West Mifflin girls bounce Belle Vernon
TribLIVE Sports Videos
After losing all three games it played in the Hempfield tournament, the West Mifflin girls basketball team was left looking for an emotional lift.
“The girls were down and out, and we needed to bounce back and get something we could feed off of and get some momentum,” West Mifflin coach Rob Yeschenko said.
A win Thursday over Belle Vernon did exactly that.
Junior forward Taylor Thomas scored a game-high 26 points, and Paige Flore chipped in 15 to lead West Mifflin to a 75-66 victory in a key Section 4-AAA showdown.
It was a signature win for the Titans (3-5, 2-0) against a favored opponent.
“We hope we can keep this momentum and go with it,” Yeschenko said. “When they experience success, they're starting to come together and find our identity. We're starting to play together a little bit more. And we're mixing it up a bit better, and it's getting better as we go along.”
Thomas was a key contributor as junior center Deilona DeVaughn was limited throughout because of foul trouble. She was especially clutch down the stretch, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter, including 6 of 7 from the free-throw line and 4 of 4 in the final minute.
“She was tough,” Yeschenko said. “We talked about it in practice of how good of a player she can be, and we're looking for more consistency and to stay with that drive. The drive and poise she had was excellent.”
DeVaughn, who finished with 10, was given the unenviable task of shutting down Belle Vernon's top inside threats, sisters Jessica and Kaitlyn Slagus. She was helped as Kaitlyn Slagus was in foul trouble early, and Jessica, who led the team with 19 points and 15 rebounds, joined her sister on the bench with four fouls in the third quarter.
“Kaitlyn and Jess are such leaders on the court, and it was a huge factor not having (Kaitlyn) in there because, when they're in there together, good things happen,” Belle Vernon coach Lisa Fairman said. “That was a huge loss, but players came on and stepped in and did a good job.”
Belle Vernon (6-3, 2-1) committed 32 turnovers.
“That was what I told them in the locker room was, if you can't control the ball, you're going to struggle,” Fairman said. “When you have that many turnovers, quite frankly, you don't deserve to win, and that's honestly the most turnovers we've had all year.”
Belle Vernon still mounted a comeback. The Leopards, who led by as many as eight in the first half, made it a one-possession game, 66-64, on a putback by Tiernie Singleton with 1:31 left. But West Mifflin finished on a 9-2 run with all of its points coming from the free-throw line.
“We think that, with the competition we've faced so far, that we can step up in these situations, and we talk about it in practice all the time,” Yeschenko said. “These girls stepped up, and we were real proud of them because they picked up the ball pressure, and we were able to force a lot of turnovers.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jeannette hoping to be in a groove once playoffs begin
- Versatile sophomore Jonczak has Highlands in playoff hunt after 3-16 season
- High school roundup: Pine-Richland squad wins PIAA spirit title
- Neither coach happy after Monessen beats Avella by 90 points
- Ford City battles, earns hard-fought 46-43 win over Wilkinsburg
- Snyder taking his best shot for Seneca Valley
- Gorman: Celebrating Western Pa.’s hoops history
- Connellsville holds off Kiski Area for big win
- 4th quarter run, Arnold vault Cougars
- Knoch boys adjusting after losing point guard Hannes to injury
- Daily News roundup: EF girls take down West Mifflin