Breaking the drought
Neshannock (49) Vs. Shenango (52)
By Andrew Koob

New Castle News

The Shenango High girls basketball senior class wanted to give the program a much-needed overhaul when it first reached the varsity ranks.

For the past three and a half seasons, the four seniors have been pushing to revamp a team synonymous with losing in the early part of the decade.

Thursday night was another step in the right direction, as the Lady Wildcats topped host Neshannock 52-49 in a WPIAL Section 1-AA battle.

The win is Shenango's first over the Lady Lancers since Jan. 31, 2005, when the Lady Wildcats defeated Neshannock 61-42. The Lady Lancers owned 19 straight wins over their rivals since that time.

“The seniors came in (at the beginning of the season) and said they wanted this year to be different," said Shenango coach Jason Rankin, who also picked up his 100th win as a head coach. "They had done a lot in the last two years and stopped a 44-game section losing streak. They made the playoffs last year, but they want to go further this year. They wanted the coaching staff to push them and hold them to a higher standard. We did and it's paid off so far.

"You have to find a way to win close games and you have to work hard. And they’ve done that, that’s a credit to the kids. It was a tough game against a tough team, this was a playoff game.”

It was no surprise, then, that it was the senior class that carried Shenango to the victory. Carolyn Peterson, Emma Rich and Samantha Seaburn each scored 13 points, as Rich paced the team with three shots from beyond the arc and Peterson connected on two.

Neither side created much separation through the first three quarters. The largest lead heading into the final eight minutes was four points in favor of Shenango in the second quarter, thanks to an Angelina Sibeto basket.

That trend continued in the fourth quarter, with five lead changes and a tie in the final stanza. Neshannock took the lead momentarily off of an Ally Zarilla 3-pointer. Rich immediately responded with a wide-open trey of her own, retaking a two-point lead that would expand to seven points and enough of a cushion to seal the victory.

“If we don’t give up that three, I think it’s a different ballgame," Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski said. "But she was unguarded and that’s what happens when you lose yourself defensively."

The Lady Lancers (4-1, 9-2) knew that a target would be on their backs after such a successful start to the season. They came out with what Grybowski described as one of the lowest performances of the season.

“This was, by far, one of our worst games of the year. It wasn’t even close," Grybowski said. "Some easy conversions in the first half were missed, (Shenango) went to a zone in the second half and it was a good choice. We had some kids in foul trouble and we didn’t execute.

“Everybody gives us their best shot, so we get every team’s best effort. And if we’re not up to giving our best effort, you end up on the short end. Credit to them, they hit their free throws. They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect, we played well in spurts, but not great. Hopefully we grow from it.”

Zarilla led Neshannock with 18 points, including four 3-pointers, while Carmie Matarazzo chipped in 13 points and six rebounds.

With the win, the Lady Wildcats pushed themselves into a three-way tie atop the Section 1-AA standings with Neshannock and Riverside, the latter of whom won in a non-section matchup Thursday.

"It was a big win and this is a monster section, we have to play with the same kind of emotion and effort against Mohawk (on Monday)," Rankin said. "This is a great win, we’ll celebrate it for 24 hours and then we’ll get back to work.”

The matchup also was just the second meeting between two former New Castle basketball coaches. Grybowski was the Lady 'Canes' head coach for 21 years, eventually passing the torch to Rankin, one of her assistants for 17 of those years, in 2009.

Rankin also was victorious in that matchup, a 79-50 New Castle win over Neshannock in 2011 at the New Castle Tipoff Tournament.

Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 7 14 13 15 0 49
Shenango 9 12 12 19 0 52
Box Scores

Angelina Sibeto 1 1-2 3
Samantha Seaburn 4 5-6 13
Emma Rich 3 4-9 13
Carolyn Peterson 3 5-6 13
Jacqui Baker 2 2-2 6
Madison Harden 1 2-2 4
Olivia Rich 0 0-0 0
Totals: 14 19-27 52


Stephanie Paras 2 2-2 7
Aidan Noga 0 2-2 2
Regan Moorhouse 0 0-0 0
Ally George 0 0-0 0
Bella Burrelli 1 3-6 5
Ally Zarilla 6 3-4 18
Hannah Haswell 1 0-0 2
Carmie Matarazzo 5 2-2 13
Totals: 15 12-16 49

SHENANGO 9 12 12 19 — 52
NESHANNOCK 7 14 13 15 — 49

3-point goals — Shenango 5 (Peterson 2, E. Rich 3), Neshannock 5 (Paras 1, Zarilla 3, Matarazzo 1).
JV score: Neshannock 47, Shenango 19. High scorers: N — Bella Burrelli 11, Ally Zarilla 11, Caitlyn Benson 10; S — Ally George 9.
Home | Game Schedules | Archive Coverage | Player of the Week
Lets Talk Basketball | BasketBlog | Big Shots
Copyright ©
All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.
Site Designed By: MotionLX, LLC