BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Mount St. Joseph performed well on offense in the first half of its PIAA Class AAAA basketball playoff against Palmyra, scoring 27 points and committing only two turnovers.
Problem was, John Miller's squad allowed the Cougars, with their efficient motion offense, to put up 34 points. Since the Magic's goal is to keep foes under 40 for the game, that spelled serious trouble.
Palmrya, of District 3, pulled away with an 11-3 run in the third quarter and ousted the Mount, 57-38, Tuesday night in a second-round contest at Bethlehem Freedom.
"We had no problem scoring in the first half, but we couldn't stop them," said Miller, whose team shot 12 for 22 from the field (2 for 5 from beyond the arc) in the opening 16 minutes.
For the Cougars, who aided their cause by collecting 10 offensive rebounds, Kathryn McClellan (11 boards) netted 18 points and Kristen Smoluk had 14. Molly Gundermann (12) also was a double-digit scorer.
"They were a lot more than athletic than we expected them to be," Miller said. "They could get up and down the floor pretty well. Obviously, our man-to-man defense let us down."
Smoluk, a 1,000-point career scorer who is bound for Messiah College, posted 11 of her points before intermission. She finished with four assists, two boards, and a block.
In the first half, Palmrya, which placed second in the District 3 tournament, shot 13 for 24 from the floor. Overall, the Cougars (26-4) went 24 for 43, including 7 for 15 from three-point range.
For the Mount, which finishes 25-6, junior guard Libby Tacka managed nine of her team-high 16 points in the first quarter. Senior floor general Mary Kate Ulasewicz added six points and six assists.
Ulasewicz is ticketed for the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I. She was the most valuable player of the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies.
Against Palmyra, Caitlyn Cunningham chipped in five points, two boards, and two assists; Sarah Wills grabbed four boards and drilled a second-quarter three-pointer; and Kristin Lucas had three boards, two points, and two assists off the bench.
Palmyra 16 18 11 12 - 57
Mount St. Joseph 16 11 3 8 - 38
P: Molly Gundermann 12, Marisa Tulis 5, Kristen Smoluk 14, Katie Dembrowski 4, Kathryn McClellan 18, Josie Stovall 4.
MSJ: Mary Kate Ulasewicz 6, Libby Tacka 16, Emily Carpenter 2, Sarah Wills 3, Caitlyn Cunningham 5, Kristin Lucas 2, Julie Hoover 4.