Mohawk girls fall to Ford City
Ford City (30) Vs. Mohawk (27)
Feb 20, 2010
By TODD KRISE
BELLEVUE — Slowly and quietly, Mike O’Lare emerged from the locker room.
The Mohawk High girls basketball coach had just given the “toughest discussion” of his young career.
It was four years ago when O’Lare took control of the Lady Warriors’ program — the same time he met then-freshmen Kelly Eichenlaub, Kelly Fox, Sam Gagliardo, Alyssa Natale and Amanda Shaffer.
On Saturday, O’Lare had the chore of saying farewell to all five seniors following Mohawk’s 30-27 loss to Ford City in the preliminary round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs at Northgate High.
“It’s like saying goodbye to your kids,” he said. “They’ve given me more than I’ve ever given them. They care not so much about winning but just being good teammates and being good people.”
Poor shooting and a fourth-quarter defensive lapse led to Mohawk’s defeat.
The Lady Warriors (15-8) shot 7 of 48 from the field, including 1 for 12 from 3-point range.
Neither team could muster any significant offense in what was an obviously frustrating game for both squads.
After taking a 12-9 lead in the first quarter, Ford City (15-7) only scored one point in the second frame, while Mohawk rattled off eight to take a 17-13 advantage into halftime.
Natale, who finished with a game-high 12 points, banked in a 3-pointer and sank two foul shots within a 24-second stretch to give her team a 15-12 lead.
“The first three minutes of the third quarter are vital,” O’Lare told his team at intermission. “We talk about that all the time. We knew they weren’t going to score one point every quarter the rest of the way.”
Any momentum the Lady Warriors had was taken back by the Lady Sabers’ 11-4 third-quarter run.
Ford City’s Heather Davis tallied four of her team-high 11 points in the period to give her team a lead it would not relinquish.
The sophomore’s biggest basket, however, came with two minutes left in the game. On a halfcourt inbounds pass, Davis made a back cut and scored a layup for a three-point advantage.
“We’ve never guarded the sideline inbounder in four years,” O’Lare explained. “I don’t think we ever let something like that happen on a sideline inbounds play.
“It was a pivotal play because we had some momentum at that point.”
Ford City, which will play Greensburg Central Catholic (18-1) at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at Plum High School in the first round, was able to hold off a strong Mohawk push late in the game despite poor foul shooting.
The Lady Sabers made 2 of 7 from the line down the stretch.
“We’ve been in a lot of games this year that have been like that,” Ford City coach Al Davis said. “But some of them are a little bit better played.”
Mohawk, on the other hand, missed its opportunities on long jumpers and layups.
The Lady Warriors were down by two when Eichenlaub’s running floater with 22 seconds left hung on the back of the rim before trickling off.
Then at the buzzer, Natale missed a desperation 3-pointer that would have sent the game into overtime.
“Shots weren’t falling,” Natale said. “We were getting opportunities but we didn’t get the calls that we’re used to.
“I don’t know if it was nerves or just that we thought contact was going to be there and made us go up harder than usual.”