GREENFORD - Lisbon's Pam Pierce had a third quarter to remember in the Blue Devils' 42-36 victory over Wellsville on Saturday in a Division IV sectional final at South Range High School.
The junior scored 13 of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter, helping key an 11-0 run, which helped the Devils stay clear of defeat.
"I felt like I had to step up," Pierce said. "Whenever I had a shot, I took it."
Pierce, who also had 11 rebounds, five steals and three assists, came into the season having had knee surgery in the summer. She said both of her surgically repaired knees have been bothering her as of late, but she gutted it out on Saturday thanks to treatment and stretching.
"I have a really great physical therapist at Circle Rehab in Lisbon," Pierce said. "She really helped me get back to where I needed to be."
Wellsville (11-10) played very well in small spurts, but did not establish a consistent flow. The Tigers trailed by two with 2:37 to go in the game and were within three with 1:14 to go, but could not make the final move to get into position to win.
"That's kind of been the tale of the season," Wellsville coach Ed Swogger said. "We play well for three or four minutes and then take a couple off. You have to put together a full game together especially at this time of the season. We did not do that."
Lisbon went into the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead, but an 8-1 run had the Tigers poised to steal a victory late. That's when Julie Gauntt hit a big shot and bonus free throw with 2:10 left to push the Devils lead back out to 39-34.
Lisbon coach Jason Thompson said he was glad his team got through the rough spots.
"I took this game because it was only one game in the sectional and it had a two-week layoff," Thompson said. "The girls were a little tense, but Pierce is one that will always step up to the plate. We lean on her and she really helped us out tonight. She's the type of kid that will do whatever you ask."
The Devils (13-8) advance to meet top-seeded Lowellville at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the district semifinal.
"They're a different kind of monster," Pierce said. "We're going to have to prepare really hard for them. We'll give them our best shot. I played against a lot of those Lowellville players in AAU. They're really good."
Pierce said she did not remember beating a team with Lowellville players on it in AAU basketball.
Mikyla Tipton, Wellsville's all-time leading scorer, ended her career with 12 points, four rebounds and three steals. Shartece Taylor added nine points - all scored in the first half.
Swogger said he thinks Lisbon will have a tough time with Lowellville on Wednesday.
"I don't think anyone matches up too well with Lowellville," Swogger said. "I wish them the best, but Lowellville has a really nice team."