Lady Lancers come up short
Neshannock (36) Vs. Bishop Canevin (65)
Mar 04, 2017
By Shawn Fox
New Castle News
PITTSBURGH — When a team shoots nearly 75 percent from the field in the first half it can make things tough.
If that same team only misses one shot from behind the 3-point arc during that same span, well, it becomes a very difficult day.
That’s the scenario the Neshannock High girls basketball team encountered in its first-ever WPIAL Class 3A championship game against Bishop Canevin.
The top-seeded Lady Crusaders blistered the nets for 45 first-half points on the way to a 65-36 victory over the No. 3 Lady Lancers Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center.
“I don’t think we were nervous,” Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski said. “I’ll be honest, I took the approach where we really had nothing to lose. I thought we were pretty well prepared. They’re a very good team, you can’t take anything away from them. Today, they hit on all cylinders. They had to shoot 80 percent from the floor in the first half.”
Bishop Canevin (19-5) connected on 17 of 23 shots (74 percent) in the opening 16 minutes, including hitting 8 of 9 from behind the arc, in snapping the Lady Lancers’ 16-game winning streak.
The Lady Crusaders wasted little time in taking control of the game, opening up a quick 9-0 lead behind six points from Shamyjah Price and a 3-pointer by Sarah Green.
“That’s what we had hoped to do,” Bishop Canevin coach Tim Joyce said of the opening run. “That’s what we try to do every game. If we can score early and get into our press, the whole game seems to flow a lot better for us.”
Aidan Noga ended Neshannock’s scoreless drought by scoring off a steal at the 3:57 mark, before Bishop Canevin doubled up the Lady Lancers the rest of the quarter – 10-5 – to grab a 21-7 lead after one.
That lead grew to 45-15 at the half as the Lady Crusaders knocked down six 3-pointers in the second quarter. Gillian Gustine came off the bench to sink five triples in the stanza, accounting for all 15 of her markers. Lauren Gamble had the other three.
“This supposedly wasn’t their year to have great shooters, but 10 (Gustine) hit five threes, Gamble hit a few,” Grybowski said. “It wasn’t like you could go box and one.”
A Green 3-pointer opened the second half, before the Lady Lancers (23-2) were able to get their offense going.
Neshannock outscored Bishop Canevin, 13-0, over the next four minutes behind a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays from Bella Burrelli and Noga, a 3-pointer and putback from Ally Zarilla and a pair of free throws by Burrelli to cut the deficit to 48-28.
“We just had to calm down and regroup,” Green said of Neshannock’s run. “When coach called timeout, it kind of got us back on our game.”
The Lady Lancers, however, would get no closer, as Bishop Canevin closed the game with a 17-8 run.
“I really thought that we could keep it close, but we didn’t,” Grybowski said. “We had a ton of turnovers, we didn’t defend particularly well and we didn’t rebound. This was one of our worst, probably, all-around games. But, it had something to do with them.”
Noga finished with a team-high 11 points for Neshannock. Burrelli and Zarilla chipped in with nine points apiece.
Price led all scorers with 19 points. Green and Gamble each scored 10 for the Lady Crusaders.
“That was one of our more complete games considering the competition,” Joyce said. “Neshannock is a good team. They’re a good defensive team. I just think our speed gave them problems. We haven’t had this type of game against that quality of an opponent, other than the three Carlynton games.”
Both teams advanced to the PIAA playoffs, which begin in Class 3A on Saturday. Neshannock will face District 6 fourth-place finisher Everett at 4:30 p.m. at Butler, while Bishop Canevin will square off with District 6’s No. 5 team Central Cambria at 3 p.m. at Northgate.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Neshannock senior Regan Moorhouse said. “I think this is awesome. We’re already making history. A Neshannock team had never made it to the WPIAL championship. We’re not done yet. I think if we can just regroup and build off of this loss, we can make a run in the state playoffs.”