TIOGA CENTER - Tioga got off to a slow start and never recovered here Friday night in a 34-24 loss to Unatego in the quarterfinals of the Section IV, Class C girls basketball playoffs.

The Lady Tigers struggled mightily from the field, connecting on just 19 percent (9 of 47) of their shots, including an 0-for-7 effort from behind the 3-point arc.

In the first quarter, Tioga made just one field goal in 11 attempts, including seven missed shots in the paint, and trailed 8-2.

"If we had gotten off to a better start in that first quarter, you might have seen a completely different game," said Tioga coach Joe Robinson. "They would have had to do things differently.

"We missed seven lay-ups and they weren't really contested lay-ups," added Robinson. "If we knock down five of those, we're leading at the end of the first quarter."

Robinson credited Unatego for taking away his team's 3-point attack.

"We don't handle the ball well and we're not real quick," said Robinson. "They are athletic and they got in our face, it was tough to get an outside shot off."

The Lady Spartans also pounded the boards and finished the game with 22 offensive rebounds, but only turned them into 10 points.

"We were getting one shot and they were getting five or six shots at times," said Robinson.

Sarah Mannina drained a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the second quarter to extend the Unatego lead to 11-2.

The Lady Tigers connected on 5 of 9 shots from the field in the second quarter, but were plagued by turnovers and trailed 19-12 at the intermission.

Unatego took its biggest lead of the game, at 26-14, on Mannina's second 3-pointer of the game with 6:09 left in the third quarter.

Tioga trimmed the deficit to seven, at 27-20, on a jumper by Callie Patsellis with 2:31 left in the third quarter.

A free throw by Patsellis pulled Tioga within seven again, at 28-21, with 7:33 left in the game, but they wouldn't get any closer the remainder of the game.

A 15-foot jumper by Robin Foster and a putback by Cassidy Newman gave Unatego a 32-21 lead with 6:36 remaining in the game.

Tioga shot just 11 percent (3 of 27) from the field in the second half.

"(Unatego) is a good team," said Robinson. "They're big and physical, their guards take care of the ball and they shoot it well.

"I think we did a good job holding them to 34 points, we just couldn't put it in the hole," added Robinson.

"It's kinda like the way it ended last year - our last two games last year we couldn't put in the hole either," remarked Robinson, referencing Tioga's losses to Marathon in the IAC Small School title game in which it shot 17 percent (13 of 75) from the field and its 42-41 loss to Bainbridge-Guilford in which it shot 24 percent (16 of 67).

Natalie Burns led Tioga with eight points, three rebounds and two blocked shots, while Patsellis had seven points, two assists and two steals, and Hannah Manwaring scored five points, hauled down a team-high 12 rebounds and blocked two shots.

Sarah Whitney added six rebounds, three steals and two assists for the Lady Tigers and Emily Schweiger grabbed four rebounds

Foster led Unatego with 11 points and Mannina added nine points.

All in all, Robinson said his team has nothing to hang its head about after rallying from a 4-3 start to finish 16-5.

"We were Small School South champs," said Robinson. "We came back and beat Newfield on their home court to win the division, then took care of Groton to win the overall Small School title.

"It was a good year," he added.