Lady Warriors fall to Bishop Canevin
Mohawk (44) Vs. Canevin (56)
Feb 23, 2013
By Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News

IMPERIAL — A year made a world of difference for the Mohawk High girls basketball team.

Last year, the Lady Warriors lost to powerful Bishop Canevin in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs, 63-27. This time around, Mohawk was able to make a game of it, but a few disastrous minutes to start the second half proved costly in the Lady Warriors’ 56-44 WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal-round loss to the Lady Crusaders at West Allegheny High.

Seventh-seeded Mohawk (17-7) fell behind 23-10 after the first quarter and battled back to trail just 29-27 at the half. The Lady Warriors used a 12-2 run to climb back into it.

“We were making sure they knew the game wasn’t over,” Mohawk coach Mike O’Lare said of what he told the team at halftime. “We tried to settle back down and get them out quickly to keep that momentum, but to understand that we still had 16 minutes to play.

“With five seniors on our team, they’ve been in every situation, up 10, down 10. They’re not going to quit. They’ve played too hard all year to quit.

The second-seeded Lady Crusaders got the ball first to open the second half and attacked the basket, scoring on a driving bucket by Erin Waskowiak that frustrated O’Lare just 13 seconds into the half. A Duquesne University recruit, Waskowiak was limited to 14 points after netting 31 Tuesday in a 65-28 win over Neshannock.

Bishop Canevin’s Celina DiPietro knocked down two 3-pointers to push the lead to 37-27 with 5:42 to go in the third quarter. The Lady Crusaders’ lead dipped under double figures just twice — both times at eight markers — the rest of the way.

“We talk about the first three minutes of the half every time,” O’Lare said. “Maybe I should have come out in a different defense instead of a man so they didn’t get an easy possession right away.

“In that kind of game, they’re good against either one. But you have to rely on what you do. It was a killer because we never really recovered from that stretch. We cut it a couple of times, but we never truly recovered from that spread.”

Bishop Canevin held a 47-35 lead after three quarters and pushed the margin to as much as 54-35 with 5:33 to play.

“We knew we had to play better in the second half. And I think that good start really helped us,” said Lady Crusaders coach Tim Joyce, who picked up his 200th career win.

Paige Ruby, a senior forward, helped keep Mohawk in the game in the first half. Ruby led the Lady Warriors with 20 points and 11 rebounds. She netted 14 of her markers and seven of her boards in the first half.

“I was doing everything I could and trying my best all night,” Ruby said. “I felt like we actually could have had this (win) after my first couple of baskets.”

Mohawk was doing its best to make sure Waskowiak didn’t get in a groove. But Celina DiPietro caught fire from the outset. DiPietro buried five 3-pointers in the first quarter to give the Lady Crusaders a 13-point lead after the first quarter.

“We knew what they were doing. They were back-screening the zone,” O’Lare said. “We practiced it yesterday. We were close, but we weren’t as close as we needed to be.

“She made them. We had to switch our defense. We were thinking we should 2-3 them to take away Waskowiak and take away (Carly) Forse. But they had a third player. We knew about her, but we didn’t expect her to get five 3s like that.”

DiPietro finished with a game-best 26 points, draining eight 3-pointers. Forse contributed 14 markers and seven rebounds. Waskowiak collected five rebounds.

“Erin (Waskowiak) doesn’t force things. She takes what they were giving her,” Joyce said. “They took her away pretty well, but they left Celina open and she knocked down the shots.”

Shelby Brown recorded 12 points and four rebounds for Mohawk and Devon Giancola was next with 10 markers.

Bishop Canevin ended Mohawk’s season last year in the first round, 63-27.

“Losing to them big last year, we were feeling kind of weird about it,” Ruby said of last night’s matchup. “But Coach sent us all a text message saying he feels confident in us and we’re not writing our obituaries. Then we were all confident in each other.

“The third quarter was kind of hard on us. We got down on ourselves. We weren’t playing as good as we were in the second quarter. We just got real down. Coach called timeout and we turned things around and started playing better and hung in there.”

The Lady Crusaders (20-4) advance to meet Burrell (22-2), a 61-41 winner over McGuffey, on Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.

Bishop Canevin is ranked No. 2 in the WPIAL in Class AA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Burrell is No. 3.

Mohawk is eliminated from the district playoffs, but the team is still clinging to postseason life. The Lady Warriors will qualify for the PIAA playoffs with a Bishop Canevin win over Burrell. If Burrell wins, then Mohawk needs the Lady Bucs to win the district title to advance into the state playoffs.

“I’ve never been in the lockerroom with the kids and you just don’t know if that’s the last time you’ll be in there together with them,” O’Lare said. “It’s an awkward situation for the kids and myself. It’s a mixed emotion. You’re hoping that’s not the case that you’re done.”

Nightly Roundup
Feb 23, 2013 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Mohawk 10 17 8 9 0 44
Canevin 23 6 18 9 0 56
Box Scores
Shelby Brown 4 4-5 12
Lucia Fee 1 0-2 2
Devon Giancola 3 2-2 10
Hannah Morrow 0 0-0 0
Paige Ruby 9 2-2 20
Melissa Verlotte 0 0-0 0
Holly Duncan 0 0-0 0
Cara Trotter 0 0-0 0
Samantha Carr 0 0-0 0
Jaki Bender 0 0-0 0
Totals: 17 8-11 44

Carly Forse 6 1-3 14
Erin Waskowiak 6 2-6 14
Celina DiPietro 9 0-1 26
Gina Vallecorsa 0 0-0 0
Johnie Olkosky 0 2-5 2
Caroline DeFrank 0 0-0 0
Alaina McGuire 0 0-0 0
Totals: 21 5-15 56

MOHAWK 10 17 8 9 — 44
BISHOP CANEVIN 23 6 18 9 — 56

3-point goals — Mohawk 2 (Giancola 2); Bishop Canevin 9 (Forse 1, DiPietro 8).
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