Cutchall leads Laurel girls past Shenango
Laurel (55) Vs. Shenango (50)

For at least a minute last night, Lacee Cutchall wasn’t invincible.

The 5-foot-1, 115-pound feisty red-headed junior point guard for the Laurel High girls basketball team dove on the floor for a loose ball in the second quarter against Shenango — and got hit right in the face.

She was down. She needed help off the court. Blood was everywhere. And yes, she shed a few tears.

But hey, she had a game to win. “I shook it off,” she said. “They needed me.”

Cutchall scored eight points in the fourth quarter, and made one great assist to Kasie Brown, to lead her Lady Spartans to a 55-50 WPIAL Section 2-AA road win.

The Lady Wildcats (1-5 section, 7-9 overall) trailed by as many as six in the third quarter, but tied it at 35 after a free-throw by Brittany Mendel. Laurel (2-4, 6-6) led 39-36 going into the fourth.

Forget about Cutchall’s injured nose, forget that she was exhausted from beating the Shenango full-court press all game, and forget that she twisted her ankle late in the third quarter.

Her team needed her.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Cutchall stepped behind a pick and swished a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 42-36. On the next possession, Cutchall pulled up from 10 feet for another bucket and a 44-37 lead.

She limped on that ankle, tugged at her shorts when out of breath and swigged her water bottle during breaks.

Her team needed her.

“She’s gutsy and tough,” Lady Spartans coach Jennifer McGarrah said. “It’s invaluable to us for the way she beat their press.”

The Lady Wildcats, meanwhile, had a gutsy player of their own.

Trailing 47-41 with 3:30 left in the game, Shenango’s Carly Senko took over. Her left-handed pull-up jumper cut it to two, then she took an outlet pass at the 3-point line, made a move in the lane and scored to make it 47-45.

“She’s been playing hurt all year — her shoulder,” Lady Wildcats coach Joe Gierlach said. “It’s too bad, because you saw what she could do tonight.

Shenango got as close as 47-46, but there was Cutchall again — you guessed it, her team needed her.

A Kerri Hutchison offensive rebound set up Laurel with possession, 2:25 to go. Cutchall looked to be in a trap, but wriggled out, drove in the lane and found Brown for a layup and a 49-46 lead.

“I knew I had a step, and I saw Kasie open down low,” Cutchall said.

Senko made it 49-48, but the Lady Wildcats turned it over three times in the last 1:50 and missed both of their free throws.

The Lady Spartans were 9 of 12 from the line in the fourth quarter and 17-27 for the game.

“It came down to free throws and our mistakes,” Gierlach said.

Mendel dominated the paint, scoring 18 points to go with 10 rebounds. Senko came off the bench to score 15, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the first quarter to give her team a 16- 9 lead.

Hutchison led Laurel with 15 points and was 8 of 10 from the line. Cutchall had 13 points, with Courtney Smith adding eight points, six rebounds and five blocks.

The Lady Spartans are tied for fourth place in the section with Mohawk. The top four teams in the standings advance to the playoffs.

“Hopefully, we can win some more games,” Cutchall said.

They’ll need her for those, too.
Game Scoreboard
Laurel 13 15 11 16 0 55
Shenango 17 7 12 14 0 50
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
#32 Lacee Cutchall3861130
#14 Kerri Hutchison31081150
#20 Lindsey Sauers362080
#24 Kasie Brown300060
#52 Courtney Smith410080
#12 Rachel Kwiatkowski000000
#42 Kaity Anderson221050
#33 Nicolette McCormick000000
#23 Rosie Spielvogel000000
#40 Brittany Mendel51480180
Emily Makarevich010000
#4 Danielle Dado221160
#22 Alexia Flynn120020
#5 Kara Monceaux300390
#33 Carly Senko4652150
#20 Amber Russo000000
#21 Jessica Kusnierz000000
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