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Johnston starts season with MVP performance

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

The Baldwin girls' varsity basketball team opened the 2012-13 season on a championship note, winning the two-day Indiana tip-off tournament.

The Lady Highlanders captured the title by defeating Keystone Oaks in the first round, 55-28, and edging the host team in the championship game, 46-42.

“I think we played three good halves of basketball (last) weekend,” Gavin Prosser, Baldwin's second-year head coach, said. “Fortunately, that was enough to allow us to win the tournament.”

Mandi Johnston, a sharp-shooting 5-foot-5 junior guard, led Baldwin with a 33-point performance in the two contests.

She was named the most valuable player of the tournament.

“Mandi played well for us and earned the tournament MVP honor,” Prosser said. “She got us in our offensive sets when needed in the half court, and she pushed the tempo when we could which is exactly what we need from her.

“She also scored and distributed the ball well. We were happy with the way she played. I think as the season progresses and we get more and more comfortable as a group, she will become even more effective.”

Johnston tossed in 18 points against the Keystone Oaks girls, and followed that up with 15 points against Indiana.

She was joined on the all-tournament team by two other Baldwin players —Nikki Corcoran and Taylor Letender.

Corcoran, a 5-8 junior guard, complemented Johnston in the championship game with 13 points.

Letender, a 5-10 junior forward, is a dominating force on the boards for the Lady Highlanders.

“We wanted to rebound well and push the tempo in both games, and we were able to execute that,” Prosser said.

“We turned the ball over way too much in the first game, and a little more than we want to in the championship game, but we were able to overcome that.”

*****

In other girls' results, the Brentwood Lady Spartans went 1-1 in the Brentwood Boosters' tip-off tournament, losing a nail-biter to Avonworth in the title game.

The Lady Spartans kicked off the year with a 43-36 victory against City League foe Carrick in the first round, before dropping a tough 44-42 decision to the Lady Antelopes in the championship round.

Laura McGowan poured in 43 points in the tournament for the Brentwood girls, including a 24-point performance against Carrick.

McGowan, a 5-10 junior forward, led the Lady Spartans against Avonworth with 19 points, and was complemented offensively by freshman guard/forward Delaney Daly's 11-point total.

The Avonworth girls have won the Brentwood tip-off event for nine consecutive years.

*****

Also on the local front, Thomas Jefferson's girls' team lost twice in the Bethel Park tournament, falling to the host team in the first round, 59-18, and to Woodland Hills in the consolation round, 57-49.

Alexis Yanief, a junior gaurd, paced the Lady Jaguars against Woodland Hills with 19 points.

“We have a lot of young kids, and a lot of kids didn't come out, and we have a very small team,” said TJs newly hired head coach Dom DiMattia, prior to the tournament. “They're really great, and they're responding great.

“They work hard, and we've just got to work on the fundamentals and mix in my system and some of the things that I like to do, but they've done an awesome job.”

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5820 or rfisher@tribweb.com.

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