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Shaler girls basketball gaining momentum

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Pine Creek
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Sophomores Lizzy Klein and Andi Lydon are helping the Lady Titans reestablish themselves as a contender in Section 3, Class AAAA basketball.
Pine Creek
Louis Raggiutni | Pine Creek Journal Shaler's Courtney Bauer is one of the quickest players on the court. The senior guard prides herself in being able to create space against bigger opponents.

When the Seneca Valley and Shaler girls basketball squads met for the second time, the teams were fourth and fifth in the standings with Seneca Valley holding a slight edge.

The Lady Raiders defeated Shaler on the road earlier in the season, 47-36, but the second time around, the Lady Raiders simply could not get the offense going, as Shaler's defense came to play in a 42-19 Lady Titans win.

Neither team could find the basket early, but a scoreless tie was broken by Shaler's Courtney Bauer, who knocked down a pair of 3-point baskets late in the first quarter to help Shaler build an 8-2 lead.

“We made them play our game,” Bauer said. “They came out in a press, and we broke it by doing what we do best. Now we are tied for fourth in the section and have a winning streak going.”

Bauer led all scorers with 11 points, but Shaler had many contributors. Liz Kline added eight points, Andi Lydon and Carly Harris each scored seven and Paige Quinn chipped in five.

Shaler got a little bit from everyone all game long, but Seneca Valley struggled all evening. Seneca managed two points in the first quarter, three in the third and two in the fourth.

Seneca Valley coach Rob Lombardo was frustrated by what he called a lack of effort.

“You can't teach urgency or toughness,” he said. “We are in the playoff hunt, but you have to go out and do little things. You can't score two, three and two points in a quarter and win a sixth grade basketball game, let alone a varsity game.

“If the shots fall, the girls seem to piggyback off that, but when they don't fall, everyone starts missing. They are all or nothing, and tonight they saw what nothing will get you.”

Lombardo is hopeful the devastation of this loss will act as motivation for the near future. It appears North Allegheny has a stranglehold on the section lead with Oakland Catholic right behind them. There is a log jam between third and seventh with only two game separating third place and last. Shaler and Seneca are right in the middle of that.

Shaler coach Neal Martin said he has been stressing to his players that now is when they want to be playing their best, and the team responded by winning five of the past six games.

“We got out of the gates slow, which is not what we wanted,” Martin said. “We have definitely turned the corner in a lot of areas and made defense a focus.”

During the past three games, Shaler has held the opposition to 33 (Woodland Hills) 29 (North Hills) and 19 against the Lady Raiders.

As of press time, Shaler and Seneca Valley were 3-5 in the section, and after splitting their season series, the final four section games will be critical.

Shaler has to face all three teams that are directly above them in the standings, and Seneca Valley has games against some of the teams below them in the standings.

Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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