Sophomore scorer sparks Mt. Pleasant girls in overtime win over Freeport

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Tuesday, March 2, 2021 | 9:20 PM


Survive and advance.

That is what the Mt. Pleasant girls basketball team did Tuesday evening in a WPIAL Class 4A first-round game against No. 6 Freeport.

The No. 11 Vikings rallied from six points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime. They outscored the Yellowjackets 7-0 in the extra session to post a 38-31 victory at Freeport Middle School.

“We hadn’t been in the playoffs for a while, but we didn’t lose any seniors last year. So having that experience playing together has really helped,” said Mt. Pleasant sophomore forward Tiffany Zelmore, who scored a game-best 23 points including six of her team’s seven points in overtime.

“This was a great team win. We’re all really excited to keep playing.”

Mt. Pleasant, who has won seven of its last eight games, improved to 11-7 and advances to the quarterfinals Friday evening and a third crack against section rival Southmoreland.

The No. 3 Scotties, who defeated No. 14 Deer Lakes 53-24 Tuesday, scored a pair of 22-point wins over Mt. Pleasant in the regular season.

“If we prepare well the next two days and come out hard, I think we can really compete in the game,” said Zelmore, who added 10 rebounds.

Sophomore Melaina DeZort, who fronted Freeport with 12 points before fouling out with 47 seconds left in overtime, converted a layup at the 7:26 mark of the fourth to extend a Yellowjackets advantage to six at 27-21.

Mt. Pleasant chipped away at the lead. A Zelmore jumper with 22 seconds left tied the game at 33. Freeport was not able to respond before time ran out in regulation.

Zelmore sank 4 of 6 from the foul line in overtime. Two of her foul shots with 1:15 left put the Vikings ahead for good.

“In any game, there are several runs, and we were able to push in the fourth quarter when we needed to get the job done and also in overtime,” Vikings coach Scott Giacobbi said.

“Freeport could’ve pulled away, but we just kept battling. Something we’ve continually worked on is putting together four complete quarters. Even when things go bad, you can turn it around with hustle and determination and have a surge like we did to give us a chance to win.”

Freeport, with just one senior on the roster, capped its season at 10-3.

The teams combined to miss 20 free throws in the game. Freeport had 13 of those misses, with seven coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.

“I said to my girls that the foul shooting is the obvious, that’s a difference, but there were other things we didn’t do that contributed to it,” Freeport coach Fred Soilis said. “We didn’t box out, we had turnovers.”

Soilis was able to put the season in perspective, despite the loss.

“We got this far, we got in 13 games, and I’m proud of (the girls) for the crap we had to put up with and deal with as part of the season,” he said. “It wasn’t a traditional season by any stretch. We’re a young team, and we’ll be back.”

That lone Freeport senior, Grace Soilis, finished with 10 points in her final varsity game. She scored eight points with a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter as the Yellowjackets rallied from a 21-16 deficit early in the second half.

Freeport junior forward Leah Hartman went down with a lower right leg injury with 2:36 left in the fourth quarter. She left the court with assistance and did not return.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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