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.
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The General McLane girls basketball team looks to keep its postseason journey going as it faces off with District 5 champion Tussey Mountain in the second round of the PIAA Class AA Girls Basketball Championship tournament. Game time is today at 6:30 p.m. at Penn Hills High School in Pittsburgh.
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Home sweet home.
Edinboro University’s Valerie Majewski, the former General McLane standout who returned to the ’Boro this season after two years at the University of Buffalo, was in her old comfort zone Sunday afternoon.
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Sam Breese now knows how it feels to be perfect.
Breese finished with an undefeated season record of 35-0, with win No. 35 being the sweetest one of all.
The Lakeview senior stared into the face of the pressure that comes with defending a title, and made the Giant Center in Hershey feel like home. Undeniable talent and an incredible determination are the hallmarks of Breese’s approach to wrestling, and for the second straight year, he can call himself a champion.
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On a night when six wrestlers repeated as PIAA Class AAA champions, Chance Marsteller and Thomas Haines stole the show.
Marsteller, of Kennard-Dale, and Haines, of Solanco, became the 11th and 12th four-time gold-medal winners in Pennsylvania history. Marsteller (166-0) also is the first four-time champion to complete his career without a loss since Cary Kolat (1989-92) and the fourth overall.
Serra outlasts Cardinals
For the second time in as many days a basketball team from Cochranton High School played a private school from the WPIAL, put forth a valiant fight, but ultimately had its heart broken.
On Friday, it was the Cochranton boys team, which fell to Vincentian Academy 95-85.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
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Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
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