Defense, defense, defense.
That is the focus for head coach Sarah Jay and the General McLane girls basketball team as the Lady Lancers go up against WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin in the second round of the PIAA Class AA basketball playoffs today at 6 p.m. at Sharon High School.
The Crusaders (23-4) have a scoring threat at all five positions, which means, “Everyone is going to have to play defense,” said coach Jay. “We’ll press and try to get them to turn the ball over. They set really good screens, so we’re going to have to switch and we’re really going to have to talk. It’s going to require an excellent defensive effort.”
Bishop Canevin won this year’s WPIAL championship with a 56-47 win over Seton LaSalle, a team that had beaten the Crusaders twice during the regular season.
Canevin junior Johnie Olkasky led the Crusaders in the championship game with 26 points, knocking down seven 3-pointers. Her backcourt effort was bolstered by the efforts of a pair of 5-10 senior in Carly Forse (14 points) and Celine DiPietro (10 points).
“They have size,” said Jay. “And that’s what probably worries me the most. We don’t have much size. And their size can go out and shoot the 3. They’re not like a pound-it-in type of team. They can shoot.”
Canevin’s size once again played a role in its 51-37 victory over Westmont Hilltop in the first round of the state playoffs. Forse — a Point Park College recruit — led the way with a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double. And Duquesne recruit Erin Waskowiak — the tallest member of the team at 5-11 and considered the Crusaders’ best player — rang up 17 points.
“We’ve lived on our stop-their-leading-scorer type of defense,” said Jay. “We’ll try to contain (Waskowiak). But who I have guarding her, she doesn’t have size, so we might have to get out of that. We’ll have to switch a lot on screens. And the girls have to know, if we switch and you end up on their best player you have to ‘D’ up on her.
“But we’ll also have to worry about Forse. Then we’ll have to worry about DiPietro,” said Jay. “Their starting five are all solid. And they have three 3-point shooters who are equally capable of making four or more in a game. No one can relax on defense.”
The Lancers (23-3) will also have to find some time to score some hoops of their own. And they’ve certainly got some girls up to the task, like sophomore guard Michelle Jahn (13.0 points per game), senior guard/forward Lindsey Jahn (10.9 ppg.), senior guard Katie Clark (9.4 ppg.) and junior guard Katie Rodrigues (8.3 ppg.).
Each of those players scored their average in this past Friday’s 51-34 win over Jeannette in the state playoff’s first round. Michelle Jahn scored 12 points. Lindsey Jahn had 10. Clark scored nine and Rodrigues eight.
Another offensive performance like that would help, but only if the Lancers can step it up on the other side of the ball.
“At this point in season you know you’re going to be playing good teams,” said Jay. “It’s going to take an effort like this every night. And I think our girls are up to the challenge.”
Defense, defense, defense.
NFL: Dolphins shake off weather to beat Steelers
Considering everything the resilient Miami Dolphins have put themselves through over the last two months, a couple of snowflakes were hardly going to be a problem.
Not with Ryan Tannehill throwing and running like a guy who enjoys the white stuff. Not with Charles Clay muscling through the arm tackle of a likely Hall of Famer for the winning score. Not even with a Keystone Kops finale that ever so briefly appeared to be for real.
NFL: Pats score twice in final 61 seconds to beat Browns
Nearly everything had to go right for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to pull off their latest comeback.
Just about everything did.
Brady threw two touchdown passes and the Cleveland Browns committed two critical penalties in the final 61 seconds as the Patriots stormed to a 27-26 victory on Sunday.
BOYS BASKETBALL: McElhinny gets first Bulldogs win in rout
Asked how important it was getting the team’s first win of the season, Meadville’s head boys basketball coach Mark McElhinny blurted out the answer before the question was even finished.
“Huge,” he said.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Panthers just too much for Meadville
How defending Region 3 champion Saegertown will fare during the 2013-14 season is still a bit of a mystery.
But if Saturday afternoon is any indication of the effort the Lady Panthers are going to put into the season, they very well could be a title contender again.
BOYS BASKETBALL: East outlasts MASH to reach final
Unfortunately, Mark McElhinny’s biggest fear entering his debut as Meadville’s head basketball coach surfaced:
The Bulldogs’ youth factor came into play — at the worst time, in the fourth quarter.
Committing eight turnovers and showing fatique signs in the final period, the youth-laden Bulldogs were outscored 22-17 as Erie East spoiled McElihinny’s first game on the MASH bench with a 65-60 win in the opening round of the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament on Friday night at the House of Thrills.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Falcons move into title game
A youth-laden Conneaut boys basketball team had a well-seasoned Central Tech squad right within striking distance after one half. But the Falcons spread their wings in half No. 2 to claim a 56-34 victory over the Eagles during Friday night’s action at the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament at Meadville High School’s House of Thrills.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Slow start dooms Lady Bulldogs
It seems that the Meadville girls basketball team needed a couple quarters to get into the groove for the 2013-14 season.
In the second half of Friday night’s game at the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament at Meadville High School, the Lady Bulldogs actually beat Central Tech 21-14.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Seneca too tough for Panthers
There was no wading into the pool for the sophomore-stocked Saegertown girls basketball team.
The young Lady Panthers opened the season against a bigger, more experienced opponent. And it showed on the scoreboard, as Seneca downed the Panthers 59-35 in the opening game of the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament on Friday at Meadville High School’s House of Thrills.
COLLEGE WRESTLING: Fighting Scots just miss out on upset of Iowa
It was nearly 50 minutes prior to the start of the Edinboro versus Iowa NCAA Division I wrestling match on Thursday night and the stands at McComb Fieldhouse were already nearly full.
That crowd, however, later announced at a whopping 3,152, was relatively quiet in the early going. Then Edinboro All-American A.J. Schopp took the mat. Just two minutes in that crowd turned deafening.
NBA: Irving, Cavaliers snap Nuggets' win streak 98-88
Kyrie Irving scored 23 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped the Denver Nuggets’ seven-game winning streak with a 98-88 victory Wednesday night.
- More Sports Headlines
- NFL: Dolphins shake off weather to beat Steelers