BUTLER, Pa. - The Westmoreland County Community College women's basketball team nearly erased a 17-point fourth quarter deficit but ran out of time and Butler CCC held on for a 43-36 victory in the WPCC Tournament Championship Game Saturday evening.
The Wolfpack came out of the gate strong, taking a 10-8 lead after the first quarter, as Mackenzie Markle and Mya Johnson both had two buckets in the opening frame. The Pioneers used the three-point shot to take the lead in the second quarter, as two early treys gave the home team a 16-11 lead. Westmoreland had cut the deficit to just a basket before Butler nailed a three in the closing seconds to take a 23-18 margin into intermission.
The second half opened with a Markle bucket, but Butler scored five straight and kept building on the lead. By the end of the third period, Butler's lead swelled to 39-22, as Westmoreland was held to only four points in the quarter.
The Wolfpack slowly clawed back into the game in the final quarter. Markle scored one hoop, Hannah Hempfield buried a three and Hannah O'Brien knocked down two foul shots to make it a 41-31 difference with four minutes left. Westmoreland's defense kept Butler off the scoreboard over the next three-plus minutes and when Markle converted a traditonal three-point play and Hempfield hit a free throw, the Wolfpack had cut the Pioneer lead to 41-36 with 40 seconds to play.
That was as close as Westmoreland would get, as Butler drained time off the clock before hitting two free throws to clinch the win. In the loss, Markle notched her 12th double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds while also blocking three shots. Hempfield turned in a solid night as well with nine points, nine rebounds, six steals and three assists. Leading the efforts on the glass was Julea Claycomb with 16 rebounds.
The Wolfpack will be in action next weekend when they play in the Region XX Tournament. Westmoreland will host the four-team women's tournament, as well as the five-team men's tournament. The women's tournament will begin Saturday, Feb. 22nd, when the fourth-seeded Wolfpack take on #1 Prince George's at 12 pm, which will be followed by #2 Anne Arundel playing #3 Butler at 2 pm.