Neshannock girls bow out in PIAA Class AA opener
Neshannock (47) Vs. General McClane (68)
Mar 08, 2014
By Corey J. Corbin
New Castle News
The Neshannock High girls basketball team had no answers defensively last night.

General McLane was on fire, making 10 3-pointers en route to a 68-47 victory over the Lady Lancers in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs at Meadville High’s House of Thrills.

With the win, General McLane (23-3) will play District 5 champion Tussey Mountain (24-1) in the second round Tuesday at a time and site to be determined. General McLane is the District 10 champion.

“I’ve never seen a team hit so many three’s in my life,” Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski said. “It got to the point where I thought they could shut their eyes, take the shot and it’d still go in. I had three films on them and they made some threes, but they didn’t make near what they made against us and with that many players.”

Junior Michelle Jahn canned five treys and classmate Celeste Seidel made three more, while Katie Rodrigues and Anna Dunn each had a triple for General McLane.

“We came out hot on our threes,” said General McLane coach Sarah Jay, who is married to former Neshannock athletic standout Todd Jay. “Neshannock would chip away at the lead and we’d hit some big threes. Celeste showed her nerves in the first half, but she came out on fire in the second half. Michelle is always cool as ice. They nailed some big threes for us.”

Neshannock (22-3) rebounded from a rocky start to the game — a pair of turnovers and an airball in its first three possessions — before taking a brief 8-7 lead.

Jahn countered with a personal 7-0 run to hand her team a 14-8 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

“We didn’t locate her,” Grybowski said. “When you have someone hitting that many threes and you don’t locate her, there’s something wrong.”

Grybowski’s bunch managed to stay within striking distance despite a handful of eight- and nine-point deficits over the rest of the first half.

Madison McHale followed younger sister Maeley’s putback with a pair of layups to pull Neshannock to within 29-26 at the half, but from there, it was all General McLane.

Jahn opened the second half with a pair of 3-pointers and Seidel followed with five-straight points to hand General McLane a 40-28 advantage.

“We came into the second half down by three and she hit two threes to start the half,” Grybowski said. “Boom, we’re down nine. We finished the first half in the zone and I thought we were OK. We were going to stay with it. I probably should’ve switched it up to a different zone, but I don’t know if it would’ve made a difference.”

Madison McHale made a three-point play and Erin Warvell drained a 3-pointer as Neshannock clawed back to within six at 40-34, but a 22-6 General McLane run over the third and fourth quarters effectively put the game out of reach early in the final period.

“We changed defenses and people didn’t know where they were going,” Grybowski said. “We went from the 3-2 to a 1-3-1. I didn’t have my regular five in. People were looking around and not going where they were supposed to go. It was a lack of realizing where you need to go. If you play one wing and someone’s there, you need to go to the other wing. It was more than one thing.

“We didn’t do what we practiced. I really thought we could play man-to-man against them, but we didn’t do a good job. They got whatever they wanted. They got drives to the hole. They got kickouts for threes. It didn’t matter what defense we were in.”

General McLane pressured Neshannock for much of the game, creating 21 turnovers and focused on taking away attempts from the perimeter.

Neshannock made just 3 of 11 from downtown and converted 17 of 43 from the field in the loss.

“I figured they’d make more threes,” Jay said. “In their last game, they shot so many. It was unbelievable. Our plan was to switch on every screen and not give up the three. If you got beat, you were to go find an open 3-point shooter. We weren’t going to let them go off on us.

“Our press really caused them problems. I was hoping their youth would show against our press. When you get a good lead, it inspires you to play even better defense. My girls like to press. We just don’t do it that often.”

Neshannock held a slim 37-34 advantage on the boards, but General McLane was able to extend possessions with several first-half offensive rebounds.

“We got killed on the boards,” Grybowski said. “We didn’t box out in the man and we really didn’t box out in the zone. They had a lot of second opportunities. We were out of position and we didn’t do what we’ve done all year.”

Madison McHale scored 13 of her game-high 22 points in the first half and added nine caroms, while no other Neshannock player surpassed six tallies.

Grybowski’s daughter Tayler and Cassidy Burrelli each had five rebounds, while Warvell contributed six points, four rebounds and three steals.

“I was hoping to shut her down more than we did, but McHale is a great player,” Jay said. “She attacked the hoop. I’m not sure if she had any threes, but if I have the choice between the three or a two, I’ll give her the two every time. We were committing some dumb fouls and giving her and-ones.

“Our plan was to not let her get her 20 points and limit everybody else. We’ll focus on one person, but we know who else scores. They had a couple other girls averaging around double figures. You can’t forget about them.”

Jahn led General McLane with 21 points and Seidel added 16 tallies and five rebounds. Rodrigues, Louisa Lytle and Laura Schaefer each contributed eight and Dunn rounded out the balanced scoring with seven markers.

“We have been starting slow in our last four games,” Jay said. “Our girls don’t get rattled by that. They know to continue the game plan and take care of business. They know we can come back. We just need to come out stronger.”

Neshannock will bid farewell to senior reserves Jackie Herr and Julie Ortiz.

“They worked hard and came to practice,” Grybowski said. “Jackie Herr played for us as a freshman and didn’t play as a sophomore. She came back out last year. She’s a great kid. She’s dedicated. She’s quiet. She doesn’t question anything. She’s the kind of kid you want in your program. Julie was a first-year player. She decided to come out and play this year. Again, she’s a good kid and came to practice every day.

“We have all our starters back. We actually have our top eight back. We have a good group coming back. We shouldn’t miss a beat next year. We should be able to pick up where we left off and hopefully good things will happen.”

Nightly Roundup
Mar 08, 2014 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 13 13 13 8 0 47
General McClane 20 9 19 20 0 68
Box Scores
Stephanie Paras 2 0-0 4
Cassidy Burrelli 1 3-6 5
Erin Warvell 2 0-0 6
Tayler Grybowski 0 2-2 2
Madison McHale 8 5-6 22
Regan Moorhouse 2 0-0 4
Jackie Herr 0 0-0 0
Maeley McHale 1 0-0 2
Jackie Regal 1 0-0 2
Marissa Kirkwood 0 0-0 0
Totals: 17 10-14 47

Michelle Jahn 6 4-4 21
Katie Rodrigues 3 1-2 8
Celeste Seidel 4 5-6 16
Louisa Lytle 4 0-0 8
Laura Schaefer 3 2-2 8
Hailey Higham 0 0-0 0
Anna Dunn 3 0-0 7
Lisa Yoder 0 0-0 0
Katie Browning 0 0-0 0
Danielle Verga 0 0-0 0
Katie Sanford 0 0-0 0
Totals: 23 12-14 68

NESHANNOCK 13 13 13 8 — 47
GEN. MCLANE 20 9 19 20 — 68

3-point goals — Neshannock 3 (Warvell 2, Mad. McHale 1), General McLane 10 (Jahn 5, Seidel 3, Rodrigues 1, Dunn 1).
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