Mohawk struggles in second half in loss to Carlyto
Mohawk (44) Vs. Carylnton (50)
Feb 25, 2017
By Shawn Fox
New Castle News
AMBRIDGE — Things couldn't have gone much better in the first half for the Mohawk High girls basketball team Saturday afternoon.
It was a much different story in the second half.
The fourth-seeded Lady Warriors built a 31-15 lead after two quarters, but No. 5 Carlynton stormed back in the second half to post a 50-44 victory in the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals at Ambridge High School.
"We're obviously a little bit shocked with how the second half went," Mohawk coach Mike O'Lare said. "In the third quarter, it seemed like everything that could go right did go right for them the same way it did for us in the first half."
Mohawk, which had defeated Carlynton, 40-37, on Dec. 6 in the championship game of the Carlynton tournament, got off to a fast start, opening up a 15-6 lead after one quarter behind six points by Karly McCutcheon.
Carlynton trimmed the deficit to five points, 20-15, in the second quarter on a Diamond Thomas layup at the 3:22 mark. But, the Lady Warriors got a pair of 3-pointers from Carlee Stelter, a trey from Megan Meyer and a short jumper by Abbey Westcott to take a 31-15 lead at the half.
“We took care of the ball much better in the first half,” O’Lare said. “We possessed the ball, got good shots and played good defense.”
The Lady Cougars opened the third quarter the way Mohawk closed the first, with an 18-2 run. Thomas got the rally started with a putback, followed by a free throw from Ashleigh Wilson and a layup by Angelicah Diallo.
“In the third quarter, it seemed like everything that could go right did go right for them the same way it did for us in the first half,” O’Lare said.
Wilson was then fouled by Westcott. Westcott also was whistled for a technical foul, giving Carlynton four free throws. It also was the fourth foul in the contest for the Mohawk point guard, who, went to the bench at the 6:29 mark. She did not return until the 4:21 mark of the fourth quarter.
“The referee said Abbey spiked the ball,” O’Lare said of the technical foul. “They ended up with four free throws and the ball. It was a huge turning point. It swung the momentum in their favor, plus it gave Abbey four fouls.
“She’s our point guard, and she makes us go. We tried to hold her out as long as we could.”
After Lexi Kowal’s trey later knotted the score at 33, Meyer’s two free throws with 1:20 remaining in the quarter gave the Lady Warriors a 35-33 lead heading into the fourth.
The teams traded baskets over the first two minutes of the final stanza before Thomas gave Carlynton the lead for good with a free throw with 5:59 remaining in the contest.
The Lady Cougars built a six-point lead before Mohawk made one final rally as a pair of buckets by Caitlin Carnuche drew the Lady Warriors to within two, 43-41, with 2:20 to play.
But, Carlynton hit five of eight free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Carnuche and Stelter shared scoring honors for Mohawk with 12 points apiece. Meyer added 10 points before fouling out with 21.6 remaining in the game. McCutcheon pulled down nine rebounds.
Thomas’ 17 points led all scorers. Wilson chipped in with 14 points for Carlynton. Jade Lee grabbed 10 rebounds.
Mohawk (16-6) must now play the waiting game to see if its season continues, as the WPIAL uses a “follow-the-leader” format to determine its entrants in the PIAA playoffs. Class 3A will advance six teams to the state playoffs, which begin March 11. A Carlynton victory in the semifinals will guarantee a state playoff berth for the Lady Warriors.
“We wanted that control ourselves,” O’Lare said.
The Lady Cougars (17-6) will face top-seeded Bishop Canevin (17-5) in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ambridge. The Lady Crusaders defeated No. 8 Riverside, 54-25, on Saturday.
Carlynton coach Tim Bonner was not available for comment following the game.