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Monessen girls off to 0-4 start

| Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Monessen head coach Gina Naccarato knew her young team might struggle early on this season.

While the Lady Greyhounds fell to 0-4 on the season after a 70-43 loss to Jeannette Wednesday night, there's no discouragement in their locker room.

“I told the girls that this is exactly the type of schedule we wanted,” Naccarato said following the loss. “That's the way we wanted it because it will really help us get ready for section play.”

The Lady Greyhounds haven't lost to proverbial cupcakes. So far they've taken on the likes of Class AAA West Mifflin, 2011 WPIAL semifinalist and PIAA quarterfinalist Fort Cherry, the City League's Obama Academy and the Lady Jayhawks.

In Jeannette, they took on the WPIAL's top scorer Ciara Gregory, who hasn't been held under 30 points in any game this season.

“It's a good test and will prepare us for the playoffs,” Naccarato said of Gregory. “She's a scorer, that's for sure. We played a diamond-and-one on her and she still got her points.”

Gregory scored 31 points for the Lady Jayhawks (4-1), with 20 coming in the second half. It was her lowest scoring output of the young season.

The game remained close until the third quarter, which saw the Lady Greyhounds get within 10 points. Then Gregory took over.

“We rotated different girls on her to avoid anyone getting tired,” Naccarato said. “They went on a little run there in the fourth quarter and we ran out of steam towards the end.”

Mariah Ward led the Lady Greyhounds with 15 points. Teammates Chelsea Szakal and Monet Wade each added 10.

“I was real pleased with how Chelsea responded. Last game was the first time she played in nine months,” Naccarato said of the senior. “She's working her way back. We increased her minutes tonight and every game we'll increase them more. She should be ready to go by the time we hit section play.”

The tough non-section schedule for the Lady Greyhounds continues Friday when they host 5-0 Uniontown.

“Like I said, this is what we wanted,” Naccarato said. “We'll be OK. We're competitors and we're really starting to gain confidence.”

South Allegheny 51,Bentworth 42

The Lady Bearcats trailed South Allegheny by nine at halftime and couldn't get any closer in the second half as they fell to the Lady Gladiators 51-42.

Taylor Pompei scored a team-high 19 points for Bentworth, which fell to 2-4.

Jaylee Patterson scored a game-high 24 points to lead South Allegheny (2-3). Teammate Abby Dranko added 12.

Bentworth resumes Section 5 AA play today when it travels to McGuffey.

California Area 51,Yough 33

The Lady Trojans remained undefeated, knocking off Yough, 51-33.

Tristen Conaway scored a game-high 21 points to lead the way for Cal (5-0). She was backed up by 12 points from Courtnee McMasters.

Natalie Peebles led the Lady Cougars (2-4) with a team-high 10 points.

Both teams resume play today as the Lady Trojans travel to winless Burgettstown for a non-section contest and Yough travels to Southmoreland in Section 3 AAA play.

BoysMt. Pleasant 69,Belle Vernon Area 40

Mount Pleasant had little resistance from Belle Vernon Area after racing to an 18-5 lead after the first quarter.

Marcus Malara scored 16 points and Luke Liprando chipped in 12 for the Vikings (3-3), who led by 22 points at the half.

Jake Sweitzer led the way for the Leopards (1-4) with 12 points.

The Leopards will look for a quick turnaround after the non-section loss. They travel to Steel Valley today for a Section 4 AAA contest.

South Allegheny 55,Frazier 53

The Commodores looked to rebound after a thumping at the hands of section foe California Area, but fell by a basket to the visiting Gladiators Wednesday.

Frazier (1-5) got a combined 34 points from Roger Cline (18) and Vinny Bucci (16), but fell short after battling back from a deficit to tie the game at 38 after three quarters.

Kordell Thompson led the Gladiators (2-4) with 17 points. Teammate Harry Matczak chipped in 12.

The Commodores return to Section 5 AA play Friday when they host Bentworth.

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