Miscues lead to New Castle’s demise
Upper St. Clair (57) Vs. New Castle (45)
Feb 15, 2008

WEXFORD — The New Castle High girls basketball team took a standing eight count in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.

Last night, the Lady ’Canes were knocked around and eventually out of the Class AAAA playoffs.

New Castle fell into an early 11-point hole and never climbed out in dropping a 57-45 quarterfinal-round matchup to Upper St. Clair at North Allegheny High School.

“Most of our turnovers were ridiculous passes,” New Castle coach Luann Grybowski said. “At this stage of the season, you can’t turn the ball over; you just can’t.

“Do I expect turnovers from underclassmen? Yes. Do I expect them from seniors? Absolutely not.”

New Castle rallied by outscoring Bethel Park 18-3 in the fourth quarter of the playoff opener for a 47-41 win.

The fourth-seeded and defending WPIAL champion Lady ’Canes (19-6) are not completely finished yet. If the fifth-seeded Lady Panthers (20-5) defeat Oakland Catholic on Tuesday in the semifinals, New Castle will qualify for the PIAA playoffs. Otherwise, the season is complete for the Lady ’Canes.

“It’s very difficult, since it’s my senior year,” New Castle post player Logan Hartman said. “It’s tough. To think this might be my last game as a Lady ’Cane is heartbreaking; hopefully we’ll get a second chance.”

Hartman posted six points and has 926 career markers, ranking sixth on the school’s all-time list.

The loss was tough for New Castle. Several players stopped outside the locker room to shed tears and reflect on the setback before Grybowski addressed the squad.

“It’s upsetting,” Lady ’Canes senior Tasia Wise said. “I wanted this so bad.”

Upper St. Clair will meet Oakland Catholic at a time and site to be determined. The ninth-seeded Lady Eagles advanced by edging top-seeded Norwin, 58-55.

Turnovers led to the Lady ’Canes’ demise. New Castle committed 29 miscues, 14 of which came in the first half.

The Lady ’Canes turned the ball over on five of their first six possessions, leading to 10 Upper St. Clair points. The Lady Panthers used the miscues to open the game on an 11-0 run that spanned 3:46.

“They took advantage of our turnovers, no question,” Grybowski said. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they got 35 points off our turnovers.
“They didn’t earn the 11-0 run, we gave it to them.”

New Castle played even the rest of the stanza, trailing 19-8 after one. The Lady ’Canes made their move in the second quarter as Wise buried a trio of 3-pointers. Wise tallied 14 of her game-high 22 markers in the opening half.

“Tasia single-handedly kept us in the game,” Grybowski said.

“I just wanted to be able to stay with this team,” Wise said of keeping the Lady ’Canes in the contest. “I didn’t want them to think we were just going to lay down and die and they were going to kill us.”

Wise was 5 of 8 from the field and pulled down six rebounds.

“Tasia was great; I’m so proud of her,” Hartman said. “If this is it for us, then I’m happy she had a great game to finish her career. Without her we probably would have lost by a lot more.”

New Castle went on a 10-0 run to get within 25-22 with 1:32 left in the half. Abby Allen completed the spurt when she forced a steal and drove the length of the floor for a layup. The Lady Panthers committed a turnover on their next possession, their eighth and final miscue of the period.

The Lady ’Canes had a chance to cut the lead to one or tie, but another turnover gave Upper St. Clair possession. Allen, playing with two fouls, was whistled for a reach-in foul near half court with just 2.4 seconds remaining.

Meghan McLean worked free off the inbound pass and hit a jumper at the buzzer to give the Lady Panthers a 27-22 halftime cushion.
“Down five knowing that we played terrible in the first quarter, that was big for us at halftime,” Wise said. “Being down five wasn’t bad going into the third quarter.”

Said Hartman, “We were very excited at halftime. We thought we could do it.”

Upper St. Clair fed off that late basket, scoring the first four points of the second half and never looked back. The closest New Castle got in the second half was 31-24.

“We were supposed to score there and we turned it over,” Grybowski said of the first second-half possession. “That’s a very good team; I’m not ashamed to say that’s probably the best team we’ve played.”

The Lady Panthers’ biggest lead of the contest came at 21 points, 48-27 late in the third quarter and 50-29 early in the final stanza.

Shelby Rodgers posted 10 points and five steals for the Lady ’Canes.

Meghan McLean paced Upper St. Clair with 18 markers, including 11 in the pivotal third quarter.
Nightly Roundup
Feb 15, 2008 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Upper St. Clair 57 0 0 0 0 57
New Castle 45 0 0 0 0 45
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
Upper St. Clair
Alex Gensler5221130
Andrea Pion373090
Emily Mueller300060
Grace Hyland342190
Meghan McLean7213180
New Castle
#0 Shelby Rodgers4202100
#11 Abby Allen121030
#22 Logan Hartman242060
#23 Tasia Wise9004220
#44 Nikki Wise100020
#31 Jazelle Dennis000000
#24 JaVonna Moss100020
#32 JaNia McPhatter000000
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