Patterson's emergence steadies West Mifflin
By Keith Barnes
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Before the school year started, all signs pointed to Ciara Patterson being an important cog for the West Mifflin girls basketball team.
She was supposed to have another year of development playing under a group of seniors headed by Jayla Leftwich before emerging as the go-to player for the Lady Titans in the 2012-13 season.
That was before the switch flipped and the entire program was in disarray.
Leftwich transferred to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia just before the start of the season. Senior guard Thea Lewis was out with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.Then, on Dec. 18, sophomore guard Taylor Thomas severely wounded during a shooting.
One of these incidents would have been enough to shatter most teams, but thanks to Patterson, the 2011-12 Daily News Girls Basketball Player of the Year, the team was able to stay on course and qualify for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
"We had a young team, and we figured that we had to stay with it and we all had to play big," Patterson said. "We had to step up, and someone had to be a leader and get everybody together."
Patterson, a 5-foot-7 point guard, finished third in Class AAA scoring behind Hopewell's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (25.6) and New Castle's Kaylynn Waters (25.5). Patterson averaged 21.1 points per game.
Perhaps nothing showed Patterson's growth as a player more than how she did against South Park, the Section 4 champion and a WPIAL Class AAA finalist. In two games she scored 69 points, including 38 on Feb. 6 in a 76-50 loss.
"In that South Park game when she put up 38 points, she was impressive," West Mifflin coach Rob Yeschenko said. "South Park's defense can be tenacious, and she showed that she can break down a defense. Even though we took the loss, what she did in that game ... it was just amazing at times."
Though Yeschenko may have been in his first year on the bench, he wasn't the least bit surprised by Patterson's instant success and quick growth.
"With her demeanor on the court, she plays with a leadership that you rarely see with a sophomore," Yeschenko said. "She leads with her play. She can be dominant at times and, overall, she's just a true competitor, and you can see it in her eyes when she's on the court."
Even though she still has two years left, Patterson is already garnering Division I interest. She took a visit to Drexel University in Philadelphia last weekend and should have quite a few more trips penciled into her itinerary in the next year or so during the recruiting process.
Still, though Patterson is among the best young players in the WPIAL, she knows that there is still room for improvement.
"I know that I have to better my game, both on and off the court," Patterson said. "I really have to work on my attitude because everyone has told me growing up that my attitude was going to be my downfall, and I've been working on it and it's getting better."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Panthers free agent safety headed to Steelers
- Students prepare for robotics competitions
- Orpik rises to occasion as Penguins take down Capitals once again
- Figure skating coach dies in crash at Washington County Airport
- Penguins notebook: Letang skating, but no return set
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto proposes $16M for schools to boost population
- Elizabeth Forward school director accused in coin, jewelry theft
- Primary challenges revealed
- Book take fictionalized look at famous McKeesport Kennedy-Nixon debate
- Can Pirates star outfielder McCutchen be even better in 2014?