne College. And there might be more to come.
Jersey Shore is off to its best start in a decade after capturing the CMVT Tournament championship. The Bulldogs won their two games by 51 combined points as Kayla Allen averaged 19 points and earned Tournament MVP honors. The Bulldogs have a good nucleus back from last year's team and are a team to keep an eye on ... Williamson held off Bucktail, 63-57, and captured the Liberty Tournament championship. Kim Daugherty was outstanding, averaging 22 points in two wins. She had 22 points, 10 rebounds and six steals and Cheyenne Jones also had a double-double ... Bucktail's Maria Morgan had a big tournament, averaging 30 points. The sophomore guard is already closing in on 600 career points despite playing just 24 games.
Masse may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/docmasse.