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Dixon leads Steel Valley over Fort Cherry

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Ronald Vezzani Jr.| For the Valley Independent
Steel Valley's CeCe Dixon is one of nine women's basketball recruits announced by California University.
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Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, 11:34 p.m.

Sometimes C.C. Dixon spells her first name without any periods. Other times she uses periods between the Cs. Even her senior poster hanging on the Steel Valley gymnasium wall spells it differently (CeCe).

But there's only one way to spell dominating … and unstoppable.

Dixon was all of that and more during Steel Valley's 65-40 Section 4-AA victory over visiting Fort Cherry.

Dixon, the California (Pa.) recruit, scored a career-high 30 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and scored 14 of Steel Valley's first 16 points as the Lady Ironmen took over sole possession of third place in the section.

“She's stepped her game up an entire another level,” Steel Valley coach Kelly Sabo said. “She was always a great player, but now you are starting to see her become a player who is making everybody around her better. That first quarter, it was pull-up jump shots, pull-back threes, posting up. It was amazing.”

Cayley Labishak scored 15 points, and Melissa Cerda did the dirty work inside, grabbing a game-high 16 rebounds for the Lady Ironmen.

Fort Cherry (4-3, 2-2) was led by Rachel Bellhy's 27 points.

“(Dixon) is a real nice player,” Fort Cherry coach Gary Kacsur said. “She is really hard to play one-on-one and a real good inside outside player.”

And a decision Sabo made before the season has turned Dixon into an even more dangerous player.

The 6-foot senior never played guard before this season.

With Dixon likely to play the three-guard spot at Cal and Steel Valley (7-3, 3-1) losing four guards from last year's team, Sabo decided to move her star from her typical forward position to the outside.

It has paid off as Dixon is averaging 18.3 points per game — good for the top five in the WPIAL.

“You can tell she's worked on her ball handling, her outside shot, her foot speed,” Sabo said. “She is playing the three and going down and posting up at the four when we need her. Honestly, you are just starting to see her game develop.”

And she's bringing her teammates along with her.

Sydney Smith and Cerda have been tough on the blocks and Labishak, Morgan Churilla, Lindsay Connors and TraEsha Carswell have added some good minutes for the Lady Ironmen, including against an undermanned Fort Cherry team.

“Every game is a good experience for us because we only have one starter back from last year,” Sabo said. “Our big focus has been getting the girls to develop chemistry and get used to each other. We are starting to see more chemistry, and they are starting to make good basketball decisions. They are starting to understand the game much more.”

Fort Cherry was without three starters. One was sick and two others were away on a field trip. It left Kacsur shorthanded.

“We were outmanned,” Kacsur said. “But you have to go with the girls that you have. It wasn't enough tonight.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib

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