Lady Barons basketball takes early lead, rides winning wave to victory


The Lady Barons basketball team celebrated Kuzma Day by defeating its opponent, the Pitt-Bradford Panthers, by double their score, 71-36, in a record-setting match at 4 p.m. on Saturday. 

Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Lady Barons started the game strong and scored their first two points 20 seconds into the game. The Panthers responded with a 3-pointer of their own, and the teams went back and forth in scoring until they were tied at 8-8. Following a long gap of no points, freshman forward Estelle Leon scored two free throws with 2:38 minutes remaining, and the Barons began to gain a lead.

The first quarter ended with an epic 3-point buzzer beater by senior guard Abby Baierl, which brought the score to 20-10 Barons. This shot made Baierl Franciscan’s all-time leader in made 3-point field goals. 

After the exciting conclusion of the first quarter, the second quarter began relatively slowly. At 8:43 minutes, the Panthers made two free throws. The Panthers tried to catch up to the Barons, but the Barons maintained their lead and ended the half still leading by about double, 31-16. 

In the third quarter, the Lady Barons widened their lead even further with goals by Leon, Baierland senior guard Kaitlyn Sonneberger. The Barons kept pushing the ball down the court with as much energy as when they took to the court first quarter, and the third ended 56-25, Barons.

The fourth quarter began with two Baron 2-pointers, bringing the score to 60-25. The Panthers tried to catch up, but their efforts fell short. The Barons fought hard to the last minute of the game, and they ended with an almost double score, 71-36.

That was an amazing game,” said head coach Sean Kirk. “I’m like, ‘look, they’re not scoring 40 points this game,’ and we held them to 36, so I’m extremely proud of (the Lady Barons).”

In addition to Baierl’s new record, two other Lady Barons broke records in this game. Leon made 11 rebounds this game, which is a team high. Sonneberger netted 21 points, thus breaking the record she had set in the previous game. Additionally, those 21 points put her at 516 points for her career total, making her the eighth highest-scoring Lady Baron in history.

The Kuzma Day game was played in honor of legendary basketball head coach, Hank Kuzma.Before the first buzzer rang, both Baron basketball teams presented flowers to Kuzmas wife, son and grandson. The Lady Barons will next take to the courts Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. against Penn State Altoona.

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