Nocera notches 1,000th point in Ellwood win
Ellwood City (68) Vs. Freedom (35)
The game plan didn’t go quite as Ellwood City Lincoln and Michelle Nocera wanted, but the end result did.
Nocera shook off some early jitters and scored her 1,000th career point in a 68-35 nonsection girls basketball victory over Freedom last night.
“The game plan was to try and get that out of the way in the first half,” Ellwood City coach Bill Gottuso said. “Michelle needed 16 points for 1,000, so we were looking for her, and she was nervous. She missed eight foul shots in a row early, and she shoots close to 80 percent from the line.”
Nocera regrouped and scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the first half, when the Lady Wolverines (8-10) took a 39-23 lead. Nocera had help in building that lead as Jenna Ricciuti netted 15 points and Asia Borders added 12.
This was Nocera’s night, though. The senior became the first 1,000-point scorer since Gottuso’s daughter, Lisa, reached the mark in 2002. Nocera became the sixth member of the Lady Wolverines to accomplish the feat. Lawrence County’s all-time leading girls basketball scorer is Annie Malkowiak, who scored 2,370 points from 1985-89.
“She (Nocera) has started all four years for me,” Bill Gottuso said. “She’s only 5-6 and she’s went up against girls over 6-foot all her career. She just works hard. She’s the first one in the gym and the last one out. She never talks back, and believe me, I’ve taunted her plenty of times. She’s a just a good girl to coach.
“We both cried a bit at halfcourt. There was a lot of emotion.”
Nocera reached the mark, ironically enough, with a free throw at the 2:18 mark of the third quarter.
Borders recorded a double-double with 15 rebounds.