Her team leading by 10 in a showdown between one-loss teams, Muncy standout guard Brianna McLaughlin took a seat on the bench after picking up her fourth foul early in the third quarter. As she did, one could sense the game's complexion changing.
Indeed it did. But instead of wilting, Muncy point guard Jordan Jones made sure her team had all the momentum. Jones put on a dazzling show during a game-breaking run that bridged the third and fourth quarters and showed why she is one of the HAC-III's best players while leading Muncy to an impressive 67-36 win over St. John Neumann Saturday at the Catholic Community Center.
Jones, one of our Indians to score in double figures, finished with 16 points, eight assists, six rebounds and six steals.
Meghan Trenholm of St. John?Neumann, left, Charity Good of Muncy battle for the ball Saturday afternoon at the Catholic Community Center. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com
"These are the types of games that we know Jordan can play every game and she really stepped up today. Without her out there it was a total game changer," Muncy coach Craig Weaver Jr. said. "It was her defense, it was her handling the ball, she saw the floor very well and hit a lot of girls and her shooting caught fire. Everything was working for her tonight."
Jones, a three-year starter, can either play point guard or shooting guard. She has good range, is quick, rebounds well for a guard and plays stifling defense. That whole potent blend was on display, especially when Neumann (6-1, 2-2 HAC-III) seemed poised for a comeback. Jones had a hand in the third-quarter's last nine points and in 16 of 18 during an 18-1 run that blew the game open.
What had been a 10-point game turned into 57-30 advantage just a minute into the fourth quarter. During that time, Jones ran the court well, found teammates for three baskets, scored nine points and swished a 3-pointer.
"I knew that I had to step up," Jones said. "Brianna obviously has a huge impact on the team so any time that she or anyone is in foul trouble we all have to step up. A lot of players stepped up and we have a pretty complete team."
That was evident all day.
Muncy (7-1, 3-0) trailed just once, briefly in the second quarter, and asserted itself in the HAC-III while remaining tied for first with Benton. Despite missing chunks of time with foul trouble, McLaughlin still scored a game-high 20 points and made six steals. Sisters Charity and Crystal Good were a force inside, both recording double-doubles and combining for 22 points and 22 rebounds.
The bench made an impact too. Allison Edwards replaced McLaughlin when she picked up that fourth foul and was outstanding. The freshman had two assists in four rebounds during that run and fellow reserve Nikki Scott hit two fourth-quarter jumpers.
"We kind of try not to be so up and down and not so much of a roller coaster," Jones said. "We try to be consistent through the entire 32 minutes but that doesn't always happen, but we definitely stepped up and played one of our best second halves."
"The team stepped up," Weaver said. "We look at what we've got and we can go seven girls and not really miss a beat. All the girls stepped up and it was a great team win."
Meghan Trenholm recorded a triple-double for Neumann and gave it a brief second-quarter lead before Muncy responded with a 9-0 run to take a lead it never relinquished. Trenholm scored 14 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and made 10 steals. Jones, though, showed her in the second half and held her to only three third-quarter points.
Neumann point guard Emily Sholder was up sick the whole previous night but battled through and played almost the entire game, scoring six points and dealing three assists. Rachel Danneker grabbed seven rebounds and Emily Sheleman scored eight points but the Knights wilted under Muncy's pressure and hit just 5 of 27 second-half shots.
"They're a really good team, no question about it and we had to play very well to beat them but we can play better than that," Neumann coach Steve Sholder said. "We have some tough games ahead of us and we have to learn from this. You have to play hard the entire game. Once they went on a little run I think we gave up a little bit and that's not acceptable and it won't happen again and that's not normally what I get from these girls."
Muncy was humming on both ends of the floor in the second half, hitting 15 of 26 shots and forcing 10 turnovers. The Indians made 20 steals during the game and scored at least 15 points in every quarter. Charity Good grabbed two straight rebounds late in the first half, was fouled on both and hit four foul shots, giving the Indians an eight-point halftime lead against a team that had won three straight.
"We both come in 6-1 and I said you find out right now where you rank and you find out where you stand with things," Weaver said. "For them to come in and play the way they did today is definitely a nice confidence boost for us."
Jordan Jones 6 2-4 16, Brianna McLaughlin 6 5-6 20, Crystal Good 5 2-2 12, Charity Good 3 4-6 10, Gina Paisley 1 0-0 2, Allison Edwards 1 1-2 3, Nikki Scott 2 0-0 4, Haley Gyurina 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 14-20 67.
Meghan Trenholm 3 7-10 14, Emily Sholder 3 0-2 6, Rachel Danneker 0 2-2 2, Emily Sheleman 4 0-0 8, Baylie Gerrity 0 0-0 0, Stephanie Fernandez 0 0-0 0, Megan Helminiak 1 4-5 6. Totals 11 13-19 36.
Muncy15 15 22 15-67
Neumann14 8 7 7-36
3-pointers: Muncy 5 (McLaughlin 3, Jones 2); Neumann 1 (Trenholm).
Records: Muncy 7-1, 3-0 HAC-III. Neumann 6-2, 2-2.
JV Score: Muncy 27-17