Lady Scots overwhelmed early
North Catholic (68) Vs. Union (28)
Feb 17, 2009
By RON PONIEWASZ JR.
PITTSBURGH — The Union High girls basketball team got a sample of the postseason last night.
It left the Lady Scots with a sour taste.
North Catholic built a 24-point first-quarter lead and cruised to a 68-28 victory over Union at Northgate High School in the opening round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs.
“It’s bittersweet,” said first-year Lady Scots coach Damian Cassano. “It’s bitter because this is the only taste that the seniors will get and it’s unfortunate that they didn’t get there the previous years.
“The future looks bright for the underclassmen; it’s a reward for the whole team.”
Union, which completes its season at 8-13, advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1997.
“I think the girls will start to see how much work it takes to put in to get to this level,” Cassano said. “To see how much other teams put in, it may be the difference.”
Top-seeded North Catholic (18-5) advances to meet Rochester in the quarterfinals Friday at a time and site to be determined by the WPIAL. The Trojanettes are the No. 1 team in the WPIAL in Class A in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette rankings
North Catholic raced to a 25-1 lead after one quarter as Lauren Savulchak got 12 of her team-high 18 points.
After the first 2:30, Union trailed 3-0 and had six possessions to that point, most ending in turnovers.
“If we get a basket early it might change the whole momentum of the game,” Cassano said. “We had some looks there early and we thought if we could break their press we would be fine.”
But the 16th-seeded Lady Scots struggled in the first frame, committing 16 of their 30 turnovers. Ashley Sankey split a pair of foul shots with 45 seconds left in the period to put Union on the board and end North Catholic’s 23-0 run.
“You always worry about a slow start,” said North Catholic coach Molly Rottmann, who earned her 200th career win. “We were active defensively and we were living off our press in the first quarter.”
The Lady Scots’ Savannah Partridge, a freshman, had 12 of her team-high 18 points in the second quarter, but North Catholic held a 39-13 halftime bulge.
“Savannah gives us a lift every game,” Cassano said. “I couldn’t ask for more from a freshman; she did it all year.”
Rottmann acknowledged Partridge as a young standout.
“She was impressive and she played hard,” Rottmann said. “I knew at halftime she was a girl we were going to have to locate defensively.”
The Trojanettes coasted to a 53-19 lead after three stanzas and the final margin was their biggest advantage of the night.
Sankey contributed five points and six rebounds for Union, while Noelle Hannon pulled down a team-best eight rebounds. Kaylin Clingensmith handed out four assists.
Kendall Hoffman tossed in 13 points for North Catholic, while Lynzi Mueller and Ashley Bellovich added 10 apiece.