NEWVILLE — The Big Spring Bulldogs are likely headed for the playoffs but might be looking down the wrong end of the barrel when they get there.
The ‘Dogs struggled offensively in their final Mid-Penn Colonial matchup with winless Waynesboro. They hit just enough foul shots down the stretch to dodge the major upset with a 38-34 victory at Big Spring High School Tuesday night.
Big Spring (15-6, 9-3 Colonial) currently sits in 15th in the District 3 Class 5A power rankings, and if form holds through the week, it will travel to play Commonwealth power Harrisburg in the opening round two weeks from now.
“When you finish 4-17 one year and you get to go dancing the next, you dance with whomever you get,” Bulldogs coach Randy Jones said. “We are struggling shooting the ball and it is not for lack of good shooters — they just aren’t going down.”
Waynesboro (0-20, 0-12 Colonial) was looking for its first win and held the lead on the Bulldogs twice, once in the second quarter at 9-8 and once in the third quarter 23-22.
“We haven’t held too many leads this year, so we still need to learn how to play with a lead,” Maidens coach Allison Steiger said. “I am so proud of my kids for their defensive effort tonight. We lost by 27 the first time [against Big Spring]. We also hit some shots tonight, something we have also struggled with all season.”
Big Spring jumped out 8-2 early as they pressured the Maidens into turnovers and moved the ball on offense.
“We got the start we wanted, and they just started to sag in the paint, and we just didn’t shoot the ball well tonight,” Jones said. “Then we started to force the ball and they were able to set up on offense on our turnovers.”
Shelby Miller gave the Bulldogs a lift in the second quarter with four points, but the team went 0-for-6 from the arc in the frame. The went on to miss all 10 shots on the night from 3-point territory.
Waynesboro, led by Faith Helman and Abby Sheasley, outscored the Bulldogs 8-3 early in the third to take that 23-22 lead. Megan Emlet hit two free throws and Lauren Cunningham scored four consecutive Bulldog buckets to give the home team a 32-27 lead it would not relinquish.
The ‘Dogs hit 5-of-9 foul shots down the stretch to finally finish off the Maidens. Allison Frick corralled three rebounds in the closing minutes for the winners.
Cunningham led the Bulldogs with 15 points. Paige Snyder added seven points.
Helman led the Maidens with seven points. Waynesboro lost a large senior class last year and has no seniors on the roster this year. They have six juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen on this year’s roster.
Big Spring travels to Biglerville on Thursday in its final regular season contest, while Waynesboro will host Carlisle on Friday night. That game was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but Waynesboro canceled school for the day because of impending winter weather.