Neshannock falls to Bishop Canevin
Neshannock (41) Vs. Canevin (49)
AMBRIDGE — The Neshannock High girls basketball team had all kinds of problems on offense.

The Lady Lancers committed 23 turnovers, including 14 in the second half, and fell to Bishop Canevin 49-41 in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals at Ambridge High School’s Wright Automotive Group Field House last night.

“Turnovers were the key,” Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski said. “We couldn’t afford turnovers. The number on the board was under 12 turnovers. You take 11 turnovers away and we win the game.

“From day one at practice I told them if we don’t turn the ball over, we win. It’s that simple. Probably six of those turnovers directly resulted in points. That’s 12 points right there.”

Neshannock coupled its turnover woes with some cold shooting, making just 31.8 percent from the field (14 of 44). The Lady Lancers were just 7 of 23 from behind the arc.

“We’re capable of playing some pretty good defense in the half-court,” Bishop Canevin coach Tim Joyce said. “I think that’s a product of the schedule we’ve played. We had to play Seton-La Salle twice. We played Villa Maria, Hollidaysburg, Vincentian and Shaler. When you have to play teams like that, you’re not going to survive if you don’t defend. They’ll beat you by 50.”

The Lady Lancers (22-2) are now in a holding pattern as they await their PIAA playoff fate. They need Bishop Canevin (19-5) to win the WPIAL championship next weekend to advance to the state playoffs.

“We’re going to take (today) off,” Grybowski said. “Next week, we have to practice, because we don’t know. We can’t give them the week off, so we have to practice next week with the idea that we’re still in it.”

Neshannock got hot midway through the first quarter with Erin Warvell sparking an 8-2 run to end the period as the Lady Lancers grabbed a commanding 16-6 lead.

“We did things we were supposed to do,” Grybowski said. “The defense was there. No one got to the rim. Defensively, we rebounded and didn’t allow them to get second shots. We held them to six points. That’s probably their lowest of the year.”

The tables turned on Neshannock at the start of the second quarter.

The Lady Crusaders opened the quarter with a 12-1 run and found themselves clinging to an 18-17 lead.

Neshannock reserve Stephanie Paras canned a pair of free throws and Madison McHale drilled a 3-pointer to push the Lady Lancers back in front at 22-18. Neshannock took a 24-22 lead into halftime.

“We didn’t do anything well in the first quarter,” Joyce said. “We have a bad habit of not putting together a four full quarters. I can’t explain it other than we’re a little inexperienced.

“We changed nothing the whole way. We just had to start doing things the right way. We weren’t playing with any energy.”

The Lady Lancers managed just six points on 3-pointers from McHale and Tayler Grybowski in the third quarter, while committing eight turnovers.

“We didn’t go to the ball and then they’d step in front of us,” said Luann Grybowski, who doubles as Tayler’s mom. “It didn’t look like they were in the passing lanes, but then they would react to the ball. We didn’t. There’s no other way around it.

“We were a step behind. We were making bad decisions and weren’t going to the ball. It wasn’t just one person. You can’t do that against any team and you certainly can’t do that against a good team.”

The Lady Crusaders took a 31-30 lead on a Johnie Olkosky steal and layup midway through the third quarter. They never trailed again after extending the lead to 36-30 at the end of three quarters.

Neshannock was able to pull to within 38-37 on a pair of Paras freebies just over two minutes into the fourth quarter and the Lady Lancers missed on several scoring opportunities before Olkosky drilled a 3-pointer moments later for a 41-37 lead with under four minutes to play.

“We missed a wide open layup and a short pull-up jumper,” Luann Grybowski said. “Then the next time down the floor, we have two people cutting to the basket and neither one catches the ball. That’s another missed opportunity for a layup that turns into a turnover. What do you do with that?”

Bishop Canevin began to kill clock with its four-point lead, which led to more Neshannock defensive issues.

“Once they went up four, I knew they were going to hold the ball and spread the floor,” Luann Grybowski said. “That’s what they had been doing the whole game. We were supposed to double the ball. Erin was the only one that did it. She doubled the ball, but no one rotated and her man went in for a layup.

“You have to be aware of what’s going on around you. You can’t be one dimensional and guard your man. Sometimes, We lose focus and we don’t see what’s happening around us. That can’t happen against good teams.”

McHale led Neshannock with 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Tayler Grybowski added 10 points and seven rebounds. Cassidy Burrelli pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.

Olkosky and Gina Vallecorsa each posted 18 points for Bishop Canevin, which managed just nine turnovers.

“I knew we were going to give up some penetration,” Luann Grybowski said. “Those are two of the best players we’ve seen all year. There’s no doubt about that. I wanted to stay with the man to man. I thought we did a decent job in it.”

The Lady Crusaders will play top-seeded Seton-La Salle (20-4) in the semifinals Tuesday at a time and site to be determined. Seton-La Salle beat Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 69-46, and has beaten the Lady Crusaders in both regular season meetings.

Third-seeded Greensburg Central Catholic (19-4) will battle second-seeded Burrell (24-0) in Tuesday’s other semifinal at a time and site to be determined.

“I don’t think the three of us should have been on the same side of the bracket,” Luann Grybowski said of her Lady Lancers, Bishop Canevin and Seton-La Salle. “If we were on the other side, I think we get to the semifinals. Either way, you still have to beat good teams.”

Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 16 8 6 11 0 41
Canevin 6 16 14 13 0 49
Box Scores
Johnie Olkosky 5 7-10 18
Gina Vallecorsa 7 3-4 18
DeFrank 0 1-5 1
Erin Joyce 0 0-0 0
Sarah Green 3 2-4 8
Natashia Rajakovich 0 0-0 0
Becca Turney 2 0-0 4
Totals: 17 13-23 49

Stephanie Paras 1 5-6 7
Cassidy Burrelli 1 1-2 3
Erin Warvell 2 0-0 6
Tayler Grybowski 4 0-0 10
Madison McHale 6 0-0 15
Regan Moorhouse 0 0-0 0
Totals: 14 6-8 41

BISHOP CANEVIN 6 16 14 13 — 49
NESHANNOCK 16 8 6 11 — 41

3-point goals — Bishop Canevin 2 (Olkosky 1, Vallecorsa 1), Neshannock 7 (McHale 3, Grybowski 2, Warvell 2).
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