Brown’s big night leads Lady Warriors to win
Mohawk (52) Vs. Everett (44)
Mar 09, 2013
By Andrew Petyak
New Castle News

JOHNSTOWN — Two Lady Warriors’ teams entered the University of Pitt-Johnstown last night.

Only one left victorious.

The smiles on the faces of the Mohawk High girls basketball players as they boarded the team bus gave every indication of the results.

Amidst a collage of red and white, Mohawk proved too much for Everett, taking home a 52-44 victory in a PIAA Class AA first-round playoff matchup.

“It feels amazing,” Mohawk guard Shelby Brown said, fresh with a black eye from the physical battle. “We’re just going to keep riding the wave.”

Mohawk (18-7) was making its first state playoff appearance since the 1997-1998 season. The Lady Warriors will face North East (23-3) in the second round on Tuesday at a time and site to be determined. The Lady Grapepickers advanced to the second round with a 59-49 win over McGuffey.

Brown picked up the Mohawk offense in the early going, scoring 15 of the team’s 19 first-half points. The guard notched a game-high 27 points.

“She’s very capable of carrying us in a game like that. When they shut down our secondary scorers, she put us on her back that first half,” Mohawk coach Mike O’Lare said. “Every play we ran was through her. We couldn’t get anything out of the offensive plays we did run through some other players early on.”

Brown utilized ball screens to her advantage in the first half, finding open lanes to drive to the net. The teams were deadlocked at 19 at the half.

“I think being able to go off of ball screens is a lot easier than trying to make my own shots, because it opens up most the lanes,” she said. “I just wanted to get to the hoop as much as possible, because I knew we weren’t going to win the game on jump shots. I knew we were going to have to get some shots underneath.”

Mohawk battled back from several holes throughout the game, with the first being late in the first quarter. Trailing 13-8 with 18 seconds remaining, a Samantha Carr bucket combined with a Brown steal for a layup cut the Everett lead to one.

“I thought at times there for three quarters our backs were against the wall,” O’Lare said. “We never actually controlled the game, I thought, until the fourth quarter. They’d keep punching us a little bit, and we’d respond, but we didn’t have control ever.”

Another instance came late in the third quarter. Down 30-24, Brown hit one of two free throws before nailing a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left. After Everett’s Kadie Morral hit one of two foul shots, Brown found the net with just .8 seconds left to cut the deficit to 31-30.

In the second half, the inside game of Everett’s Morral and Aubrea Phipps started to wear down Mohawk. Morral in particular was causing rebounding and foul trouble for Mohawk’s Paige Ruby and Hannah Morrow with her lengthy 6-foot frame. Morral finished with 11 points and was 7 of 10 from the foul line. Phipps added 14 and was 4 of 4 from the free-throw line.

“I thought they played well defensively and hit the glass hard. They outrebounded us by 15 or 20. They were getting a lot of second and third shots from Phipps and Kadie Moral,” O’Lare said. “They were killing us inside. I’m not saying so much scoring, they were getting rebounds and fouls.

“As soon as we had to go to the bench, we go small. You can work all you want, but sometimes size just wins. I thought we were really trying to get those rebounds, but we were coming up a foot short sometimes in getting them.”

Not only did Everett and Mohawk share similar team colors, nicknames and personnel on the court, they also shared the lead at 37 with 5:42 left in the fourth. That’s when the Mohawk offense came alive, going on a 15-7 run to end the game.

“We knew our team was much better than just relying on Shelby for four quarters. If we would have relied on one player for four quarters, we probably wouldn’t have won that game,” O’Lare said. “That’s exactly how it ended up. We had other players around her start to score the ball.”

A string of successful 3-pointers got the offense going. After a Bailey Morral field goal, Carr gave Mohawk the lead back at 40-39 with a 3-pointer that had eyes, making its way in after a strange bounce and favorable roll. Following an Everett turnover, Morrow returned from the bench and tallied her second 3-pointer of the game to give Mohawk its first advantage of more than one point. She would leave the game a minute later after rolling her ankle.

“It was pretty nice because I haven’t been making shots lately,” Morrow said. “Everybody got energized once we got those shots.”

Guard Devon Giancola was next to get in on the act, extending the Mohawk lead to seven with a 3-pointer of her own. Field goals from Ruby and Brown capped a 13-point scoring streak for Mohawk. Morrow and Ruby finished with six points each and Giancola added three.

Mohawk was pulled into the playoffs via Bishop Canevin’s WPIAL championship victory over Burrell. The Lady Crusaders eliminated Mohawk 56-44 in the quarterfinals. Mohawk is making the most of its second opportunity.

“We were Bishop Canevin’s biggest fans when they played Burrell. We went down to that game and coach joked around with us and said we should slap their hands after the game,” Brown said. “Seeing them win and seeing us clinch that state playoffs, we were happy for a couple of minutes, then it was a clean slate and we had to get back to work. That’s what we did (tonight).”

Nightly Roundup
Mar 09, 2013 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Mohawk 12 7 11 22 0 52
Everett 13 6 12 13 0 44
Box Scores
Shelby Brown 9 7-8 27
Lucia Fee 1 0-0 3
Devon Giancola 1 0-2 3
Hannah Morrow 2 0-0 6
Holly Duncan 0 0-0 0
Aliya Gage 0 0-0 0
Samantha Carr 3 0-0 7
Paige Ruby 2 2-2 6.
Totals: 18 9-12 52.

Bailey Morral 4 0-0 10
Baylee Beegle 0 4-4 4
Aubrea Phipps 5 4-4 14
Laura DuVall 1 0-0 3
Kadie Morral 2 7-10 11
Allison Snyder 0 0-0 0
Raelyn Rice 0 2-2 2.
Totals: 12 17-20 44.

MOHAWK 12 7 11 22 — 52
EVERETT 13 6 12 13 — 44
3-point goals — Mohawk 7 (Brown 2, Fee 1, Giancola 1, Morrow 2, Carr 1); Everett 3 (B. Morral 2, DuVall 1).
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