Lady Lancers fall to Bishop Canevin
Canevin (53) Vs. Neshannock (39)
Feb 24, 2011
By JOE SIMON
CORAOPOLIS — The Neshannock High girls basketball team needed to play a nearly perfect game to upset Bishop Canevin last night.
The Lady Lancers did just that — but they couldn’t sustain the success quite long enough.
The No. 4-seeded Lady Crusaders fought back from an early 10-point deficit and ended Neshannock’s season with a 51-39 victory in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs at Moon High.
The Lady Lancers, seeded 20th and heavy underdogs to Bishop Canevin, couldn’t have asked for a better start. They went up 9-0 and watched one of the best players in the WPIAL, the Lady Crusaders’ Erin Waskowiak, find a spot on the bench after picking up two fouls in the first minute of the game.
And that wasn’t all that was going right.
Neshannock point guard Chelsea Kauffman was hitting 3s, Caitlin Binder and Ashlee Patton were wreaking havoc on defense and Ericka Warvell was dominating the glass.
“We played exceptional in the first quarter and they were concerned,” said Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski of the Lady Crusaders. “You could tell because they called two timeouts.”
Bishop Canevin (19-4) finally came out of its daze in the second quarter and cut the lead to one by forcing seven Neshannock turnovers. Waskowiak, a 5-foot-10 sophomore averaging 19 points per game, returned and had an impact on both sides of the ball. She made two steals on defense and scored nine of her 13 total points to help the Lady Crusaders enter halftime tied at 22.
The comeback was ignited by the pressure defense of Bishop Canevin.
“Early on, I don’t know, we’ve got some young kids and they just weren’t focused on what we were supposed to be doing,” Bishop Canevin coach Tim Joyce said. “We started scoring some in the second quarter, and that allowed us to get into the press. And the times we didn’t score, we started doing some things in the half-court that gave Neshannock problems.”
The Lady Lancers (16-8) continued to struggle with turnovers in the third quarter, but played well defensively and were within five to start the fourth quarter. Kauffman, who led all scorers with 20 points and played an outstanding all-around game, cut the lead to three with one of her four 3-pointers. Yet, Neshannock fizzled out from there, forcing a few shots and committing unforced errors and turnovers.
Bishop Canevin built a 49-39 lead by the 4:55 mark of the fourth quarter and shut the Lady Lancers out for the rest of the game. One contributing factor was the depth of the Lady Crusaders, who played nine different girls compared to six by Neshannock.
“We took a couple ill-advised shots (in the fourth quarter),” Grybowski said. “We went down four times and turned it over. That really hurt us. We were a little bit tired, too. I used a few timeouts, but I wanted to keep it going to see if we could close the gap. We just weren’t able to do what we did in the first. We were tired.”
Two of the unsung heroes for Bishop Canevin were Carly Forse (12 points), and Johnie Olkosky, a freshman who came off the bench to score a team-best 18 points. She sank four 3-pointers. Forse’s impact came inside, where she corralled 12 rebounds and gave the Lady Crusaders numerous second-chance opportunities.
Still, Neshannock, despite its 24 turnovers, put a scare into a team that many thought was going to breeze past the Lady Lancers.
“I told the kids going in we have to play exceptional to win. We had to play like we did in the first quarter for four quarters. Part of the reason is that I played six and they played nine. We did a good job on (Waskowiak), but they had too many other weapons. The big one was (Olkosky). She killed us.
“But I was proud of them. I said all year long that I thought we would play with anybody as long as we did what we needed to do. We just had to be a little bit more patient offensively tonight. The things that were open all year with the dribble-drive offense just weren’t there because of what they did defensively. If we could have seen that a little sooner, some of the turnovers could have been avoided.”