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The role of reserves are almost always undervalued, partly due to their limited playing time. But because they have to be ready to go at the drop of a hat, reserves play an invaluable role in the success of teams.

Or put a better way, basketball teams are only as good as the kids they have coming off the bench.

On Tuesday evening at Altoona Area High School, Kailey Werkheiser was called upon to step up for the Palmyra girls’ basketball team, and she delivered in a big way. With forward Kristen Smoluk down with an injured shoulder for the Cougars’ PIAA Class AAA semifinal clash with Blackhawk, Werkheiser provided Palmyra with some much-needed instant offense.

Werkheiser nailed a season-high four three-pointers off the bench, as Blackhawk ended Palmyra’s magical run with a 49-41 outcome. But there were times when Werkheiser’s shooting single-handedly kept the Cougars in the contest.

Werkheiser’s trey with 58 seconds remaining in the third quarter pulled Palmyra to within 36-32 of the Blackhawks, and then her fourth of the game, 1:10 into the final stanza trimmed Blackhawks’ lead to 38-35.

Earlier in the contest, in the final 52 seconds of the opening period, Werkheiser drilled a pair of treys to help the Cougars tie the score at 12.

 – Jeff Falk

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