Lady Warriors move on despite ‘winning ugly”
Mohawk (28) Vs. Washington (24)
Feb 18, 2012
By JOE SAGER
New Castle News
BRIDGEVILLE — There are no style points in the playoffs.
The Mohawk High girls basketball team proved that last night.
Nevertheless, the Lady Warriors advanced with a 28-24 win over Washington in a WPIAL Class AA preliminary round game at Chartiers Valley.
Mohawk (18-5) emerged victorious despite going scoreless for an 11:25 span from late in the third quarter until the contest’s waning seconds.
“We’ve joked with the kids all year that there are not asterisks when the standings come out. That’s probably our 15th game like that. We win, but we win ugly sometimes,” Mohawk coach Mike O’Lare said. “There’s no asterisk attached to a win, especially at this time of year. It’s all about getting a win and moving on.”
The Lady Warriors face second-seeded Bishop Canevin (18-4) in a first-round playoff game on Tuesday at a time and site to be announced.
“They are very good. We’re going to take a day to enjoy it and then we’ll worry about that game (tomorrow),” O’Lare said. “We don’t want to look at that game just yet; we just want to enjoy this win for a day and then refocus.”
Mohawk hopes it has as much success defending against the Lady Crusaders as it did last night.
“We’re hoping to beat them by our defense,” Mohawk’s Devon Giancola said. “Hopefully, that’ll work out for us.”
It was a successful formula against the Lady Prexies (11-12). The Lady Warriors stifled Washington and did not allow a field goal until 26 seconds left in the first quarter.
However, Mohawk struggled to gain separation and carried just an 8-5 lead into the second.
Katie Hoover’s putback boosted the Lady Warriors’ edge to 10-5 just 42 ticks into the second quarter. Giancola delivered Mohawk a boost as she swished a pair of 3-pointers 37 seconds apart. That 8-0 run gave the Lady Warriors a 16-5 advantage and they closed the half with an 18-11 buffer.
“Devon has done that six or seven times this year. She’ll come out and hit two in a row, which changed their defense immediately,” O’Lare said. “They were in a 1-3-1 and she hit two in a row and they didn’t play it the rest of the game. She extends the defenses and makes other coaches change defenses just by her ability to shoot.”
It was Giancola’s first game action in a while. She had missed the team’s last four games with a sprained thumb on her shooting hand. She finished with a team-high 10 points.
“It was really nice coming back to play again,” she said. “With me coming back, it was really nice to get those couple 3s. It’s really good to have a lead because then we can just play like we usually do.”
Mohawk built its lead back to 11 points, 24-13, with 4:37 left in the third quarter. However, the Lady Warriors did not try to push the ball offensively. As a result, they tallied just one more field goal and two free throws for the rest of the game.
“We were trying to take the air out of it. That’s always tough when there are five or six minutes left and you’re trying to take the air of it the whole way down,” O’Lare said. “We probably could have had 10 or 15 points if we ran our offense. But, we didn’t want to trade buckets at that time. We just wanted to run the clock and it didn’t look pretty, but it got us the win.”
The defensive focus worked as the Lady Prexies never seriously threatened. They trimmed the deficit to 26-21 with 1:46 to go, but Shelby Brown cashed in two free throws and broke Mohawk’s scoring drought to make it a 28-21 game with 15.6 remaining. A long Washington 3-pointer provided the final margin.
Taylor Yarletts and Brown both had six points for the Lady Warriors.
Mya Williams led Washington with 10 points.