By Lisa Byers
December 8, 2012 7:00 a.m. MEADVILLE —
Some wins Steve Scott remembers pretty well. Others not so much.
No. 500 will be one he never forgets.
Rachel DiBartolomeo hit a pair of free throws with 14 seconds to play to tie the game at 35-35. Moments later, Arianna Hanley delivered with a steal and fastbreak layup to lead Saegertown to a 37-35 win over Central Tech in the opening round of the Meadville Sertoma Tipoff Tournament on Friday night at the House of Thrills.
The win was the 500th career victory for Scott, the head girls basketball coach at Saegertown. And it was one his players were honored to pick up on his behalf.
“He’s such a great coach,” Saegertown senior Katie Kapanick said. “He knows exactly what he’s talking about. He might yell a lot. But we know when he really yells that he just loves us and loves the game as much as we do.
“It’s really an honor to play for him.”
Scott now stands at 500-197 for his career. This is his 27th season at the helm.
“Everybody is talking about the 500th win,” Scott said. “Now it’s out of the way. Let’s forget that and move on.”
Forgetting about it isn’t any easy thing to do. Scott has had a phenomenal career at his alma mater, a career that includes 15 conference titles, three District 10 championships and a state final appearance. He has won nearly 72 percent of the games he has coached and has had just four losing seasons.
“We’ve had good kids,” Scott said. “They know what we expect of them when they come in and they play hard. We may not have always had the most talented kids in the past basketball-wise. Maybe their skills aren’t as good. But they always played hard.
“They give you what they got. If you can walk off the floor and know you gave it everything, you don’t ever have anything to be ashamed of.”
Last night’s game was a prime example.
Both Saegertown and Central Tech got off to sluggish starts combining for 16 turnovers in the first quarter and a total of 31 for the half. The Falcons escaped the half with a 23-22 advantage.
Central Tech extended that lead to as many as five in the third quarter. DiBartolomeo cut the advantage to three (29-26) at the end of the period, igniting a 6-0 run by the Panthers that gave them a 30-29 lead with 5:40 to play.
The Falcons did eventually regain the lead. Kelsey Watson hit a short jumper with 24 seconds to play to put Central Tech up 35-33. DiBartolomeo was then fouled and headed to the line for a 1 and 1 with 14 ticks remaining.
The senior, who had picked up her fourth personal foul with 1:47 to go in the third quarter, sank both free throws to tie the game at 35-35.
On Central’s ensuing possession, Hanley stripped the ball away near mid-court and drove to the hoop for an easy layup.
“I actually totally forgot it was the end of the game,” Hanley said. “I got the steal and I was going down the court. I thought, ‘Just make this. We still have the rest of the game.’ Then I turned around and looked at the scoreboard.”
The horn sounded and the celebration began.
“This was a good one,” Scott said. “Central is a good team. They got ahead of us there, but we made the plays we had to in the end.”
DiBartolomeo was clutch in the fourth quarter. She finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, four of which came in the final quarter. Tori Eckart had eight points.