Turnovers doom Mohawk in loss to Avonworth
Mohawk (34) Vs. Avonworth (47)
Feb 14, 2009
By RON PONIEWASZ JR.
SAXONBURG — Mistakes proved costly last night for the Mohawk High girls basketball team.
The Lady Warriors committed 27 turnovers in dropping a 47-34 decision to Avonworth in a WPIAL Class AA preliminary-round game at Knoch High School.
“I think turnovers are all about timing,” Mohawk coach Mike O’Lare said. “If you’re up 10, nobody cares about turnovers; if you’re down a couple possessions, it matters.
“I think top to bottom, this was the best basketball game we’ve played all year. Win or lose. We competed for four quarters and we didn’t quit until the horn went off at the end of the game.”
Mohawk, which finished its season at 13-9, was just 8 of 19 at the foul line as well.
“It’s when you make them that matters most,” O’Lare said. “We made some early and some at the end. When we needed to, we didn’t make them.”
The Lady Antelopes (16-6) will meet Seton-La Salle, which had a bye, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Lady Warriors qualified for the WPIAL playoffs for the second consecutive season. Last year, Bishop Canevin eliminated them 64-27 in the opener.
“We knew last year was our first year in the playoffs as a group and we had a lot of nerves,” said Mohawk’s Chelsea Brown. “We had a good team to go up against last year, we wanted a better seed for the playoffs and we got it.
“We were playing a team (last night) closer to our level and that helped us differentiate from last year to this year.”
Mohawk trailed 27-25 after three quarters and had 21 turnovers as well. However, Avonworth put the game away with a 14-3 run for a 41-28 buffer with 3:18 to play.
“I said once to keep it under control and calm down,” Brown said. “I think we were trying to run things too quickly because we were pumped up because we were down just two.”
Catherine Costa netted nine of her game-high 16 points in the pivotal final frame for the Lady Antelopes.
The second quarter is what hurt the Lady Warriors most. They committed 11 turnovers on 18 possessions in the period and were outscored 8-2 as Avonworth built a 22-15 halftime bulge.
“I think it was nerves, we wanted to get the lead really quickly,” said Mohawk’s Alyssa Natale. “Our defense helped us stay in the game.”
The Lady Warriors fought back in the third quarter and had four chances to either tie or cut the deficit to one, but failed each time. Natale’s 3-pointer was long with 4:30 left in the quarter with the Lady Antelopes up 23-20.
Natale missed a pair of foul shots with 58 seconds remaining in the stanza. Kelly Eichenlaub misfired on a 3-pointer with 24 seconds to go with Avonworth clinging to a 27-25 advantage. Brown got a rebound in the lane with two seconds left and her turnaround jumper rolled off the rim as the Lady Antelopes maintained a 27-25 margin.
“If we make those shots, it’s a totally different game because our confidence was growing and growing,” O’Lare said. “All of a sudden we would have taken the lead eventually and that would have given us tremendous confidence going to the fourth quarter.”
Brown led Mohawk with eight points and Amanda Shaffer was next with seven. Eichenlaub and Natale contributed six apiece.
Tara Gallupe added 13 points for the Lady Antelopes. Avonworth struggled at the line as well, sinking just 10 shots in 24 attempts.
Mohawk loses just two seniors, Brown and Jess Boyer. Natale is the team’s leading scorer at 13 points a game.
“We’re going to get better and better,” O’Lare said. “I’m really excited with what we have coming back.
“Chelsea carried us this year; she improved a great deal. This year she really worked toward her potential and she exceeded my expectations.”
Said Natale, “Coach told us we’re at the top of the mountain, where we’re planning on going next year. We just can’t stumble. We have to keep taking positive steps and take things to the next level.”