Patterson?s solid play not enough for West Mifflin

| Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012

West Mifflin sophomore Ciara Patterson is young, talented and capable of scoring points in bunches.

Unfortunately for the West Mifflin girls basketball team, Blackhawk freshman Chassidy Omogrosso fits that description, too.

And possibly more, given her performance Wednesday night in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

Omogrosso scored 36 points on 10-of-15 shooting — eight of 11 from 3-point range — to lead the third-seeded Blackhawk girls basketball team to a 71-56 win over the No. 14 seed Titans at West Allegheny.

Patterson countered with 23 points of her own, but she wasn't able to keep pace with Omogrosso's career night.

"It's exciting to watch these girls," first-year Titans coach Rob Yeschenko said. "You have two star athletes out there playing, and we came out on the losing end. We thought we were prepared for this, but it was tough with the shooting day they had."

West Mifflin, which beat Kittanning, 68-47, in the preliminary round last weekend, finished the season at 10-10. Blackhawk (20-3) advances to the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals and will play 11th-seeded New Castle (13-9) on Saturday, site and time to be determined.

Senior guard Jhyla Staples and sophomore guard Paige Flore each contributed 12 points, but the rest of the Titans combined for just nine points. Most of all, they struggled to contain Omogrosso, who repeatedly knocked down open looks from deep, the Titans unable — or unwilling — to rotate out to defend them.

"They shot the lights out," Yeschenko said. "Our focus was to stop Chassidy, and still we were letting her get open. She's very impressive."

Blackhawk raced out to a 9-4 lead behind eight points from Omogrosso and led, 21-12, after the first quarter.

West Mifflin closed to within six at 28-22 after a putback from Deilona Devaughn with 4 minutes, 41 seconds left in the second quarter. But Blackhawk answered with an 11-2 run, as Blackhawk's Bridgette Shaffer knocked down two 3-pointers and Omogrosso added her fifth of the half.

The Titans scored six of the final eight points of the half, but Blackhawk still had a 41-30 lead at the break.

Blackhawk increased its lead to 18 with a 9-2 run to start the third quarter before West Mifflin drew to within 14 at 51-37 after another putback from Devaughn at 3:30 of the third.

West Mifflin cut it to 13 twice in the fourth quarter, but Blackhawk held the lead and advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals, a place the Titans reached last year but couldn't find a way to revisit.

"For all the things they faced all year, they still fought through it," said Yeschenko, who coached the team through Jayla Leftwich's transfer to a Virginia prep school and Taylor Thomas becoming an innocent shooting victim. "I still felt that we had a good season, and I don't want them to think otherwise. But I know it's hard for them to hear that right now."

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