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P-T boys building momentum for section

| Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, 8:50 p.m.
Penn-Trafford Star
Dorian Stevens and the Penn-Trafford boys basketball team have rolled off three consecutive wins since dropping the opening game by six points against second-ranked Hampton. Matt Grubba | Penn-Trafford Star

Coming up just short against the No. 2 team in the WPIAL was a tough way to start the year, but Penn-Trafford hasn't looked back from its season-opening setback.

The Warriors entered this week as the winners of three straight games, including a 53-47 nonsection win at Woodland Hills and a 58-25 win to open Section 1-AAAA play at Albert Gallatin on Friday.

Penn-Trafford (3-1, 1-0) has improved steadily from its six-point defeat at the hands of Hampton, and last week the team showed that it can win on the road.

“People fail to see how hard it is to win on the road,” Penn-Trafford coach Ryan Yarosik said. “Any time you go to play Woodland Hills or Penn Hills, those teams don't care what your record is, they're going to come to play ball.”

Corey Stanford had a season-high 26 points against Woodland Hills (2-3), many of which came early in the game as the Warriors struggled to get started offensively. As the game progressed, P-T gradually increased its lead to as many as 13 before the Wolverines made a fourth-quarter run.

“Corey put us on his back in the first quarter. We struggled, and he had almost every point for us in that quarter,” Yarosik said. “That's what a player of his caliber needs to do, and as the game went on, Andy (Abreu) got better and helped take some of the load off him.”

Abreu finished with 17 points, while Tom Greene led Woodland Hills with 19 points.

With that first road experience under their belts, the Warriors traveled to Fayette County to open section play against an Albert Gallatin (0-4, 0-1) team that is beginning to rebound after some lean years.

This time, there was no slow start for P-T, as the Warriors raced out to a 23-6 lead after the first quarter and probably had Albert Gallatin fans thinking it was more of the same.

That wasn't the case, Yarosik said, as his team had to play a solid, physical game to put away the host Colonials.

“I give Albert Gallatin credit because they're much better than what they have been,” Yarosik said. “They're a feisty bunch up there, and we had to go in there and stick to our intent of getting a road victory.

“Our guys did a good job of not playing to the competition. They focused on what we wanted to do and do it well.”

Stanford matched his total from the Woodland Hills game with 26 against Albert Gallatin, and he again had a strong start to the game with 19 points in the first half. Christian Rohaus added 12 for the Warriors.

P-T has held its opponents to under 50 points in all three of its wins this season, and even holding No. 2 Hampton to 60 in the season opener was a quality defensive performance for the Warriors.

“We're playing good defense, and if we do that, we're going to be tough to stop,” Yarosik said. “We have enough offense that we're going to be able to score. We just need to continue improving on the defensive end.”

Penn-Trafford was scheduled to return home for another section game against Connellsville on Tuesday, after this edition's deadline. After that, the team has only a nonsection game left on the schedule before Christmas, as it hosts Laurel Highlands on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

“Our section keeps getting better, and we can't afford to worry about anyone but ourselves if we're going to come out on top,” Yarosik said. “We can't look past Connellsville, and after that we have to focus on Laurel Highlands.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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