The Port Allegany girls basketball team won two of three North Tier League games last week, but the one they really wanted slipped away as Coudersport eked out a close win to sweep the season series.

Monday night’s game at Smethport was a chance to get the reserves some playing time against the overmatched Hubbers, with the Gators easing to a 53-15 victory. Cailey Barnett poured in a game-high 22 points, adding eight rebounds and four assists, with Garzel dishing out eight assists and grabbing six boards.

The league-leading Falcons came to Port on Wednesday night hoping to strengthen their grasp on another NTL championship, and did just that with a 38-30 win to maintain a two-game lead over second-place Otto-Eldred in the standings and move within one more win of officially clinching the title.

Coudy jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, but Port fought back, taking its first lead at 7-6 on Evin Stauffer’s 3-pointer. From there, the two teams traded scores for the rest of a half that featured three ties and six lead changes, heading into the locker room knotted at 17-17.

The tight game continued into the third quarter, when Bree Garzel’s trifecta midway through the period gave the Gators a 24-22 lead, but the Falcons responded with an 8-0 run to take control. While Port endured a scoring drought that lasted into the fourth quarter, the visitors went ahead for good on back-to-back triples by Mikayla Gunn and Lauren Stimaker, then got six points from Sarah Chambers in the final frame to close out the win.

“Same time when we played them the first time, the third quarter did us in. It must be my halftime speeches, I dunno. We can’t stop them in the third quarter,” Port coach Jamie Evens said with a bemused smile. “That was the key to the game. We got behind, and could never get back.”Chambers (13) and Gunn (10) hit double digits for the Falcons, while Barnett led the Gators with 10.

“I thought we had a good plan. We held them to 38 points; if you would’ve told me that coming into the gym tonight, I would’ve thought we walked out with a win,” Evens said. “They’re a good defensive team, probably the best defensive team we played all year, and they just played better than us.”

Two nights later, Port got back on track, welcoming forward Shannon Curfman back to the lineup as the Gators dispatched Oswayo Valley, 60-21. Barnett dropped in 21 points and recorded six steals, Garzel added 17 to go with seven rebounds and six assists, and Stauffer just missed a double-double, scoring nine points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Macy West scored 10 points to lead the Green Wave.

Port (14-5, 11-3 NTL) has just one game this week, the Senior Night varsity-only contest against Galeton on Feb. 5, before ending the regular season with visits to Wellsboro (Feb. 10) and Northern Potter (Feb. 11).

“Hopefully that gives us time to get healthy. We’ll practice hard and work on some of the things we need to fix, and hopefully figure out a way to make some shots,” Evens said. “Our goal is obviously districts. That’s our second season, and I’d like to think we can make a run.”At Smethport, Jan. 27:

Port Allegany (53)

Archer 3 0-0 8, Stauffer 3 0-0 6, Garzel 2 2-2 7, Daniels 3 0-0 6, Barnett 9 1-2 22, Crowe 1 0-2 2, Smith 0 0-2 0, Budd 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 3-8 53.

Smethport (15)

Herzog 2 0-0 4, Deyarmin 1 1-2 3, Lutz 1 0-0 2, Nelson 1 0-0 2, McClaine 1 0-0 2, Williams 0 2-2 2. Totals: 6 3-4 15.

Port Allegany — 11 23 38 53

Smethport — 5 9 11 15

3s: Port 6 (Barnett 3, Archer 2, Garzel), Smethport 0. Fouls: Port 8, Smethport 9. Fouled out: none.

At Port Allegany,

Jan. 29:

Coudersport (38)

Gunn 3 2-2 10, Stimaker 2 2-2 7, Chambers 5 1-2 13, Page 2 2-5 6, Frame 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 7-11 38.

Port Allegany (30)

Archer 1 0-0 2, Stauffer 2 0-0 5, Garzel 3 0-2 7, Daniels 1 0-0 2, Barnett 5 2-2 12, Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 2-4 30.

Coudersport — 9 17 30 38

Port Allegany — 9 17 24 30

3s: Coudy 5 (Gunn 2, Chambers 2, Stimaker), Port 2 (Stauffer, Garzel). Fouls: Coudy 13, Port 13. Fouled out: Daniels (PA).

At Shinglehouse,

Jan. 31:

Port Allegany (60)

Archer 1 0-0 2, Stauffer 3 3-4 9, Garzel 6 0-0 17, Crowe 1 0-0 2, Daniels 2 0-0 4, Smith 1 0-2 3, Barnett 7 2-2 21, Budd 0 0-2 0, Curfman 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 5-10 60.

Oswayo Valley (21)

West 4 2-4 10, Malogrino 1 0-0 2, Centrino-Diaz 1 0-0 2, Lundy 2 0-0 5, Mesler 1 0-0 2. Totals: 9 2-4 21.

Port Allegany — 15 28 46 60

Oswayo Valley — 8 13 17 21

3s: Port 11 (Garzel 5, Barnett 5, Smith), OV 1 (Lundy). Fouls: Port 11, OV 8. Fouled out: Curfman (PA).