BRADFORD, PA -- It was not easy but the Redhawks battled back to win a tough road test on Saturday. La Roche took the lead with a minute left and held Pitt-Bradford scoreless over the final sixty seconds to earn a 57-56 win. The Redhawks are now 13-4 overall and a perfect 10-0 against AMCC Conference competition.
The victory is a significant step in the fight to secure a playoff berth and home court advantage in he AMCC Tournament. At the moment, the Redhawks must win three of their final eight to clinch a playoff spot and five of eight for home court advantage.
La Roche jumped ahead early in this game. However, as always, they knew Pitt-Bradford would fight until the final buzzer. The Bobcats overcame a 14-5 and 19-12 first quarter deficit to enter the first break trailing 19-17. Pitt-Bradford closed the gap with a three-pointer at the buzzer, and the two point margin was the game's closest since 2-0.
The Redhawks opened the second quarter by scoring 7 of its first 9 points. TiChina Mitchell, Mackenzie O'Donnell and Danasha Harris all scored buckets and La Roche held the Bobcats to just one score in five and a half minutes. Fortunes changed with four minutes left in the half and Pitt-Bradford entered the locker room up 29-28. Mitchell and Harris each scored 11 first half points to lead all scorers.
Both teams continued to play quality basketball into the second half. In reality, it was a good basketball game between two good teams.
Pitt-Bradford grabbed the largest lead of the half going up 40-34 with 5:33 left in the third. Mitchell responded with five straight points and a Darrian Johnson three-pointer put the Redhawks slightly ahead before Ali Rinfrette free throws evened it up at the end of the third.
Neither team could find a basket for the opening two minutes of the fourth. Pitt-Bradford broke the tie but La Roche had an answer at every turn. The Bobcats held a three point advantage with four minutes to play but a Harris basket cut it to to one and Mitchell put the Redhawks ahead 53-52.
Both teams traded field goals and Pitt-Bradford held a 56-55 lead with a minute left. Gloria Schifino tried to put the Redhawks up two but her three pointer came up short. Mitchell came up with the loose ball and found O'Donnell for the game winner. The Redhawks forced a turnover and an errant shot in the final minute to earn the win.
Mitchell finished with a game high 21. Harris had 15 points and 9 rebounds (8 offensive) while O'Donnell had 14 points and 9 rebounds.
La Roche will play their third straight road game this Wednesday at Franciscan. Tip off is 6pm.