South Park defense stops Neshannock
Neshannock (30) Vs. South Park (61)
New Castle News

IMPERIAL — Defense has driven the Neshannock High girls basketball all season.

Thursday night, it was South Park’s defense that curbed the Lady Lancers and knocked them out of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.

The Lady Eagles easily took a 61-30 first-round decision Thursday night at West Allegheny High School.

“We’re not ashamed of anything,” second-year Neshannock coach Greg Huston said. “We felt like we played our hardest, but South Park was the better team. They deserved to win the game.

“We’re disappointed but we’re proud of what we accomplished and how far we made it.”

South Park (18-8) made the most out of the first quarter. The Lady Eagles opened with a 9-2 run and took a 17-7 lead after the period.

“We got off to a good start and that’s one thing we’ve been having a problem with,” Lady Eagles coach Reggie Wells said. “Usually we play ourselves into a game. That’s something you don’t want to do in the tournament.”

Turnovers hampered Neshannock (16-8) all night. The Lady Lancers surrendered a total of 29 miscues with 19 alone in the first half.

“A lot of it was because of the pressure they applied,” Huston said. “Give them credit for making it difficult for us. We didn’t handle it well.

“The turnovers were the difference in the game. If you eliminate half of them, you at least give yourself a chance.”

Those turnovers helped South Park walk into the half with a 37-18 advantage.

“That’s how we play,” Wells said. “We try to capitalize on our defense. We look to get those steals and attack.”

The early damage was too much for Neshannock to overcome. The Lady Lancers cut the deficit to 16 late in the third quarter but could not draw any closer.

“Once you’re in that position, trying to catch up against a good team, you dug a big hole for yourself and it’s hard to get out of it,” Huston said. “That was the difference in the game, but they whipped us pretty much for four quarters.”

Brittany Pfaff paced the Lady Eagles with 15 points. The senior forward knocked down a pair of 3-pointers. Melissa Schwartz followed with 14 points and Laurel Lindsay chipped in with an 11-point performance.

“We really do have a lot of talent,” Wells said. “We do have some ballplayers and I hope we keep playing well so people can see these athletes.”

Kylee Patton, who entered the game as to top girls scorer in Lawrence County with a 15.9 average, provided the majority of the Lady Lancers’ offense. The senior forward scored a game-high 17 points, scoring 13 in the first half alone.

“She lit us up in the first half,” Wells said. “She really kept them in the ballgame. We really tried to concentrate on her in the second half and we picked her up a little more.”

Patton finishes the season with 368 points for an average of 16 a game. For her career, she finishes with 1,169 points.

“Kylee played well,” Huston said. “When we could get her the ball good things happened. The problem was getting it to her and getting the ball across court.

“Kylee has had a great career and she finished it with a good game.”

South Park advances to the quarterfinals and will face Greensburg Central Catholic (17-7) tomorrow. A time and site has yet to be determined. The win over Neshannock also guarantees the Lady Eagles a spot in the PIAA Class AA playoffs.

The Lady Lancers, though, will lose three seniors to graduation. Along with Patton, guards Megan Black and Caitlyn Bleggi will not return next season.

“In a way this was a rebuilding year and we’ll have to rebuild again,” Huston said. “It definitely won’t be easy losing those three.

“We’re going to have to work twice as hard in the offseason to get back to where we are. It’s nice to get here but we’re not happy with this ending.”
Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 7 11 7 5 0 30
South Park 17 20 16 8 0 61
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
#21 Chelsea Kauffman100020
#25 Caitlyn Bleggi100020
#32 Kylee Patton6641170
#44 Courtney Frengel121030
#22 Megan Black100030
#31 Ashlee Stevens100020
#55 Shawna Creese021010
South Park
Beth Belejchak200040
Brittany Pfaff6212150
Elise Austin000000
Katie Kesich122040
Katie Piscitelli100020
Laurel Lindsay3441110
Melissa Schwartz7100140
Nicole Doria322080
Nicole Pierosh100030
Sydney Zandier000000
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