Girls basketball takes first section loss
TribLIVE Sports Videos
For the second straight year, Penn-Trafford is looking up at Hempfield early in the girls basketball season.
Monica Burns scored 21 points to help the Spartans hand P-T its first section loss of the year, 55-44, in the first game of a girls/boys doubleheader on Friday at Hempfield.
Last season, the loss to Hempfield (10-2, 5-0) was the only one for Penn-Trafford (8-2, 4-1) in Section 1-AAAA, as the Warriors won the rematch and finished 11-1 to claim the section title.
This year will have to be more of the same for Penn-Trafford, which finished play on Monday in a three-way tie for second with Norwin and Latrobe.
“We know we have to take it one game at a time, but we've seen this before,” Penn-Trafford coach John Giannikas said. “There's no room for any error.”
Maria Palarino was the lone Warrior to score in double figures with 13, and Penn-Trafford fell behind early to a Spartans team that was the preseason pick to challenge the Warriors for the section crown.
“It was a good game. We just had a little trouble getting into a flow early,” Giannikas said. “They got a little cushion on us, and every time we made a run, they did a good job answering.”
Hempfield led by nine points at halftime, and while Penn-Trafford repeatedly pulled closer, the home team kept them at bay, in part because of 21-for-25 shooting from the foul line.
The loss was P-T's second straight after seven consecutive wins to open the season, but close regular-season road losses at North Allegheny and Hempfield could provide teaching moments that benefit the Warriors later in the season.
“We went to two tough places to play on the road and had a chance to win both games,” Giannikas said. “I told the kids there's nothing to be ashamed of. Hopefully, it will help us play longer in the playoff this year.”
The Warriors came back with a vengeance on Monday night by hammering Albert Gallatin (4-6, 1-4) at home, 76-16.
The Colonials had no answer for P-T's defense and fast-break game, which Palarino led with a game-high 28 points. Casey Aunkst and Taylor Cortazzo both added 10 points for Penn-Trafford.
“We played tremendously on offense and got out on the fast break in the first half,” Giannikas said. “What I liked is that we didn't try to do too much after the losses. We played our game.”
The schedule only gets tougher in the next three games for Penn-Trafford, which could have sole possession of second place in less than a week.
The Warriors travel to Latrobe on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., and after a nonsection game Saturday at 1 p.m. against Greensburg Central Catholic at Seton Hill, Penn-Trafford hosts Norwin in the opener of another girls/boys doubleheader at 6 p.m.
“The game Thursday is huge; we take every nonsection opponent seriously; and Norwin, that's always a big game for both teams,” Giannikas said. “We still have a lot of work to do, and it starts Thursday if we want to keep pace in the section.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or email@example.com.
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.