Timely shooting, strong D boost Lady ’Canes
Pine-Richland (33) Vs. New Castle (51)

Luann Grybowski posed a simple question during a bad sequence of basketball for New Castle High last night.

“How many more chances are we going to give them?,” Grybowski asked her team early in the first quarter after the Lady ’Canes turned it over for the fourth time in the first five minutes.

Well, coach, it would be 22 turnovers.

Had Grybowski known that, she might have been surprised that her Lady ’Canes would actually win with relative ease, 51-33, over visiting Pine-Richland in a WPIAL Section 3-AAAA game last night.

Then again, with New Castle’s smothering defense and veteran leaders, turnovers don’t hurt the Lady ’Canes as much as they would other teams.

“We have been playing good defense and have been rebounding excellent — and we’re shooting the ball real well,” Grybowski said.

“It’s the turnovers that give me gray hairs.”

Between a first half dominated by turnovers on both sides, New Castle (4-0 in section, 6-0 overall) played well in one spurt late in the second quarter.

Leading 14-10, Lady ’Canes’ point guard Abby Allen found Nikki Wise underneath for a layup. Moments later, Wise converted consecutive steals at halfcourt into layups to make it 20-10.

She then made a nice assist to Logan Hartman and scored another bucket as New Castle led, 24-13, at halftime.

The Lady Rams (2-1, 5-2) finally began to take advantage of New Castle turnovers when Emily Kerr and Emma Richert made consecutive 3-pointers early in the third period to bring Pine-Richland within 28-25.

But, these are the defending Class AAAA champs, and they can turn it on when they have to.

Allen found Shelby Rodgers on a back-cut. Then Hartman blocked a Lady Rams shot. Then off the break, Rodgers got an open look deep in the corner and buried a three and the lead is back up to 33-25.

“I was a little nervous to shoot it, but it went in. It was a big shot,” Rodgers said.

“We just seem to respond,” Grybowski said. “Maybe it’s our character.”

Grybowski was referring to last week when Shaler and Seneca Valley both made big runs before New Castle took control down the stretch.

“I tell them just keep pushing, keep working,” Grybowski said.

Despite all the turnovers, the defense never wavered against a Pine-Richland team that hit 15 3-pointers against North Allegheny last week. New Castle held the Lady Rams to four points in the last nine minutes on 1 of 13 shooting.

“We did a good job against their shooters,” Grybowski said. “I think they only had two open (threes).”

Allen’s 15-foot jumper bumped the lead back to 10 early in the fourth quarter and the Lady ’Canes cruised the rest of the way.

Hartman quietly had another solid game, scoring 15 points to go with eight rebounds. Tasia Wise had 11 points and eight boards. Rodgers and Nikki Wise added 10 points.

Grybowski is starting to realize what kind of team she has: Not as individually talented as last year, but with a defense that can put the clamps down when it needs to and a nice inside game that can control the paint.

Despite 22 turnovers, they won by 18 against a 5-1 team.

Imagine if they don’t give away all those chances.
Game Scoreboard
Pine-Richland 8 5 16 4 0 33
New Castle 11 13 11 16 0 51
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
New Castle
#11 Abby Allen221050
#0 Shelby Rodgers3221100
#22 Logan Hartman5441150
#23 Tasia Wise5210110
#44 Nikki Wise5000100
#31 Jazelle Dennis000000
#24 JaVonna Moss000000
#33 Lynette Fish000000
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